Here is Clarence White's 1968 Fender Telecaster with original string pitch bender prototype as purchased from him in the early 1970s. An incredible piece of the early history of Clarence White and the invention that later became the "Parsons White String Pull", and then more commonly known as the "b-bender". Following is information about the instrument and additional authenticating statements by the owner and others regarding the provenance of this instrument.
Best to start by reviewing the two YouTube videos linked below containing sworn statements about the authenticity of this guitar and then see below for additional details:
GuitarDesire's client, Lee of Colorado Springs, has asked us to help market this historic instrument to the public and has provided the following information about the guitar:
Lee stated that he was a working musician in the late 1960's and early 1970's in Los Angeles California. During that time, he was an acquaintance with Mr. Clarence White and had several occasions to share the bandstand and the recording studio and they became friends.
Lee purchased this 1968 Fender Telecaster #245679 and original hard case from Mr. White at that time. At the time of purchase, the back of the guitar was covered with dark pegboard material held on by four screws and installed by Clarence to conceal the bender mechanism and keep clothing out. Lee reported that he discarded this original pegboard baffle shortly after buying the guitar and filling in the screw holes with plastic wood. For this sale, Lee faithfully recreated the baffle shown and it is will be included in the auction. Except for the pegboard, the guitar is 100% as purchased from Clarence White and has been onlly rarely played and is totally untouched or modified since then.
Lee said that Clarence White also said that he had installed a white singlecoil pickup from a Fender Mustang in the bridge position and that he had devised the B string device as it helped him pull off some of the country licks he liked to play. My client also stated that Clarence had removed the original body finish and had colored in some of the grain marks in the body wood.
Additional sworn statements by Ms. Lois Haney, wife of Byrds drummer Bart Haney affirm that she directly witnessed this transaction between our client Lee and Clarence White in the early 1970s. Her recollection describes more detail about the guitar which she says Clarence told her was made by him and his father and called his "Homemade". According to Ms. Haney's colorful memories, Clarence actually needed the dough and "hawked" Homemade to Lee for $300 dollars at a bar one night. Shortly afterward Clarence was tragically killed in a car accident and the instrument has been in Lee's possession since that time.
The guitar is in very good condition with the original neck finish and only light fretwear on the Maple neck and fretboard and proper stamping and makers marks on both the neck end and neck cavity in the body. The original body finish has been removed but appears to have been candy apple red or sunburst. The neck pickup, pickup switch, control cover, and pots appear to be original to the instrument with the above noted rough routed installation of what appears to be a white covered Mustang pickup.
The instrument has been fitted with a very primitive but highly effective B string bending device that both witnesses claim is the first, or certainly amongst the very first, prototypes for what first became the Parsons White String Pull and later the “B-Bender”. Fabricated with a specially formed lever bar made from aluminum stock and upper strap button, bracket and spring assembly, and what appears to be a bicycle ball bearing sprocket hub pulley type assembly - it functions smoothly and effectively.
I have contacted Gene Parsons who reports that he is sure the prototype wasn't his design and he wasn't sure of it's orgin. Other early bender pioneers, Bob Warford and Dave Evans, have also weighed in that they weren't aware of this instrument at the forum www.bbenderguitars.com where there has been some spirited discussion regarding this guitar.
We at GuitarDesires believe that this guitar and prototype b-bender device are important historical artifacts relating to Clarence White, the bender device, and it's orgin. Below is the sworn video testimony from Lee and Lois Haney and we will provide the witnessed and notarized affidavits along with the purchase of the instrument.
Because of the historical importance and broad interest in Clarence White and the string bender device, we welcome informed comments, other related documentation or supporting information and we will make every effort to post the information as it becomes available. I'm also in the process of several additional lines of inquiry to help authenticate this guitar and will post additional details as they come forth.
We encourage your direct inquiry and requests for additional pictures of this instrument at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about the guitar.
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