View Full Version : Soundholes: why smaller can be better

03-27-2010, 12:11 PM
I got a Kala Solid Acacia Concert at Xmas, and my only real complaint about it was its small soundhole. It just seemed that it wanted its sound opened up a bit more.

Well, having become a bit smitten with James Hill's percussion, I've realised a use for the small sound hole. Cover it with one hand. Drum on the uke with the other. Lift and lower your hand, and it basically turns your ukulele into a doumbek. I've only tried it sans-mic. I'm sure with some amplification, you could get into some really interesting sounds.

03-27-2010, 12:28 PM
Are you familiar with Tommy Emmanuel ... and Mombasa?


Be sure to keep watching past the 4 minute mark ... :cool:

And just for fun ... here's Tommy and Jake:


03-27-2010, 02:34 PM
Generally, a small soundhole makes little difference. Most all the sound come off the top of the instrument.

03-27-2010, 03:39 PM
Generally, a small soundhole makes little difference. Most all the sound come off the top of the instrument.

Yes. Absolutely right. Size of soundhole is not generally related to volume. However it does affect the shape of the sound, the tone.

On mandolins, for example, where soundholes traditionally come in two main flavours, oval or round holes are reputed to give more bass, whereas f-holes give a more trebly, cutting tone. The size of the holes most certainly changes tone more than volume. I have personally tweaked f-holes to alter the tone of an A5 style mando. Didn't affect volume to any obvious degree.

03-27-2010, 03:44 PM
That said, there is a range (percentage of hole area to top area) within which volume remains pretty stable. Go too far - make huge holes or pin-holes - and you mess up the whole thing. Make the hole 10 inches in diameter then all bets are off. Yeh, you'll mess up the volume too.

03-27-2010, 04:08 PM
Thanks, for the additional info, Buddhuu. Good stuff!

03-28-2010, 09:35 AM
Yeah. I was meaning tone. Just feels like some of the high-mids are... stifled. Volume is good. But with a small soundhole, I can really cover it up entirely with one hand, which allows for some serious doumbek action. About to check out Tommy Emmanuel. Will likely have something to say in a little over 4 minutes.

03-28-2010, 10:47 AM
I had seen the one with Jake. But didn't really know who the other guy was at the time. Wonder how much damage a brush would do to my ukulele??? Based on Tommy's finish, I'd say a fair bit. Doh...

03-28-2010, 12:07 PM
when making a cigar box anything bigger than a quarter is often too much.