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Just Announced: "Butterfly Dream Sustaining Amplifier for Banjos, Guitars and Mandos

Friday, February 9, 2018

Yesterday, I announced an exciting new product from Geiger Acoustic Devices named the "Butterfly Dream Sustaining Amplifier For Banjos, Guitars and Mandolins",  Like our other amplifiers it is a mechanical and movable temporary attachment and is powered by the instrument's sound surface waves.  But unlike our other products, in addition to improving the sound of my Gibson Mastertone tenor banjo it also did the same for my round hole acoustic guitar and F-hole mandolin. -(Simply by taping it to any of those instruments!)

I've posted complete details about it on my website including two free downloadable documents - a "Theory and Instructions" document (a two two-page narrative), and a one-page fully annotated drawing which clearly shows how it works.  You will probably find those downloads very interesting and easy to understand.  The "Theory and Instructions" document was updated on February 12, 2018, so if you downloaded it before then please download the revised document which is Rev 4, a PDF file.

I originally called this amplifier a "timbre amplifier" but changed the name to a "sustaining amplifier" because "sustain" is its most noticeable feature.  I also added the word, "Dream" in the title because I've always dreamed of owning a banjo with a great banjo sound and with the sustain of a guitar.  I wrote yesterday that to me this amplifier is like a "Dream come true"  because it does just that for my banjo and should for yours.

Great sustain isn't an advantage for all types of music, of course, and the sustain of this amplifier may be too much for playing fast Bluegrass music. (Because the first note played may still be sounding when the second note is played.)  But it's outstanding volume should be a big plus for playing Bluegrass as well as any style.

The outstanding sustain and volume are the result of both the materials and design.  Materials include brass foil glued to walnut (or maple if you wish) veneer for a great banjo sound, and its design is based on the surface wave-sustaining nature of two contiguous octagons joined along one edge which provides an amplifying, continuous "figure-8-like" route to sound surface waves.  The device uses four of these contiguous octagon shapes, two of which are bent in half which makes it look like a butterfly "flying" (hanging) in the banjo's sound chamber by its sound surface wave input tape.

I'll be posting an ad for it on BHO soon but you can order one now from our website.

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Playing Since: 1950
Experience Level: Expert/Professional

yellowdog has made 11 recent additions to Banjo Hangout 


Occupation: retired

Gender: Male
Age: 80

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 4/25/2018

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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