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Thread: Anyone put a sound port on a Tiny Tenor?

  1. #1
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    Default Anyone put a sound port on a Tiny Tenor?

    I have a beautiful solid mahogany Tiny Tenor and am thinking of asking a luthier to add a side port to it. But, wondering if anyone has done this before.
    * * * * * * * * *
    Kanile'a Steven Espaniola Signature Koa Custom Tenor
    Pepe Romero/Daniel Ho Solid Mahogany Tiny Tenor (Pepe is adding a side port!)
    Kala Soprano KA-ASOV-S Spruce and Ovangkol
    KLOS Carbon Fiber Tenor Deluxe Acoustic/Electric
    Ohana Mahogany Cynthia Lin Concert Performance uke
    Kanile'a KCS Super Soprano Premium Koa
    Brian Fanner Custom solid body/steel string tenor (Pixelator)

  2. #2
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    A sound port would make it unique, I think. Are they offered with sound ports? I cut one into the side of a Fluke - and shaped it like a fluke (the fish). Of course, that has a composite body, rather than wood. I'm sure a skilled luthier could do that. It should have a strip of support wood around the inside of the hole.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

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    Sound ports confuse me. If they were universally beneficial, then all makers would use them, right? So, when are they useful, and when are they detrimental? Does the port make the Uke sound better to the player, or the audience, or both? Does it effect the volume of the Uke? Just exactly, what does a port do? Has anyone experimented with these things, taken measurements, etc. Inquiring minds want to know!
    "The sole cause of all human misery is the inability of people
    to sit quietly in their rooms." - Blaise Pascal, 1670

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by VegasGeorge View Post
    Sound ports confuse me. If they were universally beneficial, then all makers would use them, right? So, when are they useful, and when are they detrimental? Does the port make the Uke sound better to the player, or the audience, or both? Does it effect the volume of the Uke? Just exactly, what does a port do? Has anyone experimented with these things, taken measurements, etc. Inquiring minds want to know!
    Their purpose eludes me too. It seems to be a fad that along with "bevelled edges" has emerged in the last couple of years for guitars to justify increasing prices. I am sure they will work well for collecting dust and lint.

  5. #5
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    The purpose of a side sound port is to benefit the player by directing the sound more towards them. However, it's clearly a luxury feature, and at least in my opinion not a necessary one at all. I've had two ukes with side sound ports. On one it's just a nice-to-have feature and on the other I couldn't notice it at all, would've made zero difference if it wasn't there at all. Theoretically, a side sound port can affect the sound similarly to making the primary sound hole larger, i.e., a larger sound hole will emphasize the higher frequencies of the sound. Whether a small side sound port will really affect the sound in any noticeable way, I don't know.

    Same goes for those beveled edges / arm rests, mostly a deluxe feature. If the sides of a uke are nicely rounded anyway I see no reason for those arm rests.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dohle View Post
    The purpose of a side sound port is to benefit the player by directing the sound more towards them. However, it's clearly a luxury feature, and at least in my opinion not a necessary one at all. I've had two ukes with side sound ports. On one it's just a nice-to-have feature and on the other I couldn't notice it at all, would've made zero difference if it wasn't there at all. Theoretically, a side sound port can affect the sound similarly to making the primary sound hole larger, i.e., a larger sound hole will emphasize the higher frequencies of the sound. Whether a small side sound port will really affect the sound in any noticeable way, I don't know.

    Same goes for those beveled edges / arm rests, mostly a deluxe feature. If the sides of a uke are nicely rounded anyway I see no reason for those arm rests.
    This is an interesting idea. In times before covid I used to participate in regular acoustic jams with fiddles, banjos and mandolins and I sure had a hard time hearing myself in the beginning and often had no clue if what I was playing even fit in with the song. But with time I learned to play harder and gained more confidence so now I don't feel this is an issue any more. But outside of performing in such noisy environments this would not be an issue and most people would probably prefer to use amplification where you have more control over what the player and others can hear. But I am curious that if you have a sound port that takes out some of the sound waves laterally, if the pressure available to drive the soundboard and be directed forward would not be reduced by the same amount?

  7. #7
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    I was skeptical until I got my first tenor with a side sound hole. It does make a difference to what I hear as a player. I have done the cover the sound hole vs. uncovered and the difference is clear. I am told it makes no noticeable difference to the sound from the front.

    Some sound holes are too large. And can be deafening if they are aimed at my right ear and I am strumming hard.

    My Pono MTSH-C-MS has the smallest sound hole 1-1/2" x 3/4". My LFdM has the largest at roughly 2-1/4" x 1-1/4". (Ovals on a curved surface.) Both work very well with the Pono being a little softer in volume.

    I like them, but it's not a deal killer if a tenor doesn't have one.
    Last edited by Kenn2018; 04-13-2021 at 11:32 AM.
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  8. #8
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    Alan Carruth and Tim McKnight have both researched this topic to varying degrees. You can find their respective results at Side Ports and Sound Ports.
    "Who hears music, feels his solitude Peopled at once -- for how count heart-beats plain / Unless a company, with hearts which beat, / Come close to the musician, seen or no?" - Robert Browning, "Balaustion's Adventure"

  9. #9
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    A long time ago, back in B.C. (Before Covid) I played in a group where most players seemed to SLAM their strings with gusto.
    I would strain to hear my playing, relying on intuition and the vibration of my instrument to discern if my playing was acceptable.

    A sound port would definitely be a worthwhile addition. However, I’m rethinking my participation in some of the groups of that era.
    Every Monday night
    Every other Tuesday night
    Every Saturday afternoon
    Every Sunday afternoon for six weeks, then a break
    One Sunday afternoon each month

    Time to be less committed.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bacchettadavid View Post
    Alan Carruth and Tim McKnight have both researched this topic to varying degrees. You can find their respective results at Side Ports and Sound Ports.
    Whoa. The side ports on those McKnights are very interesting. I may consider getting out the Dremel tool and doing this myself. Although . . . not being a luthier . . . and this is a $600 uke. Tempting. But, It'll be a WAG as to what it does to the harmonics et al.
    I think my biggest concern is how a side port will affect the Tiny Tenor sustain. It is a very light weight all solid mahogany.
    Last edited by cyber3d; 04-13-2021 at 05:26 PM.
    * * * * * * * * *
    Kanile'a Steven Espaniola Signature Koa Custom Tenor
    Pepe Romero/Daniel Ho Solid Mahogany Tiny Tenor (Pepe is adding a side port!)
    Kala Soprano KA-ASOV-S Spruce and Ovangkol
    KLOS Carbon Fiber Tenor Deluxe Acoustic/Electric
    Ohana Mahogany Cynthia Lin Concert Performance uke
    Kanile'a KCS Super Soprano Premium Koa
    Brian Fanner Custom solid body/steel string tenor (Pixelator)

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