The Tone-Gard™ is designed to fit snugly onto the back of your mandolin. Its main purpose is to isolate the back of a mandolin (or any similar instrument) from the player’s body, producing more volume and enhancing the tone.
You can test the concept right now without a Tone-Gard™. Play your instrument normally, while facing a wall about a foot or two away, allowing the sound to bounce back directly so you can hear how your instrument projects. After you are used to the sound, hold the mandolin by the neck so that the back of the instrument is a couple of inches away from your body. Now try playing some chop chords. Go back and forth, against and away from your body, and you will notice a difference. You will hear a difference just hitting one chop and letting it ring while holding against you, then away. (If you don’t hear the difference, it’s time to visit an audiologist — no kidding.)
An extra benefit is protecting the back of your instrument from wear, dings, and scratches. You can and should leave the Gard on the instrument all the time, not take it on and off. It fits in almost all cases.
Preeminent mandolinists — such as David Grisman, Ricky Skaggs, Chris Thile, Andy Statman, Mike Marshall, John Reischman, Chris Hillman, Roland White, Radim Zenkl, Dana Rath, Tom Rozum, Eric Thompson, Emory Lester, and many others — use and recommend the Tone-Gard™ to get the best possible sound. A Tone-Gard™ improves anything from starter instruments to Loars.
Tone-Gards™ are made of laser-cut steel with a ceramic powder-coat. They have more pads, which are directly glued on to prevent loss. All surfaces that come in contact with the instrument have rubber and leather pads where needed to protect the instrument’s finish. The only maintenance is occasionally to apply a little instrument wax or Pledge™ or similar product on the rubber-pads to protect from deterioration. The rubber pads can also be easily replaced if necessary.
I have included pictures of various types of mandolins to show the versatility of this product. It will fit on just about any flat or carved top mandolin made today, tater-bug mandolins excluded, of course!
Cheers to you and your team!! Excellent work! I couldn't be happier with everything. Neck finish looks killer and playability is on another level! Truly inspiring. I cannot thank you enough.TY STEVENS, CUSTOMER FOR LIFE
I cannot say enough good things about The X. It is infinitely playable, easy to look at and very pleasing to the ear. If I ever got any actual playing skill, I could probably take over the world with this thing. Thank You Sir.DON SIMPSON
I have been lucky enough to spend some time at Steve’s shop playing several of his reso’s. Man these guitars are great. The construction is impeccable and the tone and volume are as good as it gets on the custom front. These guitars will surely be flooding the scene as soon as people get to hear them. I own a E model beard but my next purchase will be one of Steve’s guitars. If you get the chance don’t pass them up.TUCK TUCKER
The mandolin came in yesterday and I just got it from the office today. This is an outstanding instrument. The sound is even more than I expected from the videos online. I haven’t gotten a chance to play it a whole lot but the more and more I play, the better I like it. You and your crew are very talented in this art and business you run at making great high quality instruments at a darn good price. Will report back after some much anticipated playing time. Have a good one.JESSE RAMIREZ
Traveler #25 is a masterpiece, truly the “Presidential Model.” It arrived safely via USPS, rested overnight, and awakened today. Where do I begin? The woods are beautiful, and the finish and binding bring out their character. It sparkles. The binding, by the way, is extraordinary. Gold hardware complements the woods and finish, and the scalloped tailpiece lends itself perfectly to the shape of the mandolin. It is an aesthetic celebration. The tone is phenomenal, and the low, easy setup allows me to bring out the tone as if the instrument were already played in, that’s how refined it is already. When you mentioned that it is very easy to play you understated it: the radiused fretboard and setup give it an effortless feel. I love the way that #25 nestles in my hand; I need to look to see that it’s really there. Traveler #25 embodies the Zen of mandolin playing, and you are the Zen Master. Thanks, Steve, for your creation.DR. FRED SAVITZ
The little Traveler has arrived. Wow! It is so small for producing such a GREAT sound. I must say it leaves my Weber Y2K standing in the dust . I tried a couple of dozen different pick weights and materials till I adopted a couple that seem to work best with the Traveler and, as fortune would have it, my old Tone Guard fits her like a glove. Superb job Steve. The frets are quite nice. Top nut to tailpiece. She sings so sweetly. AND I believe you will find a niche with the celtic crowd as the Traveler just loves to play fast and Irish or Scottish. I am so glad I chose the satin finish and the gold clamshell tailpiece. It’s understated and elegant. I am highly happy and my wife likes it too. It was ‘the sound’ that originally drew us to the instrument. Now that I have one, it still is the sound. How wonderful. As we go along I will have some other requests.
I’ll ask you about them later. Thank you for the gift and extra strings. Take care Steve and thanks again. Your friend Bruce.