Bender lessons

Discussion in 'B-Bender Forum' started by Skintknuckle, Jan 20, 2019.

  1. Skintknuckle

    Skintknuckle TDPRI Member

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    Hello everyone! Rare poster here but long time lurker. I’ve been playing bender guitar now for ~3 years. It has become my main guitar for gigging. Just wondering where each of you finds the best lessons and/or instruction videos. I have Forrest’s videos which are great, Will Ray has some cool instruction videos on the web, and I find things on YouTube and here (thank you) that are helpful. I really wish I could find a Clarence White or Marty Stuart “method” video that tears it all down. Those two artists are my favorites. Marty’s HummyngByrd is a 301 course in Bender guitar. Seems modeled after Nashville West but seemingly has every conceivable bender lick imaginable. Would love to find an instruction video on it if anyone knows of one. Keep on bendin’
     
  2. Rick Towne

    Rick Towne Tele-Afflicted

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    I think there have been lists compiled over the years at the Clarence White Forum and here more recently. Check the CWF if it is still open.

    Sone of Albert Lee’s instructional materials have songs with his Kubicki Tele with Evans bender.

    Jimmy Olander has posted a lot of clips on Facebook with his Glaser double-bender.

    I’ve just listened to and compiled recordings of every player I could find. Some of the better recordings feature Al Perkins, Bob Warford (not Linda Ronstadt), Frank Reckard (Emmylou Harris) and the Bernie Leadon cuts on the first three Eagles albums.
     
  3. Rick Towne

    Rick Towne Tele-Afflicted

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    Another good practice is to use the bender on non-country songs. For good example, go through some of Bill Frosell’s recent recordings with Greg Leisz available on you tube.
     
  4. BladeStratford

    BladeStratford Tele-Meister

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    You'll never hear me claim to offer "the best" bender lessons but I will lay claim to "the most" with my YouTube channel! I recently broke down a Marty bender solo you may enjoy with more Marty lessons planned for the near future.

    Just copy and paste this into the YouTube search box and my channel will show up: TheBenderBunker

    Keep it Bent!
     
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  5. Skintknuckle

    Skintknuckle TDPRI Member

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    Thanks Rick and Blade! Good stuff. I’ll check out everything suggested.

    Rick: I am interested to hear more about your compiled recordings; analog or digital...what are your favorites? I am a fan of everyone you mentioned. I have great respect and admiration for both Leisz and Frisell...especially their work together. I’ve even seen them live together with Scheer, Wolleson and Scheinman. I think I’ve seen Frisell 3 times total. Each time it was sublime.

    Blade: Document a lesson for every Marty and Clarence lick ever played and I’ll be the most liking, commenting, YouTube viewing fan you have! In all seriousness, thanks for posting those bender lessons; I should have mentioned your videos in my original post. I have watched your lessons and found them very useful. You do a great job on those lessons.

    Thanks again to both of you.
     
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  6. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    While lessons are always a big plus, but they are also just guitar lessons. As a long time guitar player, like many here , as well as a Bender player, here are a few pointers that may assist in the process.

    #1 What does the Bender do ?

    A- It either pulls a note UP
    B - or releases a note down

    Seems like that is a joke, I assure you it is not.


    The first thing many of us do is grab a Bender and try to figure out a Marty lick. Me included. Hes our current #1 influence. Marty doesn't play licks, he plays the guitar. He plays phrases that he knows aligns with the pull UP or the release DOWN . He knows the fret board, he knows the intervals, he knows where the music comes from . He changes his fingering positions to match the intervals he is playing from. He is mixing and matching positions on the fly. Thats where those famous licks come from. Alternating positions. He knows....

    Maybe start by studying two note intervals on strings 1 +3 then 2+4 up , even 3 and 5 , up and down the the fret board. Approach these 2 note intervals along with adding a 3rd note understanding where the B pull or release fits.

    These are fundamental things we should know on our guitars anyway, benders or not. Personally I think not being comfortable with intervals is the largest road block going forward with the Benders.

    I teach Pedal Steel and of course the students want to learn LICK X, not necessarily a bad thing but thats not the first lesson. Thats the cart before the horse. I show my students where the licks com from. My goal is to teach the fret board along with Pedals and Knee levers. thats kinda the same thing for the Bender, chords, chord subs, intervals and how does pulling that pesky B string or releasing it come into play.

    While viewing the NET lessons ( a very good thing ) take the time to confirm why the phrases work in various postilions. Why am I playing in A on the 9th fret ? why am I playing in G on the 7th fret. ? How come I can play the I,IV and V all in a small little block ? Take that neat phrase you just learned in A..Move it to the 4th or the 5th...change fret board positions. Experiment, take what we already know, intervals etc,, apply that B Pull or release to what we are already comfortable with. This is of extreme importance.

    We are not learning how to play B Bender guitar, we are ADDING B Bender to what we already know.

    there are times I play the same phrases over and over for a month then add variations. My wife says I am nuts as I keep playing the same things over and over, but what she doesn't hear are the subtle changes which may come from playing out of different fret board positions. They are the same, but they are not. One note change may cause a totally different fret board position. Now think intervals again.

    How many fret board positions allow us to play a 3 note D chord ( or alt) where the 2nd string is available for a pull or release ? 1,2 ,3 , 4 or more ? How about the G and the A ( IV and V ) Thats where the licks come from.

    A good friend played me some very nice bender phrases but he was up and down the fret board, struggling. I just simply showed him how to BEGIN his phrase in a different fret board position that he already knew. Minutes later he was smooth as silk. He just commented that he never thought of that position as the starting point.

    A few weeks back on one of my gigs I wanted to cover AMANDA , I prepped it and played it in A, in front of maybe 200 people. Then learned in less than one verse I couldn't actually sing it in A. Yipes. what was I thinking. So I went home and moved it UP to C. Uhmmm... the Bend intervals changed . So here it is, in A and then C, the same , similar but not the same . Different fret board positions. This comes with studying intervals, bend or not. I can't stress enough the importance .

    http://www.tprior.com/bend4.mp3

    http://www.tprior.com/bend5.mp3
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2019
  7. Skintknuckle

    Skintknuckle TDPRI Member

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    T Prior:
    You are 1000% correct. For the last year or so, I’ve been thinking of the bender as a new instrument instead of just a guitar with a cool B string-bending apparatus on it. Part of the reason is that, in addition to having a B bender, I bought a Stafford bender that bends three strings; B, G, and A. With it, I have to spend more time thinking “what can be done” and not necessarily “what has been done.” Copying Bernie Leadon licks, Forrest Lee Jr. licks and Will Ray licks is a blast but figuring out how to put them all together is more rewarding. The new practice tips you mentioned are sincerely appreciated and I will integrate them. Regarding Marty and Clarence, my hope is more that someone has studied “the method” of Marty and Clarence and will share it. While I am certainly not above copying their licks I am more interested in how they get from point A to point B (pun intended) in any given song. They both do some things that my mind has yet to compute. My overall goal is more about finding others, like you, that will share “experiences” that help me accelerate my learning...as you did already...Thank you.
     
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  8. Skintknuckle

    Skintknuckle TDPRI Member

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    P.S. NICE playing in both keys on those Amanda licks! Very cool!
     
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  9. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thx for the nice reply. I think everything and anything we do to improve is a plus but the primary factor is always try to learn why we are doing something. Don't just float by the obvious. Why are we hanging around the 9th fret, or the 7th fret. etc... If the licks we learn teach us this then wow, what win !

    Just keep at it, even after playing for over 4 decades , I still keep at it each day.

    I heard something Tom Brady said after their win on Sunday. It struck me they way he stated it with regard to how much the team prepares.

    "Practice becomes reality "

    so that means

    If we don't practice a lot , then it shows when we perform
    If we DO practice a lot, it shows when we perform. What we practiced become the norm.

    Ok back to intervals ! The relationships between the intervals is the key to the city.

    I can say this, being a player for near 4 decades, unfortunately for the first two decades I didn't think in intervals. I didn't even think OFF them. I played them but blindly. Today, especially with the Bender, to me, for me, its where it all comes from. Others can obviously have a different approach.

    Its all good !
     
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  10. Skintknuckle

    Skintknuckle TDPRI Member

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    I have been trying to register with CWF and it doesn’t seem to be working. Anybody know whether it is alive or defunct and, if defunct, what happened?
     
  11. Rick Towne

    Rick Towne Tele-Afflicted

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    I think Brian Friend, who is a member here, is or was the most recent web proprietor there. I'll check with him.


     
  12. Rick Towne

    Rick Towne Tele-Afflicted

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    I think Brian Friend, who is a member here, is or was the most recent web proprietor there. I'll check with him.


     
  13. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    1. Avoid trying to sound like a pedal steel. Do not play "pedal steel licks". Pick VERY lightly, dial your guitar controls back and turn up your amp (try to use the lowest output amp you can for a particular venue - this is a tonal trick that ties in). These are the BEST pieces of advice I got from Clarence White in 1972.

    2. Try playing a combo of right hands banjo rolls and work out of chord positions - don't think "guitar licks". Play the bender as another instrument.

    3. Listen to all the Clarence White (both Byrds and studio stuff) you can find from 1970-73 (when he *really* had it wired.). Also Bob Warford - everything you can find.

    4. If you REALLY want to get into the Clarence/Warford style that Stuart plays *some* of, don't strum chords or play "normal rhythm". Do a LOT of "laying out" combined with a lot of descending or ascending bender fills using the right hand pick and fingers.

    Repeat #1 and #2 above. Again - don't learn "guitar licks" or "pedal steel licks". Learn a totally different feel/attack and probably change your setup a bit. You won't believe how much fun you'll have. I worked 3-4 gigs/week just locally following those pointers and turned down touring jobs just due to family commitments.
     
  14. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    good post, great advice. T !..practice does show and the norm for us is the level of practice we put in,,,,sometimes my wife thinks i am nutz(well i am)over & over & over .. all day every day..practicing what i want to grasp and be the norm..then its in my music bank !
     
  15. Rick Towne

    Rick Towne Tele-Afflicted

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    Excellent comments; as usual. They track similar advice I got from Jerry Donahue at my first NAMM in 1989, especially 2.

    Re 3., don't forget Al Perkins (esp. with Michael Nesmith), Bernie Leadon (Eagles), Frank Reckard (Emmylou Harris), Albert Lee (pre-Musicman), Jimmy Olander (Diamond Rio/former banjo ace), and all of Bob's catalog, from Michael Dinner to Ian Matthews, Freddy Weller and the Everly Brothers. Harder to find is Paul McDonald with Jann Browne.

    I can't listen to the Jimmy Page bender tunes.
     
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  16. Bob Warford

    Bob Warford TDPRI Member

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    I really appreciate the positive comments from Silverface and Rick Towne, both of whom are very talented players, and, I must admit, friends. I did want to add a couple of notes - first, my approach is/was very different from Clarence's in the sense that I have always tended to use a preamp (originally, the Electroharmonix LPB-1, more recently, a similar but more robust version made for me by Brian Friend - another very talented player), left the guitar on the bridge pickup and volume full up, and modulated the amount of attack and distortion by playing SLIGHTLY harder at times (the preamp overdrives the input stage of my old mid-1960s Vibrolux), and playing very lightly almost all the time. That always worked for me, and I've just never changed the guitar or amp (the white Telecaster I got from Clarence referred to many times on this forum, and the Vibrolux I got from Phil Everly in around 1970, later modified substantially by Red Rhodes when we were both in the Countryside Band for Michael Nesmith). Personally, I have always been self-critical, but I've been most satisfied with the work I did on "Heart Like a Wheel" for Linda Ronstadt - "Willin'" and "Dark End of the Street" - and all the work I did for Herb Pedersen on "Lonesome Feeling" many years later, as well as "Melodies From a Bird in Flyght" on Gene Parsons' "Melodies" album.

    I also agree with TPrior and Skintknuckle that the b-bender is something that adds to what you can do - fluidity, some licks that simply cannot be played without the bender, and, to some extent, a different and expanded view of what you and your guitar can do. Play with it. Go beyond and in different directions from where Clarence and I, and Bernie, and Albert, and Frank, and many other players went. Pick out what fits for you, and expand on it if you want. Don't concentrate on any particular b-bender player, but listen to a lot of us, use what you like, and go from there. PLEASE, just don't try to sound like a cheap steel guitar...

    Bob Warford
     
  17. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    How about an expensive Emmons Steel Guitar ? :)

    By the way Dark End is a classic , often overlooked piece of work, BRAVO ! I've been enjoying that for years now.

    Overlooked compared to Steel players who want to speed pick their way thru a ballad !

    The "tension" from a slow moving bend is paramount . I'm not talking about bending a single note on a Blues solo, but rather a single note inside of a triad slowly coming home to resolution. It defines the player .

    many years back a good musician friend , guitar and keys, was over at the house, he was totally struck by one of my Sho Buds at the time . I had him sit down and showed him a few simple moves, then I pulled out the Fender PG Bender, this was around 97 or so. I played a few simple things as at the time I never really focused on this guitar. His first comment was.." Oh a cheater " he didn't see the value, until I played some chord inversions where the note was moving inside the chord . He was like... " What was that " ? I showed him a few chord subs where you could pull or release the B, and he wouldn't put it down ! We had to yell at him to come down for dinner !

    Its an addiction, or , well, it can be !
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019
  18. asatfan

    asatfan Friend of Leo's

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    Thank you for your wonderful playing! You've been an inspiration to many.
     
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  19. Mur

    Mur Tele-Afflicted

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    If you study and learn "Tulsa County" and "Deportee" from Byrds Ballad Of Easy Rider album, those licks are the building blocks of bender playing, and can be adapted to almost any song.
     
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  20. satman10

    satman10 TDPRI Member

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