Skip to main content

The guitar world is freaking out over B-Benders again - and it's all Rob Scallon's fault

Most people associate the sound of a B-Bender with country and country rock music – think the Byrds’ Clarence White, or Bernie Leadon’s solo in the Eagles’ “Peaceful Easy Feeling, for starters.

But the B-Bender has also been used by rock electric guitar players like Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and, um, James Hetfield (check out Metallica’s The Unforgiven II). 

And now, as tends to happen with unusual guitar contraptions, it’s been tackled by YouTube guitar sensation Rob Scallon.

Scallon drafted Bob Clagett from I Like To Make Stuff to build and install a B-bender in a Chapman ML3, and the results are pretty impressive.

“B-Benders are pretty rare,” Scallon says, examining the massively routed out Chapman. “I’ve never seen one other than this."

As Clagett explains, his B-Bender is adjustable to bend the B string up either a full or half step, via a screw located in the back cavity.

After discussing the technique to activate the mechanism, involving pulling down on the guitar strap to move the pulley and bend the string, Scallon puts the Chapman through its paces, using the B-Bender to play some impressive tapping licks.

And when he comments that pulling down on the strap makes the guitar slide around a bit on his body, Clagett is there with a roll of electrical tape to fasten the strap to Scallon’s body.

Scallon tries out the B-Bender in both its full- and half-step configurations, ending with an original song that utilizes the B-Bender to create some ethereal harmonic bends.

Regarding one of his riff creations, Scallon says, “That song sounds like it’s a nice sunny day and you’re running through the field, but you’re also super-drunk.” Indeed.

For more information on this unsung hero of guitar innovations, check out our exhaustive guide: Everything you wanted to know about the B-Bender, a guitarist's ultimate secret weapon.

Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.