I have been a working Musician for over 47 years. I have owned and built countless Bender configurations. I have modified and I feel improved on existing designs. Having been a Machinist / Tool & Die Maker and also having a PhD in Psychology I am prone to over thinking and engineering my projects. I wanted my Bender System to be the essence of simplicity, rugged and reliable. Routing out 60% of a beautiful Ash or Hard Wood body, Installing Rods, Springs, Bearings and Topping it off with an ugly Knob behind the bridge just wasn't to my liking. Carrying an Allen wrench to adjust bender pitch and covering the gaping hole with a plastic NOT COOL.
HEAVY! HEAVY! HEAVY! When a typical Telecaster weighs between 7.5 lbs to 9 lbs or more then you cut a chunk out of the middle and add bolts, springs, rods, knobs and levers. They claim that all of that adds to the resonance without adding weight. If you believe that then I have as George Straight once sang an “Ocean Front Property in Arizona” for sale. Then there is always the caveat that the density and type of wood can change the end result. DUH!
Pushing down on the guitar neck to activate the bender also requires a heavy spring and a hole drilled in the butt end to bring the sucker back up. Add the weight of working against a spring loaded Bender and the force required is about 3.5lbs (I just confirmed that with my Gibson Les Paul Jr Bender) now your up to 11 /15 Lbs or more total. After a few hours of standing on stage or at a jam you'll be seeing one of my Doctor colleagues for Pain Management. Especially if your an old Rocker like me. Oh, and standing is mostly required to operate a strap Bender. It has been my experience that the strap has a tendency to slip as you activate the pull. One option is to squeeze your arm against the guitar body to stabilize which you guessed it adds more weight. Unless you have played or owned a B/G Bender System it's hard appreciate all of the variables.
Finally what about the Long Throw, Short Throw, Adjustable Throw or what ever you want Throw feature? If there is about a 3/4” to 1" travel in the Bender Arm any Pinhead who can't control the outcome should STEP AWAY FROM THE BENDER! IMHO, I could be wrong.
I have outlined the Pitfalls of adding or purchasing a B/G Bender System. I am not knocking or degrading any one brand. They all work to some extent and like all things they have good and bad points. As one purveyor of Benders advises “PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH” before buying.
The Solution as I See It
- A Bender that operates from a Lateral pull.
- Direct linkage from Bender Arm to Bridge.
- Roller Bridge Saddles to eliminate drag.
- Aircraft Aluminum and Stainless Steel Mechanism.
- Quick Hitch easy adjustable Belt Loop tether.
- Minimal routed channel under the Pick-guard.
- Easy Pitch adjust with small knurled knob.
Limited Lifetime Warranty on parts and labor (void if any part of the McGill Bender has been removed or tampered with)
(shipping to and from not included)
What the Installation Involves
- Send the complete guitar do not disassemble. You are responsible for all shipping, return shipping, local pickup and insurance.
- Document any existing or lack of existing blems or scratches. As I will take photos upon arrival to confirm.
- I will document neck action, relief, intonation and make recommendations if needed before surgery.
- Setup of action, relief, and intonation to your specs, NO UPCHARGE!
- Send your favorite Strings. I recommend 10 to 46 or I will install Ernie Ball Reg Slinkys no charge. FENDER BULLETS WILL NOT WORK!
- I will need to install a TOP LOAD BRIDGE.
- Fast Hitch Belt Loop tether included
- TELECASTER OR T STYLE GUITARS ONLY! BOLT ON NECK, NO TREMOLOS, NO SET NECK GUITARS. THE GUITAR MUST HAVE A FLAT BACK.
- ONLY GUITARS WITH FULL STANDARD TELECASTER OR THINLINE PICK-GUARDS NO PICKUP SURROUNDS OR HALF GUARDS!
- You have the choice of a B or G Bender installation or my SWITCHABLE DOUBLE BENDER
- I CAN INSTALL ON A STRATOCASTER IF IT HAS A HARD TAIL BRIDGE WITH NO TREMOLO ROUTING OR YOU ARE WILLING TO LET ME INSTALL A HARDWOOD MOUNTING BLOCK.
- I use your original neck plate or one of mine for mounting the bender arm, your call.
- If you have a Guitar with a bolt on neck, full pick-guard and flat back with no Tremolo routing chances are I can install a Bender System. You will need to call and send pictures before I take on your project.
Finally the Process
I machine a channel under the pick-guard from the neck to the bridge. A small knurled knob at the heel of the neck is used to adjust bender pitch.
String Height, Neck Relief and Intonation are included. Here are pictures of the finished product and check out the instruments page for videos of the my Benders in action.
Please allow 1-2 weeks turnaround
Important Disclaimer Please Read
Note: When drilling and Machining for bender installation on guitars with finishes, especially lacquer, the finish can sometimes crack or peel up in the area around the drilling or machining.
I use low tack masking tape to protect the finish and I take great caution and pride in my workmanship. I cannot claim responsibility for any flaws created in any part of the process.
I do all of the installation myself, no apprentices or helpers will touch your instrument!