Posted by yellowdog on Tuesday, March 16, 2010
(Added April 19, 2010): We added matching tone squares on each of the two cords on both Amp Buddy and Fiddle Amp, (no extra charge for now). The matching squares gave a much better sound and we wondered why until we realized that the tone squares and the harmonic amplifiers were symmetrical on both sides of the staple, which made us think that each cord was functioning as a surface wave oscillator. We also added thin galvanized steel wire (.33 mm diameter) compressive "twists" about the staple and the cord on both Amp Buddy and Fiddle Amp. This compressive wire twist compressed the fibers in the cord, which cause more wave intersections and more amplification, and caused more of the waves to enter the staple which would send them to the interior to be converted into audible sound. The result was greater volume and improved sound quality in fiddles when two wire twists were added - one each to the low frequency cord (maple squares) and the high frequency cord (steel squares). But this wasn't true of Amp Buddy which sounded best with only one wire twist added the the high frequency cord, which has the greatest impact on sound quality. (Perhaps because a fiddle's bow provides plenty of harmonics to Fiddle Amp so the fiddle needs volume more than any special treatment to amplify harmonics.) So that is the way we make them - two twists on Fiddle Amp and one on Amp Buddy. You can see the wire twists in the pic of the bottom view of Fiddle Amp best in our classified ad which enlarges the pic full screen, bou can see new photos of all of these changes in the Photos section here.
(Added April 6, 2010) We've added a "Guitar Sound Hole Booster Amp" to Amp Buddy (no extra charge) which gives guitars a huge volume boost as well as a noticeable increase in sound quality. This new part is simply threaded on the input cord and taped to the guitar top near the sound hole when Amp Buddy is used on guitars. Instructions are printed on the part. The new amp picks up sound surface waves at the sound hole edge, amplifies them and sends them to Amp Buddy for further amplification and conversion into audible sound. Amplified surface waves from the side of the guitar are already on the cord from a similar amplifier on the side of the guitar so Amp Buddy has a lot in the pipeline. It sounds great and the volume is incredible. Pics are in the Photos section here and in our ad under "Banjo Accessories".
February 21, 2010 on my calendar has a pencil entry, "Fiddle Bug Brainstorm". That was the day that I had an idea for a new type of tone amp which, by today (March 16, 2010, less than a month later), the new tone amp has made all of our tone amp products OBSOLETE! - Meaning it REPLACED everything that we were offering for guitars, banjos, and mandolins!
This is because the new tone amp, named, "Amp Buddy", truly is a universal mechanical tone amplifier because it seems to work in any stringed musical instrument with a sound chamber. (Except I'm not sure that it is big enough to make a noticeable difference in the sound of a double bass or piano.) Originally designed for fiddles, it works much better than our former products in my Gibson Mastertone, Gold Tone short neck open back tenor, F-style mandolin, fiddle and jumbo guitar.
There are several reasons why "Amp Buddy" works so well:
The first is because it uses audible sound in the sound chamber as an input. It converts the audible sound, the air pressure waves, into sound surface waves and processes those. This happens when the air pressure waves impact waxed fibers in waxed, braided cotton cords. The wax and the fibers are easily deformed by the air pressure waves into surface waves which travel down the cord. If the fibers touch the walls of the sound chamber so much the better, because they will pick up surface waves from those surfaces and add them to the ones that it created from the audible sound. Since Amp Buddy only needs audible sound to work it can be suspended in an open back banjo (or closed back banjo) hanging by a thread, as seen in the photos in my Banjo Hangout ad for Amp Buddy, (or just click the green "Photos" button above my picture to the left). In instruments with sound chambers where Amp Buddy won't fall out, it is simply inserted into the sound chamber except for a retrieval thread which hangs to the side (fiddle) or back (mandolin, guitar) of the instrument.
The second reason that it works so well is that the body of Amp Buddy is a bellows. You can also think of it as a tiny sound chamber much like a guitar with huge sound ports on both sides. The body of Amp Buddy creates audible sound inside this bellows or tiny sound chamber using our old tried and true method of diverging air space, (it has two), and the bellows effect caused by the large movement of the top of the body which has a center hole. The top is moving because all of the greatly amplified surface waves from the bottom of Amp Buddy go up opposite sides of the top and essentially "crash" near the hole at the center of the top. Because the top is thin paper it is undulating on its surface and its edges are rippling big time. This motion forces the air, now containing audible sound, out of the tiny sound chamber, out of the two thin sides and the small center hole. As they pass the rippling edges of these openings, (over eight inches of rippling edges), they pick up even more sound. This audible sound enters the sound chamber of the instrument as positive feedback to the sound that is already there. Distances and sizes are so small that there is no noticeable phase delay - no echo. The huge amplification of Amp Buddy is due to the size of this positive feedback.
(Paragraph added April 6, 2010):The third reason this thing works so well is that it contains a harmonic frequency amplifier on the thread attached to it which is used to suspend Amp Buddy in a banjo (or guitar) or as a retrieval thread. There are two more of these next to the wood veneer and steel "tone squares". These tiny amplifiers are constructed entirely of thin acrylic tape which we've known is a wonderful conductor or surface waves. They are made in a way that creates very small amplifying loops next to the cords, which the waves enter and amplify when then return to the cord and meet waves of the same frequency from a different direction. We know these are harmonic amplifiers because we added them one at a time next to the steel and the wood veneer squares and the quality of the sound of the instrument went way up right after they were added. - The quality of the highs went up when one was added next to the steel and the quality of the lows went up when we added one next to the maple veneer.
What a delightful month of discovery this has been. Many years ago I drove miles to hear the famous inventor of geodesic domes, Buckminster Fuller, give a lecture in New York City. In his lecture I was surprised to hear him say that he believed all of his ideas came to him as electromagnetic energy from outer space - other worlds- and so were not really his. (He said his brain was a radio receiver.) I don't know where my ideas come from but I feel equally undeserving and don't claim much credit for them, if any. But I am very grateful for them wherever they come from, and also for the opportunity to share them with others. - Not only as products to improve musical sound but as wonderful experiences of discovery, as I am doing now. The idea for Amp Buddy was a sudden, almost instant, success coming after seven years of tinkering, sometimes blindly, with this and that. (Anybody want to buy some brass or tools?) If Amp Buddy really was my idea, I would be very proud of it!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010 @11:50:50 AM
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