You can test the concept right now without a Tone-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. For more information, see the Tone-Gard website.
The Sunrise (7-ray design) fits almost any mandolin based on the classic Gibson carved-back mandolins, such as F5s and A5s, approx. 9-7/8″ across the back (+/- 1/16″). Most independent luthiers’ designs are based upon those body dimensions, including Gilchrist, Stiver, Givens, Summit, Lewis, Woods, and all the Japanese and Korean mandolins.
The Vintage (6-ray design) fits mandolins that are 10-3/16″ across the back, such as old round-hole Gibsons, Weber Absarokas, some of the other Webers (including some F models) some Hillburns, Newsons, etc. If you have one of these instruments, please get the Vintage, and don’t try to bend out the arms of a Sunrise or Deco to force a fit. It won't work.
Custom Gards can also be special-ordered, if your mandolin or mando-family instrument does not fit one of these sizes (please contact us).