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New Tone Amplifiers For Acoustic Stringed Instruments

Posted by yellowdog on Saturday, June 25, 2011

For the past several weeks I have been playing my Gibson tenor banjo (CGDA), Gold Tone CC Irish Tenor (GDAE),  Baby Taylor guitar with four strings tuned (GDAE), (my poor man's tenor guitar), and my Trinity College octave mandolin (GDAE), with new tone control amplifiers which I invented (patent pending).   They really do sound great with these new gadgets which are very simple.  -Only one piece of cut and punched heavy paper and two pieces of 1/2-inch wide Scotch "Gloss Finish Transparent Tape"!  One piece of the tape covers one far end of the paper and is a sound surface wave amplifying protective cover.  The second piece of tape is a couple of inches long with one end cut into a point and looks like an arrow.  The serrated end (serrated from cutting it with the tape dispenser), covers the protective tape.  This tape arrow carries sound surface waves to the device from where it is stuck to the instrument. 

In a banjo this new tone amplifier is simply stuck to the inside top of the wood rim when the banjo is in playing position so that it hangs in the sound chamber.  Little 3/8" x 3/8" squares of wood veneers, thin brass or thin steel can be stuck under the pointed piece of tape to change the timbre of the sound if desired.  In a round hole guitar the paper is taped to the top edge of the sound hole and extends over the sound hole.  In the other instruments the paper is inserted just inside the sound opening and the tape is stuck to the near side of the sound opening.

There are two models of these - one for violins and violas, called "FiddleFish"™ and another one, called "Tone Fish"™, for everything else including banjos, guitars, mandolins, etc.   (The fiddle's high  harmonics and bow input required the special treatment.)  Eventually,  I will offer them for sale, probably for $14  plus $1 postage.  Right now I'm trying to get feedback from players to see how they like them.  If you are interested in trying one send me a private message and let me know and you may get a free one in return for your honest comments.  I can't make any promises, however, because I don't know how many will respond to this offer.   After I get the feedback I'll put them up for sale on my website.

Keep in mind that these are mechanical sound amplifiers as well as tone enhancers, so they can amplify too much in a closed sound chamber such as in a resonator banjo, and result in undesirable echos.  And they can also be too loud in a fiddle which is played under the chin.  But they work great in my open back banjos and fiddle.  I've played two two hour outdoor strolling gigs with them in my Gibson, which I play without a resonator, and the volume was more than adequate.  But a  more important advantage than the volume is the very noticeable improvement in sound quality.

You can see photos (scans) of these in the Photos section here by clicking the Photos button above my picture.

Let me know if you are interested in participating in these trials.  You won't have to return anything except your honest opinion of how it sounds in your instrument.  They are easy to install and remove and won't damage your instrument.

Frank Geiger


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