Posted by yellowdog on Tuesday, July 4, 2017
June 2017 was the introductory month for my product, "Geiger Movable Tone Amplifier For All Banjos" (pat pend), which I invented to improve the sound quality and volume of all types of banjos, and also to give the experimental-minded banjo player an easy way of changing the banjo's tone "color" or timbre witn an optional "Tone Kit". The Tone Kit is a card containing three pre-taped, small five-sided polygons of very thin pieces of steel, brass and maple wood. June was selected to introduce the product because for several months I had been in contact with Bob Piekiel, a regular contributor to "Banjo Newsletter" (BNL), the well-known and long-published, international 5-string banjo players monthly magazine, (Circulation of 5,000+).
This came about because Bob had called me to ask for information about a unique banjo bridge that I invented many years ago, (Anybody remember the "Geiger Scientific Bridge"?), and I happened to mention my current dream of trying to come up with a mechanical banjo tone amplifier powered by the banjo's own sound surface waves - the tiny physical deformations on all surfaces of a musical instrument when it is played. Bob was very interested and offered to review it for Banjo Newsletter if it worked. Needless to say, his offer inspired the heck out of me and after that I kept Bob supplied with a long line of prototypes as they came into existence, most a little better than the previous effort, so Bob was able to see and hear my progress on his own instruments as the thing progressed from weird idea into reality. Bob aimed for the June issue of BNL for his review and I received my first order in early June shortly after it was published - from the wife of a banjo player who later ordered three more.
Later in June I placed an featured ad in Banjo Hangout under "Banjo Accessories" for three months, ordered one for the July issue of "All Frets" and a second ad in the August issue of BNL.
19 tone amps were sold in June, most with the optional tone kit. Most orders were from orders from the UK, Germany, France and Holland. Several were repeat orders which are always reassuring, and all comments made by customers were very positive. I learned from customer comments that the tone amo works on banjos with aluminum rims, especially when it is stuck to a coordinator rod. One customer had a great suggrstion to offer a sleeve to protect the tone amp and to secure it to the rim when it isn't in use. (Parts for a prototype as he described it are already on order and he and his friend will get the first two I make.
I am absolutely delighted with the success of this device because, at least to my knowledge, it is the first practical direct use of sound surface waves to improve the sound of a musical instrument, and so represents new knowledge which others can build on. That is why every tone amp comes with a detailed explanation of how it works. I believe that someday someone will use sound surface waves to achieve something good and in a way that has nothing to do with music. To me my banjo tone amp is a first step toward this goal.
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