Over the years Rob Scallon’s YouTube channel has delved into many interesting guitar-related things, including early iterations of the instrument to the limits of time-constrained songwriting.
His latest video is an exploration of the b-bender – a piece of guitar hardware that comes in two different kinds. One functions like a one-string Bigsby, with a handle on the tailpiece to operate the bending of the b-string. The other, and the one featured in Scallon’s video, uses a mechanical connection between the b-string’s tailpiece and the strap pin to bend the note up a certain amount when you pull down on the guitar’s neck, in this case, two semitones.
The particular guitar that Rob shows off, a modified Chapman ML3, lets you get a better look than ever at the mechanism, with a clear back – meaning the entire transference mechanism. The guitar was modified by Bob Clagett, from the YouTube channel I Like to Make Stuff, who documented the entire process of building the mechanism.
While it’s often associated with country music, there’s been some notable uses of the b-bender outside the genre – such as Metallica’s Unforgiven II. Brad Paisley also made extensive use of the g-bender, even integrating one into his signature Telecaster.
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