Saturday, March 14, 2009

Welcome To Tone

The TonePros
T3BT Tune-O-Matic
replacement bridge

I can honestly say I've been playing guitar long enough to have payed my dues, played my fair share of trashy bars, shysty joints, college parties, and "pay to plays". Back in those days I was happy just as long as my guitar had six strings, the amps worked, and I had a decent overdrive pedal to step on when the hooks and solos came. These days things are a little different, throughout the years I've learned a trick or two about upgrading my tone by doing things like swapping tubes, playing true bypass stompboxes and rocking a nice set of pickups, which are all a great way to achieve some killer tones. The simple things like tuning pegs and hardware never passed into my thinking, I just always thought a bridge was a bridge and that was that...... boy was I wrong! For those of you who haven't discovered the magic of TonePros bridges I say to you, do yourself the favor....period!

I recently swapped my Hagstrom Viking's stock bridge for the TonePros T3BT tune-o-matic bridge, the outcome was like day and night, like I was hearing my guitar for the first time. Don't get me wrong with it's stock hardware my guitar sounded pretty damn good, I did plenty of recording sessions and gigs with it and it always did the job. If you've ever played a semi-hollowbody guitar you know how empty and drowned they can sound. The mids always get lost in the mix, the highs can be unstable, and the lows always just float away. There are a handful of things you can do to improve your sound, your tone, and the performance of your instrument. A very important lesson I've learned is that sometimes the most subtle of changes are the things that you will benefit from the most. After installing TonePros' bridge things became much more defined, balanced, and sonically enhanced. I was able to keep the original look of the guitar and all without any modifications to the body. The bridge lets your guitar strings sound the way they were supposed to be heard , the sustain and resonance become extremely clear , bright, and in your face. By keeping a steady balance of vibration along the saddles, chords are able swell and close much nicer, and guitar picking rings out more pronounced. It gives off an almost Compression/EQ punch effect, which sounds a bit dramatic or maybe like I'm exaggerating but until you hear it you won't know what I mean, it's beautiful. Without it my tone sounded like it was being choked, kind of like being on a leash, and it was something that never bothered me because I just never noticed it before. Dealing with the troubles of poor hardware can be something that quietly creeps into your standards until one day it becomes good enough for you. Well to hell with all that mess! Of all the mods, upgrades, and tweaks I've ever done to my tone this one easily delivered the quickest result, the difference was immediate. The other problem I've had with guitars throughout the years is unstable tuning and wacked out intonation. You all know how much this can suck, how much of a pain it can be when you're up on stage stomping your tuner and twisting the tuning pegs while your bandmates, audience, and venue owner stare at you with impatience. My intonation is spot on now, no more of the tuning problems that can come with mass produces factory bridges and hardware. Dialing in the intonation on my guitar has never been easier to do, I was able to setup my entire guitar in no time. The day after installing the TonePros bridge on my guitar I went to the studio to lay down some tracks, I said nothing of it to see if anyone would notice. I pulled out my guitar, tuned it up, worked out a nice gritty tone and got to going. As my parter was setting up mics he says to me, "You just get the Hagstrom setup?" I told him I hadn't. Until I did it myself this last time I had always counted on my local shop to have it done, which is fine and dandy when you have the money to spend it. We went on with the recording session and when it was his turn to lay down some tracks he says again, "Something is different, come on what did you do bro?" So I told him, I said it was the bridge, that I had put it in myself and setup it up at home. He absolutely dug it and was blown away by how much of a difference swapping a bridge could make. Since it's appearance is virtually the same as the old bridge no one will be able to tell you've done anything to your guitar. I love to keep my babies as close in appearance as the day they were born. When my partner went for his Les Paul I could tell he wanted to ask me, wanted to know if they made something to fit his guitar. I pulled another TonPros bridge from my bag and handed it to him, a beautiful, shiny brand new gold wrap around bridge. It was killer to see how stoked as he was. We'll be setting up the Les in the next few days and will for sure report it back to you asap. I'm telling you kids, TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR TONE! This is the perfect place to start, even if you're just learning or have very little experience doing it. All in all I can say that if any of my guitars are able to sport a TonePros bridge they will, hit'em up and find out what your guitar's true voice sounds like.
For more info on TonePros Products go to - or click the Tonepros logo in our links section. Look for more TonePros product reviews in upcoming posts here on Analog War Cry.

1 comment:

  1. I know this is an old post, but THANK YOU! Just got a second-hand Viking, which I love, but as you described it seems like the tone is choked, like it's 85% there, not up to potential. I also get a strange saddle buzz on the B string (which I've experienced on Epiphones btw.)

    I can't wait to try the TP bridge - were you able to use the TP posts as well, or did you slip the new bridge on the Hag posts? Any insight into the install would be terrific. Thanks!!!