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Thread: Tonegards

  1. #51
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    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.
    I don't think the shoulder rest is for acoustic isolation similar to a Tonegard. If you Google images of Itzhak Perlman, you'll see him using a square of cloth draped around the bottom of the fiddle, in a way that looks like it ought to damp the tone and volume, but it obviously doesn't.

    My S.O. uses a conventional clamp-on shoulder rest on her fiddle, and I think it's just to place it at a comfortable position raised off her shoulder a small amount, so she doesn't get neck strain angling her head down too much. I'll have to ask her to verify, but I think that's the reason they're used.

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  3. #52
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    I don't think the shoulder rest is for acoustic isolation similar to a Tonegard. If you Google images of Itzhak Perlman, you'll see him using a square of cloth draped around the bottom of the fiddle, in a way that looks like it ought to damp the tone and volume, but it obviously doesn't.

    My S.O. uses a conventional clamp-on shoulder rest on her fiddle, and I think it's just to place it at a comfortable position raised off her shoulder a small amount, so she doesn't get neck strain angling her head down too much. I'll have to ask her to verify, but I think that's the reason they're used.
    Clamp on fiddle shoulder rests are for comfort. The fiddle digs into my collar bone without one. There was a fad in the 80's of shaped plastic back shells, kinda like a toneguard, to project the sound of a fiddle away from the body. I tried one and didn't perceive a difference.
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  4. #53
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    The shoulder rest on the fiddle is for comfort, I personally don't find it comfortable, I used to use a cloth held to the instrument with a rubber band, now I use none. I did notice a definite sound difference when I tried the rest, I didn't like it, it made my D and A strings too loud and I didn't like the tone.
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  5. #54
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    I use one on each of my 2 F-style mandolins.

    I see three advantages:

    1) as commonly discussed, to keep the belly of the player from contacting the back of the mandolin.

    2) also commonly discussed, to protect the back of the mandolin.

    3) as almost never discussed, to add vibrating mass to the mandolin. If you don't think that happens, just touch your ToneGard as you are playing it. Rule of thumb: if it vibrates, it affects sound.

    And yes, I also use an armrest, a pickguard and a cast tailpiece on both of these mandolins, for similar reasons.

  6. #55

    Default Re: Tonegards

    It's true that the tone guard is not discussed as much in recent years here at the Cafe. I've thought that it's become pretty widely accepted as 'NOT a gimmick' but something exactly analogous to a violin shoulder or chin rest. It's not for everyone, but many many professional and amateur players find it useful for either tonal reasons, or comfort.

    I don't think there's any serious reason to doubt its usefulness in those two areas, at least for many players. And no doubt, over the course of 50 - 100 years, both tone guards and clip on tuners are going to leave some marks, which I expect will be accepted as the 'norm' in years to come - even if these two accessories are superseded by something else.
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  7. #56

    Default Re: Tonegards

    Quote Originally Posted by dhergert View Post
    3) as almost never discussed, to add vibrating mass to the mandolin. If you don't think that happens, just touch your ToneGard as you are playing it. Rule of thumb: if it vibrates, it affects sound.
    And that's what's always been odd to me. Conventional wisdom among luthiers and buyers alike is that you want to minimize structural mass of the instrument that isn't essential to producing tone. Theoretically speaking, a tone-gard probably measurably reduces volume (or at the very least changes the timbre), but compared to the damping effect of holding it against your body, you have a net gain. In theory, an instrument without a tone-gard, and also not contacting the player's body on the back plate, should sound better than the same instrument with a tone-gard.
    But theory ain't everything.

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  9. #57

    Default Re: Tonegards

    Quote Originally Posted by BradKlein View Post
    And no doubt, over the course of 50 - 100 years, both tone guards and clip on tuners are going to leave some marks, which I expect will be accepted as the 'norm' in years to come.......
    I repair a lot of instruments every week, probably hundreds every year......these devices are already leaving marks that won't come off. Also, marks from people who "park" their capo on their pegheads. This happens after only a few years, doesn't take long. And, YES, depending on the customer it is pretty much accepted as the norm these days.........

    However, even though accepted, an instrument with such marks cannot be considered mint, even though the marks were not caused by abuse, they are still considered damage, so that brings up another question. Similar to 30 some years ago when the "vintage thing" took off and some dealers would describe a clean instrument as "mint condition for the age" as if such a caveat can exist in grading -- it can't. Mint, unplayed, perfect -- all mean the same thing -- no wear -- even if the instrument is 100 years old.......

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  11. #58
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    Interesting thread. My $.02: I’ve had one for several years on my KM 1500, a newer Tonegard with the clear tubing on the clamps. I play sitting down usually. with only the very back of the mando (nearest the tailpiece) against my stomach, the rest of the mando out along my left thigh about halfway toward my left knee (the Mike Marshall method you might say). The Tonegard definitely increases the volume. I notice it; the guys I play with notice it, i.e. “Where’s that thang you put on the back that makes it louder?” YMMV

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  13. #59
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    This subject has been discussed off and on for years so I have only one thing to say:

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  14. #60
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    If Sam Bush doesn’t use one I don’t need one either.
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  15. #61

    Default Re: Tonegards

    Quote Originally Posted by Joey Anchors View Post
    If Sam Bush doesn’t use one I don’t need one either.
    But what about Dawg?
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  17. #62
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    Quote Originally Posted by DHopkins View Post
    This subject has been discussed off and on for years so I have only one thing to say:

    How 'bout them Braves!
    How about them Yankees !
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  18. #63
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    Well, I didn't expect such a debate. I was just really curious if the people who use them still like them and if they did any finish damage. I never leave a tuner on it goes on gets tuned and comes off. This is bigger and would have to live in the case. I have no doubt it does what is claimed I was just trying to decide if it was something I wanted. I have ruled it out for now. I have no desire to take it on and off and no desire to leave it on in the case. so It would entail a new case as well. Thanks for the help everyone!
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  20. #64
    Registered User Doug Edwards's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    Best combination is a Tone-hard and armrest. That way both the back and top vibrate freely.

  21. #65
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bertotti View Post
    I remember when tongards appeared on the scene. Do many of you still use them? Over the years have you had any negative issues with the item?
    I still use them. Still very effective. No negative issues.
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  22. #66
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoplumb View Post
    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.
    I have no doubt it makes a mandolin sound better to the player rather than having it against the body.
    My experience is different. I can't hear the difference as much myself, but those in front of me sure can. And have said so.

    The test is to stand in the corner of a room. like a grade school punishment, and play into the corner. You hear the reflection coming back, and it is how you sound to an audience. Wow, what a difference it makes.

    To the extent that in small intimate settings I have to pedal back my volume a bit, (which I probably should do anyway.)

    When you are built like me, even sitting down, when I get a bit tired, the tonegard really helps.

    Now I don't know how far in front of me the difference is significant, but those sitting across from me at a jam, or in a large living room, can hear the difference.
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  23. #67
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tonegards

    Quote Originally Posted by Joey Anchors View Post
    If Sam Bush doesn’t use one I don’t need one either.
    Ummm... makes me feel terrible. Not only am I doing it wrong, but I am doing it wrong poorly.
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