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Thread: Soundholes: why smaller can be better

  1. #1
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    Default Soundholes: why smaller can be better

    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.
    "A few chords strummed on a ukulele, enough to please a few others beside yourself, does more good in this world than the combined efforts of all the financiers and politicians that ever lived."

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  2. #2
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    Default

    Are you familiar with Tommy Emmanuel ... and Mombasa?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5NL6chCSBw

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


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

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ramHhTGSfk
    Last edited by MTGuru; 03-27-2010 at 12:40 PM.
    Big Island mahogany Deluxe soprano
    Dixie banjo ukulele
    My other ukulele is a whistle: Chiff & Fipple

  3. #3
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    Default

    Generally, a small soundhole makes little difference. Most all the sound come off the top of the instrument.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ukenator View Post
    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.
    And whether the blood be highland, lowland or no,
    And whether the skin be black or white as the snow,
    Of kith and of kin we are one, be it right, be it wrong,
    As long as our hearts beat true to the lilt of a song.

  5. #5
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    Default

    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.
    And whether the blood be highland, lowland or no,
    And whether the skin be black or white as the snow,
    Of kith and of kin we are one, be it right, be it wrong,
    As long as our hearts beat true to the lilt of a song.

  6. #6
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    Default

    Thanks, for the additional info, Buddhuu. Good stuff!

  7. #7
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    Default

    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.
    "A few chords strummed on a ukulele, enough to please a few others beside yourself, does more good in this world than the combined efforts of all the financiers and politicians that ever lived."

    My YouTube channel.
    Mya-Moe Port Orford Cedar/Maple Concert
    MP Custom Zebrawood Pineapple Longneck Soprano

  8. #8
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    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...
    "A few chords strummed on a ukulele, enough to please a few others beside yourself, does more good in this world than the combined efforts of all the financiers and politicians that ever lived."

    My YouTube channel.
    Mya-Moe Port Orford Cedar/Maple Concert
    MP Custom Zebrawood Pineapple Longneck Soprano

  9. #9
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    Default

    when making a cigar box anything bigger than a quarter is often too much.

    cliff

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