How to Use a B-Bender Guitar

Learn how to use a B-bender guitar from country guitar player Boo Reiners in this Howcast video.

I’m going to show you a few bends that you can do with a string pull device, otherwise known as a B bender. And what happens is I push down on the neck and there’s a lever that the strap is attached to, which activates a mechanism here under the second string and it raises it a whole step. Kind of like what a pedal steel guitar would do on one of its strings.

So here’s a real simple way to get the pedal steel sound activating this string pull device. So I’m going to play the 5th string which is an A. And then I’m gonna play the second string which is a B. And then I’ll play the 1st string which is an E. So that’s a nice chord, but what I want to do is I want to bend into an A major triad. So I’ve got A. And then I’ll end up with a C sharp on the 2nd string. And then the 5th degree on the 1st string, an E note. So I’m gonna play those 3 notes together. And then I’ll push down on the neck like this.

So I could play a full A chord here. I play it like this. Some people play A like this. Some people might bar it here. And if I’d pushed down on the B bender I’m going to get this sound. So that’s not the sound we want generally. There might be a song somewhere where that fits just right.

So we want to take this note that is normally fretted on the 2nd string at the 2nd fret. We want to take that note and push it back a whole step so that when we push down on the string bender we get that note from the string bender’s action. So it’s going to go like this.

I can get that same sound from a different chord instead of playing a C bar chord like this. Again, I want to drop that note that’s on the 2nd string 5th fret. I want to drop it down to the 3rd fret. So there’s my C suspended chord. And I’m going to get rid of that suspension using the B bender and I’m going to bend into a C major triad like this. Okay?

So that’s just one of the most basic shapes that you can use when you first try to use a B bender. Is that basic A shape, drop in the note on the 2nd string down a whole step, letting the B bender put that note in when you bend it.

And that’s how you use a B bender guitar.