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Thread: Tonegards

  1. #26
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    Used one for years, but haven't in a couple years now. I feel it helps you hear better, but out front makes no difference. I can hear my mandolin plenty good without, even in a jam so i quit using it. I also sit a lot and don't need it then.
    Agree with Pops1. Everyone is told to play mandolin with it against you and then held so it doesn't touch you and hear the difference. I say have some one else do the playing while you stand several feet away and see if you hear a difference, my bet is you don't.

  2. #27
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    A Tonegard came with a Japanese KM-1000 some 10 years ago. It did sound better with the thing than not and when the mandolin wasn't being held properly. By that i mean the back wasn't allowed to vibrate because it rested against the belly. There's something to be said for using good form and holding any instrument "correctly". Just like using good left hand position, there's good gut positioning. And there's also good right hand position, too. When these things came together, it became obvious that i didn't need a new mandolin, new strings or a Tonegard. What was needed was proper form.

    Remember the vibrator that clamped onto the strings to wake it up, help break it in, or whatever? Yeah, i bought one of those, too. When the new Stanley A5s came, i put one on and ran it for months. Really, a couple of months continuously when not playing it. i tried different string combinations, too...not to mention a metric load of picks. The sound all came together after about 2.5 years without using the vibrator or any special strings. It's a fine mandolin now and not picky about strings, either. i've also learned how to hold and pick it to pull better tones out of it. What it really needed was lots of quality playing time.

    Remember the "Fathead"? It was a metal plate that was held on the back of electric guitar pegheads by the tuners. Turns out that a c-clamp would give the same effect. Actually, better picking technique and picks made the thing unnecessary. This is something that i did not buy, but of these 3 would've been the least expensive textbook in my musical education.

    i remember the day when i bought my first electric guitar from a wonderful local music store. It came out in conversation with one of the owners that most electric players buy lots more stuff than acoustic pickers. Y'know...stuff like amps, pedals, cords, and more electric guitars. She quite was happy to see me get into the electric guitar world and spoke volumes in a few words.

    Learning to play better doesn't have to cost anything more than time and effort. Sometimes i wonder if these innovations become a substitute for practice and drive a market. Actually, with somebody like me they were a distraction and an obstacle to my playing. Many of us know folks that can make any instrument sound good. So maybe there are better things to be gained by playing and listening more than chasing countless elusive things that deplete my pickin' fund. Stuff like technique, taste and tone...not to mention choice of more pleasing notes. Heck, i wouldn't mind making good money from selling gizmos that some folks think they have to have to sound better.

    It's okay if you have a Tonegard. All is not lost, as they sell like hotcakes for a reasonable price...so strike while the iron is hot. Kind of like a used textbook that's still in date. i made a gift of it and a HSC to a nice fellow who was just getting into mandolin.

    There's a saying that suggests that if i think education is expensive, then try ignorance. Not accusing anybody of anything here, but i really can speak with authority on the subject. i have a feeling we know what Mr. Monroe would say about this stuff.
    Last edited by JEStanek; Sep-10-2019 at 7:29am. Reason: corrected an ethnic term

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  4. #28
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    While I am not using mine now, they have their purpose. Playing a in an airconditioned room the guard keeps the mandolin off your warm stomach, and lets the cool air circulate around the mandolin helping to keep it more stable, so tuning less. In a hot humid environment it also keeps it away from a sweaty stomach. I noticed these things when gigging as I play in both environments. Since I seldom stand and when I do, don't have a lot of mandolin touching me, I quit using it. Also someone posted a video of a woman, I forget who, playing with the mandolin tightly against her and getting great sound. It was discussed here, and that was when I decided I didn't need to use it. Let one go with a mandolin and kept one for just in case. We all have our reasons for using and not using, buying and not buying, etc. etc. Not trying to change anyone's mind, just adding another opinion to the thread.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  5. #29
    Registered User tbown's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    Every mandolin I've seen, from Washburns to Kimbles, that had a tone-gard have significant impressions where it was mounted to the instrument. It may not damage the finish, but the wood gets indented for sure.
    I've used toneguards on all my mandolins, Kentucky, Flatiron, Weber, Gibson (1927 varnish, 2001 laquer, & 2012 varnish), and Northfield. I've never had a finish issue and certainly no indents in the wood. I leave them on most of the time.
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  6. #30

    Default Re: Tonegards

    The only problem I see is that a tonegard gets in the way of USING your belly as a tone dampening device for those subtle passages.......

    Actually, I hate to criticize something that brings so many people happiness...............but, I will, of course..........

    It's the "gadget" thing that disturbs me most about them.............as if, Gilchrist and others, somehow, left off this all important feature from his instrument.........

    But, in a way, kinda "steampunk"........

    Then again, I don't put mag wheels on my Cadillac, but many people do.............

    Most importantly, I want to snuggle up with my wood, NOT a metal bracket....................!!!

    I'll stop.............pick thread, anyone?????

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  8. #31
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    The only problem I see is that a tonegard gets in the way of USING your belly as a tone dampening device for those subtle passages.......
    That's what the heel of your picking hand is for, as any electric guitar player will tell you.

    Actually, I hate to criticize something that brings so many people happiness...............but, I will, of course..........

    It's the "gadget" thing that disturbs me most about them.............as if, Gilchrist and others, somehow, left off this all important feature from his instrument.........
    Do you feel the same way about adding an armrest to a mandolin? Same idea, basically.

    One other thing that hasn't been mentioned I think, is that for all the concern about small marks in the finish, it sure does a great job of keeping belt buckle and button scratches off the back of a mandolin. I bought my Lebeda F5 13 years ago, put a Tonegard on it soon after, and the nicely flamed maple back looks like it's brand new. Not a mark on it.

  9. #32
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    I have 2, original round wire was painted , I have a friend with a powder coating business .. I just left them there .

    and he processed them when someone else had a bigger piece of same color. a few months later so was done cheap..

    Electricity to make heat is the expensive part..










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  10. #33
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    Just thought of another reason I like playing without it. I like the way low notes tickle my belly from the back vibrating.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  11. #34

    Default Re: Tonegards

    I'll give you another reason to get one. We live in a world where you can drop $5-6K on a mandolin without back binding. A toneguard will protect a lot of the back edge of a mandolin from damage.
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  12. #35
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    The only problem I see is that a tonegard gets in the way of USING your belly as a tone dampening device for those subtle passages.......

    Actually, I hate to criticize something that brings so many people happiness...............but, I will, of course..........

    It's the "gadget" thing that disturbs me most about them.............as if, Gilchrist and others, somehow, left off this all important feature from his instrument.........

    But, in a way, kinda "steampunk"........

    Then again, I don't put mag wheels on my Cadillac, but many people do.............

    Most importantly, I want to snuggle up with my wood, NOT a metal bracket....................!!!

    I'll stop.............pick thread, anyone?????
    No Luthier makes tuning machines, yet we're all fine bolting those on
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  14. #36

    Default Re: Tonegards

    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaMatt View Post
    No Luthier makes tuning machines, yet we're all fine bolting those on
    Well, tuning is a requirement -- isolating the mandolin from your belly is not, IMHO....

    Actually, I applaud ANY manufacturer, especially small business who can achieve what Tonegard has achieved -- complete customer loyalty! Blue Chip picks are also in this rare category. Certain case humifiers also fall into this category, as well as certain super-expensive boutique cases. That is wonderful and a very hard thing to achieve, IMHO.

    I feel the same way about Bounty paper towels -- I've tried them all and I'd like to save money, but I actually get more value from Bounty because they work better and I like using them -- because I'm always spilling stuff and cleaning stuff, I guess?!! Anyway, they have had a loyal customer in me for 35+ years, due to a good product. NFI.

    I also joked on this forum once before that Bill Monroe didn't use a Tonegard because his polyester suits reflected all the sound forward.............FWIW!

    I think they look silly, too.........but so do $8 Snarks attached to pegheads of $6000 mandolins..........again, IMHO.

    Armrests I find less offensive for some reason............maybe if they are made from an attractive wood.......not sure, why?

    But, of course, if it makes you happy, by all means -- ENJOY! That's what makes it a "hobby!"

    My dad, rest his soul, enjoyed washing and waxing his John Deere lawn tractor............some would think that kinda weird, I'm mean how dirty can it get? BUT, it made him happy to take care of his stuff, so great! He also wore the cleanest, shiniest shoes in America.........

  15. #37

    Default Re: Tonegards

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    I'll give you another reason to get one. We live in a world where you can drop $5-6K on a mandolin without back binding. A toneguard will protect a lot of the back edge of a mandolin from damage.
    That makes a good case for tonegards on pegheads, which seem to suffer a lot more damage on very expensive instruments. And the added mass probably enhances the sustain.
    Play it like you mean it.

  16. #38

    Default Re: Tonegards

    Some days I like it, some days I don’t. I love to have the choice and thus I’d recommend it.

  17. #39
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    Let's not go crazy this device won't be for everyone. I have no doubt it makes a mandolin sound better to the player rather than having it against the body. I can and have duplicated this. I do not hear much of a difference out front with or without. I also like my tone against my tummy as well as away from. I don't find either case better than the other which is why I choose now to not chase one that and unexpected bills. But having messed around thins weekend I am comfortable in not having one. Other people will find enormous or varying levels of positive playing with one so for them it is great. Seems simple to me. In the end, there seems to be no wrong or right. I am concerned some have seen damage from one and others have not and that alone would make me pass, even the chance of it causing an issue is enough not to chase it for me.
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  19. #40
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    Only way to decide is to try it ! May hear a difference and may not ! I bought one and tried it and sold it ! Not for me !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

  20. #41
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    I just looked at my Gibson F5G. No dents and that thing probably hasn't been off 5 times since 2005. The only time it comes off is if I'm dropping it off for work someplace. Your mileage may vary. It's the only instrument gizmo I will always recommend. Tuners and tailpieces don't qualify as they are essentials. The other side of that coin is I would still use it if it did dent the instrument.

    Just my two cents.
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  21. #42
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    In response to JeffMandos snark tuner comment, one of my biggest pet peeves with musicians specifically banjo, mandolin and guitar players on YouTube is that they always have a tuner on the headstock for the whole performance, and I can't see the headstock logo. It's irritating cuz I always want to see what they're playing. I think you should either tune and then remove your tuner, or put it somewhere where it doesn't block the headstock
    But maybe that's just me and I'm off topic if you ever see me with a tuner covering the headstock call me out about it.
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  22. #43
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    I always have a tuner on my mandolin headstock when I'm on stage. I value being in tune a bit more than somebody being able to read the logo on my headstock. I do use internal tuners on my guitars but only because I can leave those on in the case. It's just not an issue for me. Again, YMMV.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  23. #44
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    Pretty much always have a tuner on the headstock when playing out these days. And haven't seen finish damage on any of my instruments with Tonegards. Now I have damaged the finish on an old instrument due to sweat. Both front and back. Now, obviously, if I had "proper" perspiration characteristics this wouldn't be an issue.
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  24. #45

    Default Re: Tonegards

    Nobody who lived through the days when everyone in the band was out of tune wants to go back....those little $11 headstock tuners are fantastic!
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  26. #46
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post
    In response to JeffMandos snark tuner comment, one of my biggest pet peeves with musicians specifically banjo, mandolin and guitar players on YouTube is that they always have a tuner on the headstock for the whole performance, and I can't see the headstock logo. It's irritating cuz I always want to see what they're playing. I think you should either tune and then remove your tuner, or put it somewhere where it doesn't block the headstock
    But maybe that's just me and I'm off topic if you ever see me with a tuner covering the headstock call me out about it.
    Im playing a Snark FG. Actually these days its a PolytuneFG. But I sympathize. Even though my tuner lives on the headstock during a gig, I'm always trying to read the logo on others' when they play.
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

  27. #47
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    I thought this thread was about Tonegards ?
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

  28. #48
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    While Tonegards can and do prevent belt buckle wear and other types of damage to the back of a mandolin, they can also *cause* damage if handled clumsily.
    I've already put a few fine pinpoint nicks in the finish of my Northfield's lovely back -- once when I failed to notice that the rubber tubing on the feet had slid and exposed the little sharp tips of metal, and another time when I accidentally bumped the Tonegard lightly against the mando while removing it.

    (I'd rather leave the Tonegard on the instrument all the time, but the case it came in isn't deep enough to allow that. I really ought to get a better, bigger case... and be more careful. It's really not the Tonegard's fault, though.)

  29. #49

    Default Re: Tonegards

    I'm a fan of the Tonegard. I have one for each mandolin I own. Try one and you might like it. If not, you can sell it on the cafe and get most of your money back.
    I'm unconcerned about wear on the instrument. I buy them to play them, not treat them like museum pieces.
    Best, Stevo

  30. #50

    Default Re: Tonegards

    It just crossed my mind that my former employer at a music store, a fiddler, always used a shoulder rest on his violin when playing -- same idea, I guess.....to elevate the violin from your shoulder while playing.

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