Fender FSR Baja Telecaster Classic Player in Vegas Gold Sparkle with B Bender by Forrest Lee Jr

GB3

GB2

Swapped out Timara B/G Bender bridge for a more traditional Parsons/White style B Bender installed by Forrest Lee Jr.

Forrest Lee Jr B Bender

Forrest Lee Jr B Bender

GB6

GB1

GB7

GB8

GB9

GB10

GB11

I purchased this guitar brand new (something I rarely do) with the intention of adding the Timara B/G String-Bender. I wanted to learn some B-Bender licks.

Timara B/G String Bender

Timara B/G String Bender bridge

Fender was selling the MIM (Made in Mexico) FSR (Factory Special Run) Baja Telecaster in what they call Vegas Gold Sparkle. I snatched one up at a great price and immediately swapped the pickguard with a custom black and gold hand engraved one and swapped out the standard Telecaster bridge with the Timara String-Bender. Good part is this process is fully reversible back to stock at any time. No holes were drilled or anything modified to add the Timara String-Bender. I found the Timara hard to coordinate for a beginner like myself. Although I think it is a nice solution.

After playing around with this setup I decided to get a more traditional B Bender installed. So I shipped the guitar to Nashville and had Forrest Custom Guitars install the string pull. Forrest Lee Jr did an incredible job and shipped the completed guitar back within a week. The workmanship was top notch. Forrest does his own version of the Parsons/White B Bender. He also offers G Benders and B/G Benders.

Forrest Lee Jr is an incredible guitar player and custom guitar builder. See Forrest Lee, Jr. and Friends.

The string bender added no substantial weight as the routed out wood is likely the same approximate weight as the added B Bender. Some of the Fender Telecasters with Parsons/Green B Benders are quite heavy.

The Forrest Lee Jr bender is well made and smooth. I have found it easier to use that the Timara bridge as it is activated by the guitar strap and takes less coordination that the Timara solution. Although your guitar gets routed in the back and it is not reversible.

History
This version bender was invented in 1967 by musicians Gene Parsons and Clarence White of Nashville West and The Byrds. The device was originally called the Parsons/White Pull-String, later renamed the StringBender, and is now best known as the B-Bender. Clarence White was a real innovator as well as an amazing guitarist. He was trying to find ways to do pedal steel style licks on his Fender Telecaster and was using behind the nut bends and other tricks before working with bandmate Gene Parsons on the B Bender.

Parsons (a machinist as well as a drummer) built multiple bending devices for the E, B, G and D strings, but Clarence White decided he preferred a single B string bender in the final design. So Parsons installed this elaborate string pull design into Clarence White’s 1956 Telecaster. The B sting can be easily “pulled” up a full step (to C#) by just pulling the guitar neck down as the guitar strap activates the bender mechanism. After Clarence White’s passing, his iconic Telecaster, the FIRST B Bender was purchased by Marty Stuart and is regularly played by Marty.

There are several versions and designs for string pulls or benders available. The Parsons/White design started the craze of transforming a Fender Telecaster into a new instrument. Fender sells a Telecaster with has a Parsons/Green string bender which differs from a Parsons/White. The Parsons/Green is more of a “drop in” design that can be added to production guitars. The Parsons/Green tends to add some weight to the Telecaster.

The B Bender (and G Bender) is widely associated with country music and is used to emulate a pedal steel player. Players like Albert Lee, John Beland (guitarist for Linda Ronstadt), Bernie Leadon (Eagles), Ricky Skaggs, Brad Paisley and others have used the bender for many years. But the bender has been used by Jimmy Page, Ronnie Wood, Keith Richards, Pete Townsend, Will Ray and others in all genres.

The History of the Third Hand by Gene Parsons

Some B Bender Songs – Can find these on YouTube
THE BYRDS, “You Ain’t Going Nowhere,” “Lover of the Bayou” and “Tulsa County”
Guitarist: Clarence White

LED ZEPPELIN, “All of My Love” and “Ten Years Gone”
Guitarist: Jimmy Page

THE EAGLES, “Peaceful Easy Feeling”
Guitarist: Bernie Leadon

THE HELLECASTERS, “Sweet Dreams”
Guitarist: Will Ray

MARTY STUART, “Hummingbyrd”
Guitarist: Marty Stuart

ALBERT LEE, “Sweet Little Lisa”
Guitarist: Albert Lee

LINDA RONSTADT, “Silver Threads & Golden Needles,” “Dark End of the Street” and “Willin'”
Guitarist: Bob Warford

DIAMOND RIO, “The Ballad of Conley and Billy”
Guitarist: Jimmy Olander

MICHAEL NESMITH, “Propinquity”
Guitarist: Al Perkins

The Baja Telecaster’s are really nice guitars for the low price they charge. These are “Custom Shop Designed” and then build in Fender’s Mexican factory. Based on a 1950’s style Telecaster this guitar has a fat neck, ash body, 21 medium jumbo frets, 9.5 inch radius and has some nice pickups – Custom Shop Twisted single-coil for neck and Broadcaster for bridge. The switching is quite cool as it has a very versatile 4-way switch and an S1 switch on the volume control to add more sounds.

Pickup Switching
4-Position Blade Switch and 2-Position Push/Push S-1

S-1 Switch Up:
Position 1. Bridge Pickup
Position 2. Bridge and Neck Pickups (In Parallel)
Position 3. Neck Pickup (Standard Tele)
Position 4. Neck and Bridge Pickups (In Series) (Fatter Tone Than Position 2. and More Output Than Position 1., 2., or 3.)

S-1 Switch Down:
Position 1. Bridge Pickup
Position 2. Bridge and Neck Pickups (In Parallel)-Out of Phase
Position 3. Neck Pickup (Standard Tele)
Position 4. Neck and Bridge Pickups (In Series) Out of Phase

Main differences between the Fender Classic Player Baja 50s and Fender Classic Player Baja 60s:
Body: Ash vs Alder
Neck: Maple vs Rosewood Fingerboard
Neck Profile: 50s Fat vs 60s C shaped
String Tree: Round vs Single Wing
Pickups: Broadcaster and Twisted Tele vs American Vintage ’52 and ’58 Tele
Pickguard: Black (5 screw) vs Parchment 3-ply (8 screw)
Colors offered

The guitar came with a Fender gig bag which I retired to my closet and purchased a new Fender hard shell case from eBay.

Here is the Baja the way it came from Fender. I stored the original pickguard and bridge away. These Baja Telecasters are nice guitars.

baja

Review Demo – Forrest Custom Guitars Double Bender

B Bender Telecaster 101 Country Guitar Lesson Forrest Lee Jr

Forrest Lee Jr – B Bender Licks

Clarence White with the Byrds using Parsons/White Bender