Mastering the Prebend Technique in Country Guitar Solos

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As a country guitar player, you may have heard of the Prebend technique, but you might not be entirely sure what it is or how it works. Fear not, as we break down this technique step-by-step in this article. We will delve into the importance of the Prebend technique in country guitar solos and how to execute it with precision. You will also learn some common Prebend licks used in country music, as well as tips for perfecting the technique and creating your own unique licks. So grab your guitar and let’s dive in!

What is the Prebend Technique?

What Is The Prebend Technique?
As a country guitar player, you might have heard the term “prebend” thrown around, but what does it actually mean? This technique involves bending the string before playing the note and then releasing it back to the original pitch. It’s a subtle yet powerful way to add emotion and depth to your solos. If you want to improve your country guitar playing, it’s essential to understand the prebend technique. This technique works hand in hand with string bending, so if you want to brush up your knowledge on the basics, check out our guide to /string-bending-basics-guitar/. In this article, we’ll explore the intricacies of prebending and how it’s commonly used in country guitar solos.

Why it’s important for Country Guitar Solos

A great guitar solo in country music isn’t complete without using the Prebend Technique. It’s an essential technique that every country guitar player should master, and it’s one of the reasons why country music has such a unique and distinct sound. The Prebend Technique involves bending a note to a certain pitch, then releasing it and finally bending it again, creating a smooth, sustained sound.

So why is this technique so important? For starters, the Prebend Technique allows guitarists to create a unique crying or wailing sound, commonly heard in country music. It also adds a lot of expression and emotion to a solo, making it more interesting and captivating to the listener.

The Prebend Technique is also an essential part of country music because it enables guitar players to add a lot of character to their solos, making them sound more distinctive and memorable. With the proper use of this technique, guitar players can create their own unique identity and standing out from other players.

The Prebend Technique is one of the many bending techniques that country guitar players use. Understanding and mastering this technique will make exploring other bending techniques easier. One can check out Exploring Bending Techniques in Country Music after learning this technique to further enhance their country guitar playing skills.

Perfecting the Prebend Technique can be challenging and requires a lot of practice, but the results are worth it. When done correctly, it can take a mediocre solo and turn it into something extraordinary. Don’t forget that vibrato is also crucial in perfecting the Prebend Technique, one should check out Perfecting Vibrato And Bending Tips for a better understanding of the technique.

The Prebend Technique is an essential technique for every country guitar player to master. It adds a lot of character, emotion, and expression to a solo, making it unique, memorable, and distinctively country. It’s a challenging technique to perfect, but with patience, practice, and dedication, one can take their country guitar playing to the next level. Finally, the Prebend Technique is just one part of what makes country guitar solos so great. Unique Sound Bending Techniques are what makes country guitar music stand out from other genres, so keep learning and keep practicing for the best results.

Technique Breakdown

Technique Breakdown
As a country guitarist, mastering the prebend technique is crucial for adding depth and emotion to your solos. This technique allows you to create a unique sound by bending a note before actually picking it, resulting in a smooth and expressive sound. In this section, we’ll break down the prebend technique into three simple steps, so you can start incorporating it into your playing. But before we dive into the specifics of prebending, make sure you’ve explored other bending techniques like exploring bending techniques in country music and perfecting your vibrato with vibrato and bending tips to set the foundation for your prebends.

Step 1: The Bend

When it comes to the prebend technique in country guitar solos, understanding the individual steps involved is crucial. Let’s start with Step 1: The Bend.

Bending is a technique where you push or pull the string across the fretboard to raise the pitch of a note. The bend can create a more emotional sound and add a unique character to your playing. To execute the bend, you need to:

Step 1: The Bend
1. Place your fretting finger on the note you want to bend on the string
2. Use your other fingers to support your fretting finger and give it more strength during the bend
3. Push or pull the string with your fretting finger while maintaining pressure on the fretboard
4. Listen for the desired pitch and try to match it as closely as possible
5. Hold the bent note for the desired duration before releasing it
6. Release the bent note to its original pitch or to the next note in the lick

Mastering the bend is important for the prebend technique, as it sets the foundation for the next steps. For more information and techniques on bending, check out our article on unique sound bending techniques.

Step 2: The Release

Now that you’ve mastered the bend in the prebend technique, it’s time to move on to the release – the crucial second step in executing the technique flawlessly.

To understand the release, we must first get a handle on what happens during the bend. As you bend the string, you are essentially stretching it, causing it to increase in pitch. The amount you bend the string will determine how much the pitch increases.

Now, as you reach the intended pitch with your bent string, you’ll need to release the tension on the string to allow it to return to its original pitch. This is where the release comes in.

To execute it, start by holding the bend and then slowly releasing the tension until you reach the original pitch. The key here is to release the tension smoothly and evenly so as not to create unwanted noise or instability in the string’s pitch.

One of the best ways to practice this technique is to bend the string up a whole step and then release it back down to its original pitch. Repeat this several times, focusing on getting a smooth and even release each time.

Here’s a breakdown of the steps for executing the release:

Step Action
1 Bend the string to the desired pitch
2 Hold the bend steady
3 Gradually release the tension in the string to return to the original pitch
4 Ensure the release is smooth and even

Remember, the release is just as important as the bend in the prebend technique. Without a proper release, your prebend won’t be as effective, and your solos won’t have the same level of impact.

Step 3: The Prebend

Now that you’ve completed the bend and release steps, you’re ready to move on to the prebend. The prebend step is where the magic happens in the prebend technique, and it’s what sets it apart from a regular bend and release.

Step 3: The Prebend

1. Start by holding the bend you created in step 1 steady.
2. With your fretting hand, use your fingers to push the string up to create an additional bend. This bend should be in the same direction as the bend you created in step 1.
3. As you hold this prebend, use your picking hand to strike the string. The prebend releases the pitch of the note back to its natural pitch, creating a unique sound that is perfect for country guitar solos.

It’s important to note that the prebend step requires a lot of finger strength and control. Practice slowly and gradually build up speed as you gain more control over the technique.

Once you have mastered the prebend technique, you can experiment with different prebend combinations to create your own unique sound. Remember that the prebend technique is not just about hitting the right notes but also about infusing your own personality and style into your playing.

With a little practice and patience, you will soon be able to incorporate the prebend technique seamlessly into your country guitar solos, making them sound more dynamic and interesting.

Common Prebend Licks in Country Music

Common Prebend Licks In Country Music
As you continue to master the prebend technique, you’ll find yourself incorporating it into your country guitar solos more and more. One great way to make the most of this technique is by learning some of the most common prebend licks in country music. These licks are tried and true favorites that have been used by countless musicians to add emotion, nuance, and flair to their playing. By including them in your own repertoire, you’ll be able to elevate your solos to new heights and impress audiences with your skill and originality. So, let’s dive in and take a closer look at some of these classic licks!

Lick 1: Insert Lick Name Here

One of the most popular prebend licks in country music is often referred to as the “Slinky” lick. This lick is characterized by its snappy and almost playful sound, which perfectly captures the upbeat and lively nature of country music.

To play the Slinky lick, start with a bend on the 9th fret of the G string. This bend should be a full step bend, which means that you should aim to hit the note on the 11th fret while bending from the note on the 9th fret. Once you’ve hit the note on the 11th fret, release the bend and play the note on the 9th fret once again.


Step Instruction
1 Bend on the 9th fret of the G string (full step bend)
2 Hit the note on the 11th fret
3 Release the bend
4 Play the note on the 9th fret again

After playing the note on the 9th fret, prebend that same note by a half step, which means you are essentially bending the string before even plucking it. Next, release the bend and play the note on the 7th fret of the G string.


Step Instruction
1 Play the note on the 9th fret of the G string
2 Prebend the note by a half step
3 Release the bend
4 Play the note on the 7th fret of the G string

Finally, to complete the lick, prebend the note on the 7th fret by a half step and release the bend. Play the note on the 5th fret of the G string and then end with a vibrato on that same note.


Step Instruction
1 Prebend the note on the 7th fret by a half step
2 Release the bend
3 Play the note on the 5th fret of the G string
4 Vibrato on the note on the 5th fret of the G string

By following these steps, you’ll be able to play the Slinky lick like a pro. Remember, this is just one of the many prebend licks you can learn to master in order to take your country guitar solos to the next level.

Lick 2: Insert Lick Name Here

One great lick that utilizes the prebend technique in country guitar solos is all about adding a touch of vibrato to the bend. To perform this lick, follow these steps:

  1. Bend the string: Start by bending the string up to the desired pitch. This can be a full step or a half step, depending on the sound you’re going for.
  2. Add vibrato: Once you’ve hit the note, start shaking your fretting hand back and forth to add a touch of vibrato. This will help make the note sound more expressive and emotional.
  3. Release the bend: After adding vibrato, release the bend and let the note return to its normal pitch. Make sure to release the bend slowly and in a controlled manner to avoid any unwanted noise.
  4. Prebend the string: Now comes the prebend part of the lick. Before playing the next note, bend the string up to the desired pitch. This will create tension in the string, which you’ll release when you play the next note.
  5. Play the next note: Finally, play the next note in the lick while releasing the bend. This will create a cool descending effect that adds depth and complexity to the solo.

Remember to practice this lick slowly at first, focusing on hitting each note cleanly and accurately. Once you’ve got it down, you can start to increase the speed and experiment with variations to make the lick your own.

Lick 3: Insert Lick Name Here

Here’s a breakdown of the third prebend lick for country guitar solos:

  • Step 1: Begin by prebending the fifth fret of the second string up a whole step.
  • Step 2: Release the bend and play the third fret of the second string.
  • Step 3: Prebend the fifth fret of the third string up a whole step.
  • Step 4: Release the bend and play the third fret of the third string.
  • Step 5: Finish the lick by bending the fifth fret of the fourth string up a whole step and then playing the third fret of the fourth string.

This lick is a great example of how the prebend technique can be used to add dynamic expression and emotion to your playing. By prebending and releasing the notes, you create a subtle wail or cry that is a trademark of many country guitar solos.

To perfect this lick, focus on the accuracy and smoothness of your prebends and releases. It’s also important to pay attention to your tone and vibrato, as these elements can greatly enhance the overall sound and feel of the lick.

Remember, while this lick is a great addition to your playing, it’s important to experiment and create your own unique prebend licks that showcase your personal style and creativity.

Putting It All Together

Putting It All Together
After mastering the prebend technique, the next step is to put it into practice and start incorporating it into your country guitar solos. Here’s how you can put it all together:

Step 1: Start Simple
Begin by incorporating the prebend technique into simple licks and phrases. For example, try bending the third string up a whole step and prebending the second string at the same fret before releasing them both simultaneously. This will create a subtle but effective country guitar lick.

Step 2: Mix and Match
Once you’ve mastered the basic prebend techniques, start mixing and matching them with other techniques to create new and unique country music solos. For example, you can combine the prebend technique with the hammer-on and pull-off technique to create fast and intricate guitar runs.

Step 3: Emphasize Your Notes
One of the great things about the prebend technique is the ability to emphasize certain notes in your guitar solos. While playing, consider which notes you want to highlight and emphasize with a prebend, and which ones you want to hold back on. This will help create dynamic and interesting country solos.

Step 4: Experiment with Timing
Don’t be afraid to experiment with the timing of your prebends. Try incorporating them into off-beat rhythms or creating syncopated timing patterns. This will add a new level of complexity to your country guitar solos.

By following these steps and practicing regularly, you’ll be able to incorporate the prebend technique into your country guitar solos with ease, and create unique and memorable solos that stand out from the pack. So go ahead, give it a try and let your fingers do the talking!

Tips for Perfecting the Prebend Technique

Tips For Perfecting The Prebend Technique
Perfecting the prebend technique in country guitar solos can take time and patience, but with the right approach and mindset, it can be achieved. Here are some tips that can help you improve your prebend technique:

1. Master the basic techniques first: Before attempting to incorporate the prebend technique, ensure that you have a solid foundation in the basic techniques of country guitar playing. This includes mastering bending, vibrato, sliding, and alternate picking.

2. Practice with a metronome: Practicing with a metronome can help you improve your timing and ensure that your prebend technique is accurate and consistent. Start slow and gradually increase the tempo as you become more comfortable with the technique.

3. Use proper hand position: Proper hand position is key to executing prebends correctly. Your fretting hand should be positioned in a way that allows you to effectively bend the string with your fingers and not your wrist. Additionally, ensure that your picking hand is in a comfortable position that allows you to alternate pick swiftly and with accuracy.

4. Experiment with different string gauges: The thickness of the strings you use can have an impact on the way you execute prebends. Experiment with different string gauges to find a set that works best for you and is comfortable to play with.

5. Listen to other players: Listen to other proficient players who excel in country guitar solos with prebends. This can help you gain inspiration and a deeper understanding of the technique. Analyze their playing style and incorporate some of their ideas into your practice routine.

Remember that perfecting the prebend technique requires time and dedication, and it may take some trial and error before seeing consistent results. Keep practicing and eventually, you’ll notice an improvement in your prebend technique.

Creating Your Own Unique Prebend Licks

Creating Your Own Unique Prebend Licks
Now that we’ve covered the basics of the prebend technique and some common prebend licks in country music, it’s time to create your own unique prebend licks that showcase your individual style and musical taste.

Step 1: Start by experimenting with bends and releases on different strings and frets. Listen to how the note sounds as you bend it up and then release it back down. This will give you a better idea of how much pressure you need to apply for a successful bend and release.

Step 2: Once you have a good grasp on bends and releases, try combining them with prebends. This will allow you to create more dynamic and interesting licks. Start by prebending the string, releasing it down to the original pitch, and then bending it up again. It might take some practice to get the timing right, but with perseverance, you’ll be able to seamlessly incorporate prebends into your playing.

Step 3: Experiment with different combinations of bends, releases, and prebends on different strings and frets. See what sounds good to you and keep building on your progress.

Step 4: Mix up your rhythms and tempos to add variation to your prebend licks. This will keep your playing fresh and interesting for your audience.

Step 5: Try incorporating other techniques and playing styles into your prebend licks to create a truly unique sound. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different genres of music to expand your musical horizons.

Remember, the key to creating your own unique prebend licks is to experiment, practice, and have fun. With dedication, perseverance, and a willingness to take risks, you’ll be able to develop a sound that is uniquely yours.

Famous Prebend Solos in Country Music

Country music is a genre that has produced countless memorable songs and solos over the years. Some of the most iconic guitar solos in country music history have utilized the prebend technique. Let’s take a look at a few of the most famous prebend solos in country music and what makes them so special.

One of the most famous prebend solos is the one in “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Guitarist Ed King’s solo in this song is perhaps the quintessential example of prebending, and has since become an iconic riff in the world of rock and country music. The solo is built around several prebend licks that are weaved together to create a complex and inspiring solo.

Another famous prebend solo can be heard in “He Stopped Loving Her Today” by George Jones. The guitar solo in this song is both simple and effective, and it’s a perfect showcase of how the prebend technique can be used to add emotion and feeling to a solo. Guitarist Billy Sanford executes the prebend technique perfectly, making the notes he plays ring out with soulful expression.

Perhaps one of the most famous country prebend solos of all time can be heard in “Always On My Mind” by Willie Nelson. This iconic song features a soaring guitar solo that is packed full of prebend licks. The solo adds a layer of melancholic beauty to the already poignant lyrics of the song, elevating it to new heights of emotion.

The prebend technique has been used to great effect in countless other country songs over the years. Whether it’s the iconic guitar riff in “Sweet Home Alabama”, the soulful solo in “He Stopped Loving Her Today”, or the emotive lead in “Always On My Mind”, these solos all showcase the power and versatility of the prebend technique. If you’re a fan of country music, then be sure to study these prebend solos and see how you can incorporate these techniques into your own playing.


After breaking down the prebend technique and learning some common prebend licks in country music, it’s clear that the prebend is an essential tool for any country guitarist’s arsenal. The ability to prebend a string and then release it to create a bend on a note adds depth, expression, and emotion to solos, making it a staple technique in country music.

By mastering the prebend technique and incorporating it into your playing, you can also create your own unique licks, adding your personal touch to your solos. With practice and patience, you can take your guitar playing to new heights, impressing audiences with your ability to create stunning, expressive solos.

Don’t forget that learning from the masters is also crucial. Studying famous prebend solos in country music, such as Brad Paisley’s “Ticks” or Brent Mason’s “Hot Wired,” will provide you with inspiration and ideas for your own playing.

In conclusion, the prebend technique is an indispensable tool for any serious country guitarist. With practice and dedication, you can perfect this technique and take your playing to new heights. So, keep on practicing, keep on listening to great country music, and keep on rocking those prebends!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a bend and a prebend technique in guitar playing?

A bend involves pulling a string to create a pitch change, while prebend entails pushing the string towards the fretboard to create a pitch change before picking it.

How can I practice the prebend technique as a beginner guitarist?

You can begin by practicing the steps of the prebend technique individually before attempting to put them together. Use a metronome to maintain a steady rhythm and gradually increase the tempo as you progress.

What are some advantages of the prebend technique in country guitar solos?

The prebend technique allows you to add more expression and dynamics to your playing, as well as create unique and memorable solos.

Can I use the prebend technique in other genres besides country music?

Absolutely! The prebend technique can be used in various genres of music, including rock, blues, and jazz.

How can I avoid string noise when using the prebend technique?

You can use your fretting hand to mute the strings that are not being played, or use a clean and precise technique to prevent unwanted noise.

What are some common mistakes beginners make when practicing the prebend technique?

Some common mistakes include applying too much force, not properly releasing the prebend, and not maintaining a consistent vibrato.

Can I apply the prebend technique to all strings on the guitar?

Yes, the prebend technique can be applied to all strings on the guitar, including the high E and low E strings.

Do I need to use a specific guitar or equipment to use the prebend technique?

No, the prebend technique can be performed on any type of guitar and with any equipment, although some people may prefer certain brands or models.

What should I do if I experience pain or discomfort when practicing the prebend technique?

You should take a break and rest your hands, fingers, and wrists. You can also try stretching exercises or consult a medical professional.

How long does it take to become proficient at the prebend technique?

It depends on factors such as your current skill level, how often you practice, and your individual learning style. With consistent practice and dedication, you can become proficient at the prebend technique in a few weeks to several months.


About the author

Hi there! I’m Jack Little – an avid country music fan with tons of live country performances in the past. I used to play banjo in a country band with my best friend John Peters, who’s a true country harmonica master. Those were great years and I’m still mastering new banjo playing techniques, writing my own country songs and lyrics, and collecting banjos!

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