Tone Guards

Strings, picks, tuners, amps, cases, tailpieces, mics, etc plus related discussion.

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Tone Guards

Postby mandopat » Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:58 pm

Hello,
I was at the newcastleton weekend recently and met lyndsay marshall. He gave me canny advice and thought my savannah 120 would benefit with the addition of a tone guard.
What benefits?
I play trad scot/irish/northumbrian tunes and,I'm told,can be heard in most sessions!
I'm using Elixir's 0.11 now and a heavy 1.4mm pick.
Eric
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Postby Ray(T) » Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:10 pm

My take on this depends whether you play standing up or sitting down.

The back of a mandolin tends to vibrate (don't ask me why!) and certainly contributes to the sound. (Whether it improves it is a matter of opinion and if you only mic up the front you're not going to hear much of the back anyway.)

A Toneguard keeps the mandolin away from your body which muffles the sound of the back. If you play sitting down you can generally adopt a posture which keeps it away making a Toneguard unnecessary.

Personally, I would only bother if I had a top-end instrument but have a serious listen to yourself holding the Savannah against and away from your body to see if you can hear any difference. I don't think its a volume thing, just a matter of tone.

If you buy one, you should then think of fitting an armrest, upgrading your tailpiece, buying better tuners, improving your bridge, changing the strings more often .......... or you could buy a banjo! Welcome to the forum by the way.
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Postby Dave Hanson » Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:15 pm

Just why a few yards of wire should cost so much money is beyond me, anyway I play with the strap over my right shoulder only and this naturally keeps the back of the mandolin away from the body.

Site administrator Barry uses them but a very expensive gimmick in my opinion.

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Postby colirv » Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:06 am

Ray(T) wrote:Personally, I would only bother if I had a top-end instrument but have a serious listen to yourself holding the Savannah against and away from your body to see if you can hear any difference. I don't think its a volume thing, just a matter of tone.


Absolutely, but perhaps better still see if you can get someone else to do it for you.

Eric - are you within reach of Washington?
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Postby MattHutchinson » Fri Jul 16, 2010 11:37 am

I have one on my flatiron A and it makes a big difference when I play standing up (not so much when I play seated though). For me it's worth the cash as it makes the instrument sound noticeably more open

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Toneguards

Postby John Kelly » Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:36 pm

As Colin says, better to get someone else to have a listen. We never really accurately hear our instruments when we are playing them, as the bulk of the sound is projected from the soundhole and away from us. More guitar makers are now adding tone ports to the upper bouts of their guitars to let the player have a better idea of how the instrument is sounding. How much this improves the sound to the player is still open to discussion, and there is also the question of how the overall sound is affected by the additional hole in the side of the instrument. The jury is out.
JK Mandolins - handcrafted in Argyll, Scotland
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Postby Barry » Mon Jul 19, 2010 1:29 pm

My Tone Gard helps the sound but lifting the instrument away from your body make the sound more open and does have the advantage of protecting the back of the instrument from scratches.

But they are expensive as they are handmade and the price is not helped by the exchange rate at present.

I play f style mandolins so it may not be as noticeable on oval whole instruments.
Last edited by Barry on Sat Jul 24, 2010 9:33 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Ray(T) » Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:47 pm

You could always try lashing one together yourself if you were so inclined - http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/showt ... -Tone-Gard
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Postby david blair » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:36 am

A tone guard allows the back to vibrate more freely. I noticed a more "hollow" or airy sound, and increased projection from my mandolin.
But I no longer use it after changing my strap.
The way you wear your strap can make a difference, over the head or shoulder only, or over both. Over both allows the least freedom. Most go over the shoulder as did Monroe who wore a Stetson hat. I prefer over head.

It does protect from a fall.
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Strap Position?

Postby mandopat » Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:45 pm

Am I thick or what?
I thought there was only one way!
I take aboard every thing discussed.
I'll rig something up myself and get a lad to play for my pleasure!
I laugh at myself :smile: ...I once ventured to the kitchen whilst picking the Scholar,I noticed the change in tone,and put it down to the reflective worksurfaces.It could have been that the beast was hanging away from the empty belly!
I bow to logical minds!
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