Violin
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ToneRite

There has been some “buzz” in the violin world (yes, bad pun intended) about the ToneRite dedamping device. The device is supposed to mimic or enhance playing in an instrument using vibration to resonate the instrument over a period of time. This vibration is supposed to increase resonance and “open up” the tone of an instrument particularly those that are new or have gone un-played for some time. The device itself appears to be ruggedly made and simple so that it would last a long time. The ToneRite is fitted upon the bridge and has a sliding control to vary the level of vibration. My initial reaction was that it sounds like a fish tank filter pump. I purchased a viola model, which also fits on a violin, and a cello model. I created a small shim to get a better fit on thinner bridges. I could barely detect any vibration in the instrument until the device was fitted snugly on the bridge. My plan was to test three types of instruments; first one that had been played regularly for some time as a sort of control, second a new instrument, and third an older instrument that I had recently restored which had not been played in a very long time. I made recordings of each of these instruments before using the ToneRite on them. My hope was to use the recordings in this review for folks to hear for themselves the difference, but more on that later. The recommended initial time period to have the ToneRite on an instrument is 72 hours on full vibration. I used full vibration for all of my tests. On the played in instrument I followed recommendations and after the initial period I noticed no difference in tone or volume either personally or on the recording. For the new instrument I left the ToneRite on for one week, the difference in tone and volume was so subtle it was not really detectable on the recording. I personally noticed a slight reduction in volume and the edge to the tone that new instruments often have.  On the older violin I also left the ToneRite on for one week. Again there was no noticeable difference in tone or volume in the recording, and I really could not personally detect much difference in tone and/or volume before and after. Because there was no discernable differences on the recordings I made I found them too un-instructive to warrant making them available online. Further experiments on new instruments have shown that the ToneRite does subtly take that crisp bite away that new instruments usually have, yielding a very slightly warmer tone. I am also now experimenting with longer periods of vibration. In conclusion (for now), I believe that for the $199 retail price for violin, the effect of this product is so negligible that it really does not make sense for most people (if anyone) to purchase this. For these reasons I have decided not to carry the ToneRite products. I am not entirely certain how, scientifically speaking, the ToneRite was designed, but the design seems to run contrary to the traditional concept of dedamping and using specific and various frequencies to dedampen an instrument. The fact that this device only seems to vibrate at a single steady frequency may point to the ToneRite’s substantial shortcomings.