Hand Bender - The Country Guitarist's Best Friend
Stefan Olsson of Hand Bender Sweden AB talks a bit about his invention; “I’ve been playing guitar for years and traveled all around the country and of course met a lot of people who play the guitar. Guitarists are a special type of people, constantly seeking the unbroken tract and the perfect sound.”
Stefan found himself caught in country & western style guitar-playing for some time. “I was probably looking for a little more twang than the rustling chorus sounds of the 80’s and 90’s that totally buried the guitar sound” says Stefan. “If you listen to a country song there is usually a pedal steel sound embedded, whether you like it or not. That's where I got stuck and began to think about a String Bender.”
“I ordered a String Bender from America and began to rub and pull the B string, easier said than done. The String Bender design meant that one had to stand up when playing, and then you had to push and slide at the same time, not easy.” says Stefan.
Fast forward with an iron saw and modification to the newly bought bender so that one could sit down and use the bender. “It was an improvement, but was still clumsy. Then came the decision to build my own prototype bender. The bender I built turned out to work very well – my bender was small, easy to use, and did not demand that I damaged the guitar to mount it, a big improvement!”
THE HANDBENDER IS BORN
After using the prototype successfully for quite some time, it felt like it was time to develop a real product. Conny Jansson who owns Torsby Mekaniska (machine shop) and Stefan are old friends, so Stefan paid Conny, who has both CAD-CAM software and a CNC machine, a visit. Stefan showed and explained his homemade prototype. Conny, who is also interested in music and plays the piano, caught on immediately. Conny created some CAD drawings and toolpaths for CNC machine in GibbsCAM, and “before the sugar melted in the coffee” the first CNC machined HandBender was produced and mounted on the guitar. “What a difference! It worked great” says Stefan happily. “I’m seeing a lot of interest for the HandBender, made in Sweden, from country guitarists all around the world. It’s awesome!” concludes Stefan.