Very cool. Looks like the next step would be to situate the linkage inside a body. Interesting that Leo was already fooling with the much maligned 3-bolt neck.
That's an interesting contraption on the back of that guitar, sort of an early "Hipshot" mechanism. I wonder just how functional it was. It looks like it might have been a shirt chewer upper!
My grandfather had an early 50's Leo Fender "Demo" guitar. It didn't have a serial number, instead it was stamped "DEMO" on both the back and the headstock and on the back of the body. He said that he got it in a trade with Buck Owens, which he very likely could have. Grandpa was in the early Phoenix Country Music scene, way back when. He and Buck were friends, and grandpa used to play with Buck before the Buckaroo's. He quit playing with Buck when he married my widowed grandmother, in 1960.
It looked similar to a Jaguar, IIRC, and we kept telling him that it was too valuable to trade in, and that he should keep it, but that's exactly what he did. Somebody at a local shop took advantage of him in the trade, he got a couple of cheap Chinese guitars in exchange for a one off Fender experimental guitar. They flashed a couple of Chinese knockoffs, all shiny and new, and he went for it. I wish I could have been there to help him out, but he went on his own. I guess as long as he was happy, there was no real foul.
Leo had been making pedal steels for quite some time before the CBS sale,so he'd have been familiar with transferring motion through linkage.His bender is conceptually very much like Gene Parsons'. Got a feeling,though,that that Musicmaster is somewhat later than 1965.I'd say '67 or maybe '68.
I remember that “Buffalo Brother’s” Guitar shop in Encinitas, CA had a couple of Leo Fender’s original prototypes in a Glass case there years ago when they were still in business for sale. (I sure do miss that place ) Very interesting, thanks for sharing.
I only learned of bender mechanisms in recent years, having never seen one 'in the wild' or used by a performer on stage.
When I looked into them further I stumbled onto an interview with Mike Campbell, who would occasionally use one with The Heartbreakers. During the interview he tells a funny story about being joined on stage by Ronnie Lane during a show. Apparently Lane chose one of Campbell's Fenders to play, not realizing it had a built-in bender. As they were into the song he caught eyes with Campbell, with this confused reaction, like; 'WTF? what is going on here?' Campbell pointed to the strap holder on the upper horn, to answer. Lane was a little embarrassed but otherwise found it hilarious.
Gotta love live.
that's a great story! Ronnie was a real mensch.
Back in the Seventies MSA Steel guitars produced a pedal mechanism for six string players.There was a pedal rack and cabling to the guitar strings at the bridge.Great idea,but the player had to sit and for all the trouble,one might as well go for a pedal steel.The market agreed,and only a few were built.Here's the promo vid.The good stuff starts at about 1:35
There's at least one Bigsby pedal B-bender out there too. Gasmoney used to own it, maybe still does...
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