With electric guitars, it's a common technique to bend the neck of the guitar with your hands to produce a subtle pitch change. It is often used with guitars without a whammy bar. Are there any noticeable side effects that come with doing this too much over time? Would this technique weaken the neck and cause it to snap eventually?

  • 1
    Do not do this with an instrument you consider valuable. It is abuse.
    – Kaz
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 4:06
  • Looks like the neck of guitar in the linked video will suffer long term adverse effects. :-P Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 19:13

3 Answers 3


I have seen a nylon strung acoustic guitar neck snap doing this but an steel strung guitar has a truss rod strengthening the neck. However you may damage the neck anyway, or break the fixing to the body.

I do it on my warlock, occasionally but I keep it very minor. I would suggest not bending too far.


Actually, in that video it was the body that broke, not the neck. Also, this guitar didn't seem to be really great quality. I remember Tommy Emmanuel commenting on his neck-bending in a piece (on a Martin western guitar): "don't try that on a chinese instrument!".

You certainly won't be able to break the body of an electric guitar, but the neck or headstock... it's certainly possible.

  • What seems to give first on an electric is the join between the neck and body:-/
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 2:29
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    @DrMayhem Any difference you experience between bolt-on vs. neck through guitars in this regard?
    – NReilingh
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 19:03
  • Not in terms of how much force is required. I just don't have enough data. But in terms of damage, it is much easier to repair the join of a bolt-on than a through-neck.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 21:22

Years ago I was friends with Adrian Belew, and I remember hearing him say that he once ruined the neck on a Stratocaster after repeated bending. But he kept on using this technique on other Strats.

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