Odd (almost) trends of Rock guitar…

Lots of new developments have found their way into the player’s lexicon in the rock/pop/fusion categories over the years. Distortion was new at one point, as was the wah pedal, echo, etc. Some were here to stay, and some fell by the way side.One notable invention was the Parsons/White “B-bender”. This mechanical device, once attached to the guitar allowed the B, and only the B string to be bent up a minor third, or three frets. Invented in the sixties, it was used by several, including the Eagles. In my personal listening history it was used most prominently by Jimmy Page in his post Zeppelin group, The Firm. To be fair, it sounded great, and gives the bends in tone a smooth, almost lap steel sound. But I always had a recurring thought about this device. It’s as if the player that uses it thinks to themselves “Wouldn’t it be great if I had a vibrato bar? But even better, what if it only worked on one string ?”. A vibrato bar does really everything and more the Bender does, but will work on every string, or multiple at once. I love Page’s use of it, but subtle use of a Floyd Rose or even a Bigsby would have similar effect. Music is all about nuance, so maybe I’m wrong.The next odd development occurred also in the eighties. With the explosion of the guitar hero, came the attempt to push to the fore virtuosos of the bass. I remember seeing an ad for the album “Funk me Tender” by Randy Coven. Randy was posing with a bass with a whammy bar! What craziness is this I thought? Whammy bars are for Eddie Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, Brad Gillis, not the bass players! Now, I admit this is limited thinking, so who am I to decide what a great player should add to his arsenal of tricks? Randy Coven can play, no doubt, but obviously the trend didn’t catch on. He used the bar much as a lead player would, and it was fine. However, it apparently didn’t light the world on fire. I don’t see the other prominent bass icons sporting them. Geddy Lee seemed to get by fine without it.Innovation is good, both in technique and tools, but some just don’t pass the test of time. What are some trends you have seen come and go in playing? Seven string guitar anyone?

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