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Author Topic:  B-Benders in general
Roger Rettig

Naples, FL
Post  Posted 23 Jun 2022 8:54 am    
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I've only just discovered this new section on the Forum. I'm sure it's in good hands with Dave as moderator.

Not much to add, just my personal journey with the technique.

I first woke up to this amazing option with the Everly Brothers' 'I'm On My Way Back Home Again' (a late-'60s single). That was Clarence, of course. I wanted one immediately but had to wait.

An English luthier named Cedric Thorose offered to replicate the Parsons/White bender on my '82 JV-Series Tele and did a pretty good job. Sadly, because it was a great guitar to start with, it was stolen a few years later.

I tried a Bigsby palm-pedal but couldn't get accustomed to the hand position required. Hip-Shot? Felt unnatural, too.

Then I got Joe Glaser to adapt my G&L Asat Classic. It worked like a charm. I had another JV fitted with Joe's bender (that's in Germany now - Candy Apple Red) then, finally, my current favourite electric, a Custom Shop Thin-Skin '62 reissue got Joe's bender. I love the unobtrusive look of it all and it certainly works perfectly. Locating the ball-end can be a challenge but that's the only 'con'.

At some point, I spoke with Albert Lee about it. I'd played his 'butcher's block' Tele (with the Strat neck) with Dave Evans' Pull-string and had admired the smooth action of the mechanices. He said that he 'couldn't get on with' Joe's bender because it anchors at the neck-plate and not the traditional shoulder-strap fitting.

I was working and earning, so I splashed out on a used Thin-Skin in Butterscotch and had Dave fit his unit. Pretty expensive indulgence, all in all.

The verdict?
Joe's is mechanically superior and, because of the rolling bridge-piece (like a steel's changer), there's no wear on the string.
The Evans has that see-through back with all the 'works' on display and it's heavier than the Glaser. It retains the old brass saddles and the strings saw back-and-forth and cut a groove in the metal.
Having said that, Dave's unit wins on sustain! The pulled note sings out from the chord you're playing and has an inspiring tone.

Of the two I now own, the '62 thin-skin in Lake Placid Blue is my preferred guitar (I like rosewood fingerboards), but the Evans unit has the edge for its remarkable sustain. I haven't yet broken a string on it but it won't surprise me if I do.

Pic 1: Joe's bender on the red JV.
Pic 2: Me playing my first bender (Cedric's) with the Big E. Smile
Pic 3: The Evans mechanism on display.
Pic 4: The Evans non-moving bridge
Pic 5: The G&L Asat Classic.
Pic 6: This shows Joe Glaser's moving bridge-piece.

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Jim Fogle

North Carolina, Winston-Salem, USA
Post  Posted 23 Jun 2022 9:28 am    
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Nice post and great pictures. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

The Evans mechanism sure requires a lot of interior space.
Remembering Harold Fogle (1945-1999) Pedal Steel Player
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Tony Prior

Charlotte NC
Post  Posted 24 Jun 2022 6:02 am    
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Thx Roger, nice post. here's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

I've owned a bunch since 1997 when Fender introduced the Tele with the Parsons Green system. I bought one new for $799.

since then I have owned probably 3or 4 more Fender Parson Green Tele's. I don't own one any longer

I've also had -

Hipshots- couldn't manage the Hip lever

Palm levers- they were always interfering with my right hand (picking hand)

Gibson Music City Jr - Les Paul Jr with a Factory Glaser , this was a nice guitar but way too different than the Tele's I play . The Glaser system was Upper BOUT actuated, smooth and flawless. The B or G pulled the bridge not the string across the saddle.

McEwen Sling Shot- mounts to the back of the guitar, actually a very good Bender system. Very well engineered. It does drag the string across the saddle.

What do I have now? just two.

Fender Brent Mason Tele with the Glaser system which pulls off the neck plate. This is certainly a premier system but pulling off the neck plate feels unbalanced, at least for a while.

Fender 08 tele with a Forrest Lee jr installed system. This system includes a custom FL jr saddle, yeh it pulls the string across the saddle. Its not any big deal or issue, going on 3 years now, never broke a string or lost tune. This is my primary working guitar. I do full maintenance to this guitar approx every month or so, clean the fret board, nut, polish the frets , saddles and change strings. I also use NUT Sauce on the NUT and saddles. I have the Bender Spring Tension set to max. This guitar is incredibly consistent. When I say zero issues I mean zero issues, tuning , Bender etc...

Which systems are best ? I can't say but I can say that I slightly prefer the UPPER Bout pull over the Neck Plate pull. But after a few songs with the Mason Tele ,( Neck Plate) its fine and comfortable. I found , for me, the Palm Levers require too much physical attention while playing, they work fine but to me they are a distraction. Neck or Upper Bout pull leaves your picking hand unincumbered. It may not seem so important right now, but it will down the road . The HIP lever was a NO GO right away for me.

here's my site, take a listen to B Simple , its on the 08 tele with Forrest Lee Jr system.

the two in the stable-

Emmons L-II , Fender Telecasters, B-Benders
Pro Tools 8 and Pro Tools 12
jobless- but not homeless- now retired 7 years

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Roger Rettig

Naples, FL
Post  Posted 24 Jun 2022 6:21 am    
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Nice, Tony!

I recall finding the neck-plate anchor odd at first but it was second-nature very quickly. When I got the Evans (shoulder-strap mount) I admit I had a brief moment of liking the way it conforms with a standard non-bender guitar.

Still, while it's close, I've used the Glaser for so many years that it remains my go-to. Perhaps my liking for that guitar (the LP Blue Thin-skin w. rosewood 'board) is what tips the balance.

Thanks for sharing.
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Roger Rettig

Naples, FL
Post  Posted 26 Jun 2022 5:33 am    
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When I took my G&L Asat Classic to Glaser they persuaded me to let them change the entire bridge for a new Gotoh one. I liked that guitar a lot and it was my #1 electric for several years until I bought the blue Thin-Skin in 2009.

As good as the G&L was, it wasn't a Tele. The neck pick-up was lovely and far more use than Fender's. It gave a warm jazzy tone with 'body' (the Fender neck-p/u always lacked something for me) but the G&L bridge-p/u didn't have the edge that a 'real' Telecaster has.

So, while I agreed to the Gotoh bridge on the G&L (John at Glaser's told me they liked to work with a six-saddle bridge as it was an easier conversion), when it came to the Lake Placid Blue Thin-Skin Tele, I insisted upon retaining the original bridge. I'm convinced that the cheap die-stamped metal plays a part in the Tele's sound.

You can see how, in the bottom photo, they had to make-do-and-mend in order to fit their unit.

One blessing that came with the G&L was its .6105 frets. I'd never had a guitar with fatter, higher frets before and I came to love the sustain with double-stop bends. The Thin-Skin already came with them so, in that regard, wasn't a true '1962 reissue' but suited me just fine.

Oddly, the butterscotch thin-skin (the one that I had Dave Evans fix up) was advertised as having .6105s but actually didn't. They were low-profile (I don't know what) so I got on to Dave's Guitar Shop in LaCrosse, WI from whom I'd bought it and they refretted it for me at no cost.
(Real men play 'Day'! Smile )

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D Schubert


Columbia, MO, USA
Post  Posted 27 Jun 2022 4:39 am    
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Just a quick observation. I have three benders: 80's Parsons-White, 90's Bill-Bores-Steelbender, early 2000's Forrest-Lee-prototype. I've swapped necks, changed electronics, replaced bridges and saddles. But back to the benders, each one is slightly different but after using a bender for many years they're more-or-less interchangeable in use.
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