View Full Version : How To Fix an Soundhole Off Center

07-26-2010, 12:06 PM
On the attachment> In my picture, is Ukulele I'm making out of these woods.

Body: Koa
Top: Spruce, or possibly Red Cedar(it's been a while, so I forgot)
Neck: Mahogany
Fingerboard: Ebony

My hole came out horizontally off to the right by about .4 inches.
There's about 1+1/2" to the left of the hole, and 1+3/16" to the right.(the hole itself being about 2+1/6")

If you can see the center line in the picture, that's how much it's off, and the paper clips represent strings. I very much want to glue the bridge and neck along the centerline of the body, so I was thinking about extending the hole to the left, making it less of a circle, and more of an oval. Would this adverely affect the sound? Would it be better to do this and place a piece of new wood with a new hole over this?

Or what is a decent course of action?

Ahnko Honu
07-26-2010, 01:19 PM
Yup, make the hole bigger and shift it the direction needed. My R&L 'ukulele comes standard with a large sound so not that unusual.

dave g
07-26-2010, 02:15 PM
You could just leave it alone and let it serve as a reminder to be more careful in the future :)

07-26-2010, 02:32 PM
Alright, thanks.

07-26-2010, 06:35 PM
I would go ahead and enlarge the soundhole. It probably will not have much effect on the sound. You could also add binding to the edge of the soundhole after you reshape it, to reduce the size.


07-26-2010, 07:27 PM
you could try for an 'irregular' soundhole e.g.


What I'd do is put a scrap piece of board on the underside, re-mark the soundhole center onto that and use a holesaw to cut a re-centered, larger soundhole. You might be able to jazz it up by putting in some kind of lute insert. These examples are for guitar size soundholes but you get the idea:


But I'm not a luthier, so I don't know what kind of effect that would have on the sound.

07-26-2010, 08:55 PM
If you're content with enlarging it you could perhaps do it as I do. Put sandpaper on a blunt cone, maybe the outside of a funnel. Then grind away carefully, keeping the pressure on the side that was to close to the centerline. I've posted pics in another soundhole thread here, and you should be able to find it on my blog, label is Tools.

I've reached the conclusion that a larger hole means a less bassy sound, others might know more.

Good luck.

07-26-2010, 11:36 PM
Decreasing soundhole size accentuates bass. Increasing it accentuates the trebles. This goes for Gutiar size objects where the larger air mass seems to have more of an effect. In ukuleles with the smaller air mass in the body this effect seems far less dramatic. For most people I really don't believe that they will hear a difference.

My advice it to go at the sound hole slowly and carefully with sandpaper wrapped on a an appropriate sized sanding stick. Shouldn't take more than 1/2 hour to get it just right.

And as you haven't strung it up yet, you'll never know the difference in sound.;)

Edit: Sorry Sven, you were right, I was wrong. I got distracted with the wife asking me questions about my day. I've since changed my post.

07-26-2010, 11:55 PM
Crikey! I'm 100% wrong? Again..? I'll get back to experimenting then.

Atb / Sven

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
07-27-2010, 08:01 AM
I'd turn it into an oval sound hole. If you are worried about the area of the sound hole being too big after you enlargen it, you can always bind the inside of it with a couple of strips of binding material.

Ahnko Honu
07-27-2010, 08:07 AM
I'd turn it into an oval sound hole. If you are worried about the area of the sound hole being too big after you enlargen it, you can always bind the inside of it with a couple of strips of binding material.

AHHHH... ;)


07-28-2010, 09:00 AM
I think enlarging it now that the body is done would be pretty tricky
Just leave it alone and practice holding the uke at an angle so it looks centerred.
Its a good excuse to build another one

07-28-2010, 04:42 PM
I think it is a balance between an obviously too large a center hole and just large enough not to look out of place.

If you make it a little more of an oval shape with round ends and get closer to being on-center, maybe not the entire .4 inch, and then center the neck and bridge to the hole, not the exact center of the ukulele, it may not optically noticeable. You will always see it, but there will be a lot who won't notice it. As long as the neck and bridge are supported, there may not be any structural issues.

The luthiers here can tell you if a .1 inch or less offset will cause any problems.