What Is a Tone-Gard™?
The Tone-Gard™ is designed 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 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. See FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS.
Who the Heck Needs a Tone-Gard™?
Preëminent mandolinists — such as David Grisman, Mike Marshall, Chris Thile, Ricky Skaggs, Andy Statman, John Reischman, Radim Zenkl, and many others — use and recommend the Tone-Gard™ to get the best possible sound. A Gard improves anything from starter instruments to your Lloyd Loar. See PHOTO GALLERY for many more prominent Gard users.
See some videos, reviews, and endorsements at BUZZ.
Mike Marshall & David Grisman. You can see arm of Gard at bottom of mandolins.
Yours truly & David Grisman
with Ricky Skaggs
What Models and Designs of Tone-Gard™ Are Available?
The Gards pictured at the top of this page are the two Standard designs: the DecoGard™ (left) and original SunriseGard™ (right). Because of the spring arms at the waist and tail, they fit any Gibson™ style mandolin that fits a standard A or F-style case. The VintageGard™ fits mandolins that are slightly larger, particularly older Gibson A's. I also make DolaGards™ for Gibson™ mandolas, the D-Gard™ to fit Martin™ dreadnought guitars, and B-Gards™ for banjos.
As a mandolin player myself, I originally designed the Tone-Gard™ specifically for the mandolin, but I have made custom-make Gards for Rigel™ mandolins, guitars, banjos, ukeleles, dulcimers, and other stringed instruments that get a similar benefit. Many examples of custom Gards are shown in the PHOTO GALLERY.
Please note however that effective October 2018, I am not making custom sizes and shapes. Due to expansion of the Tone-Gard dealer network, the quantity of standard Tone-Gards, and the resultant work load, I must suspend custom commissions. I am truly sorry to have to do this, but this is a one-man operation.
What Is a Tone-Gard™ Made of?
Standard Gards are now made of laser-cut steel with a ceramic powder-coat. They have more pads, which are directly glued on to prevent loss. Vintage, Rigel, and custom Gards are hand-made from mild steel, sprayed with a durable high-gloss paint, and have older-style pads. 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.
How Much Do They Cost, and How Do I Order a Tone-Gard™?
See PRICES & ORDERS.
Where Else Can I Buy a Tone-Gard™?
See RETAIL DEALERS who carry Standard Tone-Gards™.