In 1968, Gene Parsons invented the first B-Bender at the request of Clarence White, who was searching for ways he could emulate the sound of a pedal steel guitar with his Telecaster. The B-Bender is a mechanical device that raises the pitch of the B string, producing plaintive, sinuous bends very much like those produced on a pedal steel. Parsons' B-Bender design uses spring-loaded levers, which connect the bridge to the strap button on the upper bout. The strap button itself controls the B-Bender. When you push the neck downward, the guitar strap pulls the strap button upward, which activates the lever system to raise the pitch.
In the mid-1990s, Gene Parsons and his business partner Meridian Green were able to produce "StringBender" units in higher quantities, so Fender took notice. In 1996, Fender introduced a version of the American Standard Telecaster with a factory-installed Parsons-Green StringBender. This is a refined version of the device that is heavy-duty and built to last. It has an adjustment wheel that allows you to set the pitch. Most players will set it to a whole step, so that the B bends up to a C#. But with the right set of strings, the StringBender can stretch all the way up to D.
This 1996 Fender American Standard B-Bender Telecaster features a Maple fingerboard, a two-sunburst, and of course the Parsons-Green StringBender. It has been played and used over the years, and the back shows some wear, especially to the faceplate of the StringBender. There are a few nicks and scratches around the edges, too (see photos). The previous owner was a heavy smoker, and the guitar and case have picked up some nicotine smell. We are doing our best to air out the guitar and the case, and they're getting better! Hopefully any lingering smell will be gone by the time we find a new home for it.
As far as playability and tone are concerned, this American Standard B-Bender Telecaster is set up just right. The action is low, and inviting, and the movement of the B-Bender is natural and the mechanism doesn't squeak or cause problems. The switch tip has been replaced, but otherwise all of the parts are original. The American Standard Telecaster pickups provide the right twang and sparkle. The B-Bender does such a cool thing, and you only get the right sound from the real thing!