How A B-Bender Guitar Can Up Your Country Music Game

Posted on: 23 January 2016

There are certain aspects of country music that any guitarist needs to master in order to faithfully play hits of the genre's giants, and one of these aspects is the characteristic "twang" that seems to be ever-present in country music of past and present. One way to get this sound very easily is by using a B-bender guitar, or a guitar with the B-bending attachment added on after manufacturing. Here are some key points about this mechanism and what makes it perfect for bringing your country music game to the next level. 

How it Works

A B-bending device is typically linked to the strap button on your guitar and the part of the bridge that holds the B string. A series of levers and springs causes the bridge to rise on the saddle occupied by the B string when the guitar's neck is forced downward by the guitarist. In a way, this system is like a Bigsby tailpiece--a device that pitches entire chords--specifically for the B string. The reason that the B string is the most common to feature this unique device is simply because the mechanism's inventor, Clarence White, preferred bending the B string because it emulated the "crying" sound of a pedal steel guitar. 


The sound of the B-bender is surprisingly distinct from the sound of a floating tremolo or a Bigsby tailpiece, for example. The sound produced by this mechanism is more bright and metallic than these other, warmer options, which invokes the sound of a pedal steel guitar without investing time and money in a whole other instrument. The B-bender is used most often on solos, since the unique, ear-catching tone can be distracting if played under a vocal accompaniment. 


Perhaps the best thing about the B-bender is its simplicity. Unlike a pickup or a pedal that makes your guitar sound like a pedal steel, the B-bender can be used simply by tilting your guitar a certain way. This means your special effect is ready at a moment's notice without fear of a cable coming unplugged or a battery dying. This mechanism is also simple in its learning because it's fairly intuitive. Most guitarists can learn to properly use a B-bender in an hour or so at a music shop, like Mike's Brass & Woodwind, giving you the chance to decide whether or not a B-bender guitar or add-on is right for you. 

With the huge array of pedals and other effects available to the modern guitarist, it's almost impossible to pick out one or two options to unequivocally up your playing game. Thankfully, the B-bender is an easy, cost-effective, and simple way to add another dimension to your country music playing.