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Ain't but one way to play the blues and that's play the blues. You can't mix Lionel Hampton in with the blues. You can't mix the Cream in with the blues. You can't mix Joe and the Fish in with the blues. You can't mix the Rolling Stones in with the blues. Now if you want to play something by the Rolling Stones, you go rehearse their stuff and go play it by them. But you won't be playin no blues - Albert King

Author Topic: Tonk American  (Read 9361 times)

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Offline GhostRider

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Re: Tonk American
« Reply #30 on: September 21, 2012, 10:38:40 PM »
Definately leave it on. If you rest your pinky on the pick guard instead of the face, when the pick guard is raised like it it on the Tonk, better tone.

Alex

Offline Rivers

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Re: Tonk American
« Reply #31 on: September 22, 2012, 10:28:02 AM »
That had occurred to me. I don't anchor very often these days, used to. I'm more set on maintaining the instrument as it is.

This waiting is intolerable!

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Tonk American
« Reply #32 on: September 22, 2012, 11:53:46 AM »
Took my Tonk to the repair guy yesterday as it had developed a buzz. He announced there was a loose brace, but then examined it with various lights and mirrors and said all the braces were tight. After about half an hour he traced the problem to the pick up (which I'd installed...badly). A couple of tweaks and it was fixed. It's a very fine sounding guitar and I'm sure yours will be too!

Offline Rivers

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Re: Tonk American
« Reply #33 on: September 22, 2012, 05:25:10 PM »
Hey Professor, do you have any pics of your Tonk? This is becoming the hottest spot on the web for Tonk American shots.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Tonk American
« Reply #34 on: September 22, 2012, 07:04:03 PM »
Some research into Tonk Brothers gathered from around the web:

From Bob DeVellis at http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/showthread.php?3483-Tonk-Brothers ?

Quote
There is some information in John Teagle's book "Washburn: Over One Hundred Years of FIne Stringed Instruments." Tonk was one of several interconnected Chicago-based music houses in the early 1900s. In a nutshell, they set up operation around 1893. Twenty years later, the last Tonk left the business, which was taken over by Paul Moenning, who continued to run the Tonk Bros. firm.

In 1928, Lyon & Healy decided to concentrate on pianos and harps. They sold their Washburn name to J. R. Stewart and their wholesaling operation to Tonk Bros. The arrangement had Stewart building Washburns for exclusive distribution by Tonk Bros. (A slightly different version of the story has Tonk buying the Washburn name from Lyon & Healy and then hiring Stewart to do their manufacturing.) Stewart, expecting big things, geared up production and opened a new factory. Then the Depression hit when the market crashed in '29. Stewart was left overextended with Tonk not ordering any Washburns for fear of not being able to sell them. He went bankrupt in 1930.

Tonk Bros. then bought the Stewart factory for a fraction of its value when it was auctioned off as a result of Stewart's bankruptcy. It also acquired the Washburn, Stewart and LeDomino brand names from the Stewart Co. Tonk sold the Stewart and LeDomino names to the Regal Co. When Tonk geared up Washburn production again, Regal was their builder, using the same factory that Stewart had built before the crash. Tonk continued to wholesale instruments from a variety of sources, including Kay and Stella. Many of these companies had interconnections that are difficult to sort out. Chicago was the center of instrument sales and manufacture by the 1930s and there are many incestuous linkages among the various firms it housed, including Tonk.

Other snippets: Tonk Bros disappeared in 1947 for unknown reasons.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2012, 08:27:09 PM by Rivers »

Offline Rivers

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Re: Tonk American
« Reply #35 on: September 23, 2012, 08:27:55 PM »
This is interesting, from 1928, trade mag, wholesaler Tonk Bros acquires big chunks of Lyon & Healy: http://mtr.arcade-museum.com/MTR-1928-87-4/MTR-1928-87-4-17.pdf

From the same source, Tonk snaps up another jobber in 1929: http://mtr.arcade-museum.com/MTR-1929-88-9/MTR-1929-88-9-14.pdf

From 1927, before the economy tanked: http://mtr.arcade-museum.com/MTR-1927-84-22/MTR-1927-84-22-89.pdf

jobber = wholesaler, according to Webster. What intrigues me is, since Tonk was a wholesaler, and they were putting their logo on Regals, Washburns and so on, guitars, mandos, banjos and ukes, what was their connection to the retail outlets? So far I've found no evidence of a direct sales mail order catalogs like Sears & Roebuck's. So I'm assuming the retail sales were made through independent music stores, who would order through the Tonk wholesale catalogs.

So I'm also assuming the individual stores would write a no doubt beautifully-penned letter subscribing to the Tonk catalog, and then order, via an equally beautifully-penned letter, which no doubt took a couple of weeks to arrive, to stock.

Just tryin' to understand the supply chain here, how our Tonk Americans ended up on sales floors around the US

BTW if you liked those MTR PDFs, check out the full list: http://mtr.arcade-museum.com/
« Last Edit: September 23, 2012, 09:17:43 PM by Rivers »

Offline Rivers

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Re: Tonk American
« Reply #36 on: October 01, 2012, 06:07:46 PM »
I am informed the Tonk will be out of the guitar hospital this week and will post some more stuff. I have no idea at this point how it turned out but fingers are very much crossed.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Tonk American
« Reply #37 on: October 30, 2012, 05:29:31 PM »
I realized I hadn't provided an update on the Tonk. I brought it home about 3 weeks ago. It's currently strung with lights and tuned to standard. I absolutely love it and haven't picked up another guitar since. Been working on Blind Blake tunes.

Mark Erlewine did a literally amazing job on the setup. I've always had trouble with thumb brushes and index finger brushes in the past, tending to get tangled-up in the strings sometimes making for a lot of inconsistency and flubs. What a difference a great setup across the strings makes to your confidence, those brushes are important if you want to get the right feel. The pickguard is a great aid in this also, it level-sets your hand generally a bit higher so you don't tend to miss the brush strokes.

Unexpected pleasant surprise after several hours playing, pinched false harmonics are extremely easy to produce on the top 2 strings and quite startling. This opens up new possibilities for expression, though you can overdo it of course. I've been trying to nail those things for years.

Offline Pan

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Re: Tonk American
« Reply #38 on: October 30, 2012, 06:19:11 PM »
Great news, Rivers! I'm happy for you.

When you have time, record a little something for us, please.

Cheers

Pan

Offline Rivers

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Re: Tonk American
« Reply #39 on: November 01, 2012, 08:48:38 PM »
I'm working up a little sampler for you Pan.

Offline Pan

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Re: Tonk American
« Reply #40 on: November 02, 2012, 02:51:59 PM »
I'm working up a little sampler for you Pan.

 8)

 


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