Tone Collars. Must Have or Gimmick?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Rapier, Oct 7, 2008.

  1. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Checking through Ebay, as you do, I keep seeing adverts for Tone Collars. So TMPer's, anyone tried them? Do they work? Should I mock our cornet section for not having them? Should I mock them anyway? Answers on a postcard, or better yet, on this thread. :wink:
  2. The Wherryman

    The Wherryman Active Member

    I've never heard of this gizmo before and can't comment on its effectiveness or otherwise, but the thought occurs to me - if they are so good, why don't the instrument makers incorporate them in their original design? Hmmm...
  3. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    It's a ring that goes on the bottom of the third valve casing. £15 ish. I suppose the next thing will be to bring them out for other instruments, or is it only cornets that need them? Someone on tMP will know, there are some very clever people on here. ;)

    And of course, trombone players too. :D
  4. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    Trumpet players have been adding weight to their 3rd valve for quite some time now, so I suppose it's a matter of whether you want that sound/feel or not. A bit like mouthpiece boosters - nobody denies it makes a difference, but the question is do you want that difference?

    The Denis Wick ones have been produced by Will Spencer, so I don't doubt that they make a difference. Neither Denis or Will would put their names to it if it was all baloney.
  5. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    There's a review on last month's 4bars rest link
  6. The Wherryman

    The Wherryman Active Member

    Trombones are heavy enough to sink in the river without any additional weight, thank you :)

    This is hardly a review, more like a maker's plug, which might carry more significance (I nearly said weight, but thought better of it) if the "performers who have been very positive" had been identified.

    To add to the OP's question, if one cornet player in a band decides to use one, should the whole section be similarly equipped or is the difference in tone/focus not really so noticeable?
  7. ericthered

    ericthered Member

    Tone collars add mass to the instrument, similar to a heavy mouthpiece, and are supposed to help slotting (the ability to centre notes) and give you a brighter (or lazer if you're not careful) sound.

    In MHO I think they are a waste of time unless you want to look like you've magnetised your cornet and ran through Halfords or want to go around saying "Thank you MTV for pimping my cornet!".
  8. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    I couldn't give a fig for the opinions of a virtuoso player or a good instrument technician.
    The only proof that collars or mouthpiecce boosters work would be a proper analysis using proper scientific/engineering measuring equipment such as stess gauges linked to oscilloscopes, slow motion tv analysis of interference fringes etc.
    Personally I think these gadgets are akin to go faster stripes on cars - they look the part and make the user feel better.

    It a small ring can have such a big effect on vibration of a valve then what is the effect of people gripping their valve casing with their left hand?. Some have big fingers others little, some hold it tight some loose. The damping effect of that on the vibration will be a damned sight more than the weight of a little metal ring.
  9. towse1972

    towse1972 Active Member

    Juvenile i know, but I needed a laugh....thanks!
  10. JimboFB

    JimboFB Active Member

    Gimmick - straight up. It will never catch on. Just like those daft fabric things that (i think) Conn made that you could wrap around your trombone. :confused:

    They made pretty much no difference to anything apart from make it look stupid. I cant think of many people, if anyone that uses this anymore. :-?

    Bottom line, if someone famous was endorsing this then people would buy it, not probably because it made any difference but just because it looks good.

    Slightly cynical, but when times are tough in this so called 'credit-crunch' are people really going to fork out on something that may or may not make any difference?
  11. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Hmm - extra mass is a good thing?

    Try telling that to your average BB player. Mot of us have enough mass to deal with - and our mouthpieces weigh almost as much as a soprano cornet on their own. Can't see us ever getting them.

    Sounds like a gimmick to me. Like all the thumb-brakes, steering dampers and octane-boosters my biker mates keep shelling out for - not that it makes them any faster cos the extra kit is just adding weight and stopping them focussing on the real issue, their riding!

    If you can sell something on the "It'll make you better with no effort" tag, folk will always buy it, but the only sure-fire method of improvement is practise - which I for one certainly don't do enough of. I suppose as people are increasingly 'time poor' due to modern work pressures etc, maybe the appeal of supposed quick fixes is making this stuff more popular?

    As said in the posts above, things like this often do make a difference - but the distinction between that and an improvement is an important one.
  12. jonesbp

    jonesbp Member

    Yes, they made them in fabric or the elite "leather" option. Did you know that the leather ones meant that you could play Louder, Softer, Faster, Higher, with a dark rich tone (or a brighter tone if that's what is required) as well as making every note perfectly in tune.

    Perhaps I should dig mine out of the bottom of a box in the loft where it has been for the last 10 years.

    Oh, and also you won't have any problems attracting the ladies so long as you have one of these wrapped around your instrument!
  13. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I saw a trombonist the other day who had a collection of garters and suspender belts wrapped around the back end of her trombone. It made it look a little like a maypole.

    There's a lot of guff and mythology talked about adding mass and its supposed effects. What is certain is that any effects are minutely smaller than the improvements that can be had by simply taking the instrument out of its case and blowing it more than twice a week...

    Edit: Worth pointing out how strong the placebo effect is - many of the stories one hears about added mass mouthpieces / valvecaps / collars / etc. run along the lines of "I tried it, and noticed an immediate improvement. After a month I took it off again, and noticed no change. Now I never use it."
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2008
  14. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

  15. jonesbp

    jonesbp Member

    Lol. I particualrly enjoyed this:

  16. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Don't mock! They have "scientific proof" on their website...

    Edit: I've always enjoyed the following bit of their reasoning: it was originally designed to be clipped on to the bridge of string instruments, but they found that there was no difference whether it was attached there or left in the player's pocket. Their conclusion: It's so amazing it even works when it isn't attached! Which neatly ignores the obvious conclusion: It never worked at all.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2008
  17. Mike Saville

    Mike Saville Member

    If anyone's interested I have my own ring for sale.

    This large invisible device, will, if placed on your music stand for an 30 extra minutes each day significantly improve your playing. Simply place over your music and practice as usual. Do this for an extra 30 minutes per day for a month and you'll notice some amazing results. Your range will improve, your stamina will get better and you will be a much better all round player.

    Once you're satisfied with the invisi-ring you can upgrade to a a clip on version for your instrument - again use whilst doing an extra 30 mins practice and you'll be astounded by the results.

    The invisi-ring is available now - special offer to tMP members - only £9,999.00. What a bargain!!!!
  18. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    And now for the opinion of someone who has actually tried one of these tone collars - I know, it's not as much fun as just making up an opinion based on guesswork, but I am going to throw in some thoughts anyway (with apologies to those of you who prefer to speculate rather than actually try anything).

    I have been using the Spencer/Wick tone collar on my Bb trumpet for the past few months and have been enjoying the effect it has. My tone has not altered and I have not gained another octave, but I do prefer playing with it on (yes, I have removed it after some time and found that it did not slot quite as well). It is purely a personal opinion, but I am leaving mine on for now.
    Please note, I was VERY sceptical about this product before I used it - like many of you I thought it was just a gimmick. I only used it after much persuading from both Will and Denis.

    As said, I use one of these on my Bb trumpet. I have tried them on my Eb trumpet and piccolo trumpet, as well as my cornet and soprano. Purely personally, I didn't enjoy the experience of using it on my cornet (or any of the others, but it was most notable on the cornet). I prefer my cornet to be very flexible and the tone collar didn't help this aspect of it, in fact I found it to be less responsive than normal. For me, it took away some of the aspects of playing a cornet that I believe are fundamental to it being a cornet, rather than a cornet-shaped trumpet.

    That said, I know of other local cornet players who are very much enjoying the experience of using the tone collars.

    When it comes to products like this you can either sit back, never try one and say that it is purely a gimmick or you can try them and then speak from actual experience. If you choose to do the first that is your choice. If you want to try the second, I would recommend at least trying one. If you don't like it - there is always eBay.

    Btw - I happen to know some of the professional players who are using these tone collars. I will not be putting any names here (there is such a thing as discretion) but I know that there are some very impressive trumpeters now using them.
  19. Mike Saville

    Mike Saville Member

    I too have tried this and many other 'new' products. I have yet to find anything that would improve my playing more than extra practice would.

    There are indeed some very fine players that use devices such as these but please don't be fooled into believing it is the device that makes them play that way - the reason they play they way they do is the vast numbers of hours spent in the practice room. By all means use these if you like but it will not improve your playing anything like as much as extra practice will.
  20. TheFopp

    TheFopp Member

    I haven't tried this particular Tone Collar, but I have experimented with heavy valve caps and heavyweight mouthpieces. I've been using a Bach Megatone mouthpiece on my trumpet for years now. For me it really opens up the amount of power I can push down the instrument and, to my ears at least, gives me a much richer sound.

    As for heavyweight valvecaps, I tried the Curry XXXCaps on the trumpet and they made a huge difference to the way the instrument played. They certainly made it slot much more accurately, but for my playing where I like a lot of flexibility and the ability to pull notes around (its the Jazzer in me) I found that this restricted my playing a lot. I also felt it made my tone duller in some way. For some people, the more accurate slotting will be an absolute boon (and I know players who love that feeling).

    So yes, added mass does make a difference. Whether that is a good or bad difference for your playing.... well you can only tell by trying it for yourselves.

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