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Tone Bar Comparison by Fred Kinbom


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Slide Reviews

Tribotone Slide on a single cone. Demo by Bottleneck John of Sweden.

Tribology at Work on the Strings

American Society of Mechanical Engineers Article

As a slide-maker/designer & acoustic slide guitarist for over thirty years, it's refreshing to find a new type of slide that offers the player a completely different tonal choice alongside the regular better-known slide materials. If you have a good glass slide, a steel slide, and a Tribotone in your arsenal, you can use each type to achieve a 'multi-tone' option with just one acoustic, resonator, or electric guitar ~ three great, useable tones from only one instrument!

Ian McWee (Diamond Bottlenecks U.K.)

As one of the musicians that helped Eric Ebner develop his new Tribotone Slides, I have been using them on shows and recordings for the past eighteen months.

To put the Tribotone through its paces and to be able to give Eric as much feedback about their performance as possible; for six months in 2010, I used the Tribotone Slide on almost every song on every show I did.

Tribotone Slides are very smooth, both in their feel and sound, and there is slightly less attack on the beginning of notes than with a glass or metal slide. A very interesting quality with all Tribotone Slides and Bars is that they produce almost no string noise at all. On acoustic, electric and resonator guitars, because there is no string noise, they produce a very warm rich tone that is not like glass, steel or brass.

There are less overtones produced as the slide moves around, but without those overtones and string noise there is more 'note' produced and the sound of the slide moving up and down the string is more pronounced. Because of these tonal and 'feel' qualities, they are quite forgiving and somehow make it easier to play fast and clean. They do however, because of the qualities I have mentioned above, require more accuracy than with glass or metal to play a note and keep the vibrato perfectly in tune.

As well as resonators and acoustics, I like using them on electric guitars. They produce a great tone and with some nice tube amp distortion there is still a clean clear note coming through.

These days I am using Tribotone Slides on all my shows, but only on certain songs that require the unique clean, warm, rich tone they produce.

I don't think Tribotone Slides replace glass, brass or steel, but anyone serious about their slide playing should have one in their collection, as they do produce a unique tone.

Shine on, Michael Messer - May 2011

Tribotone has been building tone bars for a long time, but have now branched into bottlenecks, below is my humble review. They are not what you are familiar with- not metal, not glass, but some sort of synthetic. I tried it out seriously today with an Estralita and the M-1 12 string, so here it is... It ain't cheap at 55 bucks (free Priority shipping). However... this is a great slide. I have difficulty on barre chords sounding rattly even when not damping with this slide. It's very clean, and I consider it money well spent. Yes, damping behind is still advisable if you are into a clean sound, but even not damping (experimenting) it still doesn't produce the rattly sound of the rest. If you need that rattle-shake sound that a lot of the old blues guys had, this one ain't for you. If you want a clean sound this is a great slide. The Tribotone and the Diamond Ultimate are my go-to slides as of now. It's really a different experience, and very, very clean. Think Kottke-

Neil Paisley

I've been playing slide guitar for the last 25 odd years, and I have seen and tried many slides of varying materials and quality. Very seldom does something new come along that is actually a real improvement over the tried and true designs.

One of the caveats of slide guitar is the scratchy noise most slides make when moved over the strings, it is something that has pretty much always been accepted, but the extra noises are not the intended musical sound I want coming from my guitar. Eric Ebner has cemented himself in the culture of slide guitar, by lending to the musician a wonderful new tool to create the beautiful, haunting notes that slide guitar was meant too, while leaving the antiquated scratch and grind of an inferior material in the past where it belongs. As well as creating a noiseless environment to make music, the Tribotone has a wonderful, full and sustaining tone that stands on its own. Whether you swear by glass or metal, you owe it to yourself to try one of these slides, make music, NOT noise.

Thanks again Eric!

Danny Clayburn
Albuquerque, New Mexico USA

Just wanted to drop a note to say HOW INCREDIBLE this slide is! I took it with me to Massachusetts when I picked up my Parker arch-top and it was "highly coveted" by some very fine slide players in attendance. I've been playing the slide for a couple of months now on many different guitars, both acoustic and electric and it is the "killer app." It's the perfect weight and size with excellent quality, feel, and playability. The movement across the strings and lack of string noise is fantastic. You have nailed it (and that's not easy to do)! I like so much I'm working on developing a "hybrid style" in regular tuning where I use the slide as needed (or felt) to change up the tonality and feel of my playing. Great product!!

Geoff Cline
Austin, Texas

Just a few words about the Tribotone slide I've been using for well over a year now. Firstly these are made in a very exacting environment and obviously combine fine tooling and hand finishing, a nice combination. In use I find the Tribotone to be quite smooth, great for those long drawn out notes, the weight is there without being bulky, durability is good, not a mark on mine after 12 months of use and being unbreakable adds to longevity. I would happily recommend these as a slide that is practical, nice to the touch, and hygienic. It's turning out to be a lifelong pal too… an added bonus!

Kevin Brown (United Kingdom)