Electronic device may help break in new string instruments

Posted on: April 7, 2010

In Sunday’s (4/4) New York Times, Kevin Delaney writes, “No one knows how the violins of Antonio Stradivari sounded when they first left his workbench in Cremona, Italy, hundreds of years ago. But those fabled instruments probably did not reach their full potential until they were played. And played. And then played some more. Musicians have long known that the more a stringed instrument is used, the more responsive and resonant it becomes. But for those who cannot afford a vintage violin, cello or guitar and who lack the patience to wait years for the tone of a new one to develop, there is an electronic humming device. The ToneRite slips over the strings of an idle instrument and begins emitting subsonic noise that is intended to mimic the physics of actual music making. The result, the maker claims, is a greatly accelerated breaking-in period. … While there is no scientific study to back up its claims, a number of musicians think the device works. John Sherba, a Grammy-winning violinist with the Kronos Quartet, said that the results were subtle but noticeable especially on a newer instrument.”

Posted April 7, 2010