Guitar sonic vintagising - ToneRite, etc

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ToneControlToneControl Frets: 4460
edited December 2015 in Acoustics
I have heard of the ToneRite device that ages soundboards quickly, by feeding sound into them
It was used on a guitar I now own

It is quite pricey

Why wouldn't I just put the guitar in front of a loudspeaker?

I have 2 brand new guitars, and am wondering if I should try this technique
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  • thermionicthermionic Frets: 5081
    edited December 2015
    Try it one but not the other and see if it makes a difference. Good experiment.

    The only problem I think is that it needs to be quite high volume and a long time to have an effect. Put some Metallica on loop all day while you're at work or something.
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  • the ToneRite thing supposedly lets you choose between opening up volume or harmonics
    hmm maybe it's worth getting one
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  • ToneControl;893537" said:
    the ToneRite thing supposedly lets you choose between opening up volume or harmonicshmm maybe it's worth getting one
    Is there a setting that allows you to choose between your own clothes and the King's new ones?
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 33932
    Try it one but not the other and see if it makes a difference. Good experiment.
    I would do this. Keep one as a control, 'treat' the other. This is a correct scientific approach to finding out whether it makes a difference - I'm fairly sure it does, but I would be interested for it to be proved more thoroughly than just the anecdotal evidence I have. Or disproved, if that is the case!
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • LewyLewy Frets: 724
    I've read some reports that, because it vibrates the guitar with the strings on, it can be hard on bridges and nuts.....accelerated wear and tear etc.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 33932
    Lewy said:
    I've read some reports that, because it vibrates the guitar with the strings on, it can be hard on bridges and nuts.....accelerated wear and tear etc.
    I can't see any reason that should happen. Wear on nuts and bridges is caused by string movement over them - ie restringing, tuning and string bending. The string just vibrating does not move at the point of contact.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • ICBM said:
    Try it one but not the other and see if it makes a difference. Good experiment.
    I would do this. Keep one as a control, 'treat' the other. This is a correct scientific approach to finding out whether it makes a difference - I'm fairly sure it does, but I would be interested for it to be proved more thoroughly than just the anecdotal evidence I have. Or disproved, if that is the case!
    I don't have 2 identical models, but should be able to assess, since I can compare the results of a multi-day treatment on several others
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  • ToneControl;893537" said:
    the ToneRite thing supposedly lets you choose between opening up volume or harmonicshmm maybe it's worth getting one
    Is there a setting that allows you to choose between your own clothes and the King's new ones?
    I'd be skeptical if I had not seen lots of luthiers using this
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  • Bob Benedetto uses one. Blows my mind and gives some weight to the argument
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  • mgawmgaw Frets: 2613
    I tried one on my collings about 4 years ago tried it for a few months...didnt make much difference to that guitar in my opinion.YMMV
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  • mgawmgaw Frets: 2613
    Bob Benedetto uses one. Blows my mind and gives some weight to the argument
    there may be something in that....when i bought mine it was via a cello/violin shop and they did say that it made a noticeable difference to new Cellos, whether them being "archtopped" makes a difference i wouldnt knbow but maybe thats why Benedetto rates the tone rite too....personally in my experience i wouldnt bother with an acoustic...play them hard to break them in,  that definately works :)
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  • SassafrasSassafras Frets: 12760
    I remain skeptical in the same way I'm skeptical about hi-fi cables that cost £20000.
    Although this gadget is a lot cheaper than that.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 33932
    Sassafras said:
    I remain skeptical in the same way I'm skeptical about hi-fi cables that cost £20000.
    Although this gadget is a lot cheaper than that.
    There is a difference though - super-expensive cables can't sound better than normal good ones, because there is no physical mechanism for it to be so. But there's an actual physical mechanism this could work, by 'breaking in' the guitar in the same way as a speaker cone breaks in - which is a provable effect. Whether a guitar 'breaks in' in the same way, or if so to the same extent, is the only question really.

    As ever I would be very interested to see it proved one way or the other - I expect it would be proved, but I wouldn't be at all upset to be wrong.

    I don't have 2 identical models, but should be able to assess, since I can compare the results of a multi-day treatment on several others
    They don't have to be identical for one to be a control. If the other breaks in noticeably, the difference between the two will change.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • here's a 57 page thread to save us the bother

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  • These things are always seen as snake oil on first look but there is some science out there and interestingly Yairi the japanese guitar builder plays his loud classical music before he ships to get them used to being musical instruments :-)

    I would like to try one 
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  • Well I listened to a load of you tube stuff on headphones and in some it seemed quiet pronounced and in other its a bit meh.

    So in the end I had to name a Christmas pressie from the MRS so I have one coming, probably a mistake but there was enough in some of them to make it worth a bash.

    So will see how it goes.

    I will keep an open mind at this point


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  • I ordered one, I will test it in my own fashion
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  • koss59koss59 Frets: 544
    I've thought about buying one then renting it out to other forum members to make some of the cash back. Maybe you could try the same once it arrives and you've finished? I'd certainly pay to try it for a week. The rig rundown with Jason Isbell he mentions putting an ebow on his acoustics and leaving it until the batteries die.
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  • Lewy said:
    I've read some reports that, because it vibrates the guitar with the strings on, it can be hard on bridges and nuts.....accelerated wear and tear etc.
    I don't think it does this, though it can knack the strings, so it's worth planning to change them after using the ToneRite.

     I've got one and used it on my Archtop. I thought it made a beneficial difference. The ToneRite is expensive, and I know it is controversial i.e. there are always arguments over whether or not it does make a difference.
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  • Well on some stuff I could hear a clear difference on others stuff hard to tell its a gamble and it beats socks and more expensive whiskey I really don't need to drink. Happy to loan it out if anyone wants a go in the new year it's not the gift that keeps on giving in the sense I have one new acoustic and a 4 year old that said neither get a mountain of playtime so yes the old mahogany vintage is probably broke in after 4 years but the cheap Cort with Adirondack top will probably take forever a about 1hr per week, hence my interest.
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  • FelineGuitarsFelineGuitars Frets: 5631
    edited December 2015
    I use one of the older Model C sustainiacs (the ones with the clamp on headstock transducer and floor controller)to do a similar thing on some of my custom builds but using classic rock albums like Led Zep to shake the guitars timbers as if the guitar was being played loud in front of 100w stacks for a period of time.

    So in the pic below instead of plugging into the guitar jack I plug into the headphone socket of a CD player and don't bother hooking up the amp either.

    image
    In a way I am trying to simulate actual playing and live use on the timbers. 
    I started doing this as when some of my new builds came back to the workshop after a year or so of playing I noticed that the sounded different to when they went out and that the year of being together and being played had done something positive to the guitar's sound...and that the guitar sounded more mature and some sonic rough edges had been smoothed out.

    Many guitars have a re-sale value. Some you'll never want to sell.
    Stockist of Earvana nuts, BKP, Oil City And Monty's pickups. Sperzel, Tonepros, Gotoh and Graphtech too!
    Expert guitar repairs and upgrades - fretwork our speciality! www.felineguitars.com.  Facebook too!

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  • randomhandclapsrandomhandclaps Frets: 20460
    edited December 2015

    Not spotted these before but really intrigued and tempted.  I know from experience the difference settling in front of an amp can make and if these can actually simulate that then the price seems pretty reasonable.


    Why wouldn't I just put the guitar in front of a loudspeaker?


    Looking at Feline's photo I wonder if similar things could be achieved by clamping a piezo disc speaker type arrangement?!! Hmmmm....
    My muse is not a horse and art is not a race.
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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 4057
    Guitars definitely improve over time.  The question to me is whether it is extra age on the wood, or vibration (or a bit of both) that causes it.  I think that it is more than just age.  I think vibration makes a difference.  In which case this will probably help.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 33932
    I'm sure it's a real change. One thing I have noticed time and again in the shop is then when a guitar comes in for sale that hasn't been played regularly, it often doesn't sound very good. But once it's been hanging on the shop wall for a few weeks - even if it hasn't been played much - and without anything else being done to it, it often starts to sound much better. Its not just me who notices this, it's enough people that I would say it's a genuine difference. It applies to solidbodies as well as acoustics.

    There are three possible causes I can think of: the guitar being suspended on a hanger rather than resting in a case; the humidity and temperature cycles which it will be more exposed to than in the case; and the vibration of people trying other guitars and especially amps in the same room. Often when I'm trying an amp at higher volume I will stop playing and all the acoustics in the shop keep on humming for quite a while afterwards, so there's clearly plenty of vibration.

    My guess is that it's the vibration mainly, so I don't instinctively doubt that doing it deliberately in a controlled way will achieve the same thing. I would still like to know for sure though.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • My take on it is this 
    Vibrations going through a guitar body and neck cause the wood fibres to de-stress and slowly lose the tensions that are still in them from when they were a tree. 
    It is also one of the reasons many custom builders cut their wood and leave to settle before re-planing and glueing up.
    Some makers like my friend Doug at Blackmachine take that process so seriously that a build can take way longer than most would see as commercially sensible.

    Just having a guitar out on a hanger or stand and around music - say sat in front of your Hi-fi speakers will allow the body to resonate and settle down - this used to be advice given to purchasers of new acoustic guitars.
    By this logic ICBM's observations of guitars in a busy shop benefitting and getting better by osmosis are on the money

    All we do with the forced vibrations is speed the process up - a bit like actually vigorously playing for the equivalent of a week.
    It gives a slight head start and makes the guitar sound better from the get-go.
    We also do it before any final fret dress and set-up so that any slight movements in the wood are taken care of by the fret levelling.

    Many guitars have a re-sale value. Some you'll never want to sell.
    Stockist of Earvana nuts, BKP, Oil City And Monty's pickups. Sperzel, Tonepros, Gotoh and Graphtech too!
    Expert guitar repairs and upgrades - fretwork our speciality! www.felineguitars.com.  Facebook too!

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  • I am sure it was the Yairi factory tour or I read it he plays them music so they now know there job is to no longer be trees but musical instruments. Like the sustainiac idea, till a young customer comes back moaning I can't stand this guitar makes everything sound like Jimmy page sounds like my dads guitar ha ha
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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 4057
    ICBM said:
    I'm sure it's a real change. One thing I have noticed time and again in the shop is then when a guitar comes in for sale that hasn't been played regularly, it often doesn't sound very good. But once it's been hanging on the shop wall for a few weeks - even if it hasn't been played much - and without anything else being done to it, it often starts to sound much better. Its not just me who notices this, it's enough people that I would say it's a genuine difference. It applies to solidbodies as well as acoustics.
    Sometimes I think I get this with my own guitars.  Having a double figure number of guitars does mean they don't all get played regularly.  That's partly why I have been half-heartedly downsizing so I do play the ones I have more.  The problem is that when I sell I keep buying new ones.  I think I do have 2 less than I did 3 or 4 years ago.
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  • Like the sustainiac idea, till a young customer comes back moaning I can't stand this guitar makes everything sound like Jimmy page sounds like my dads guitar ha ha
    I bumped into Jimmy at London Victoria station on Sunday afternoon . (true story)

    He was headed for his train or I may have discussed using his work to train guitars what to play

    Many guitars have a re-sale value. Some you'll never want to sell.
    Stockist of Earvana nuts, BKP, Oil City And Monty's pickups. Sperzel, Tonepros, Gotoh and Graphtech too!
    Expert guitar repairs and upgrades - fretwork our speciality! www.felineguitars.com.  Facebook too!

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  • I bumped into Jimmy at London Victoria station on Sunday afternoon . (true story)

    Guitars to the Stars :-)
    ICBM I defiantly feel a well played guitar is develops its character good or bad. I have bought a couple of case queens over the years and to be honest a couple of them I have felt were really Meh when I played them at the sellers house get them home with some regret but buy them because they were want I wanted. Play the shit out of them for a couple of months and then one day you usually get a little epiphany and go why did he ever sell this.

    I am personally interested in when the Torrefaction process they are doing on Acoustic tops get transferred to electric necks and bodies, when I was in the states recently most shop have Torriefied acoustics they are still rare over here. 

     I know some companies like Music Man and PRS dry the shit out of their wood with dehumidifiers but Torrefaction is a different process and is going to be closer to a piece of wood that has all the liquid removed and resins solidified or vented out closer to a 50 year old classic. It may or may not improve guitars but I reckon Gibson will be looking at it for the Ultra Ultra genuine Historic 2017/18 as wood type and age on their historic series is one of the weak links. The wood they use these days is the wrong species has different qualities to 50's Honduras and is probably no where near as dry as a genuine 50's guitar.




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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 33932
    It may or may not improve guitars but I reckon Gibson will be looking at it for the Ultra Ultra genuine Historic 2017/18 as wood type and age on their historic series is one of the weak links. The wood they use these days is the wrong species has different qualities to 50's Honduras and is probably no where near as dry as a genuine 50's guitar.
    No, 2017/18 is only scheduled for Ultra Genuine Historic. Ultra Ultra Genuine Historic doesn't come out until 2019/20, they need to wait a couple of years before they can sell the same people another infinitesimally changed guitar which still isn't exactly the same as the original.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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