ToneRite: Brand New Instrument With a Vintage Tone?

The modern world is fast… Too fast! As a result, we often do not have time to wait for things to just happen! Years ago, TV even used to broadcast shows claiming that you can do muscles with an electric device, while sitting your ass in the couch, eating pop-corn and watching your favorite show. Good shape… No efforts! So, open your eyes ’cause I found the device to improve your guitar, double bass or violin tone without constantly playing it (how would you manage to do that while modern life is just about a constant rush?)! To reach the holy vintage grail without waiting 20 years, the ToneRite could be the solution.

Be serious a minute dude! Ok, I’ll try to be…

The tone character of acoustic wooden instruments tends to change overtime. To be more accurate, this tone character evolves alongside with your playing so that your instrument will reach its full potential after some amount of time. I think that it’s quite hard to describe this with words, but brand new acoustic instruments tend to have a tighter sound than old acoustic instruments. Indeed, long time played instruments are often well balanced (in terms of frequencies equilibrium), and they often sound louder and deeper. They are often described as opened up or airy instruments.

The aging of wood and varnish probably has a subtle effect on the tone evolution of acoustic wooden instruments, but this is not the main influencing factor. Generations of luthiers made a lot of empirical (and wise) statements that lead to the following postulate: regularly playing an acoustic instrument allows it to be more reactive overtime. It’s rather the stimulation of the wood rather than aging that will shape its tonal character. It doesn’t radically change the character of an instrument, but it builds over its original potential and character.

guitar_mainAugi Lye, a cello player with an engineering background, stepped up from that postulate and designed this device to bring out the best from his brand new cello, and to allow it to reach its full potential before several years. The ToneRite is a device that applies modulated frequencies to stimulate the wood of the instrument under treatment. Ain’t that a great idea? As a matter of fact, it is a tech approach of a trick used by some luthiers who vibrate their instruments with intense music sessions to fasten the “aging” process.  The advice is to apply a first treatment for 72 hours and then regularly overtime, but not to rely on the device to obtain the effect (what would be the point anyway?). So you’ll have to keep on playing which is the fun part. The ToneRite exists for guitar, double bass, violin, cello and mandolin.

While I was reading about the ToneRite, I found these before/after ToneRite treatment videos made by a US guitarist. He performed the experiment on his Breedlove guitar. Here is the result:

Before hair loss ToneRite treatment:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9225Ni3fSNw[/youtube]

After washing the T-shirt with some crappy soap powder ToneRite treatment:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sqb5RtMCark[/youtube]

I am sort of dubious about the result because I think that the effect should be obvious from the instrumentalist side  i.e. on the way he will feel the vibrations, the playability that might be easier, etc… However, I reckon there is a difference between both samples (I find the second one more pleasant) though the atrocious Youtube quality doesn’t allow me to clearly differentiate. And last, he doesn’t give any information about the sound capture.

Obviously, if you own a solid body or a steel guitar, I doubt that such device will be of any use to your instrument!

What do you think about this ToneRite and the maturation process of your insrument?

The ToneRite website: http://www.tonerite.com/

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