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Supercharged, Movable, Tunable Tone Amplifier For All Banjos

Friday, June 8, 2018

     I just posted an ad with a drawing and detailed explanation under "Banjo Accessories" for a new "Supercharged, Movable, Tunable Tone Amplifier For All Banjos".  This is a very exciting improvement to all previous banjo tone amplifiers that I have offered for sale so please check  out the ad.  You'll find it interesting whether you purchase the tone amp or not.

     Much like a car supercharger compresses air before it enters the car's engine, this new supercharger banjo tone amplifier greatly amplifies and "tunes" sound surface waves from the banjo's rim before they enter the body of the tone amp.  One could say with justification that I should have called it a "turbocharger" because it uses the banjo's output, the banjo's air pressure waves of audible sound in the sound chamber, to create sound surface waves when they impact the tape and braided cord and create sound surface wave inputs.  Which is true.  So it really is both a supercharger and turbocharger but I'll call it a supercharger for simplicity.

     The "supercharger" (See drawing in the ad) consists of: (1) a 4-3/4-inch long piece of waxed, braided nylon cord, 2-1/4 inches of which is covered with 3M's Model 600 clear acrylic tape. (2) The tape, which sticks the cord to the wood rim and, more important, adds surface waves to the cord all along the tape's contact length with the surface wave-amplifying, waxed, braided cord.  (The braided cord amplifies waves on its fibers because the fibers intersect at an angle causing their waves to intersect at an angle and be amplified by the physics principle of "constructive interference".); (3) a size #1 steel paper clip (the standard size) at the far tape-free end of the cord which provides 3 small amplifying steel loops to the surface waves on the cord, (small loops amplify), and also amplifies waves on the fibers of the cord by compressing the fibers causing the waves to intersect and amplify, (constructive interference, again), and adds brightness to the banjo's sound from the steel; and, (4) a staple at the tone amp end of the cord which compresses the fibers of the cord causing surface waves on the fibers to intersect and amplify and which also attaches the cord securely to the top of the cross on the tone amp.  

     The Tone Amp body, itself, is unchanged from earlier models.

     One paper clip gives great volume with beautiful high quality sound with just the right amount of sustain for solos on my tenor banjo.  A 2-inch long steel paper clip gave my banjo a very strong sound but with less sound quality and sustain, perhaps better for a 5-string banjo.  More than one may or may not give a better sound but should be tried because trying is as easy as adding a paper clip to a cord.

     I'm glad that I did not post any recordings before thinking of this supercharged tone amp because it is going to make my playing sound a whole lot better for demos, and my playing needs all the help it can get!

     Frank Geiger  (Yellowdog)  (06/08/2018)

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Playing Since: 1950
Experience Level: Expert/Professional

yellowdog has made 2 recent additions to Banjo Hangout 


Occupation: retired

Gender: Male
Age: 81

My Instruments:
Gibson Mastertone tenor (tuned CGDA), a modified Gold Tone Irish Tenor (tuned GDAE).

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
John Cali, Eddy Davis, Tim Allan and Howard Alden

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Visible to: Public
Created 7/20/2007
Last Visit 10/15/2018

THEN: Born and grew up in Brunswick, Georgia on the coast. After high school I went one year to Georgia Tech in Atlanta and then to West Point where I graduated in 1960. After a 20 year Army Career in Infantry and Ordnance Corps I retired from the Army and sold computer and engineering software and services for a number of companies and did some part-time college-level math teaching and tutoring. Along the way and later I performed professionally as a tenor banjo soloist/vocalist for over 26 years in the Atlanta, Georgia area - mostly putting on one-hour solo shows for seniors by playing and singing old popular "hits" often called "America's Songbook". I also include a few early jazz, blues, country, and unusual tin pan alley tunes and included short, interesting anecdotes between tunes about the old performers, composers and times. Recently for seven years until 2015 I also played Irish style tenor banjo on a GDAE tenor before losing interest and going back to playing old American hits using chord melody on my CGDA tuned Gibson tenor. NOW: Arthritis and a broken left hip in 2015 (which resulted in a loss of feeling in my left hand fingertips) effectively stopped my banjo playing, but the feeling is returning to my fingertips and I hope to entertain again on a very reduced schedule and perhaps do a little recording if I can play well enough. I enjoy reading non-fiction, especially related to new discoveries in science, new inventions and methods which were used to advance knowledge. Several years ago I wrote a 30-page book (PDF file) titled "Build Any Chord, Anywhere" for tenor banjos and other fifths-tuned instruments which uses a unique color graphics approach to understand and build chords. The first part of the book explains the basics of chord theory so is applicable to any chord instrument but the focus is toward instruments tuned CGDA or GDAE. Prior knowledge of music isn't necessary to use the methods in the book. You can read the book at this link courtesy of Calgary Uke: I've learned a lot from BHO members and hope I can help others by sharing what I've learned about banjo sound mechanics and playing and entertaining with the tenor.

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