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Thread: Gilchrist Using The Tone Traveler On Mike Compton's Mandolin

  1. #26
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gilchrist Using The Tone Traveler On Mike Compton's Mandolin

    I do have some builder and repair -people friends who speak highly of these devices. I don't handle 200+ instruments for setup and repair in a year so I can't really attest to this...

    What I can say is that if vibrations do affect instruments as is being described, driving across country a few times a year with them in a car or in a bus or tied to the top of a station wagon would probably do the same thing.
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  3. #27
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gilchrist Using The Tone Traveler On Mike Compton's Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by dhergert View Post
    But why has no one done this? In general, we really don't care that much what the results would be; they are all still subject to personal evaluation and -- doubt.
    That's why I focused on just the single variable of volume, because the claims inevitably include that. Probably on the Tone Traveler site too. (Checking) yep, sure enough:

    "I am very happy to report a noticeable improvement in my instruments clarity, bass, volume and overall tone"

    "Lots more volume, each string had clearer tone and sustain."

    Most of the terms we use to describe how our mandolins sound are subjective, like warmth or "tone," but volume can be measured. It's easy to compare on a DAW waveform if the test conditions are controlled well enough. If I was selling one of these gadgets and it increased volume, this is the kind of test I'd show on my web site.

    Ah, but what if it doesn't change volume but somehow improves the "tone?" Then we get into the sticky question of why people always assume that any change in tone caused by artificial vibration vs. player action is necessarily positive, and not negative.

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  5. #28

    Default Re: Gilchrist Using The Tone Traveler On Mike Compton's Mandolin

    Enjoyed the "discussion" so far, so I'll jump in.....let's see, in addition to vibrating devices, there's torrefied wood, sinker wood, cryogenically treated strings, degaussed guitar pickups, distressed finishes, synthetic copies of old banned 1930's picks, and probably a few more that are being developed as we speak. Might as well throw ToneGard in there, too. All with the goal of making a new instrument (drumroll please...) sound like a good ol' instrument that has "already" opened up.

    Hmmm, sounds to me like we should just skip all those steps and buy a vintage instrument!!??

  6. #29

    Default Re: Gilchrist Using The Tone Traveler On Mike Compton's Mandolin

    Haha thats good If you drive on the rumble strips at the right speeds it might change the pitch of the vibrations. I think having the vibrations in pitch with your instrument (like when you pluck the string and it vibrates the body of the instrument) plays a huge roll. That's the big difference in my mind between this and random noise or mechanical vibrations.

    That being said I haven't even tried mine hahaha it's still in the mail but I'm seeing a lot of people I trust vouch for the tone traveler. Andrew Marlin from Mandolin Orange/Watch House has a quote on their website along with Tony Williamson, Allan Jackson's guitarist, and now Gilchrist too.

    If you don't believe that playing your instrument makes it sound better then there isn't really a conversation here. But almost everyone I know agrees that closet queens tend to sound far less desirable than a mandolin that has been played for hours and hours and hours.

  7. #30
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gilchrist Using The Tone Traveler On Mike Compton's Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    Hmmm, sounds to me like we should just skip all those steps and buy a vintage instrument!!??
    Or just play the snot out of the one you have, if it's a good 'un.

    That last part really is the key. Spend the money to buy a good mandolin. One that's "better than you are" and you can grow into. One that sounds great, and doesn't make you think you need to improve the sound.

    I did a lot of research, mostly here on the Cafe before buying my first mandolin. I knew from having ordered some custom acoustic guitars what a good handmade mandolin would cost, and eventually settled on a Lebeda F style with a redwood top. It's still my one and only mandolin. It sounds great, and I've never tried to improve it because it doesn't need improving.

    I know that not everyone has the money for a higher-end instrument, but find the best one you can within your range. Beware of promises that someone has discovered a way around the fact that you usually get what you pay for, when you buy a musical instrument.

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    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gilchrist Using The Tone Traveler On Mike Compton's Mandolin

    Again, I can't say one way or another. But...

    I do strongly believe that if we're of the mindset to do so, we can learn to pull tone from the instruments we play. Having a decent instrument does come into play in the process of pulling tone, but it doesn't have to be the most expensive or oldest or fanciest or most collectable or most technically advanced instrument. It has to be in the hands of someone who wants it to sound a certain way and knows how to make it do so.

    I've heard what many would consider to be mediocre instruments sound absolutely wonderful in the hands of a person who knows how to pull tone from it. And I've heard absolutely wonderful instruments sound mediocre in the hands of a person who doesn't know how to pull tone from it. So it's the experienced hands and mind that are involved -- that experience is the result of the kind of time and aging that really counts.
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."


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  10. #32

    Default Re: Gilchrist Using The Tone Traveler On Mike Compton's Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by CarlM View Post
    The excitation on the Tacoma Narrows bridge was many, many orders of magnitude higher than what is being talked about here.
    Yes sir... I am quite aware of that.
    I considered adding a to my post, but didn't really think it was necessary in this case.
    "I play BG so that's what I can talk intelligently about." A line I loved and pirated from Mandoplumb

  11. #33

    Default Re: Gilchrist Using The Tone Traveler On Mike Compton's Mandolin

    I don’t pretend to understand any of the science of the Tone Traveler, but I can tell you it works. Being able to dial in specific frequencies on different instruments is a nice feature. I have used it on guitars and mandolins and I notice a significant improvement in tone AND volume. But since tone is subjective, take a look on the Dr Herringbone website or YouTube link below and you will see an objective demonstration on the increase in volume recorded during a four hour period in a studio.

    NOTE FROM SITE OWNER: This account has also been removed for the same violation of Forum Posting Guidelines.
    Last edited by Mandolin Cafe; Aug-01-2022 at 4:38pm.

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  13. #34
    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gilchrist Using The Tone Traveler On Mike Compton's Mandolin

    Hokum, 100%. But it's your money.

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  15. #35

    Default Re: Gilchrist Using The Tone Traveler On Mike Compton's Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by FLATROCK HILL View Post
    Yes sir... I am quite aware of that.
    I considered adding a to my post, but didn't really think it was necessary in this case.
    Cool. It needed to be clarified before someone else pointed to your post and said "See! That proves it."

    There is a violinmaker that claims by a kind of laying on of hands or similar "psychic energy work" to be able to make significant improvement in tone on orchestral strings using the individuals mind. And, no, it was not an article on the Onion. They had testimonials from several respected classical string players who claimed great benefits. They even claim to be able to do it remotely through telepathy or something if necessary. There is a book on Amazon about it.

    People will believe what they want to believe even when it flies in the face of overwhelming evidence.

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  17. #36
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gilchrist Using The Tone Traveler On Mike Compton's Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by FourPairPicker View Post
    Haha thats good If you drive on the rumble strips at the right speeds it might change the pitch of the vibrations. I think having the vibrations in pitch with your instrument (like when you pluck the string and it vibrates the body of the instrument) plays a huge roll. That's the big difference in my mind between this and random noise or mechanical vibrations.
    "Here in NM just east of Albuquerque you can drive east on Route 66 and hit a rumble strip that plays America the Beautiful when you drive at 45 MPH."

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  19. #37
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    Default Re: Gilchrist Using The Tone Traveler On Mike Compton's Mandolin

    They have already invented a device to make your existing mando into '23 Loar. It's called the Flux Capacitor! I tried it on my Epiphone and now it sounds just like Monroe's Loar!
    Oh wait, I must have misread the original post. It says "Tone Traveler", not "Time Traveler!"
    "Never mind". (Emily Litella)

  20. #38
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Gilchrist Using The Tone Traveler On Mike Compton's Mandolin

    Sorry, edit. Carry on.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  21. #39
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    Default Re: Gilchrist Using The Tone Traveler On Mike Compton's Mandolin

    I know nothing about tone whatever's but I have measured changes in the modes of vibration of a guitar with age (10 years). The frequencies go down. In one guitar the main top mode frequency went down almost 1/2 semitone which is significant enough to cause a change in sound, although it is likely to be a subtle change not huge. Whether it did change the sound I can't say, human sound memory does not last 10 years! That was a guitar I made and measured using the same technique and equipment 10 years ago. I have measured a couple more (less than 10 years old) and the same thing happened. but not to the same extent. Unfortunately I have not been able to do the same with any mandolins yet. So, they do change, but it does take a fair bit of time. This phenomenon has been documented in the Gore/Gilet guitar books. Graham Caldersmith once told me he had measured two of his classical guitars, when new and later, one had been played and the other not played. He found they measured exactly the same, there was no difference between played and not played so that supports the study above. How long the interval between measurements was I can't remember, but I am fairly certain it was not 10 years.
    Last edited by peter.coombe; Jul-28-2022 at 7:19pm.
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  23. #40

    Default Re: Gilchrist Using The Tone Traveler On Mike Compton's Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    Repeating myself from posts made years ago about the ToneRite:

    Do ya'll know what nobody has ever done to my knowledge? Nobody has ever put a new mandolin in a jig to hold it in a fixed position relative to a microphone, and made a simple plucking gizmo to draw a pick across the strings. ...The idea is to remove human variables. Just record the pick sweeping across the strings into a computer DAW from that fixed mic position on a brand new mandolin.

    Now use your Tone Traveler or ToneRite, or crank your speakers up loud and play your favorite David Grisman album on 24/7, whatever, to vibrate the mandolin.

    Do that for as long as you like. Now put the mandolin back in the jig with the microphone at the same fixed position and use the auto-strum gadget the same way you did before. Record it and look at the waveforms. Is the volume higher? There are a lot of claims about improvement in "tone" with these gadgets but they're usually accompanied by claims about louder volume. This is at least something we can test scientifically.

    Do this test and prove it increases volume. Preferably with more than one instrument so it's not just a one-off result.
    I found the following video interesting.



    Instead of a jig, and moving the instrument between recordings, the instrument is placed on a stand, the Tone Traveler attached, and a microphone placed to record continuously to a DAW.

    The recording is started, and the input signal is played at a constant volume into the bridge.

    Over the course of the session, the instrument gets louder in converting the constant bridge vibration to audible sound. A slice of the recording's waveform from the end of the session is visibly larger (louder) than from the beginning.

    No human variables to confuse the issue. Just increasing volume output over time, using a constant input amplitude over the same time. It's pretty straightforward.
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  25. #41

    Default Re: Gilchrist Using The Tone Traveler On Mike Compton's Mandolin

    Science aside (and I'm generally in the camp of instruments *do* open up), if you (rather than a machine) put the requisite energy into the instrument yourself you'll be able to pull better tone out of your instrument, and more importantly you'll become a better player, which is something any given gizmo can never achieve for you.
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  27. #42

    Default Re: Gilchrist Using The Tone Traveler On Mike Compton's Mandolin

    yeah just play more and time , new instruments open up as they say with time

  28. #43
    Registered User Drew Streip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gilchrist Using The Tone Traveler On Mike Compton's Mandolin

    I seem to recall Sharon Gilchrist talking about her own Gilchrist F5 needing a long “reawakening” period after some major repair. Maybe Steve is conducting his own A/B experiment!

    I’ll just add: I haven’t read the full paper sunburst presented, but I fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum on belief. I wish I had time to whip my mandolin for hours a day…and I also wish I had the money to try one of these devices.

    In the meantime, let’s just make some music. Happy Friday!

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  30. #44

    Default Re: Gilchrist Using The Tone Traveler On Mike Compton's Mandolin

    That's super cool about the rumble strips! I think Mt. Fuji in japan does something similar

    I hadn't seen that video showing how it woke that guitar up. That's pretty impressive and I'd also say pretty scientifically sound. I wish they had done that experiment with several guitars.

  31. #45
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    Default Re: Gilchrist Using The Tone Traveler On Mike Compton's Mandolin

    In post #23, the following was stated:

    "The tonerite totally mutes the strings on an instrument so I think your point about exciting the strings to produce there tones is pretty blatantly untrue. Even if it did excite the strings, the loudest frequency emanating throughout the instrument will still be 60 Hz."

    I thought it odd that the makers of the Tenerife would have the device sit on the strings for its' point of contact while totally muting the strings. Nevertheless, I decided to check, to see if I had been mistaken. I did get around to checking this morning. The Tonerite does indeed apply a 60Hz excitation to the strings (i.e., the strings are NOT totally muted). As to the 60Hz excitation still being the "loudest frequency emanating throughout the body of an instrument", that is not correct. A string which is not tuned to 60Hz will not be able to vibrate at 60Hz if it is excited by a 60Hz excitation. Instead, it will vibrate in its' own normal modes of vibration, at their normal (first and higher harmonic) frequencies. For reference, please see chapter 2 in Fletcher & Rossing; The Physics of Musical Instruments, 2nd Edition (Springer, NY, 1998), or similar texts.

  32. #46
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gilchrist Using The Tone Traveler On Mike Compton's Mandolin

    Well, that's 7 minutes of my life I'll never get back, and here I am wasting even more time.

    About the YouTube:
    One guitar is too small of a sample size to be of any scientific use.
    There is no control group; something required for scientific comparison.
    Science cannot "prove" anything, so whatever the wave-forms were showing, it is not "proof" of anything.

    Also:
    Did the guitar sound any different when played before and after? I assume they don't know because there was no double blind listening test done. I suppose we are to assume that the increase in amplitude of the wave-forms on the screen translate to different (better?) sound from the guitar. "...the tone is also obviously (my emphasis added) much more focused and deep...". How is that obvious? How is it even measured?
    It there any long lasting change in the sound of the guitar? They didn't test for that so we just don't know.
    I could go on but it is of no use.

    Anyway, take what you will and want to from the video, but it is not good science.

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  34. #47

    Default Re: Gilchrist Using The Tone Traveler On Mike Compton's Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Cohen View Post
    In post #23, the following was stated:

    "The tonerite totally mutes the strings on an instrument so I think your point about exciting the strings to produce there tones is pretty blatantly untrue. Even if it did excite the strings, the loudest frequency emanating throughout the instrument will still be 60 Hz."

    I thought it odd that the makers of the Tenerife would have the device sit on the strings for its' point of contact while totally muting the strings. Nevertheless, I decided to check, to see if I had been mistaken. I did get around to checking this morning. The Tonerite does indeed apply a 60Hz excitation to the strings (i.e., the strings are NOT totally muted). As to the 60Hz excitation still being the "loudest frequency emanating throughout the body of an instrument", that is not correct. A string which is not tuned to 60Hz will not be able to vibrate at 60Hz if it is excited by a 60Hz excitation. Instead, it will vibrate in its' own normal modes of vibration, at their normal (first and higher harmonic) frequencies. For reference, please see chapter 2 in Fletcher & Rossing; The Physics of Musical Instruments, 2nd Edition (Springer, NY, 1998), or similar texts.
    I disagree. The tone traveler locks the strings all together between the rubber piece that gets jammed between them. It is making contact with those strings and severely dampening their vibration. I guarantee that a string not tuned to 60hz can vibrate at 60hz if you were to connect it to a device that literally moved it back and forth at 60hz (ie the tonerite).

    I can indeed make a string move at probably about 3hz by grabing it and wiggling it back and forth 3 times a second. This is essentially what the tonerite does when you hook it to your strings and it moves back and forth at 60hz.

  35. #48

    Default Re: Gilchrist Using The Tone Traveler On Mike Compton's Mandolin

    Hmm.

    The video demonstrated an increase in volume over the period of constant simulation.

    According to the claims of some here, that doesn't happen.They have been very vocal about it. That demonstration right there shows that in that one sample, that claim was wrong. Now people can move past the claim that instruments don't change in sound over time and use.


    There can be other questions. Do volume increases from vibrating the materials in an instrument result in *permanent* changes?

    If not, how long do such changes last?

    Are the changes musically useful?

    One can argue that reindeer will never fly, and any speculation about it needs to wait until an actual demonstration of the phenomenon. James Randi used that specific example to point out the need for a demonstration before getting lost in the weeds in theorizing about any paranormal phenomenon.

    So the video demonstrates, so to speak, that actual flying reindeer.

    Now the demonstration can be built upon, but it stops realistic denials of it having happened, no matter how invested any given person is in their opinions of the subject. Pursuing the scientific method doesn't care about a person's feelings, which is why its brutal honesty can be so hard for some to take.

    Anyway, the video shows an increase in volume over time, using a constant input. That's one data point which would disprove a lot of strong opinions. Data > opinions.
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  36. #49
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gilchrist Using The Tone Traveler On Mike Compton's Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
    The video demonstrated an increase in volume over the period of constant simulation[sic]...
    What the video demonstrates:

    This particular guitar showed an increase in amplitude of the recorded wave-form while the devise was operating (the only data point that I can think of from this "experiment").

    What the video does not demonstrate:

    That any other guitar will respond similarly
    That any other vibratory input will result in significantly different response
    That the changes correlate with increased loudness and/or improved sound when the guitar is played (or even different sound).
    That the changes are long lasting.

    I'll probably think of other things, but most likely after I can no longer edit this post, but I'm done here anyway. Those who think scientifically can make up their own minds and those who reject science can do the same. No argument from me is likely to change any minds.

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  38. #50
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Gilchrist Using The Tone Traveler On Mike Compton's Mandolin

    Spoiler alert, for years I have been working (in my secret laboratory) on a product that will make all mechanical devices, like the ones discussed above, obsolete. It will come in an aerosol format and uses proprietary nano particles that affect the cell structure of the tone woods. It will be marketed under the name "TONE - IMPROVE".

    I am also working on a similar product for repair application, again in an aerosol format called "BUZZ-B-GONE".

    Stay tuned!
    Charley

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