Wednesday, June 30, 2010

ToneRite - Improve your Tone?

I had the opportunity to check out this fascinating device - ToneRite. Its creators claim that utilizing this tool will give acoustic instruments a played-in tone. Ideally, better tone is what we all seek and it is a search for what is most elusive - good tone. In fact, what is good tone? What I consider ideal may be horrible to others and therefore good tone is subjective. In order to determine what is good tone we probably need to agree on a standard of tone. This standard of tone is the proverbial can of worms. It seems the term, "opened up," seems to be the adjective used most. A loose interpretation of "opened up" means that the guitar vibrates more freely and there is a perceived increased in volume and frequency range. Does this tool improve an instrument's tone and playability?

The ToneRite tool subjects an instrument to vibration. This vibration simulates the effect playing has on a wooden instrument. ToneRite can be installed and run for hours or days. The tool is supposed to release tension inherent in the assembly of wooden instruments, thus the term "opened up," seems applicable. ToneRite maintains that entropy increases over time with an effect of reduced volume, frequency range, and playability. Does ToneRite work....?

I found that the ToneRite tool does work. A better question might be, is it worth the money to me? It's important to realize that if you start with a fine instrument then this will improve tone but at a level that might be imperceivable to the lay musician. The ToneRite will not reverse or change material variations, finish variation, macromolecular glue cell variations, periodic time induced stress, or elastic properties of the wood. Workmanship is another serious parameter that this tool simply was not designed to fix. In addition, there is a host of compartmental thermal induced stress which this tool is not designed to replicate. The tool does relieve stress but I would liken the variation to playing your guitar in a 60 degree F room verses a 75 degree F warm room. To me, this related more to playability than tone but then - frequently, and with very little argument, tone emanates from the fingers and a small percentage is applicable to the instrument. Placing a warm and comfortable instrument in your possession is far more likely to result in good tone than the playing of a cold instrument.

If you have invested in an instrument of value then $150.00 (USA) might be a worthy investment for a tool that subtly effects your instrument. On the contrary, if you have an inexpensive instrument then you would be better suited in spending an extra $150.00 towards a better instrument.

In a moment of reflection I found that there is a dichotomy where I can place the sound hole "O-port," on an inexpensive guitar and yield great results for $20 or place the ToneRite on my inexpensive guitar and yield less favorable results if considering cost over tone.

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