Pedal-operated B-Bender with Arduino

February 15, 2016 | 12:00
Pedal-operated B-Bender with Arduino
Pedal-operated B-Bender with Arduino
You like the Telecaster B-Bender?

Means nothing to you? But there is a strong chance that you’ve heard it and appreciated the effect, without even knowing it existed.

It’s a mechanism which, on a Fender Telecaster electric guitar, allows the musician, while he is playing, to move up or down the tone of the B-string (2nd from the bottom) and obtain a very recognisable portamento or glissando melodic effect.

The melodic interval between two adjacent notes is not done in a step, but by a continuous slide.
The first B-Bender was invented almost 59 years ago for the guitarist Clarence White, a member of The Byrds. This clever device is used by the musician by putting tension on the shoulder strap which attaches to the guitar via a lever which – via a mechanism – stretches or relaxes the string.

There now exists, and it’s that of which we now speak, a quadruple bender made with four servos controlled by an Arduino by means of pedals. Alas, the video below does not show the pedals in action, but the musical sample is worth a look (and a listen!). A superb example of programmable electronics embedded in a musical instrument. Hear what happens when the Instrument-maker, the musician and the electronics engineer work as one:

 

Did that strike a chord with you? Then you’ll also appreciate this complete photographic report on the making of this Tele bender.

And to learn more about the original B-bender, nothing will beat the testimony of Gene Parson, the inventor himself.
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