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.
     
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