Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Clarence White Tele

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Chicago Slim, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. Chicago Slim

    Chicago Slim Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 19, 2005
    Bowling Green, KY
    I don't know if anyone has posted the story of Marty Stuart's, B bender Tele, that belonged to Clarence White. The Byrds were one of the groups that got me interested in country music. Besides, I love a good guitar story.

  2. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    Only about a thousand times, but I agree, a good story IS a good story.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  3. SonsOfMoog

    SonsOfMoog Tele-Meister

    Jul 22, 2017
    Has anyone seen Marty Stuart without a scarf? It's an interesting choice for a signature look.
  4. John Owen

    John Owen Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Jan 29, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    I'll never get tired of hearing that story.
  5. homesick345

    homesick345 Poster Extraordinaire

    Jan 20, 2012
    Beirut, Lebanon
    So sad, and such gripping story. Thank you
  6. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    Hides the “turkey neck”.
    Same reason (us) bald guys wear hats.
    No biggie, he’s still the coolest!
    nojazzhere likes this.
  7. Brokenpick

    Brokenpick Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 29, 2008
    (Not that this is in line with the intended direction of the guitar post, but)
    If I'm not mistaken, Mr. Stuart started sporting the scarf look LONG before turkey neck appearance would be likely... Like 10 years after his professional career was rolling... so .... lemme see... that woulda made him ... like... still a teenager?
    brookdalebill likes this.
  8. Crobbins

    Crobbins Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Jul 10, 2014
    Meiners Oaks CA.
    Here's a link to an article.


    The Granddaddy of Bender Guitars

    This appeared in Vintage Guitar - April 2004
    Marty Stuart's well-known Bender guitar started life as a 1954 Fender Telecaster or Esquire and was the main electric axe of legendary country-rock pioneer Clarence White (The Kentucky Colonels, The Byrds). White and multi-instrumentalist Gene Parsons fashioned a steel guitar-inspired mechanism that raised the B string a whole step when downward pressure was applied on the strap, tweaking and modifying their invention until it was stable and consistent. A G string pull was added a short time later. White used the guitar almost exclusively until his untimely end in 1973; it's heard on many of his recordings with the Byrds, Muleskinner, and others. With White's death, the "Clarence White Tele" sat unused at his home in Kentucky until his widow, Suzy, contacted Marty Stuart.
    "The guitar really found me," recalls Stuart. "Roland White, Clarence's brother, got me my gig with Lester Flatt and I was friends with the family. The guitar already had a following of its own by that time -- I was always fascinated by it, lusted after it, and I'd even had a similar bender put in another guitar to try and duplicate the effect. I bought it from Suzy along with some clothes and some other things of Clarence's.

    "I've never considered it my guitar, really. It's his, and now it kind of has a life of its own. The spring gets dry and squeaks, so I spray WD-40 on it now and then, but I've never cleaned it. All the dirt inside and behind the strings is the original dirt. We call it 'Clarence'."

    The prototype of the Parsons/White StringBender, the unit in Stuart's guitar, is far heavier and complex than current production pieces. White and Parsons installed a favorite Strat-style pickup in the front position, and West Coast steel legend Red Rhodes re-wound the original Tele/Esquire pickup. A wooden "rim" was added to the back of the guitar to accommodate the protruding parts, effectively doubling the body thickness (the current P/W is more compact and is covered by a large metal plate on the guitar back). The "fingers" which pull the strings, Stuart says, are taken from an old Fender steel guitar.
    Chicago Slim likes this.
  9. mfromb

    mfromb TDPRI Member

    Apr 27, 2017
    Boston, MA
    Clicked through because my brain processed this as "Clearance" White Tele. Disappointment overcome after watching the vid clip/reading the article.
  10. capt pearl

    capt pearl Tele-Meister

    Jul 8, 2003
    Just came across this again. Just as magical as I remembered. Thx!
  11. Larry K. Williams

    Larry K. Williams Tele-Meister

    Mar 17, 2003
    Athens, GA
    I have played that guitar a couple times. Truly magical. Though it is very awkward feeling to me due to the double thick body.

    As good as it is, I don't feel like it is the crown jewel of Marty's collection. That status goes to Hank's D45!
    Crobbins likes this.
  12. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 14, 2013
    I love how DIY that apparatus looks.

    I wish people would say less abound the bender and more about the other elements, for it is the sweetest tele I've ever heard.
  13. dan1952

    dan1952 Friend of Leo's

    Jun 24, 2004
    Anderson, IN
    I got to play Clarence, apparently the day Marty obtained it. Marty and Grandpa Jones' son Mark came to Indiana to see the Wright Brothers Band (who, coincidentally, appeared in the movie "Overboard") that evening. I had gone to see the WWB, who were being booked by the same booking agent, Eagle Productions, as my band. During their first break, I was backstage talking to Tim Wright, when Marty and Mark walked in, Marty carrying a guitar case. Marty looked about 12 years old, and was really excited about the guitar he'd just gotten. He wanted to show it off, because it was Clarence White's guitar! He offered it to me to check it out. It was double the normal thickness, and really heavy. I couldn't operate the bender at all - it may as well have been a trombone! I was a huge Byrds fan, and recognized the Tele immediately. Marty was very cool, very excited, and VERY young. Of course, I was a VERY mature 27 year old...
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