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View Full Version : Side Sound Port - "Yes" or "No" and why



brUKEman
03-27-2014, 08:29 AM
For those of you that use a side sound port what is your opinion of it.
For those of you planning to get a uke with a side sound port what influenced you decision to get one.
I've had one and I think it looks great but I did not hear myself playing any louder than any other uke.

RichM
03-27-2014, 08:32 AM
I have both guitars and ukes with the side soundport, and I definitely feel it enhances the tone for me as a player. But if you don't hear any difference, yeah, it's just an expensive hole in the side of your instrument. :)

Doc_J
03-27-2014, 09:11 AM
For those of you that use a side sound port what is your opinion of it.
For those of you planning to get a uke with a side sound port what influenced you decision to get one.
I've had one and I think it looks great but I did not hear myself playing any louder than any other uke.

Did you compare the sound with a hole covered vs. hole open?

I've done that on a couple ukes with sound ports and to my ears it makes some difference (louder, more clear).

BlueLatitude
03-27-2014, 09:13 AM
I'm getting one on my next custom. I expect it will be nice to have the sound aimed at me a little bit, instead of just to the front.

wickedwahine11
03-27-2014, 09:16 AM
I definitely would want one in any custom uke. I have about a 50% hearing loss in my right ear, so it would be wonderful to have the sound directed up at me. Aesthetically, I am impartial - I don't feel like it either enhances or detracts from a uke's appearance.

Olarte
03-27-2014, 09:33 AM
Funny this thread came up... here's my story...

I spent $300 getting two done on my two classical guitars... yes most of the time you may not really notice it, and yes you will tell the difference at first but quickly adapt to it...

HOwever as recently as yesterday, I'm was polishing up my hardest piece to date Recuerdos De La Alhambra, and I tell you,I could hear the differences in tone between the bass and the tremolo coming in directly from the body of the guitar right through the hole, to my ear... It's the firs time I really noticed and used it to my pleasure and advantage. I could hear the subtle differences that I was actually trying to do, kind of like different reflections in a stone being polished. I loved it! Because this piece is so intense, my whole upper body got close to the guitar, and I had a direct "channel" from the body to my right ear... without the sound hole that would not be possible.

Pursuing Violin as well, and it reminds me of how very intense violinists almost put their ear on it as they play.. getting even closer more intimate with the sound.

I don't know about ukes because mostly people strum etc.. but I bet it would have a similar effect for "fingerpicking" and other delicate playing...

So you may not notice it or find it useful day to day, but it's those rare & delicate moments of pure music where you will see\feel the effects of having a direct path to the sounds being produced. It's not necessarily about volume, or being to hear more, it's about the intimacy that it can bring to your playing.

For a uke I would only do it for a high end instrument and at build time. I think a uke would be too delicate and expensive to do after the fact.. to do it right, the whole has to be reinforced from inside etc...

I hope I'm explaining it right...

Tigeralum2001
03-27-2014, 10:24 AM
Yes. They act like a monitor and allow you to hear the sound more directly. There are nuances that are better heard with one. I don't think the difference is quite as dramatic as many might think, but I think it is noticeable and worth having done, especially on a custom uke.

BigMamaJ40
03-27-2014, 04:25 PM
Olarte: What a wonderful, passionate post!

Your writing reminded me of why I love the pure physicality of the acoustic guitar, and of late nights spent playing until I was so tired that I would rest my ear on the side of my guitar, almost falling asleep, listening to and feeling the music.

caukulele
03-27-2014, 04:33 PM
Olarte: What a wonderful, passionate post!

Your writing reminded me of why I love the pure physicality of the acoustic guitar, and of late nights spent playing until I was so tired that I would rest my ear on the side of my guitar, almost falling asleep, listening to and feeling the music.

Love both Olarte and Big Mama's comments..and I will add that sometimes I just have to cry from joy of the beauty of incredible music...if a side port brings one even a little closer to the music,then it has done it's job. I have one on one of my ukes and it does seem to me a direct, unfiltered path sometimes.

Hammond
03-27-2014, 05:32 PM
I say "Yes". A side sound port would be useful as a monitor port for the player. I like the side sound port.

Recently I have added a side sound port on my Tenor, and did some tests on it. When the side sound port is covered, the tapping tone is nearly the "G" note (low g or G3). Then uncovered the side sound port, the tapping tone gets to a higher pitch, nearly the "G#" note. Now I am planning to further modify to reduce the diameter of the main sound port.

Therefore, adding a second sound port to a finished ukulele is another story, because it is enlarging the total sound port area at the same time. Usually in the design phase, if there are more sound ports, the diameter of the main sound port would be reduce to maintain the certain total sound port area. This is about the resonant frequence.

Try this experiment if you have a guitar/ukulele that has more than one sound port. It would be interesting when exploring this. :)

dickadcock
03-28-2014, 02:18 AM
I say "Yes". A side sound port would be useful as a monitor port for the player. I like the side sound port.

Recently I have added a side sound port on my Tenor, and did some tests on it. When the side sound port is covered, the tapping tone is nearly the "G" note (low g or G3). Then uncovered the side sound port, the tapping tone gets to a higher pitch, nearly the "G#" note. Now I am planning to further modify to reduce the diameter of the main sound port.

Therefore, adding a second sound port to a finished ukulele is another story, because it is enlarging the total sound port area at the same time. Usually in the design phase, if there are more sound ports, the diameter of the main sound port would be reduce to maintain the certain total sound port area. This is about the resonant frequence.

Try this experiment if you have a guitar/ukulele that has more than one sound port. It would be interesting when exploring this. :)

My RipTide baritone has a small front sound hole 28 mm in diameter above the 17 through 20 frets. The side port is 50 mm, making the total area about 2.6 sq cm combined, compared to my Kala Bari with one big hole of 4.5 sq cm. I have wondered how big is too big, how small is too small.

Tapping, I get between F and F# uncovered, and G with the side port covered.

I like the side port for soft, solitary playing I do most of the time. The other ukes I have to hold differently to enjoy the sound. I am sure hearing/age is a factor (pushing 70).
I may decide today on a tenor with a side port.
Interesting topic.
• Dick

Hammond
03-28-2014, 03:16 AM
I like side sound port, because of the look, and also let me hear how I am playing more directly


My RipTide baritone has a small front sound hole 28 mm in diameter above the 17 through 20 frets. The side port is 50 mm, making the total area about 2.6 sq cm combined, compared to my Kala Bari with one big hole of 4.5 sq cm. I have wondered how big is too big, how small is too small.

Tapping, I get between F and F# uncovered, and G with the side port covered.

I like the side port for soft, solitary playing I do most of the time. The other ukes I have to hold differently to enjoy the sound. I am sure hearing/age is a factor (pushing 70).
I may decide today on a tenor with a side port.
Interesting topic.
• Dick

How size is too big or small, leave to some wiser member to answer.

(Below is a bit off topic, apologise)
It should be depending on the structure of the ukulele to measure what is the better size of the sound port, each one is different. And according to how the builder wants to tune the instrument to a particular resonant frequence (tuning the instrument's resonant frequency could be in many ways, adjusting the sound port size is one. The finish coating method and process is another one). Ok, now I am going too far I could handle.

SouthCoast's website has some material to read which very helpful it is. [HERE (http://www.southcoastukes.com/tunings2.htm)]

Some books I have been reading like The Luthier's Handbook and other books explains it well, I couldn't scan the pages and post up because this is not my own words and I do not want to act against the publisher's copyright.

bborzell
03-29-2014, 08:35 PM
Best argument for a side port is to play something you like to hear and then slowly rotate the uke up until the soundhole is aiming fir the sky. Take a listen and then ask yourself why you would not want to hear that sound every time you play.

OldePhart
03-30-2014, 09:32 AM
"Side sound port, yes or no?" I think my answer is...maybe. :)

If you are playing for yourself I can see having a side sound port. But, a side sound port will affect forward projection, and usually not for the better. If you're playing for a recorder or live on stage that should be considered. I have no ukuleles with sound ports...and I've found that I have no trouble hearing them even when singing at the top of my voice. So...I think maybe the first thing is to make sure that you have a good ukulele with a strong "voice"...it seems like the side sound port is only essential if the projection is not that good?

I have played a couple of ukes with side sound ports that were really dismal - they were production ukes with a traditional front sound hole plus a large side sound hole in the upper bass bout and they sounded terrible from above or in front. Honestly, I think they were probably dreadful to begin with and the gigantic hole in the bass bout made them worse.

I've played a couple of ukes with a small side port in the upper treble bout and they didn't sound too bad.

I guess it's like anything else...if the side sound port is well engineered it's probably not going to have too serious an impact on the "voice" of the ukulele...but for me if the ukulele has a pretty good voice to begin with I don't see that I need the side sound port.

As always, some folks like Fords and some like Chevys...and some prefer to walk...so take it all with a grain of salt. LOL

John

costaricadave
03-30-2014, 09:39 AM
I have a side port on my MB. I love it!

actadh
03-30-2014, 09:50 AM
I have not been able to play a ukulele with a side port as my local music shops do not carry them.

I am truly not trying to be trivial, but my concern would be whether it would be a good option for me as a larger-sized woman.

brUKEman
04-01-2014, 09:04 AM
After reading all your comments, decided to go for the Side Sound Port on my new upcoming build.
After all, can't hurt......Thanks.