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Thread: Sound ports, fad or function?

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graham Greenbag View Post
    I had the chance to buy a good Uke with a sound hole in the upper bout but decided not to and to stay with the traditional style instead. The number of Ukes for sale with these player facing sound holes seems, to me, to be increasing. Is it just a fad or is, as I suspect is the case, there some value in having a top port. Perhaps it’s one of these things that’s good for some situations and less so others?

    My UAS is under control at the moment (though I have positive thoughts about a couple of Sopranos and then there’s that nice Concert .......) so mine is just more of a general question than anything else. I do have a cheap Uke I could add a sound hole though to (????????) so maybe it’s not a completely academic question.

    What do people think. Are sound ports a fad or a function?
    My thanks to everyone who has supported this thread by adding their comments to it or even just reading it, the response has been absolutely fantastic.

    It seems to me that the overwhelming body of opinion is that sound ports are much more of a useful functional feature than a fad so that has answered my initial question, thank you all. A few folk have reservations about them and particularly their appearance; to me that’s very understandable in that we get used to the way things normally look and anything new or different fails the common appearance test (if it looks right then it is, or it’s at least near enough correct). My own impression of them was something similar: they don’t look right but (questioning traditional build and traditional use) maybe they do help you hear yourself in group playing situations and maybe they do direct the sound more usefullly when playing for your own ears only rather than those of a group of listeners.

    To my mind the overwhelmingly positive comments give rise to a couple of further questions:
    - Is it best to place the sound hole on the top point (?) of the upper or the lower bout ?
    - What size (diameter) relationship(s) between the main sound hole and the side sound port work best / work well / are usual?
    With regard to the above two questions what do folk think / observe / use / build ????
    Last edited by Graham Greenbag; 11-02-2017 at 09:11 AM.

  2. #22
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    Thanks for starting this thread. I am about to do my first sound port and this has been very helpful.
    My Real name is Terry Harris

  3. #23
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    Upper bout, nearer your ears, mine was about 2", (if you rounded out the squarish hole).
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.
    Formerly known as uke1950.

  4. #24
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    I am not a sound expert but it seems reasonable that benefits could be gained by adding a sound port. There have always been debates about sealed and unsealed speakers and the general thought is that the low end bass response could be extended in a smaller sized speaker cabinet by putting in a port. This lessens the damping force on the speaker given a small volume cabinet at low frequency, large speaker displacements (ignoring port tuning issues which can generate resonances and port noise). Now a ukulele is already like a ported speaker with the driver being the sound board and the sound hole being the port and it is already has a relatively small volume with limited sound board displacement ability. So if the goal is to get the most out of your vibrating sound board, opening up the box could lessen the damping which could improve the sustain of the soundboard across the whole frequency range. Well then why not just take the back off the instrument? Half the sound just gets absorbed by your stomach or goes behind you instead of some of that being redirected out the front sound hole or amplifying the sound board vibrations at certain resonances. Some folks favor a very rigid uke body for this reason to reflect the sound pressure waves rather than have them absorbed by the back. So a possible approach would be to enlarge the existing sound hole. Shouldnt this have the same effect as adding a side port? In this case, the sound waves coming out of the front hole would presumably be all in phase with the same distance of travel to the listener. The possible advantage of the side port would be that the sound waves between the front and the side may have a shift in phase and a lag in distance, possibly contributing to a sound with more depth like the intentional creation of sound reflections in a concert hall. For this reason, speakers sometimes have directionally adjustable ports, or selectable front or rear porting, to adjust for preferable dynamics in any particular room arrangement. So there might be a couple of real reasons why a side ported uke would sound better to the player or listener, all other things being equal.
    Mahalo!
    - Derek

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graham Greenbag View Post

    To my mind the overwhelmingly positive comments give rise to a couple of further questions:
    - Is it best to place the sound hole on the top point (?) of the upper or the lower bout ?
    - What size (diameter) relationship(s) between the main sound hole and the side sound port work best / work well / are usual?
    With regard to the above two questions what do folk think / observe / use / build ????
    - Upper bout. The players arm will cover a lower bout sound port negating the "monitor" effect (if such a thing exists). Also see: Hemholtz (sp?) Effect. Don't decrease air pressure in the box too much.
    - Size? Not too big and not too small. Oval instead of round. Eccentric circle. Looks better to my eye.

    Oh and another thing that was not discussed: What does a hole in the side do for structural integrity? It weakens the box. It certainly isn't increasing the strength and should probably be reinforced with a couple patches or a "doughnut" patch, but this would best be done pre-assembly although could be done post-assembly. Just thinking out loud here... Beau posted a good video a few years back on cutting a sound port. Very knarly and violent. Fun with cutting tools! I loved it.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by M3Ukulele View Post
    Curious to hear that a high G Farallon isnt recommended. Id like to hear from someone who has one in high g. Im getting ready to order a Farallon and was thinking I wanted a sound port. Im definitely a high g player Comments appreciated from more Farallon owners
    Joe tends to advise against it, as the effect is minimal (compared to the extra cost). Low-g is a different story... But then again, you can do whatever you want!
    _____________________________________________

    Current Uke Stable:

    Soprano:
    Kala travel uke (spruce & mahogany) (KA-SSTU)
    Tenor:
    Romero Creations Tiny Tenor (Spruce & Mahogany)
    Kala Spruce-Ovangkol (KA-ASOV-T)
    Blackbird Farallon (Tobacco Sunburst)

    Beginning uke player with early onset UAS. Just getting started...!

    PM me if you'd like to be in touch...

  7. #27
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    Not long ago I saw a uke on eBay made by Bruce Wei, it did not have a front sound hole, but a series of small rectangular ports around the bouts and one larger oval sound port in the upper bout. It so intrigued me, I ordered a custom made of spalted and curly mango and a cutaway, but in describing it via email, he misunderstood and put the larger oval port in the cutaway. As it turns out, that didn't make any difference, it sounds very good, lots of projection and sustain. The leader of our group says it kind of sounds like a resonator, but I don't hear it that way, another said it's bright and has lots of presence.



    Member The CC Strummers: https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos
    Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, provide ukuleles to kids in hospital music therapy programs.
    Patronize Bruce Wei Arts eBay store/custom shop in Vietnam http://stores.ebay.com/Bruceweiart-M...nstrument-Shop, good products, reasonable price. (Don't heed old reviews, he makes good stuff.)

  8. #28
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    I would want one large enough to double as a holder for a beer!

  9. #29
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    I've never played one but to me they look like bird houses ...

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDW View Post
    I would want one large enough to double as a holder for a beer!
    I'm thinking small enough for a shot glass
    My Real name is Terry Harris

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