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Post new topic The First String-Bender Guitar
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Author Topic:  The First String-Bender Guitar
b0b


From:
Cloverdale, CA
Post  Posted 3 Aug 2018 7:20 pm    
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Gene Parsons describes the genesis of his string bender invention.

https://youtu.be/zxQhbvke44I

Marty Stuart tells the story of Clarence White, and how he (Marty) ended up with the first string bender guitar.

https://youtu.be/r8H08Xs_w8A
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John De Maille


From:
On a Mountain in Upstate Halcottsville, N.Y.
Post  Posted 3 Aug 2018 7:59 pm    
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I had the rare pleasure of meeting Clarence at a Byrds concert at Hofstra U. on Long Island. I guess it was about 1971 or so. My friend and I went outside back to a tent where they, the Byrds, were all hanging out. We went over to Clarence to ask about his Tele and he was as gracious as could be. We both played it, without an amp of course, but, it was just great to do. The best part was when we asked him if we could see how it worked. He actually took the back off and showed us the mechanism. We had no camera, but, my friend quickly made a drawing with some rude dimensions. He was really great about it and wished us luck in building one. Ha!
Little did he know what a monster he had started because that's what we did. I did the woodwork and my friend and his father fabricated the metal work. After some trial and error, we had a working, good sounding, reliable B bender Telecaster.
I sent my 68' Tele out to Gene sometime around 73' or 74' to have a B bender put on it. Gene had refined the process without adding any extra wood on the back and the device was more accurate and precise. So..... that's my little story.
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scott murray


From:
Asheville, NC
Post  Posted 4 Aug 2018 5:29 am    
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love it guys! Clarence is one of my heroes
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Joachim Kettner


From:
Germany
Post  Posted 4 Aug 2018 8:02 am    
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I'm pretty sure that Clarence got the sticker on the guitar in Frankfurt in '71 (or 1970), when they played as headliner on the first day of a Festival at the Radstadion.
Maybe it's name changed during the years into some kind of so and so arena.
Anyway, a friend bummed a B&H cigarette from Mr. Parsons and gave it to me.
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scott murray


From:
Asheville, NC
Post  Posted 5 Aug 2018 7:45 pm    
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very interesting to note that Boomer Castleman devised his 'palm pedal' string bending device right around the same time as Parsons & White came up with the B-bender.

and when did Buck Trent first add benders to his electric banjo?
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Brett Day


From:
Pickens, SC
Post  Posted 8 Aug 2018 12:51 pm    
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scott murray wrote:
very interesting to note that Boomer Castleman devised his 'palm pedal' string bending device right around the same time as Parsons & White came up with the B-bender.

and when did Buck Trent first add benders to his electric banjo?


In late 1961 into 1962, when Buck was in Porter Wagoner's band, Porter liked Buck's picking style, so they took Buck's banjo to Shot Jackson. Shot said the setup of the instrument needed to be changed, so they added a smaller set of fingers and a five-pole Sho-Bud pickup, which resulted in the electric banjo. He started out using a silver dollar that was given to him by Jimmy Dean, but it got broken off, so round 1966, Shot installed new benders on the banjo for Buck.
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George Geisser


From:
Branson, Missouri, USA
Post  Posted 9 Mar 2019 6:20 am     I believe this predates Martys bender
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This is Sherwin Linton's bender. I came across it in my research of Benders that don't tear up the guitar to use. I will be producing a bridge mounted universal Bender for sale soon and was wondering how it's already been done as my design won't alter the guitar
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post  Posted 9 Mar 2019 8:17 am    
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And Sherwin is still using it, I saw him last Summer! Very Happy
Erv
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Richard Sinkler


From:
aka: Rusty Strings -- Oakdale, California
Post  Posted 9 Mar 2019 10:44 am    
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There was a local (SF Bay Area) woman that had a bender like Sherwin's. This was in he early-mid 70's. She was really good. I believe I saw her with Paul Bowman (at Bayfair shopping ceneter in San Leandro). Except, her's ran pretty much the length of the neck and only maybe 1/2" to 1" from the neck, and used her thumb to push it.
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Donny Hinson


From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 12 Mar 2019 6:58 am    
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Brett Day wrote:
scott murray wrote:
very interesting to note that Boomer Castleman devised his 'palm pedal' string bending device right around the same time as Parsons & White came up with the B-bender.

and when did Buck Trent first add benders to his electric banjo?


In late 1961 into 1962, when Buck was in Porter Wagoner's band, Porter liked Buck's picking style, so they took Buck's banjo to Shot Jackson. Shot said the setup of the instrument needed to be changed, so they added a smaller set of fingers and a five-pole Sho-Bud pickup, which resulted in the electric banjo. He started out using a silver dollar that was given to him by Jimmy Dean, but it got broken off, so round 1966, Shot installed new benders on the banjo for Buck.


The "Scruggs Pegs" (also known as "D" tuners for the 2nd and 3rd strings) were developed for Earl Scruggs back in the mid '50s, and were simple cam-operated devices mounted on the tuning head. Later, in the early '60s, Shot devised the bridge system for Buck with palm pedals to also bend strings 1 and 4. There were dozens of different designs for the cam-operated pegs, and probably a good many different designs of the palm pedals, which never gained the wide popularity of the Scruggs Pegs.
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George Geisser


From:
Branson, Missouri, USA
Post  Posted 23 Mar 2019 8:01 am    
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Great info Donny Hinson on Buck and the the huge contribution of the Skruggs banjo tuners to this subject. I wonder if it could be argued that the Skruggs banjo was the predecessor to the pedal steel in that it's tuned to an open chord and used the Scruggs type tuners to change tunings thru bending. And Richard Sinkler your story about the California gal is reminiscing of an experience I had in 78 of a gentleman that put his Telecaster across his lap played all the chords with his left hand picked with his left index while activating a b bar on the bass side of the neck with his left thumb. He had a withered up right hand so was in effect one handed. This was probably the most humbling of my music experiences
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Jerry Hayes


From:
Virginia Beach, Va.
Post  Posted 3 Apr 2019 12:59 pm    
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The Keith/Scruggs pegs that most banjo players (as well as the ones on Marty's Tele) were not what Buck Trent used or still uses. Buck's simply are mounted next to the 2nd and 3rd string and push them sideways to the B note on the 2nd string and to the G note on the 3rd string which causes the basic banjo tuning. Then when you twist the pegs the 2nd string B lowers to A and the 3rd string G lowers to F#... As far as the "palm pedals", they're not on strings 1 and 4... They're on strings 1 raising the D to E and on string 2 raising the B to C... With both depressed he gets a C triad on the first three string. He mostly uses them for licks instead of chord work though.

Here's a shot of my Tele which is capable of most of Buck's licks although maybe not in the same frets. My Parsons/White Bender raises my 2nd string B to C# and my Rolling Bender raises my 3rd string G to A. The guitar also has a coil tap on the neck humbucker and a phase switch activated by pulling out the volume pot. It has Keith/Scruggs pegs on strings one and five and a HipShot D-tuner on the low E string. When all three are activated it gives me an open G chord all the way across.....JH in Va

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Donny Hinson


From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 4 Apr 2019 7:26 am    
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George Geisser wrote:
Great info Donny Hinson on Buck and the the huge contribution of the Skruggs banjo tuners to this subject. I wonder if it could be argued that the Skruggs banjo was the predecessor to the pedal steel in that it's tuned to an open chord and used the Scruggs type tuners to change tunings thru bending.


No, not really. Harlin, Gibson, Bigsby, and Wright pedal guitars all predate the Scruggs pegs...and the "Hawaiian Harmolin" even predates those. That was an acoustic Hawaiian guitar with knee levers. (Yes, from what I can find, it appears that knee levers appeared before foot pedals.) Cool

Jerry - thanks for your input -

These are one of the earliest types of "Scruggs pegs", and they're what came originally on my 1963 Gibson RB100 banjo. (The Keith "sealed" style of D-tuners came later, about 1966 I believe.)




Also, the info that I gave about Buck's palm pedals (changing strings 1&4) came right from Shot Jackson, who made Buck's palm-pedal setup with parts from a pedal steel changer. I can't personally attest to what palm-pedal changes were on Buck's banjo, or whether or not he changed things after Shot put them on.
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George Geisser


From:
Branson, Missouri, USA
Post  Posted 8 Apr 2019 8:25 am    
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Thanks for the clarification in the early Skruggs and stuff. Great picture of the Vega headstock! I grew up playing Folk music in Boston with Bill Keith b4 he capitalized on the sealed units

If I had stuck with the banjo maybe I would have started the steel sooner
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