What Does BD Stand For In The Realm Guitar? Definition And Explanation

What does bd stand for? There are lots of confusion when it comes to this question? After all, if you won't be specific about the topic, the abbreviation "BD" will lead you to different answers. However, in the world of guitars, there is only one meaning for BD.


What Does BD Stand For?

What Does BD Stand For

BD is just the shortened term for "bend down" or "bending down." Of course, there is also BU which means "bend up" or "bending down." These terms are not familiar for many amateurs. Even experienced players seem to be oblivious to them.

If you don't delve too much on guitar theories and playing techniques, you will never figure these concepts out.

Specifically, these terms fall under the string bending. In this article, we will teach you what this technique is and how you can master it. So what are you waiting for? Read on!

String Bending

Despite its unfamiliarity, bending is still considered a conventional guitar technique. Many use such playing methods on blues, in where they increase the note's pitch that has been struck to a high pitch. Take note that while doing this, your finger should not move from its original position on the fretboard.

But how can you do this? The answer is pretty simple. You can achieve such feat if you push sideways the string. When you do this, the string's tension also increases.

Of course, we all know that when the string has higher tension, the higher the pitch you can also create. As a result, the note that you are playing seems to bend up or down to the following note.

Most of the time, guitarists use bending of one string. But it doesn't mean that it is not applicable to two strings. The number of strings that can be bent just depend on the skill level of the of player.

What is String Bending

What Does BD Stand For

Blues legends Robert Johnson and Lemon Jefferson were the first guitarists to explore the world of string bending. During their time, electric guitars were still not present. Therefore, their progress was not that fast.

Obviously, electric guitars are better for bending compared to their acoustic counterpart. The main reason for this is the sustain. The longer the sustain, the more bends you can do.

When electric guitars became available during the later part of the 1950s, bending became a core playing style of many guitarists. And until now, such trend still continues.

Because of the invention of electric guitars and string bending, the status of the guitar was elevated. Originally, a guitar's function is just for rhythms. Now, it became a lead instrument. And there are no instruments today that can take that limelight.

In fact, guitars even superseded pianos as the primary solo for various blues pieces.

Of course, the revolution of string bending didn't stop there. Stevie Ray Vaughan and B.B. King were among the luminaries of the guitar industry that took bending to another level.

Today, you can say that string bending is the soul and trademark sound of many electric guitars. It is something that you cannot overlook.

If you want to become a guitar aficionado, then it is a must to learn string bending. It is not enough that you can play your guitar. You must be able to make it sing, too.

Common String Bending Techniques

What Does BD Stand For

The first things that you need to familiarize are the most common variants of string bends. Specifically, there are three of them. Here are they:

  • Quarter-
  • Half-
  • Whole-Step Ends

There are no better ways to explain these string bends except using the standard "A" scale of blues (or the A C D Eb EG scale). In this scale, there are five types of bends that you can use. Here are they (not in particular order):

  • 4th up (whole step) - 5th
  • 4th up (half step) - b5th
  • ​b3rd up - quarter step
  • ​b7th - root
  • ​b3rd - 4th

Things To Remember About Bending


What Does BD Stand For

When bending up or down, it is important that you use more than one finger. Of course, this is not possible at all times, depending on the complexity of the music that you are playing.

But if you can, then you should push the strings with as many fingers as possible. Your fingers will hurt if you use them one by one.

Moreover, if you use one finger only, you won't be able to create the right pitch that you want. One trick to alleviate the pain is by using light strings.

However, if such gauge string is not available, then you have no choice but to maximize the use of your fingers. The more fingers you push, the less painful and easier the process becomes.

Some guitar players would even use three fingers in pushing a single string. For example, you might want to use your ring finger to push down the note.

Meanwhile, your index and middle finger will do the assisting. At first, this particular technique is hard to learn. That's the reason why you need ample of time to practice. After that, such feat would just become an automatic reaction.

What Does BD Stand For

You should know that string bending is best for thin strings. As we mentioned earlier, thin strings can help you achieve your desired pitch. On the flipside, thick strings could pose real struggle to your hands.

Therefore, you should not feel any discouragement if you cannot bend the D and A string. These guys are really sturdy. As a piece of advice, you should start with B and E strings first.

What Does BD Stand For

Moreover, the string parts that are within the bridge and the nut tend to be stiff. As a result, bending there is not ideal. Instead, you should just focus on bending in the area of the fifth fret.

Once again, such difficulty just depends on the strings' gauge. But in practice, bending on the 7th and 10th fret is easier than the 2nd fret.

What Does BD Stand For

Of course, you should not forget to have constant contact with the fret wire of your guitar. Specifically, you need to maintain pressure to the string while you are pushing it sideways simultaneously.

Meanwhile, you should always remember that the contact between the fret wire and your fingers must be smooth. Otherwise, you would really choke the note. Always keep in mind that a gentle action is necessary.

What Does BD Stand For

The key for proper bending is to bend the pitch higher than your targeted note. But this concept is easier said than done. You need time to practice this technique before you can be able to master it.

It will also require you to harness your listening skills as well. You cannot stop the bend correctly if you cannot determine whether the pitch is on the spot or not.

A flat pitch, even if it is slight, is disturbing. The same thing goes for very sharp tones. You need to hit the note correctly.


What Does BD Stand For? String bending is an essential guitar skill, but it is quite difficult to master. Aside from the technical aspect of this playing method, you should get familiar with its related concepts.

In short, you need to get familiar with the terms DB, DU, fret, notes, and other significant guitar jargons. Otherwise, you won't be able to comprehend the art of string bending fully.

Don't worry. Learning how to bend strings is all worth your time and effort. It will enhance the versatility of your playing styles. Moreover, it will also give emphasis to your instrument during solos.

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