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Wonderful New "Tone Brightener/Amplifier/Enhancer" for Inexpensive Banjos

Posted by yellowdog on Thursday, January 6, 2011

 For the past two weeks I have been playing my Gold Tone CC Irish Tenor open back banjo, (GDAE), with a new device taped to the inside of the wood rim.  This new device totally amazes me because it made my very inexpensive and simple banjo sound every bit like a very expensive fine banjo.  The new sound is (or can be) extremely loud, clear and has good sustain.  It also has a wonderful "impact" characteristic (short rise time in volume) when the strings are first struck, treasured by most banjo players and especially jazz and Irish music players.

I submitted a provisional patent application for it immediately and can now start selling them.  I shipped the first one yesterday to someone in the medical field who is building very simple, easy to play stringed instruments to be used in music therapy.  The device should work in any stringed instrument so I am anxious to hear how it works in his.

I don't have pictures of the new banjo tone brightener as of today but please click on "Photos" on the left to see they are there yet.

The new banjo tone brighteners are very simple and consist of an hour glass shaped piece of very thin brass containing a hole, a piece of nickel coated spring steel shaped in a modified open loop and four pieces of sound surface wave conducting tape, two pieces on each end.  The tape is applied in a special way (patent pending) that not only collects the surface waves from the banjo's wood rim but amplifies them before they enter the brass.  The tape also insures that identical waves enter the top and bottom surfaces of the brass in phase, so that the waves on the bottom surface of the thin brass are "pushing up" on the brass while the waves on the top surface are "pulling up" on the brass, causing maximum motion of the brass.  The way that the tape is applied also keeps the brass shape elevated above the wood rim and so gives maximum flexibility of the entire device, essentially causing the tape to act as a suspension system for the device.  The wire open loop between the two holes creates an amplifying feedback loop for the already amplified surface waves on the brass and is an equal partner to these other features in creating the amazing volume and sustain.

I finished the instructions and packaging yesterday and have everything needed to make and sell them in quantity so am announcing them for sale now.  I will put an ad in the classifieds as soon as I take a picture.  The product comes with a roll of 300 inches of extra tape which you won't need to use for some time, because the device is easily repositioned simply by lifting it up from the wood rim and putting it down somewhere else, including in another banjo.  Instructions with two drawings are also included.

They will be $15 plus $3 postage/handling to US or Canada destinations and $6 to anywhere else.  Payment must be in US dollars by check on a US bank only (sorry, Canada) or you can pay by credit card.  Paypal payments for the full amount should be credited to Paypal account  

It is possible that the new banjo tone brightener has too much amplification for some resonator banjos because too much amplification can cause echo distortions in the sound chamber.  The instructions say that if the banjo sounds better without the resonator than with it with the device installed, then remove the wire from the sheet brass to reduce the amount of amplification.  The other option is to leave off the resonator which I appreciate some would not want to do.  (I don't even use a resonator on my Gibson tenor, even when playing outdoors, because the quality of sound is better without it and my devices provide more than enough volume.)   If these don't work send it back for a refund.

The new ideas used in the new banjo tone brightener were successfully applied to a new mandolin amplifier and tone enhancer and I have been using it in my octave mandolin for the last two weeks.  One of the ideas also improved the fiddle product and I will be trying another feature of the new banjo device in the fiddle product today.  And next week will see how they work in the guitar product.  It has been interesting to see how discoveries made for one instrument apply to the other instruments that I work with.

I had these new products in my Irish banjo and in my octave mandolin last night playing in our Irish pub session.  The banjo was never easier to play because you hardly have to touch the strings for the banjo sound to come out loud and clear.  I was actually hoping that the pub would be noisy and packed so that I could put the volume to a good test!

Oh, one more thing.  Mark this date, January 6, 2011, on your calendar.   It is the official date of the end of "Thunka-Thunka" banjos.  Which means that if you have a thunka-thunka banjo and eighteen spare dollars in your pocket, and if you are still making thunka-thunka sounds with it next week after having read this, it is entirely possible that you deserve thunka-thunka!   :-)

2 comments on “Wonderful New "Tone Brightener/Amplifier/Enhancer" for Inexpensive Banjos”

Stuart Bowen Says:
Thursday, January 6, 2011 @9:52:43 AM

Good luck with that. Might help to post some sound files.

rinemb Says:
Thursday, January 6, 2011 @11:36:31 AM

Good idea. Lets hear some "before&after" sound files. on a variety of banjos. Thanks, Brad

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