100 Greatest Guitarists: David Fricke's Picks

41

Clarence White

Retna Ltd.

A child-prodigy bluegrass picker, White found early fame with the Kentucky Colonels, but he's best remembered for his association with the Byrds. His classy twang first popped up on their 1967 album Younger Than Yesterday, came through loud and clear on 1968's Sweetheart of the Rodeo and only grew more important as the band delved further into country rock. White's fame among players was sealed with his co-invention of the Parsons/ White StringBender, which enables a regular guitar to simulate a pedal steel. It's used by everyone from Jimmy Page to Kirk Hammett. Sadly, the man who brought it to prominence died way too soon, mowed down by a drunk driver in 1973.

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