About five years ago I was one of the many folks who "rediscovered" the late Clarence White's super-cool faux- pedal steel guitar techniques with the Byrds and very much wanted to install a Parsons-White "B-Bender" in my old Telecaster. For those in the dark, a B-Bender is a system of levers and springs that resides in an L-shaped cavity in your Telecaster. It allows you to - with the tug of your guitar strap - bend your B string up a full step. When this type of bend is done within ringing chords or partial-chords it can yield beautiful, slurry pedal steel- type effects. Unfortunately, the original B-Bender runs several hundred bucks, is difficult to install, adds several pounds to your guitar's weight, and worse yet, requires all but destroying the body of a Telecaster by routing a huge channel in the back. There have been a few other devices over the years that are capable of producing pedal steel effects in normal guitars, but none so beautifully minimalist and easy to install/use as Epiphone's palm- activated EZ-Bender. The upshots: the EZ-Bender can be installed by anyone in minutes, it's inexpensive (I got a new one on EBay for about 50 bucks, though I think it retails for a bit more), it can be used on any string (multiple EZ Benders can even be installed on one guitar), and it doesn't require modifying your guitar at all. The downshots: the EZ-Bender only works with Gibson/Epiphone-type stop-tailpieces and it seems to be difficult to find in stores. But with the price so reasonable, it's a worthy investment for the "faux steel"- curious, like myself. I put one on my Gibson 335 and have been having a ball. (www.epiphone.com)

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

Or Learn More