A Handy Device for Guitarists, Bassists, Etc.

Rich Engle

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We designed the Thernabulator<tm> to be a more versatile, scalable replacement for out-of-production sustain devices such as the Fatfinger and Fathead (both formerly sold by Groove Tubes). The one you see here is a simple prototype, made with parts you can find at just about any auto store, and some felt.

How do these things work, and what are they good for?

Very simple stuff, really. If you look at a guitar (or bass), the area with the lowest mass is almost always the headstock (assuming the guitar is normal enough to have a headstock). If you increase the mass there, resonance improves. Believe me when I tell you this is quite noticeable if you have done it correctly; the increased resonance is also strong enough to virtually eliminate most neck "dead spots" (outside of graphite and other synthetic necks, dead spots are naturally occurring in even the best ones). It can also be enough resonance to help liven up inexpensive guitars, including acoustic models with laminate tops, etc. Let me be clear what I am saying here: A device such as this can substantially improve the performance of very inexpensive instruments. And it works fine on other ones, too. Amateurs, here is a way to get some serious zing out of entry-level products. We've tested them on all kinds of guitars and they always seem to make them better. Thernabulators scream.

Do these things increase "neck dive?" Of course they do. But, the heft and feel of the whole instrument changes, it is much more "vibrant" in your hand--I've been using these things for years and it's just fine.

Right now, we are making them out of different size clamps, and different length bolts. We can adjust the weight very precisely to whatever is optimal for the instrument (there are little formulas for that, but we mostly go by ear). Another nice thing about these is that clever placement can sometimes help slowly take regular neck twists out (or at least keep them in traction).

Just one of those great gimmes in life. We are making very custom and odd ones and selling them, but as for the basic idea that's just physics so we tell everybody about it.

So take out that old battle ax and try something like this. Works for bowed instruments too.

Basic Thernabulator: This one is a single-bolt model for electric guitar. Basses are usually double-bolted.


Edited by Rich Engle
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