Please scroll down, there’s lots to see here, and it's not in any special order (or click on names in the Table of Contents).
Practically a “Who’s-Who” of contemporary mandolinists! (and some older ones too)
Examples of standard and many custom Gards for Mandolins, such Rigels, and also for Guitars, Ukes, Autoharps, and even Banjos.
Many photos are “thumbnails” that you can click for larger image.
If you’re not here and should be, please send a photo (jpg) showing your Gard, and any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
(website) uses the custom Dawgard for a louder bark and more bite: “I’ve been using
Tony Pires’ ToneGard for well over a year now and I think it’s a
wonderful thing…. My impression is that by keeping the back of the
mandolin from touching one’s chest, the instrument is free to resonate
more. I notice more highs, more lows, and more volume, which is always
nice to have in a live situation. I also use it in recording and find
positive results there as well. In fact the only time I don’t use it is
when I forget to put it on…. Thanks to Tony Pires for a true
mando-improvement.” CoMANDO (2003)
Thanks to the Dawg for mentioning the ToneGard and yours truly in his liner notes to his 2003 CD with Sam Bush, “Hold On, We’re Strumming“!
(website) is a great guy, in addition to being a superstar. He uses a custom Flowerpot design Tone-Gard on his Gibson Lloyd Loar F5s and Gilchrist.
Ricky at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, October 2011, 'Gard arm visible on lower side of mandolin
(website) was a member of The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and The
Desert Rose Band, and has played with folks like Emmylou Harris, Stephen Stills,
Vern Gosdin, David Crosby, Gram Parsons, Dan Fogelberg, J.D. Souther,
Bob Dylan, and Roger McGuinn.
has played with everybody from the Kentucky Colonels (with his brother, the late Clarence White), to Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt’s Nashville Grass, the
Country Gazette, and the Nashville Bluegrass Band.
was the very first professional endorser of the Tone-Gard. He has taken his
Tone-Gards all over the US and Europe, bringing it to the attention of
more people than anybody else. His workshops and articles in various
publications have done a lot to make the mandolin-playing public aware
of the Tone-Gard. He has also challenged me to make Gards to go where
there were none. Kind of a R&D lab on tour.
(website) Years ago Radim met Andy Statman, and in the course of things showed him the Tone-Gard, and the rest is history. I can’t begin to tell you how cool this is for me. Andy Statman
has always been one of my heroes, and to have him endorse the Gard is
amazing. I wish I could remember some of the great things he had to say
about the Gard, but I was in shock. What do you say to your hero?
The Fall 2005 Mandolin Magazine
cover story about Andy Statman notes at page 6: “To ensure that he can
generate maximal tone and volume from the A-style, oval-holed
instrument [a Gibson A2Z snakehead from 1922 or '23],
he keeps a Toneguard [sic] wire support device on the back so he
doesn’t inhibit the back’s vibrations by holding it directly against
(website) another “needs-no-introduction” mandolinist and teacher, co-founder of the Mandolin Symposium, performer with the Darol Anger-Mike Marshall Band, Anger & Marshall, Choro Famoso, Marshall & Thile, Edgar Meyer group, formerly of the David Grisman Quintet, Psychograss, Montreux, the Modern Mandolin Quartet, etc., etc.
(website) soloist extraordinaire and a longtime member of the David Grisman Quintet and other great groups, uses a Gard on his most conventional instrument.
(website) the foremost jazz mandolinist in America today, says: "I love it! It
seems like before long a Tone-Gard should be standard issue with every
mandolin, like shoulder rests for the violinist.”
(website) jazz and western swing great, featured on voluminous projects with
artists such as Tiny Moore, Johnny Gimble, Mark O’Connor, Jethro Burns,
Mike Marshall, Tony Trishka, Jerry Douglas, Howard Levy, Peter Rowan,
Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Eldon Shamblin, Allison Krause, Keely
Willis, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Shawn Colvin, Michelle Shocked, Laurie
Lewis, Riders in the Sky, Asleep at the Wheel, and many others, says: "I think the Tone-Gard is a great invention. It allows my mandolin to
resonate to full potential and helps protect the back of the instrument
as well. I depend on it every day. Thanks Tony!"
of the headline bluegrass band IIIrd Tyme Out
, says: "These really do make an incredible difference!"
has been playing all kinds of music for over 30 years now, including
celtic, jazz, rock and roll, bluegrass and Brazilian choro.
(website), performing partner of Laurie Lewis, as well as fine singer and instrumentalist in his own right, has Gards on his 1924 Loar F-5 (the Custom “Dog-Boy” Gard) and 1924 H-1 “Nelson” Mandola:
noted musican, writer of instructional material, proprietor of Musix, and former editor of Mandolin World News:
(website) who played mandolin as well as bass guitar and keyboards as a member of rock legends Led Zeppelin, has a custom Zep-Gard:
(website) shows his Shamrock-Gard to Ronnie McCoury backstage at Greymont. Ronnie has one too, and told Kenny that he just uses it when recording.
“Ruby” CT-110 in its special Rigel Tone-Gard (photos by F. Farrell):
shows his Gard to Evan Marshall (Photo courtesy of Andy Gates)
IBMA 2011 "Entertainer of the Year" winner with the Steep Canyon Rangers, with a Banjo-Gard on the back of his custom responator-less clawhammer banjo (see BanjoHangOut forum):
(website) He said in Mandozine: “My main (and only) mandolin now is the 1996 Bruce Weber Gibson … It has a ‘Tone-Gard’ on the back of it … I can hear an audible difference with it as opposed to without it. David Grisman turned me onto that thing at the Grey Fox Festival in New York several years ago. Obviously, when he speaks, I listen.”
(website) "It fits great and looks great! From the moment I fitted it I could tell a difference in the tone of my banjo, it seemed to have a more rounded balanced tone, it's difficult to fully describe, certainly an improvement to my ears." A custom banjo-gard designed to fit over the resonator:
The custom Kokopelli-Gard:
The custom HarpGard features a Celtic harp motif:
who made the “Tone-Gard” wood name plaques in some of the photos. Here’s his custom gard:
Speaking of palm trees, is the AlohaGard available for ukeleles?
Sure. Here is the Martin baritone uke of...
With a d’Aigle Cascade Autoharp:
“Although I already had considerable volume and tone on my Hilburn
mandolin, adding the Gard gave me more punch when I really needed it
(Bluegrass), but as importantly allowed me to play with a lighter
attack when maximum volume wasn’t needed, allowing more finesse. The
Gard increased the dynamic range of my instrument and increased my joy
in playing it…. I really appreciate my Tone-Gard and would never leave
home without it.” Drew left home in Boulder, Colorado, long enough to win
the 2001 mandolin championship at Winfield playing his F-5 made by Jim Hilburn of Louisville, Co. He displays his prizes:
Drew is the sole legitimate descendant, amongst reputedly hundreds of illegitimate
descendants, of the legendary Rom (”gypsy”) mandolinist Hor’tone, from
whom he inherited the Djangolin. De rigeur are Custom ‘Gards for the Djangolin:
I also make GuitarGards, such as this Maccaferi-style and two views of a Martin 000 gard
Here are Dreadgards on a Martin D-18. A standard D-Gard is also available.
of the Royal Garden Trio with his ‘33 Gibson L-5 guitar. He likes his custom Tone-Gard for strolling gigs.
Master luthier Michael Lewis of Grass Valley, CA, made his “Bobby Osbourne Model” F-5 (I believe #4 of the Bobby Osborne Signature line). Rick’s Timberline Studio did some of the photos on the
homepage and here. Thanks for everything (you know what I mean).
with his Jethro-model Washburn:
(website) and her Breedlove Orca Tone-Garded:
of The Glenville State Bluegrass Band
pickin’ buddy, as well as webmaster of Tone-Gard.com, shows the Gards on his mandolins, one made of osage-orange by master harp-builder Dave Thormahlen, and a 1982 F5 by John Welch. (Note
to potential website contributors: compare this awkward vertical
double-mandolin technique with Tom Rozum’s more graceful horizontal
method, above.) At right is his custom Klez-Gard, used with klezmer band the Red Hot Chachkas.
with his Kentucky Dawg. I’d love to pick in this guy’s back-yard.
Last but not least, my 1986 F-5 made by Paul Newson
of Manton, Michigan. Also a few custom Gards. One day I’ll dig through
the shed and track down the old version #1 so you can truly see how far
the Gard has come…. Contact me at email@example.com