Tele Servo Bender – Guitar and Pedal Steel Hybrid

The Tele Servo Bender has generated quite the buzz in Reddit’s guitar section and it’s easy to see why, this DIY guitar features four servo motors that bends the A, D, G and B strings via foot pedals.

Tele Servo Bender

The man behind this impressive contraption goes by the alias Gr4yhound, he announced his invention at Reddit, posted photos of how he built the instrument and shared a video demo that showcased the authentic pedal steel sounds of the guitar.

I’ve always envied the convenience of the keyboard’s pitch wheel, and was hoping that it could soon be available for guitar so this was pretty exciting. After the successful implementation of mechanical tuners like Tronical’s MinETune, I was kind of disappointed when they just stuck to basic tuning and did not implement mechanical pitch bending capabilities.

At first I was skeptical, but just a few pedal steel licks into demo video and I was convinced. The Tele Servo Bender shows that mechanical pitch bending is indeed possible, with some modification on the instrument.

According to the inventor, the guitar has four servo motors installed on the bridge which bend the A, D, G and B strings. The servo motors are controlled by his custom modified foot pedals and arduino microcontroller. The result is a Tele style guitar with Pedal Steel capabilities!

Check out the video demo of Servo Bender:

Although the pedal was not shown in the video, it can be seen and heard that the guitar is working flawlessly, and I am very much impressed. Having a mechanical bender built-into guitars is a big plus, the most notable of which is the added expression and control over your notes. It would also turn the relatively lighter electric guitars into alternative instruments for Pedal Steel players.

Aside from showcasing his invention, he was also nice enough to provide many of the details on how he was able to build the guitar, he even gave a glimpse of the first prototype. Check out the images and the story behind the guitar here.

Notable details include his effort in reducing the noise of the Servo motors, and how he modified the four keyboard sustain pedals to provide continuous control. He detailed that he replaced the momentary switches of the pedals with a magnet and ratiometric hall effect sensor, effectively turning them into working expression pedals.

Another Reddit user by the name of niekjurjens noted that an electric guitar with pedal steel capability was already built way back in 1981. It was built by a pedal steel manufacturer called MSA, and from the old video that is available on YouTube, it seemed to be working just as well. See it in action below:

The Tele Servo Bender is an interesting invention, and I feel that it should be an optional feature for all guitars. Will we see mechanical benders as a mainstream feature in the future? I hope so…

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3 thoughts on “Tele Servo Bender – Guitar and Pedal Steel Hybrid”

  1. servo bender steel
    ed hansen

    Gotta have one !! perfect as you can’t get steels in Europe, middle east and outa sight prices in Asia.
    Carry this around and your set.
    A few buttons or mementary’s on the guitar and you might aide some pedal action.

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