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Thread: I'm amazed by the Tone Gard

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    Default I'm amazed by the Tone Gard

    I went to Dusty Strings this weekend and played some awesome mandolins, but didn't end up buying any. I went home and went to a jam last night, and was a little underwhelmed with the tone of my Kentucky KM-150 in comparison to the Northfields i had played.
    However, today I put on the Tone Gard, and wow, what a difference! The tone is so much clearer now! To my ears, my inexpensive Kentucky with the Tone Gard sounds almost if not just as good as the really high end mandolins without one. (I didn't have a chance to A/B them and I am more comfortable on my own mandolin, so take this with a grain of salt). I imagine the high end mandolins sound incredible with one on though!
    Morris F5 #482, Kentucky KM-150s

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm amazed by the Tone Gard

    Quote Originally Posted by milli857 View Post
    I went to Dusty Strings this weekend and played some awesome mandolins, but didn't end up buying any. I went home and went to a jam last night, and was a little underwhelmed with the tone of my Kentucky KM-150 in comparison to the Northfields i had played.
    However, today I put on the Tone Gard, and wow, what a difference! The tone is so much clearer now! To my ears, my inexpensive Kentucky with the Tone Gard sounds almost if not just as good as the really high end mandolins without one. (I didn't have a chance to A/B them and I am more comfortable on my own mandolin, so take this with a grain of salt). I imagine the high end mandolins sound incredible with one on though!
    The Tonegard is the only mandolin accessory that I will unequivocally recommend. I have used one on my Gibson F5G for a decade or more.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
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    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm amazed by the Tone Gard

    The ToneGard is an essential part of the mandolin kit.
    That,along with my Blue Chip pick, and I'm good to go!!
    I even splurged so I have a ToneGard on each mandolin!

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    Default Re: I'm amazed by the Tone Gard

    I have nearly as many Tonegards as I have mandolins!

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    Likes quaint instruments poul hansen's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm amazed by the Tone Gard

    I might be throwing a spanner in the works here but I never understood why only mandolins of all the string instruments have a toneguard?

    And I've tried holding my mandolin close and away fro the body but can't hear any difference.
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm amazed by the Tone Gard

    Quote Originally Posted by poul hansen View Post
    I might be throwing a spanner in the works here but I never understood why only mandolins of all the string instruments have a toneguard?

    And I've tried holding my mandolin close and away fro the body but can't hear any difference.
    How many mandolins have you tried one on? They also should be carved back mandolins.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
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    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm amazed by the Tone Gard

    Quote Originally Posted by poul hansen View Post
    I might be throwing a spanner in the works here but I never understood why only mandolins of all the string instruments have a toneguard?
    They're not the only stringed instruments that benefit from the tone gard. I have one on each mandolin, my mandola, octave mandolin and Martin dreadnought guitar. Tony also makes them for banjos.

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    Default Re: I'm amazed by the Tone Gard

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
    They're not the only stringed instruments that benefit from the tone gard. I have one on each mandolin, my mandola, octave mandolin and Martin dreadnought guitar. Tony also makes them for banjos.
    Like you can help the tone of a banjo. HA! As a banjo picker, mostly old time, I cannot see why you would want a tone gard. On F hole mandolins perhaps, guitars, eh. But I cannot fathom using a tone gard on a banjo.

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    Default Re: I'm amazed by the Tone Gard

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Buckingham View Post
    Like you can help the tone of a banjo. HA! As a banjo picker, mostly old time, I cannot see why you would want a tone gard. On F hole mandolins perhaps, guitars, eh. But I cannot fathom using a tone gard on a banjo.
    I’ve seen one on an open back banjo, the owner said it also improved the way that the banjo rode on his body while standing.
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    Registered User urobouros's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm amazed by the Tone Gard

    I have one on all mine as well. The acoustic ones anyway
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    Default Re: I'm amazed by the Tone Gard

    I just tried my kit Saga AM10 (with, sadly, a sound post) and yeah, I can hear a decent difference if I pull it away from my body. So, just maybe! But I only play mando at home and right now, getting that extra oomph isn't a priority.

    I also tried it on my Martin HD28. Yes, there's a difference, though not as much. But I rarely play the Martin standing, and the back is free to resonate when sitting. For my classical (hand-made in Grenada; cedar top, rosewood back & sides, ebony fingerboard), I only play it sitting and again the back is free to resonate. You hold a guitar by the edges, not the faces.

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    Default Re: I'm amazed by the Tone Gard

    Gee, I hope this word doesn't get out. Can anyone envision the price of the spendy Loars, Gilchrists, and the like dropping like stones as Tone Gard sales go up and the masses start upgrading their student grade instruments?

    Joking aside, it didn't make any difference on an '86 KM1000, but helped the guy I gave it to. Holding the mandolin so the back isn't getting damped made the difference for me. However, if not holding this way it sure can make a difference.

    Just sayin'.

  16. #13

    Default Re: I'm amazed by the Tone Gard

    Quote Originally Posted by dan in va View Post
    Gee, I hope this word doesn't get out. Can anyone envision the price of the spendy Loars, Gilchrists, and the like dropping like stones as Tone Gard sales go up and the masses start upgrading their student grade instruments?

    Joking aside, it didn't make any difference on an '86 KM1000, but helped the guy I gave it to. Holding the mandolin so the back isn't getting damped made the difference for me. However, if not holding this way it sure can make a difference.

    Just sayin'.
    I always play with a strap, held pretty high so the back is against my chest, which is why it made a big difference, I think.

  17. #14

    Default Re: I'm amazed by the Tone Gard

    I may have exaggerated on the comparison between high end mandolins and my inexpensive one yesterday, and I think if I had tried the high end ones with a tonegard, I would have liked those ones even more.

    I do stand by the effectiveness of the tonegard though, it really did make my mandolin sound much clearer and a little louder.

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    Registered User d18daddy's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm amazed by the Tone Gard

    I would love to try one of these out, but my mandolin has a varnish finish and they advise not to use it with varnish.

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    Default Re: I'm amazed by the Tone Gard

    I've had one on a varnished Gibson F5 - for more than 15 years, I guess - no damage. And it stays on all of the time - in the case, on the stand, etc.
    I only take it off every 2-3 years to change strings and clean it up a bit.

    YMMV (of course).

    Kirk

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    Default Re: I'm amazed by the Tone Gard

    Quote Originally Posted by dan in va View Post
    Holding the mandolin so the back isn't getting damped made the difference for me. However, if not holding this way it sure can make a difference.
    Exactly right. I find I can go a long way keeping the mandolin away from my body, but when I get tired, or having adult beverages, I do go back to hugging the instrument, which is where the tonegard does indeed make quite a difference.
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    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm amazed by the Tone Gard

    I've had a tonegard on my varnished Gilchrist for years and years with nary a trace on the finish. Also the '23 Gibson A2.

    Billy
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    Default Re: I'm amazed by the Tone Gard

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Buckingham View Post
    Like you can help the tone of a banjo. HA! As a banjo picker, mostly old time, I cannot see why you would want a tone gard. On F hole mandolins perhaps, guitars, eh. But I cannot fathom using a tone gard on a banjo.
    On an old-timey banjo, to keep the hook shafts and nuts from poking you in the belly.

    On a resonator banjo, to keep your belt buckle from putting rash on the nice finish.

    For me, I put flat-plate resonators on my banjos that don't already have resonators. For banjos in general, I agree, I'd rather put a resonator on than a ToneGard, but I'm sure sold on ToneGards for mandolins and guitars.
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    Registered User J Mangio's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm amazed by the Tone Gard

    It works!
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    Default Re: I'm amazed by the Tone Gard

    Plus one on Tone Guards, they do make a difference (I have one on my 20 F4 and one on my Macica F5), which reminded me I should order some, happy to see he is offering them for H1 Mandolas, I hope to try that as well.
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  28. #22

    Default Re: I'm amazed by the Tone Gard

    IMHO Billy, the only essential thing other than a mandolin is a plectrum ( pick to our American friends, because you pick with it )

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    🎶 Play Pretty 🎶 Greg Connor's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm amazed by the Tone Gard

    Yes, I also believe the Tone-Gard makes a nice difference. My collection of mandolins includes mostly odd balls made by luthiers in the USA. The Tone-Gard doesn’t fit on most of them, but, I have two Breedloves (Made in Oregon) and the Tone-Gard is on which ever one leaves the house with me.

  30. #24
    Quietly Making Noise Dave Greenspoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm amazed by the Tone Gard

    The ToneGard is a real game-changer when it comes to sound. It is one of a triad of accessories that I always recommend:
    ToneGard, McClung armrest, and Longhollow Softy strap.
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    Default Re: I'm amazed by the Tone Gard

    Always amazing how different we can be in our opinions. I was given a Tone-Gard free. I had long time wanted to try it. Well, I didn't like it from day one. Used it for a couple weeks, took it off and haven't used it since. I didn't find enough difference in tone to make me want to use it and I don't like the feeling of the metal against my body. I like to feel the smooth back of the mandolin. Maybe I will try it again some day, but for now I have no use for it. I don't doubt anyone else's experience or opinion, but we are all our own masters for sure.

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