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what would clarence white use if alive today?

Discussion in 'B-Bender Forum' started by Chet Johnson, May 8, 2014.

  1. Chet Johnson

    Chet Johnson Tele-Afflicted

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    Clarence's heavily molested b bender prototype is legendary. If he were alive today I am sure he would play a more refined Parsons White. Would he also have a G bender?
     
  2. Don Miller

    Don Miller Tele-Afflicted

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    If I have the stroy correct, Dave Evans was building, or going to build a guitar for Clarence when he died, so maybe hed be playing that...

    I suspect that had he not died, the stringbender would be another tool...like a Floyd Rose, or a Bigsby vibrato...used primarily in a particular genre...a tool, but probabally wouldnt have the "mystique" that it does today...but then again maybe it would...

    Theres alway alot of internet speculation about "what would have happened if.....survived"...
     
  3. hummingbyrd13

    hummingbyrd13 TDPRI Member

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    I imagine he would have continued to use his original Tele for recording, but probably would have found a more ergonomic instrument for touring. I bet he would also be using one of Gene Parsons' acoustic benders, possibly on his Noble dreadnought. As we approach Clarence's would-be 70th birthday, it's impossible to not think about all the "what-ifs"... even if he had lived for an additional 24 hours. Supposedly he had booked studio time the following day to record with Booker T Jones, Sneaky Pete and Chris Ethridge... just imagine what could have happened.
     
  4. Ben Jammin'

    Ben Jammin' Tele-Meister

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    I just pray to GOD that he wouldn't be a guest judge on American Idol. :lol:
     
  5. src9000

    src9000 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm thinking an ibanez iceman, cracked mirror top.











    JK.
     
  6. slippin slider

    slippin slider Tele-Afflicted

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    Probably added to his collection would be some ha-cha G&L tele variants.
    Though the pick ups don't soundlike 1950's pick ups , they were not intended to clone the orginials, they definately enhance the palate of available tones in that particular garden.
     
  7. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    Clarence was a tinkerer. He was definitely slated for a guitar Dave Evans was making (that Dave burned after Clarence died), and although he tinkered with things he tended to stick with the same electric as a primary instrument (he owned a Strat but never, as far as I'm aware, used it live or in the studio).

    He was stoked about the Evans to both reduce the weight and shorten the throw of his bender - so he might very well have stuck with that guitar for decades and tweaked it (and/or had Dave upgrade it). His main changes, I think, would have ben in amps and effects - and he certainly changed acoustics often, playing several D-28's on Byrds' tours, and with the Great American Music Band (aka Muleskinner), then the Noble and Mark Whitebook guitars. I could see him being very interested in the boutique acoustic builders of today.
     
  8. string pull

    string pull Tele-Meister

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    I think he had hit the wall by 1973. There were no new licks, he was restless. The fusion of bluegrass/rockin roll/ the advent of outdoor festivals was something to look forward too The Muleskinner Band with Grissman and Rowen would have been interesting. I think he would have wound up with Garcia....when he died he was already the king of LA.
     
  9. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    Actually the last few Byrds shows with boots Clarence is playing *way* outside at times. Most of the stuff Clarence played (since McGuinn stayed with almost the same setlist for 4 years) was by rote, but he tossed it some far more experimental fills and parts of solos, combined with playing more reserved and less "busy" (but still interesting) backup.

    His solo stuff and things like the infamous "Around the Barn" were not exactly going to make him a front man. While I enjoy the partially-completed solo tracks, realistically they would have been released with other material he put together because of his name, not because it was stunning work. For better or worse Clarence was a guitar playing sideman, and while his vocals could show great emotion and warmth at times his pitch and projection just were not that of a solo act (honestly, Bob Dylan's vocals are better), and he lacked one critical talent to make it as a frontman/bandleader - songwriting.

    OTOH, the '71-'73 period has some of his most interesting studio work, and if you dig hard you can find some pretty obscure recordings that he played wonderfully creative stuff on.

    I think he would have had a long post-Byrds career as an electric sideman ala James Burton (I could see him fitting with Ronstadt, Emmylou, the Joe Cocker Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour - even Elvis - and he already had the Nudie suit!).

    On the acoustic side I think he would have been where Tony Rice ended up, with Grisman's Quintet. Anyone who's heard his Django-type playing on a boot knows he could have played Grisman's material, albeit in a completely different style than Rice (who avoids/avoided Django licks/comparisons like the plague), and it would have been REALLY interesting to hear him play with Stephane Grappelli, as he actually had a far better grasp of "Gypsy Jazz" than any bluegrasser other than John Jorgensen and Raul Reynoso.

    Which takes us back to electric - he could have easily slipped right into the lead guitar slot in the Desert Rose Band - again, a different style than Jorgensen but he would have fit the style well. He also would have ben a natural with Manassass, and I can even see Crosby, Still, Nash & White. Or Neil Young and Clarence.

    And (this is reaching a bit - but something to think about) the later versions of "Hold It" show that his blues/rock playing had really progressed to a very high level, augmented by the bender. Heck, I could even see him fit into the slot Albert Lee had with Eric Clapton (although not as a primary harmony singer). Eric & Clarence is a combination I would have loved to see, and I think it would have worked. Or how about Clarence with the Allman Brothers band, or Little Feat? Or as a 3rd guitarist with the Grateful Dead? The Eagles?

    What I *don't* see is Clarence ever becoming a Nashville Studio or "modern country" guitar player, just as Warford and Frank Reckard (the latter being the closest to a "crossover" guitarist between west coast and Nashville bender styles) never went that direction.

    He really was in great demand prior to his death, and although he likely would not have mad it as a solo artist he could have slipped into just about ay role outside hard rock/metal, straight jazz or classical (Hmmm - Clarence in Yes? Don't laugh, just think about it...)
     
  10. hummingbyrd13

    hummingbyrd13 TDPRI Member

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    I agree that much of Clarence's most refined electric work comes from bootlegs recorded during the post-studio Byrds era. While the "Farther Along" LP suggests that the band had largely run out of steam and that Clarence was losing interest in electric guitar, many of the live tapes from that period indicate otherwise. (Look on YouTube for the Byrds live at the Rainbow Theater, London, 1972.)

    I would also argue, however, that he was developing into a uniquely soulful singer with a distinctive timbre, and I think that the songs he sings on the last two Byrds albums are the strongest cuts. Also, according to Johnny Rogan's Byrds book, there are a few songs credited exclusively to his name that were going to be included on his solo LP, indicating that he was experimenting with composition.

    I could also see him collaborating with all sorts of artists from CSNY to Tony Rice (and the rest of the "Newgrass" crowd,) Elvis, Ronstadt, Dylan, Richard Thompson, Robert Plant, any number of Stax and Asylum artists, and even Hendrix. The possibilities are endless.
     
  11. rballister

    rballister TDPRI Member

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    If he followed the career trajectory of Warford and Reckard he would have ended up a lawyer! Clarence could have easily fit in to the latest incarnation (seems to happen every couple of years) of alt/folk/country. I find the musicianship of many of those bands weak. Clarence would have corrected that. I recently read an older interview with Rick Vito who played with Roger in Thunderbyrd and later with Fleetwood Mac. He did some great stuff with Roger on his homebrew bender. He gave up that style completely (pretty much all blues now). Come to think of it, Roger ended up a folkie archivist. Although I don't think so, its possible Clarence might have moved on to something else too.
     
  12. Matt G

    Matt G Tele-Afflicted

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    I love the thought of those combos so much that it hurts.
     
  13. Doug 54

    Doug 54 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Higgins Bender

    .
     
  14. helle_man

    helle_man Tele-Meister

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    Clarence might have run into Dave Borisoff (of Hipshot fame) while gigging around Van Nuys (where Hipshot was located originally), and collaborated on a Hipshot variation.

    Will
     
  15. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    What is really cool about Clarence is that whatever he would have done.. he would have surprised us in a way we'd never expect and what he played or did (I kind of think he would have acted too or had some kind of show too) would have required that we thought about it and considered it...

    I am so so sorry he isn't with us...
     
  16. Maxwell Street

    Maxwell Street Friend of Leo's

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    He'd be in a band with Gram and Keith...
     
  17. string pull

    string pull Tele-Meister

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    ...record company politics aside, Clarence had no use for Gram. Most folks steered clear of GP.
     
  18. Maxwell Street

    Maxwell Street Friend of Leo's

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    From www.burritobrother.com/afterthebyrds.htm

    Note: The last public performance given by Gram Parsons was with Clarence White on guitar and Gene Parsons on drums among others at the Tower Theatre, Philadelphia in June 1973. Gram and Clarence had planned to perform and record in the future together with Gene playing drums and singing vocals.
     
  19. garytelecastor

    garytelecastor Poster Extraordinaire

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    I see Clarence as having the vintage bug. And I see him playing mainly bluegrass with pre-war Martins.
     
  20. string pull

    string pull Tele-Meister

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    I think he would have like John Holme's Brazilian Rosewood "Clarence White" Collings. Buck Trent and he would be burning it up every night in Branson.....not Nashville.
     
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