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New Discovery You Can Make To Improve Your Banjo’s Volume and Sound Quality

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

    

Hello fellow banjo players. 

I'm sorry that I have been absent from the Hangout for so long.  I hope that this blog entry makes up for my long absence and I think that it will.

Since I haven’t posted on the Hangout for a long time I need to introduce myself. I am a retired Army officer with a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering, retired solo tenor banjo entertainer (for 26 years) and now am an inventor/ maker of mechanical devices that use surface acoustic waves to improve the sound of stringed musical instruments.


Recently I made a wonderful discovery of a simple device that greatly improved the sound of my Gibson Mastertone tenor banjo, mandolin, tenor guitar and violin which cannot be patented and which I do not want to make and sell. I just want to tell people about it so they can make it themselves, which I will do here.


The discovery is that a small octagon of about 1-1/2 inches in diameter cut from thin 2-ply mahogany veneer (with scissors) and taped to the heel of the neck of a banjo with a 1-inch strip of 1/2-inch wide Gold Mylar® acrylic tape, will greatly improve the sound of the banjo and  probably any other acoustic stringed instrument. You can purchase the thin mahogany 2-ply veneer at any woodworkers store such as: "Rockler" and you can order the Mylar® tape from Amazon for $10.00 for a 50 yard roll.


It works because when musical instruments are played two things are produced - audible sound and inaudible surface acoustic waves (which are waves of energy like ripples on a lake) which you also can't hear. These ripples (of wood) on the banjo are analogous to the music.  The tape captures these waves of energy and deposits them on the octagon which reflects then from its eight edges toward the center. When these waves intersect similar waves they add algebraically and amplify, (by the Physics “Principle of Constructive Interference”) and they do this many times. This amplifies all frequencies including harmonics which are so necessary for beautiful sound.  The tape also transfers these greatly amplified waves, including harmonics so necessary for beautiful sound,  back to the banjo which converts them to improved audible sound.  This is why this very simple device improves sound quality.  Sound volume is improved because total audible sound energy is increased.  


As I said, I don't want to make and sell these (because I am 84 years old and have better things to do with my time).  You can make and sell them if you want to and I hope that somebody does.


One more thing. The octagon is easy to draw and cut out from paper as a pattern to trace on the mahogany veneer. Draw a circle (about 1-1/2 inches in diameter (for great low tones) and draw a pie with 45-degrees for each "slice". Then replace the curved edge of each "slice" (there are 8 of equal length) with a straight line and you’ll see the octagon.


When you finish trace the octagon on the mahogany veneer and cut it out with scissors, attach the tape and stick it to the heel of your banjo’s neck and play the banjo in the normal manner.  Expect to be amazed!

Frank Geiger (Yellowdog)
PS. I got the best sound when the tape and the lines (grains) of wood on the mahogany were in the same direction.

 

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GeigerAcousticDevices.com
Playing Since: 1950
Experience Level: Expert/Professional

yellowdog has made 7 recent additions to Banjo Hangout 

Interests:
[Helping]

Occupation: Retired Army, Invent & Sell Sound Enhancing Devices

Gender: Male
Age: 85

My Instruments:
Gibson Mastertone tenor (tuned CGDA), Violin. Tenor Guitar (GDAE).

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

Classified Rating: not rated
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Profile Info:
Visible to: Public
Created 7/20/2007
Last Visit 6/3/2022

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. 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, tenor guitar and violin. 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 now enjoy playing for my own entertainment and making and selling sound improvement attachments to banjos, guitars and violins from my website. 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 download the book free at the downloads page of my website. This year (2021) I've invented two new, inexpensive mechanical sound improvement attachments for bowed instruments (such as violins and violas) and picked instruments such as guitars, banjos, and mandolins., I will posr details on my website when they are ewady for sale. Prices will be around $20. All use Surface Acoustic Wave Technology, are guaranteed and come with an explanation of how they work. I've learned a lot from BHO members and hope I can help others by sharing what I've learned about sound mechanics.

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