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Movable Tone Amp For Guitars, Violins, Banjos, Mandolins & More

Posted by yellowdog on Tuesday, March 7, 2017


Note:  For an update on my new movable tone amp for guitars, banjos, violins and mandolins read the last two or three recently written paragraphs here and note the drawing shown in the Photos section here.

Read my previous blog for background on a very exciting new product now being tested - a MOVABLE mechanical tone amplifier for acoustic guitars, violins, banjos, mandolins and many more acoustic stringed instruments.  It is designed to improve both the volume and sound quality of those instruments and, so far, appears to do so.

To use it you simply tape the tone amp temporarily to the to the top of your instrument near its sound opening, or in the case of a banjo in the banjo's sound chamber on the top inside surface of the banjo's wood rim.  It's "movable" because you can move it about on any instrument if you wish or move it to your other instruments by "unsticking" the tape. (Extra tape will be provided.)  Click on the "Photos" button over my picture to see a drawing of this amazing device.  

Most people and especially musicians will find it hard to believe that this tone amplifier, which is nothing more than a piece of heavy paper and two different types of clear plastic adhesive tape attached, can improve both the volume and sound quality of a musical instrument.  (People at one time didn't believe the existence of germs either since germs can't be seen; so it doesn't surprise us that most people will doubt the existence of sound surface waves which can't be heard.)  Our device picks up sound surface waves, (which are tiny deformations on all surfaces of the instrument) by contact, amplifies them (by the physics principle of "constructive interference"), and then converts (by vibration) into audible sound.    Our design emphasizes amplification of harmonic frequencies which improves sound quality.  An explanation of this "theory of operation" along with directions for use will be included with the product when it is sold.

The current status of development is that the tone amp is in an early test phase by musicians.  The tone amp was first tested by me with wonderful results in my Gibson tenor, Gold Tone CC Irish Tenor with resonator removed, a student violin, a Baby Taylor guitar, and in an inexpensive f-hole mandolin.  Last week I mailed a dozen tone amps to a regular contributor to "Five String Newsletter" for his opinion and to give to others for their opinions and suggestions.  

Take a good look at the drawing (in the photos section here) and you may be able to figure out a lot about how the tone amp works.  Except that surface waves are also on the back surface of the device and are controlled by tape not shown in the drawing.  You will have to purchase one to see what we did on the back surface and to get a more detailed explanation of how it works.  - But it will be inexpensive for sure since it is nothing more than paper and tape!

You've got to hear this thing to believe it.

Oh, by the way, earthquakes are also sound surface waves - REALLY  big ones!

Frank Geiger (yellowdog)

NOTE:  (03/17/2017) Today I added a new photo showing changes I made to the tone amp, so be sure to check the Photos Section of this Homepage to see them: (1) A staple was added on the low frequency side of the tone amp.  A staple acts as a unique sound surface wave amplifier by picking up sound surface waves at the points of the staple and causing them to meet on the other side of the paper at the center of the staple.  This added staple (in the gray area  the drawing) improved the volume and sound quality of the lows. (2) A section of thin tape was added on the lower right of the high frequency side.  The thin tape moves more easily than the paper under the influence of high frequencies (harmonics) and improves the sound quality of all notes and especially the highs.  These changes made to the tone amp today were the first that significantly improved the sound quality and volume of my rented violin, which I always thought sounded unusually good. So I'm hoping that it can improve the sound of others just as well. Be sure to check out the photo.  (FG)

ADDED NOTE: (03/21/2017)  Yesterday and today I conducted a number of experiments to improve the tone amp which were successful almost beyond belief when the tone amp was installed in my 17-fret, open back Gold Tone CC "Irish" tenor banjo and in my student grade violin.  What was different about this test was that the tape in the earlier version (mentioned above) was replaced by two very thin, small rectangles of steel and brass.  These rectangles were stuck to the adhesive of an equally long piece of transparent tape applied to the back of the tone amp to give a high degree of freedom of movement to any motion of the metal rectangles.  In the test I preferred the sound of the brass rectangle in the banjo and the sound of the steel in the violin.  In both instruments the volume, clarity, sustain and pleasantness of the sounds were vastly superior to anything that I had tried previously in these instruments.  I made a colored drawing of these changes to the tone amp and posted it here.  You can see it by clicking on the Photos button above my picture on the left.  It is the photo on the far right of those shown.   In the coming weeks I will offer this version of the tone amp for sale, announce it here and will advertise it on BHO.  Both metal rectangles, instructions, and an explanation of how the tone amp works will be included with every tone amp sold.  I haven't decided on the price.  (FG)

ADDED NOTE: (3/26/2017)  Last week I took my rented violin to the violin store where I had rented it to ask if it was for sale. - Not because I wanted to play violin again; I needed the violin to demonstrate how my new tone amp improves the sound of a violin.  I also wanted to get their opinion of the sound of the violin with the tone amp attached.  Needless to say the tone amp got a lot of attention.  Another sales clerk was called over to get her opinion because she was a professional violinist when not working in the store.  She certainly knew how to play it and did for some time, with and without the tone amp.  Her conclusion was that the sounds were very similar but that my tone amp had increased the duration of the sound.  More important, she asked me to remove a staple which was on the tone amp to see what the sound would be without it.  I did and she said she preferred the sound with the staple.  She also had several other comments that told me I needed to minimize the sound waves on the back side of the tone amp since they were probably competing with those on the front.  I took the tone amp home and made four changes including adding a second staple to improve the lows.  I also moved the output tape from the steel or brass resonator to the front surface instead of to the back surface of the tone amp and removed back and front tape covers from the hole at the center of the cross.  When I played this new tone amp on my Gibson tenor, 17-fret Gold Tone CC Irish tenor, violin, Baby Taylor guitar and inexpensive f-hole mandolin I could immediately hear the improvement in the sound of all of these instruments.  Not only were the lows louder and of higher quality but the highs were also.  I made two and mailed them to a 5-string player who had committed to evaluate them and made more for all of my instruments, convinced that this "version #10" was finally the end of the line.  I've posted a colored drawing of it in the Photos Section of my homepage here if you want to see it and am halfway through rewriting the instructions today.  (FG)





1 comment on “Movable Tone Amp For Guitars, Violins, Banjos, Mandolins & More”

yellowdog Says:
Monday, September 18, 2017 @5:52:18 PM

A month or so ago I decided that my tone amp worked so much better on banjos of all types than it did on other instruments, so I decided to market the tone amp for use on banjos only. I believe that the reason for this large difference in efficiency is due to the fact that sound surface waves, required by the tone amp, are both concentrated and easily accessible on banjos because they travel around and around the inside surface of a banjo's rim repeatedly. So they can be easily captured in great number with a short piece of acrylic tape without noticeably degrading the banjo's sound. This is not true on the other instruments without modifying the instruments.

Frank Geiger

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