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Thread: Arm Rests & Tone Guards?

  1. #1
    String Plucker Soupy1957's Avatar
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    Default Arm Rests & Tone Guards?

    Anyone still making wooden arm rests? Recommendations?

    How about the Tone Guards for the backs of mandolins? I bought one for one of my Mando’s once; even did a couple of videos at the time, about the difference with and without. Waste of money these days??

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6McSEdGxtIM

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pzsv6Ei-JMQ

    What I find interesting about (I think it’s video number two) These videos, is that I mention Curt Mangan strings. I had forgotten that I tried them once before.
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    Registered User Jesse Kinman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm Rests & Tone Guards?

    I bought a used Mclung armrest (http://hillcountrystringworks.comoff of the classifieds and I really like it! I had a thinner armrest in the past, but I never liked the looks of it.
    From what I understand, Doug Edwards is going into retirement after the new year, so I guess he will be stopping production of the Mclung armrests
    I currently have another armrest and a pickguard on order from him from a few weeks back, and he didn’t tell me he wasn’t making them at that time, so I guess I wasn’t too Late.
    I also just got a Tone-Gard for use with my new Kentucky, and I would say it’s definitely not a waste of money! It’s definitely not magic or a “tone producer”, but for me, a fat guy, it keeps the mandolin off of my belly and works like it’s advertised to.
    The only way I can see someone not benefiting from a Tone-Gard is if they are super skinny and hold the mandolin more perpendicular to the front of their body instead of parallel. Or if they only play sitting down with the mandolin held out away from them(uncomfortably to me)
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Arm Rests & Tone Guards?

    can't go wrong with Doug, he is the very best. I bought a few of his arm rest & I love him. his inlay work is second to none. check his web page I also think he sells tone gards.

  4. #4
    Registered User Drew Streip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm Rests & Tone Guards?

    Cafe user Soliver makes good ones! I've had one of his for about a year now.

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    Registered User CWRoyds's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm Rests & Tone Guards?

    I have a McClung on both of my mandolins, and love them.
    I just bought one for my Northfield, as he just completed a batch.
    They are awesome arm rests.

    As for the tonegard, I find them to be a must for my mandolins.
    It isn’t that I can’t play without one, but I like not having to think about the back touching my body.
    You can play with abandon and not worry about it.
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    Default Re: Arm Rests & Tone Guards?

    I find the tonegard works fine but tad heavy for everyday use around the house and weekly group. I do like it and will hang onto it to take to larger open or outdoor jams maybe.

    The McClung armrest is something I keep on all time. I have two in ebony but my favorite one came quite thinner and smoother than the other - a different type ebony I recall. The angle makes it feel/work better for me than the ones that lie flat but I do wish he could custom make them even thinner. I saw one in the classifieds once that had been sanded down by 4-5mm.

  8. #7
    Registered User Denman John's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm Rests & Tone Guards?

    I have 2 McClung armrests and another on the way (it cleared customs a couple of days ago so it might make it under the tree). I've gotten used to the slight change of hand angle that it produces, and it take a bit of getting used to when I play a mandolin without an armrest now.

    My son and I both use tone-gards and we can both tell a difference with or without one. I find that it gives the mandolin a bit more resonance. YMMV but I would say try one and see if it works for you. I imagine that they are pretty easy to sell here in the classifieds if you decide that it's not your cup of tea.

    Good luck and enjoy the journey.

    John
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  9. #8
    String Plucker Soupy1957's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm Rests & Tone Guards?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Wilson View Post
    I find the tonegard works fine but tad heavy for everyday use around the house and weekly group........
    You know, it’s funny you should say that, because MY memory of using one, was the same. It seemed to work fine, in terms of what it was designed to do, but seemed to add enough weight to force a revision to the way I handled the mandolin. Part of the attraction of the mandolin for me, is the lightweight aspects of the instrument.
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  10. #9
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm Rests & Tone Guards?

    The weight of the Tone-gard is negligible and if nothing else it would help with the heavy headstock balance nature of some mandolins. It's the only accessory I recommend to everyone. There are a dozen or more threads here praising the product. This is probably the only negative leaning thread on the cafe regarding the product.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=tone...nt=firefox-b-1
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  12. #10
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    Default Re: Arm Rests & Tone Guards?

    I hope my comment wasn’t negative. I do like how it works.

  13. #11
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm Rests & Tone Guards?

    For what it's worth this is a partial list of professional Tone-gard users and what they have to say about the product. Grisman, Thile, Skaggs, etc. They apparently like and use the product.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  14. #12
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm Rests & Tone Guards?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Wilson View Post
    I hope my comment wasn’t negative. I do like how it works.
    Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I just don't want some newbie coming in and reading this and assuming it's a bad product. It's a great product. We've had members that don't like them. That's a valid opinion.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  15. #13
    Registered User Doug Edwards's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm Rests & Tone Guards?

    Yes, I'm planning to retire after the first of the year. However I'll continue to produce some McClung armrests and such. (the wife says I'll get bored, we'll see) I won't be taking orders, they'll show up on the website or Cafe Classifieds. I have quite a few ebonized woods and ebony in production and some HD maples.

    I'm so grateful and thankful for my customers. They are the most considerate and loyal bunch you could hope to have. I have a few that have bought a dozen or more throughout the years and many of you have recommended the McClung to your friends. Thanks

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  17. #14
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm Rests & Tone Guards?

    Tone gard and armrests on all my mandolins. Weight in not an issue due to continued efforts with 12-16oz curls!
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  19. #15
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm Rests & Tone Guards?

    I haven't been playing mandolin very long, but have had three armrests and I am not a "loyalist" at all, because I love each one and they were all from a different maker. I really like having an armrest now.

    The first was an ebony McClung, and I have to say that Doug's work is excellent and he is a pleasure to deal with. As he has chimed in above, you probably won't get any custom requests from him at this point, but he makes a great quality product and has been popular with other cafe users for a long time.

    The second was a custom armrest from Spencer Oliver, username soliver in the forums, and again I am very happy with his work. He is new in the armrest field and produces a great quality in several species - and is willing to do some experimentation and customization. He usually has an ad in the Classifieds here.

    The third one I enjoyed equally well; it came already installed on the second-hand Collings I bought, and it's still on there.
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  21. #16
    String Plucker Soupy1957's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm Rests & Tone Guards?

    Ditto: not trying to say that there is anything wrong with a tone guard, just commenting on the fact it did add more weight. I could feel it’s presence. I’m not suggesting that it interfered with play, or that it did anything negative to the sound. In fact, it improved the resonance as it should.
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  22. #17
    Registered User Chris Bowsman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm Rests & Tone Guards?

    I think it's funny when people talk about mandolins getting too heavy for any reason.
    "There ain't too many folks, who can play too many notes... on the mandolin"

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  24. #18
    Registered User Hallmark498's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm Rests & Tone Guards?

    I prefer Lynn Dudenbostel's arm rest.

  25. #19
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm Rests & Tone Guards?

    Yea its a FAQ, forum archives have the other times this question was posed..
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  26. #20
    String Plucker Soupy1957's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm Rests & Tone Guards?

    In any Forum that I have belonged to, I have noticed there is a certain regular repetitive
    rotation to the topics involved, over the course of time. It’s just the nature of the beast is all.

    Should members take the time to search out their topic before they start a new thread? Yes I suppose so. Guilty as charged.
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  27. #21

    Default Re: Arm Rests & Tone Guards?

    An armrest is a fun and easy DIY project that won't take more than an afternoon. I had some scrap mahogany and a local violin shop sold me some viola hardware. I did have grain filler and tung oil in my shop.
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  28. #22
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm Rests & Tone Guards?

    I have three armrests on three mandolins: a McClung, a soliver (Spencer Oliver), and a homemade Honketyhank special. I like and use them all. But one thing I discovered with my homemade one is that it is entirely possible for an armrest to do deaden the sound of the mandolin somewhat. This assertion is somewhat controversial (see old threads on this), but I know it happened on the one I made. But I fixed it.

    The problem is that if the leather strip that contacts the mandolin top is too wide, it can dampen its vibration. I cured my armrest by trimming the leather to about 3/16" (~4.7mm). The actual maximum width for good grip without dampening may well depend on the mandolin. I know 3/8" was too wide on this particular armrest/mandolin combination.
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  30. #23
    Gummy Bears and Scotch BrianWilliam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm Rests & Tone Guards?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Edwards View Post
    Yes, I'm planning to retire after the first of the year. However I'll continue to produce some McClung armrests and such. (the wife says I'll get bored, we'll see) I won't be taking orders, they'll show up on the website or Cafe Classifieds. I have quite a few ebonized woods and ebony in production and some HD maples.

    I'm so grateful and thankful for my customers. They are the most considerate and loyal bunch you could hope to have. I have a few that have bought a dozen or more throughout the years and many of you have recommended the McClung to your friends. Thanks
    Enjoy retirement Doug and thanks for making McClung arm rests. I have two that have seen many mandolins come and go. The arm rests stay

  31. #24
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    Default Re: Arm Rests & Tone Guards?

    McClung on my Ellis A5 ! Great !
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  32. #25
    Registered User EricLopez's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm Rests & Tone Guards?

    I don't know if anyone here has tried them, but Voight Mandolins sells armrests as well. I haven't tried one of his yet, but the fact that the threaded hardware that join the top and bottom pieces attach to the top piece on its bottom instead of along the sides make it seem like there's less of a risk of those parts digging into your forearm

    There are several photos on his facebook page:
    https://www.facebook.com/Voight-Mand...7319912963274/
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