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Virzi Tone Producer
The Virzi Tone Producer is a thin (perhaps 3/32"), oval piece of wood (straight-grained spruce or fir) which is mounted inside the body cavity of a mandolin (or mandowhatever, or guitar, or violin), suspended directly below the bridge and attached to the top of the instrument by a pair of 'feet'.
Dangling there, it provides a secondary vibrating surface which adds a new dimension to the sound dynamics inside the instrument's sound chamber.
It is thought to make the sound response more complex and mellow. It was principally used on violins prior to Lloyd Loar's employment with Gibson; Loar brought the idea and the rights to use it with him, and it started appearing on some Gibson instruments in 1922.
Remembering that the instruments of the time were designed to be played primarily by soloists and members of mandolin orchestras, the mellowness was probably a good idea and seemed to have been well accepted.
Bluegrass musicians as a rule tend not to like the Virzi sound, for mellow sound is considered a loss of volume; thus, the Virzis in many '20s mandolins have been removed.
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