Van Ever's GripTone and Harmonic Soundboards: Snakeoil?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by hdiddy, Apr 21, 2005.

  1. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Hey guys,

    I was searching on the net today for info about German Bow technique and I ran across this site. Some stuff seems ludicrous like frequency tuned power cables for $150. Two items of note are the resonators and harmonic soundboards, which seem to be a little curious.

    From one of the articles on the site...
    Sounds like an interesting idea, but the Harmonic Soundboard is selling for $1500!!!! I dont' have much experience in the physics of sound, but this sounds like a scam and I thought I'd start this thread to make you aware of it, snakeoil or not.

  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    The SoundBoard contraption probably does something. Likely not worththe money OR hauling it around. It would also depend a lot on the endin of your bass, etc, etc. Play on a hollow stage and you notice a difference. I'm not in line for one.

    I've experienced good, bad, and high-end cables changing the sound of things. I swear by my Monster cable. The real problem with amplifying bass, thouhg, is the original signal. Much more of the sound of the bass is lost in the piezo translation than the gain of the fancy guitar cord. I'd say the good money here is by splitting the difference between financial pain and tonal gain.
  3. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Well, maybe I should clarify. I agree that expensive power cables or audio cables is probably going to give you diminishing returns (I have a monster cable myself). I understand the idea of playing on top of a hollow platform as a way to amplify the natural sound but I want to point out and focus more on the guy's idea that attaching or playing on top of one of his contraptions will make your bass sound better tonewise! It supposed to change how a cheaper bass resonates acoustically.

    The GripTone resonator is alot less (the cheapest one is $125) and attaches apparently to the endpin. Is this hogwash too?

    BTW: I got the quote above from this article:
  4. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I really don't know. I spend most of my energy on me and how I play; sound, notes, groove, melodicism.

    I will add, though, that I just had some tweaking done on my bass by Bruno and the little bit that he did (just a new soundpost) has made immeasurable difference (the old one had gotten too tight). He has some more plans for me over the next few months. If those changes do a fraction of what the sound post did I'll be in line behind Warburton for the privy.
  5. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    For what it's worth, there's an article on the principle bassist that helped developed these resonance contraptions. Innit, there's a photo of him practicing with one of the soundboards and what looks like one of the griptone thingamawhompers on the end pin. Nice article too.

    Very curious....
  6. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    Interesting that all the endorsers of that contraption play for the same orchestra... and the cited newspaper story is about how little money they make....

    Yes, placing your endpin on a resonant structure will result in energy being transferred to it, and some sound being emitted from it. But I'd guess it's probably better to invest your money in the work of a good luthier- particularly given what they're charging. Who knows how that gizmo will work with your bass, in your setting?

    Cables: One reason people go about the sound of cables is that we typically use high impedance systems, where small amounts of reactance (capacitance and inductance) in the cables can greatly affect the sound. Low-Z systems, like microphone cables, show much less cable effect- if any.

    That having been said: I spent many years in hearing research, and I can guarentee you that your hearing sensitivity curve changes a LOT as you listen to music played at moderate volumes. It is virtually impossible to accurately judge the relative performance of most cables by listening to them. Doesn't stop people from paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for silver-wound litz wire cables, but there you are.

    However... buying good quality low capacitance cables is a good idea regardless. I like George L cable as it's fairly inexpensive and easy to repair.
  7. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    No, it goes in your pocket. He says it changes the resonance of your shoulder joint.
  8. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Yeah I read that, thus my snakeoil suspicions.

    You're probably better off using these things as target practice when shooting arrows with your incredibow. :)
  9. While I was perusing the U.S. Patents page (digging for gold or just plain boredom), I saw this thing (endpin resonator). I'm thinking like what next? Patents for end cut-offs of 2x4's? For $1500, you could buy a saw and take a week off from work and build a whole xylophone to sit your endpin on. Yeah, that's the ticket!! Me, I'm thinking about that wind chime next door that never stops ringing... ;)