Review: ToneRite Play-In Device for Acoustic Guitars

As musicians, we go to extremes to get the best possible sound from our instruments.

Don’t think this quest is limited to guitar players. A quick Internet search shows drummers burying their cymbals in the back yard to achieve a darker timbre, or a community theater in California letting anyone in off the street to come play their new grand piano to help log the 100 hours of time needed to properly break it in.

The ToneRite follows in similar footsteps, except you don’t need a shovel or to allow strangers on your property. It’s a device the size of a bar of soap that sits on your guitar strings and vibrates a frequency into your instrument to speed up the breaking-in process.

I truly believed the science behind breaking in an instrument, but in a fast-food-eating, high-definition, instantly streaming culture, I asked myself, "Will this work?" Big thanks to my friend John Cannavo, who offered up his beautiful Gibson J200 as our guitar sacrifice.

First we recorded a sound clip of the Gibson before we put on the ToneRite. No nonsense, just open chords and harmonics on a Shure 57 into my computer. Then we left the ToneRite sit on John’s Gibson for a week straight. The manual suggests a minimum of 72 hours to hear results but recommends 144 hours for the better results.

After a week’s worth of use, we recorded a follow-up clip; same guitar, same chair, same pick, same mic, everything. Two things stood out; first the guitar was much louder, I used significantly less preamp gain to record the follow up clip and also you will hear a fuller sustain.



  • When the rubber feet are seated properly on the strings, the ToneRite is nearly silent, no louder than a computer fan. I suggest leaving your guitar on a stand as the manual points out that if you leave it in an open guitar case, you could damage your instrument if the lid accidentally slams shut. There is a dial on the Tone Rite that acts as an On/Off as well as an Intensity switch. If
  • you’re after a sweeter, mellow tone, go with low intensity. If volume is what you’re after, crank up the intensity.

The ToneRite isn’t limited to guitars; the company builds models for violas, violins, ukuleles, mandolins and upright basses. While it won’t make a poorly designed instrument sound like a Stradivarius, the Tone Rite is an excellent choice to speed up the play-in
process of your instrument.

Price: $186.25

You can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but Billy Voight is a gear reviewer, bassist and guitarist from Pennsylvania. He has Hartke bass amps and Walden acoustic guitars to thank for supplying some of the finest gear on his musical journey. Need Billy's help in creating noise for your next project? Drop him a line at

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