Composed

BMI’s database credits Clarence White with 20 published compositions, co-compositions, and arrangements, including:

  • “Byrdgrass”
  • “Green Apple Quickstep”

Early Influences

  • Eric White, Sr. (father)
  • Roland White (brother)
  • Earl Scruggs
  • Joe Maphis
  • Django Reinhardt
  • Doc Watson

Came to Fame With

  • Kentucky Colonels, 1962-1966

Performed With

  • The Three Country Boys, 1954-1957
  • The Country Boys, 1957-1962
  • Kentucky Colonels, 1962-1966
  • Gene Parsons and Gib Guilbeau (The Reasons, Nashville West), 1965-1966
  • Trio, 1966
  • The Byrds, 1968-1973
  • Muleskinner, 1973
  • The New Kentucky Colonels, 1973

Led the Way

  • Played a major role in defining the guitar as a lead instrument in bluegrass.
  • Member of one of the earliest bluegrass bands to operate on the West Coast.
  • Appeared with the Country Boys on two 1961 episodes of the Andy Griffith Show.
  • Co-developer of the Parsons-White StringBender (B-Bender) device for electric guitars.
  • A member of the country-folk-rock band The Byrds.
  • Bluegrass Hall of Fame, 2016.

By the Way

  • Clarence’s 1935 Martin D-28 guitar, purchased at a Los Angeles music store in 1959 for $25 and sold in 1965 so he could purchase a Fender Telecaster, was acquired in 1975 by Tony Rice.
  • According to Joe Maphis, the Kentucky Colonels were the first bluegrass band to play Hollywood’s famed Ash Grove club.
  • The guitar instrumental Clarence jokingly titled “Julius Finkbine’s Rag” was named after a fan who always requested “Beaumont Rag.”
  • Exposed to East Coast audiences as guitarist on Eric Weissberg and Marshall Brickman’s influential Elektra LP, New Dimensions in Banjo and Bluegrass, 1963.

Composed

BMI’s database credits Clarence White with 20 published compositions, co-compositions, and arrangements, including:

  • “Byrdgrass”
  • “Green Apple Quickstep”

Early Influences

  • Eric White, Sr. (father)
  • Roland White (brother)
  • Earl Scruggs
  • Joe Maphis
  • Django Reinhardt
  • Doc Watson

Came to Fame With

  • Kentucky Colonels, 1962-1966

Performed With

  • The Three Country Boys, 1954-1957
  • The Country Boys, 1957-1962
  • Kentucky Colonels, 1962-1966
  • Gene Parsons and Gib Guilbeau (The Reasons, Nashville West), 1965-1966
  • Trio, 1966
  • The Byrds, 1968-1973
  • Muleskinner, 1973
  • The New Kentucky Colonels, 1973

Led the Way

  • Played a major role in defining the guitar as a lead instrument in bluegrass.
  • Member of one of the earliest bluegrass bands to operate on the West Coast.
  • Appeared with the Country Boys on two 1961 episodes of the Andy Griffith Show.
  • Co-developer of the Parsons-White StringBender (B-Bender) device for electric guitars.
  • A member of the country-folk-rock band The Byrds.
  • Bluegrass Hall of Fame, 2016.

By the Way

  • Clarence’s 1935 Martin D-28 guitar, purchased at a Los Angeles music store in 1959 for $25 and sold in 1965 so he could purchase a Fender Telecaster, was acquired in 1975 by Tony Rice.
  • According to Joe Maphis, the Kentucky Colonels were the first bluegrass band to play Hollywood’s famed Ash Grove club.
  • The guitar instrumental Clarence jokingly titled “Julius Finkbine’s Rag” was named after a fan who always requested “Beaumont Rag.”
  • Exposed to East Coast audiences as guitarist on Eric Weissberg and Marshall Brickman’s influential Elektra LP, New Dimensions in Banjo and Bluegrass, 1963.

From the Archives

“I spent almost every hour with my guitar. It was my whole life in the ‘50s and early ‘60s but it was all acoustic playing, bluegrass mostly, with some Django Reinhardt… I might just as easily not gotten into bluegrass if [my brother Roland] had bought Elvis Presley records instead.”
Quoted by Pete Frame in Zigzag magazine (UK), July 1973.
“He didn’t copy anyone else. He profited by licks he heard me play, and different people play, but he made his own innovations, improvising and all.”
Doc Watson, in liner notes to Clarence White: 33 Acoustic Guitar Instrumentals, Sierra Records, 2000.
“There are few musicians whose name I would mention in the same breath with that of Clarence White, the greatest bluegrass lead guitar player of all time.”
John Kaparakis, in “The Bluegrass Alliance,” Bluegrass Unlimited, October 1969.
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