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New Tone Amps for Guitars and Mandolins Join our Banjo Tone Amp (Updated 11/05/09)

Posted by yellowdog on Thursday, October 22, 2009

They are not on my website yet but we have new mechanical tone amplifiers for guitars and mandolins that have joined our new banjo tone amp (which is also still not on our website).  You can see them in my photo album here.  Just click the "Photos" button above my photo and be sure to click each photo for a description.  Expect to see and read something entirely new and exciting!

The banjo product is discussed and pictured in the accessories section of the classifieds.  I use them in both of my performance banjos, which are the ones pictured here.  They work fantastically well amplifying and improving the quality of the sound and controlling the timbre of each banjo just the way I like it for my solo performances and in Irish sessions.

The mandolin product works on mandolins and similar small instruments.  Or, at least (since it is brand new) it works great on my mandolin and performed beautifully in Bluegrass jams with great volume and wonderful highs and lows.  Unlike the banjo tone amp it uses waxed, braided cotton cord to transfer surface waves from the side of the instrument to the emitter which is suspended by the cord loop in the sound hole.  Please don't laugh at the cord; It not only efficiently transfers the sound surface waves on its fibers but amplifies them because the waves intersect since the cord is braided!  (Intersecting waves of the same or similar frequencies amplify.)   Timbre is changed by threading "tone squares" (thin, 1-inch squares of brass, steel and two different wood veneers) loosely on the cord, as seen in the photo in the photo album here. 

The mandolin product worked so well that we were sure that it would work just as well on a guitar.  Maybe it will on a small guitar but when we hung one in a jumbo guitar, SUPRISE, it made absolutely no difference in the sound of the guitar!  It simply didn't have enough "punch".  So we developed a guitar version with plenty of punch to drive a huge guitar.  It isn't being sold yet but you can see it and read about it in my photo album here.  Be sure to click on the photo for a detailed description.  But here just let me say that the "punch" to drive the jumbo was provided by two surface wave collectors, on the side and at the sound hole edge; and also two sound emitters, a brass cross pair for mid and low frequencies and a treated paper star for high and harmonic frequencies, - the same emitter we use in the mandolin except that only one is used and it is mounted differently.

Be sure to check  out the banjo tone amp in BHO's accessories classifieds.  The website should be updated in a couple of weeks with all new products including more information about how they work.  I actually hope we don't come up with any more tone amps for a while so that the new website can finally get posted!


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