Clarence White Tele ownership chain?

Discussion in 'B-Bender Forum' started by Ray G, May 23, 2020.

  1. Ray G

    Ray G Tele-Holic

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    Just wondering if anyone out here on the Bender forum knows the ownership chain of the famous Clarence White “B-Bender Tele” now owned by Marty Stuart.

    I have heard and read in a few places that James Burton originally owned the famous Clarence Tele and then either sold or gifted it to Clarence White when he, at the urging of Burton, started working as a session man.

    Wondering if anyone can confirm one OR debunk the Burton - White - Stuart chain of ownership??? I’ve been having discussions bordering on debates with another guitarist and Have seen conflicting reports and can’t seem to find anything definitive.

    Thank you!
     
  2. Hatfield92

    Hatfield92 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I’ve been a Marty disciple since I heard Tempted when it came out in my late teens. Seen him live a couple of times... even got to speak to him, shake his hand and get an autograph after the most recent show.

    I’ve read quite a few things about that guitar, one of the coolest teles ever, in my book. Clarence and Micawber. Then everything else.

    Anyway, I’ve never heard James Burton mentioned in conjunction with that guitar. And Marty being the historian that he is... well, if it had once belonged to JB, it’d be part of the lore. And it’s not.
     
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  3. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    marty's tele is a partscaster. the original pieces, I've not know all their beginnings... coulda come through Red's shop or clarence meeting james on a session.. it was a smaller world back then for sure...
     
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  4. Ray G

    Ray G Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for the replies! Here is “something” claiming that JB sold a Red Tele to CW but not THE Tele. Can’t vouch for the accuracy.
    http://www.burritobrother.com/gear.htm

    There was a very old but very clear black and white picture of JB playing a two shade burst Tele with a black guard and it also clearly showed a mini switch that I believe is for phase reversal. Clarence’s Tele originally did have a blackguard and has a mini switch in about the same place. even if I could find the picture it wouldn’t prove anything but I thought “maybe”...

    Thanks guys for the replies so far... appreciated.
     
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  5. rand z

    rand z Friend of Leo's

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    I heard Marty in an interview (video on youtube, I believe) say that he bought the guitar directly from Clarence's wife.

    I believe she contacted him first.

    And, if i remember correctly, she wasn't asking as much as Marty thought it was worth.

    So, he offered her more than she asked, telling her it was only right, as it was worth a lot more. (He knew that she needed the $$$.)

    She sold it to him.

    I dont remember anything in that interview being said about James Burton.

    Marty is a class act, for sure.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2020
  6. SnidelyWhiplash

    SnidelyWhiplash Friend of Leo's

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    Its possible, but without provenance, it's just all conjecture & rumor. Nobody knows. I've never heard JB or MS even mention such a connection. :confused:
     
  7. Don Miller

    Don Miller Tele-Afflicted

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    Marty got the CW guitar for $1400....including a couple nudie suits....it was apparently in rather rough shape...I think he may also have gotten a strat in the deal.

    James Burton also had the Red Rhodes Velvet Hammer VHTBX set up in one of his guitars for a while....which includes a mini toggle to switch a secondary coil on the bridge pickup in and out of phase with everything else....which may explain the switch.... When the stringbender was first installed in Clarence's guitar it was set up as a esquire with only a bridge pickup...see "Playboy After Dark"....it then acquired a standard tele neck pickup("Ballad of Easy Rider")....and about the time "Untitled" came out it got the strat pickup.....although Clarence was apparently quite the tinkerer and its really anyone's guess precisely what pickups he had at any given time...

    I don't know who originally sold the sunburst tele to Clarence. While he played it, it apparently had at least two different necks and several different pickup configurations....
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2020
  8. Fretting out

    Fretting out Friend of Leo's

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    No way! I’ve watched “you ain’t goin nowhere” from playboy 100 times and never noticed it was Esquired

    Now I have to go back and watch again
     
  9. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    The only time Marty Stuart ever met me, he didn't like me. I've told the story a couple of times here on this forum. If you're really curious, you'll find it.
     
  10. cyclopean

    cyclopean Friend of Leo's

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    i think there was a fretboard journal article about that guitar about ten years ago. it may be on their web site.
     
  11. Mur

    Mur Tele-Afflicted

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    It was Clarence's ..then Clarence's wife owned it. Then Marty owned it. I saw Clarence play it in '71.
     
  12. Lost_N_Austin

    Lost_N_Austin Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    The Dave Hunter book "The Fender Telecaster" has some great pictures of "Clarence". Inside the body cavity there is an interesting and faded "sticker", almost like a post-it-note with some hand writing. It shows an apparent "phone number" 213-456-3456, and the word AMERICOM or AMERON (it's hard to tell). I was intrigued enough to do a search of the internet and came up with a name for someone who currently has that number - "Ernestus Beddingfield".

    FYI Area code 213 serves the state of California. This area code was assigned on January 1st, 1947. On January 1st, 1947 it went into service.

    In and of itself, this information means absolutely nothing. But for those who can't leave well enough alone - maybe there is a link to more about the Clarence White Tele.
    Now back to your regular programing.

    Lost_N_Austin
     
  13. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    That pickup - at the time just known as Red's "boost coil bridge pickup" - was installed by Red after Clarence had been playing that guitar with the b-bender in the Byrds - roughly mid 1969. You can hear the difference in both studio and bootleg recordings, plus the 1968 live at the Fillmore vs 1971's Live at the Royal Albert Hall.

    The pickup has a lower output coil that is the primary coil, wired to the 3-way switch, and a secondary, higher-output coil wired through a mini toggle directly to the output tab of the volume pot - so it works in all 3 regular pickup switch positions.

    The DPDT toggle switch is the confusing part - maybe a joke by Red, maybe laziness. But it *looks* like a DPDT phase switch, except the only things used are two tabs - it's nothing but on on-off switch for the "boost coil". Either Red wanted to confuse people or he just grabbed a used phase switch and used it.

    The bobbin is supposedly screwy as well, with two levels; and the coils are interleaved. It seems like there is an out of phase issue as the sound thins and drops in volume when the volume control is dimed, but split coil pickups made by "Q Pickups" in Croatia react the same way *IF* wired according to Red's wiring diagram . His son Jeff supplied a diagram that activated one coil or the other, which is NOT how Clarence had it set up (which I was told by Clarence while sitting in the Green Room at the Ash Grove and later by Red).

    When Marty got the guitar he said the pickup was "broken" - however, most players think a VHTBX is fouled up if they don't have the instructions! So it's possible it was working fine bu he just didn't know how to use it. So he had it rewound as a slightly hot Tele pickup and the phase switch wired like a normal one!
     
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  14. Mur

    Mur Tele-Afflicted

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    Btw, I played Warford's once .. an awesome / unique instrument.
     
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