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Acoustic Bender
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rballister



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 174
Location: New York City

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 2:44 am    Post subject: Acoustic Bender Reply with quote

New Santa Cruz D Herringbone with acoustic bender and K&K mini western pickup installed. Gene's great workmanship. Been thinking about this for a decade or so, finally got around to it. Whole lotta Very Happy




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philgerard



Joined: 19 Mar 2007
Posts: 99
Location: NJ

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man, that looks great!!!
So, how's it sound and how's it play? Did it change the volume of the b string or the overall volume or sound of the guitar.
I've talked to Gene about having one done but I've not pulled the trigger but with a little encouragement....who know I may just do it!
Give us a good description. Also, just how do you like it..... do you play it sitting down?

Phil Smile
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Brian



Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 1360
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow!! Congrats..Looks like Santa came early! Mr. Green Very Happy Cool Very Happy
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Dogbear



Joined: 23 Jun 2007
Posts: 275
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very very nice. As Brian knows, I've been mousing for one of these..... Very Happy

Please post a detailed review. Maybe a sound clip or two.
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rballister



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 174
Location: New York City

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 4:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I came home from work today and there it was. I’ve only had it for a couple of hours.

Usually I just sit on the couch and plunk away at my D18. More often then not I tend to stand with my B-bender telecaster. The Santa Cruz with the b-bender is pretty much the same deal as the tele. If your sitting with the back of the guitar hanging free it’s no problem bending. (I’ve seen studio shots of Clarence playing on a sort of high stool which works pretty good). I only had it a couple of days before I shipped it to Gene. Gene was of the opinion that it lost nothing with the addition of the bender. The b still seems to have the same volume it did before (not really sure if it works this way with all acoustics. YMMV)
Now, on to the story! I decided not to put it in the D18, partly because it’s the only other acoustic I have and I wanted to leave it “straight” and partly because I was looking for a different sound “flavor.” I wandered into Rudy’s one day and heard someone strumming a Santa Cruz, and was immediately struck by the sustain and it’s evenness of tone—less bassy and more midrangey (just my ears of course). It ocurred to me that an instrument with a fair amount of sustain that was not too boomy would help hilight the b-string bend. (Gene told me later that it was a perfect instument for the installation.) After I researched Santa Cruz I did hit upon some scary stuff. It seems they are known for their light build, which some say compromises the strength of the instrument. After nosing around one of the Santa Cruz sites I tried to elicit some opinions. Apparently Santa Cruz owners consider this unsubtantiated folklore –the legend of the “exploding Santa Cruz”. Of course I got all kinds of grief for mentioning that I wanted to put that “machine thing” into a Santa Cruz. Why don’t you get a steel guitar, blah, blah, blah. Initially I considered a less expensive instrument at about 1/2 the price. I spoke to Bill Bores about it, who was very interested in doing it (heck of a nice guy). I’m sure he would have done a good job (at about a third the going price), but mine would have been his first acoustic bender (he had yet to build the prototype). When I decided on a more expensive instrument I felt that Gene was the right guy (he did a spectacular job). Maybe one of you guys will be first with Bill.
I had a few discussions with Gene about the length of the bend. I immediately thought “why not like the long throw on my tele?” Gene mentioned that Marty asked for the same thing but he didn’t think it was a good idea (the standard acoustic bender is sort of a short throw). Gene mentioned the bender on his personal acoustic was a little “longer”, so that’s what I went with. I was also curious how the rubbing would affect an acoustic bridge. I’d heard (on this site) that the B cut into brass after a relatively short time, and that the barrels had to be flipped after awhile. Gene said he had no problems with his instrument, which I think is about 15 years old. I believe the angle of the string is considerably less steep than on an electric. Actually I really didn’t completely understand how the acoustic bender worked until I got it in my hands. The little string holder that replaces a bridge pin pulls the string straight back. I had heard about and listened to Caspar Rawls playing an acoustic bender some time ago. His bender is sort of a prototype, similar to the bender on a tele. Gene has considerably advanced the technology. At the moment the acoustic b-bender seems as comfortable as my tele. It will be interesting to see if I end up doing the same things I mess with on the tele or it takes you somewhere else. The biggest problem I had was getting strap over the pickup jack. Ended up taking a knife to the strap to get it to fit, but it doesn’t feel all that secure on the instrument.
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Dogbear



Joined: 23 Jun 2007
Posts: 275
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, great information. In my conversations with Brian, I too had considered a D-18 conversion but had not considered the low end response might detract from the bender. More food for thought. Idea

I have a feeling that the acoustic bender will take you elsewhere. I find when I play acoustic lately, I'm always looking for the bender. I keep pushing on that neck during a transition but nothing happens. Shocked

Mike Beck uses an acoustic bender in a lot of his songs. The most subtle use is in "Don't Tell Me". It certainly will add smoothness to ones acoustic playing. Lots of fun to watch them stop and say "How did ya do that". Very Happy

http://mikebeck.com/Music/MP3/Mariposa_Wind/Dont_Tell_Me.mp3
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Brian



Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 1360
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dogbear wrote:
I keep pushing on that neck during a transition but nothing happens. Shocked


You can get into bending on an acoustic pretty cheaply with a Higgins Peg bender.

http://www.bradivarius.com/pegbender.html

They look weird but they work. They have a real short throw and I had issues keeping mine in tune, but Silverface (here on the CWf) had no issues with his. You do have to add some graphite in the nut and vaseline on one of the posts...which I didnt care for...
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Dogbear



Joined: 23 Jun 2007
Posts: 275
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So much for aesthetics. Cool



And this is just wrong.... Shocked Laughing



But in all fairness, it might be worth a try on a cheap acoustic. Don't think I would put it on a Martin. Anyone out there with any experience with these, as I don't believe everything I read when it comes to guitar magazine endorsements. Silverface, your comments.......
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Brian



Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 1360
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had mine on my Martin DM and also on a Gretsch Anniversary. It worked equally well on both. On the Gretsch there were absolutely no mods whatsoever that had to be done...on the Martin I had to drill a tiny hole in the back of the headstock.. Of course it aint pretty but it gets you acoustic bending for cheap. The motion or action is no where the same (or as good) as a PW for sure...but I found it WAY better than using a Hipshot. (which I found completely useless).
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astro



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 36
Location: wee town in northern germany (yurp)

PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 3:40 pm    Post subject: acoustic bender Reply with quote

Yeah.. welcome to the acoustic benders club Shocked


Gene put one in my martin j-40 a couple of years back,
the only gripe i have is why on earth i didn't put one in a
cutaway as the 10th fret is about the limit for fluid playing,
bending the high c up to a d's still in it but it's a stretch....


Have fun!

astro
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rballister



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 174
Location: New York City

PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought about a cutaway, Astro. The self-imposed (and mostly ignored) budget for this was already stretched beyond the breaking point. (Had my eye on a cutaway Lowden for awhile). In a way I like the "stealthiness" of a straight-looking no-cutaway dreadnaught with a bender inside (I bend the "B" string with mindpower. Really!) One thing I've noticed is that the lightness of the Santa Cruz causes the back of the guitar to rise up when I use the bender (not a problem with my very heavy tele). Got a suede strap for it, but it really didn't make much of a difference. I ended up anchoring the back of the guitar a bit with my picking arm.
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Mike Beck



Joined: 03 Sep 2006
Posts: 24
Location: carmel Valley,California

PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I find for the acoustic bender playing the approach is really different for many reasons.There is alot of fun finding bends in different tunings..that to me a strong point for the acoustic bender..

If you are used to having a long throw on your electric, you might ask for the long throw on your acoustic....Gene's work is always very top notch!
A true craftsman.

Mike
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casper



Joined: 25 Mar 2008
Posts: 19
Location: helotes, texas

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 8:49 pm    Post subject: Hello Reply with quote

Hello fellow acoustic benders. casper rawls here. This is in response to Ron's question about my acoustic bender in another posting. I hope I'm doing this right, as I am new to internet and forums and such. This computer stuff is like a time machine...I sit down for a bit and then look up and it's 3 hours later...yikes! I had some folks help me with a web site, so I guess I'm plunging into the 90's.

The acoustic bender Gene Parsons built for me is indeed a prototype, and is more akin to an electric bender than his models these days. Gene and I have become great friends over the years, I love that guy. He called me around 1993/1994 maybe? and asked if I would be interested in an acoustic version of the StringBender. I was playing in the Kelly Willis band at the time and she would frequently do acoustic type shows, so I thought it would be really, really cool. My association with Fender led me to Guild guitars where I connected with Mark Sampson who was in charge of that kind of thing at that time. Since it was such an off the wall request, (they were real skeptical about the whole thing) they gave me a D-2 model, which was near the bottom of their line. They shipped it to Gene and about a month later it arrived. I'll have to take some pictures for you all and try to post them. It is built like a battleship inside, every piece hand machined by Gene. But it works fantastic! It has a short pull (which is what I'm used to) and has the little wheel behind the bridge like the classic b-bender.


If I have time and can figure out how to do it I'll also try to post some clips of the thing in action. I used it on track 1 of a CD by an Austin artist called Sunny Sweeney... "Refresh My Memory" if anyone has that in their collection. The only thing I would have done differently would be to put the bender in a better guitar. I wish I had a picture of the guys at Collings Guitars when I was thinking of using one of thier instruments, lots of red faces! Marty Stuart has a great long pull bender in a nice Martin acoustic.

Hope this answers some questions, Ron but y'all please feel free to ask away.

casper
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rballister



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 174
Location: New York City

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting that you mentioned Kelly Willis. On one of the compilation CDs she does a version of "Truck Stop Girl" with bender lead guitar. John Graboff (who I bumped into a couple of times in the city) played the bender part (He now plays pedal steel for Ryan Adams). I think I have a recording of you playing acoustic bender on someone's session, but I don't remember which one. The pull on mine is set up like Gene's personal instument--a little longer than a short pull but not a long pull either.
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Jerry Hayes



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 57
Location: Virginia Beach, Va.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 5:14 pm    Post subject: Another acoustic bender......... Reply with quote

I remember a country comedy act who used to appear on the Nashville Network called "Pinkard & Bowden". The Bowden part of the act was Richard Bowden who played guitar for Linda Ronstadt at one time. He is also the inventor of the Epiphone EZ bender. With Pinkard & Bowden he played an acoustic dreadnought which had a bender installed on it which was similar in looks to the Epi bender. Does anyone know anything about that bender or if you know Richard, would it be possible to get a picture of it? From the way it looked and the way he used it, it might be an alternative to the mega bucks it would cost to get a P/W acoustic bender.

Also, at one point I installed a Bigsby Palm Pedal on an acoustic electric gutar which worked very well unplugged but when I plugged it in, the piezo pickup was very "noisy" with bender sounds.......JH in Va.
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