Nonexistent front sound hole?

Neil_O

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I’ve been experimenting and using soundports for nearly 20 years. In my opinion a soundport brings a lot to the table and I wouldn’t consider an instrument without one. In an acoustic setting spectators tend to sit in front of the player. They get true volume and tone as it is directed at them. The player himself gets primarily “recycled” sound as it bounces back towards him. The soundport is even more useful for players that sing as it gives them a more accurate notion of volume and how to balance voice with the instrument’s volume. Ever played with other people where you felt that their instruments were louder and drowning the sound of yours causing you to player harder to compensate? Most of the other players felt the same way. In short the soundport gives the player a more accurate notion of volume from his instrument. There’s more but that is its primary function.
Do you have a guess on what an instrument's sound balance would be with a solid top and only a player port?
 
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I had a custom tenor uke made by Bruce Wei Arts in Vietnam from a design I saw of his on his eBay store. No top sound hole, but small sound holes all the way around the bout, with a larger one in the cutaway. I was told it sounded very loud by audience members, and it was very loud and clear for me. I finally had to sell it to a member of my group because with nerve damage to my neck spinal cord, I couldn't play standard depth ukes anymore. It's solid spalted mango top and solid curly mango body.

BWA spalted progress 900.jpg
 
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I guess the direction of the projection would be quite different, so it depends on how you plan to use it.
 
Seems to me that any weight/balance difference would be very slight....the missing/extra wood is light and towards the balance point (neck joint). Plus in your scenario the port hole and soundhole "fill" would offset each other (assuming no extra top bracing, but those are light too).
 
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I've never played a uke with ONLY a side sound port but it would seem to me that then the audience out front would be hearing only the "recycled" sound, and while it may have enough volume to be heard I have to believe that the sound wouldn't be as clean out front. That said, I'm a huge fan of both front and side sound port. But something I have always wondered about is the effects of the front sound hole when you have the side sound port. To my non-luthier mind, surely when the sound is escaping from 2 holes, it is reduced from the front hole? That leads to a continued thought process of what is the optimal proportion of the sound port to the front hole? I have some ported ukes where the sound port is close in total size to the front hole, and some (especially like the Kanile'a pineapple Platinum with the pineapple shaped port, of Pop's WOW ports which are 3 open parallel lines for ports) that are greatly reduced in total size. I can't hear a difference between these sizes like I can with a ported vs non-ported uke.

Another interesting approach to solving this problem is the LoPrinzi Nova (or Nova Futura and the 1st guitars were called). Augustino LoPrinzi and his brother were New Jersey barbers turned guitar builders back in the late 50's. At some point Augie did an experiment where he laid his guitar on it's back and sprinkled a thin layer of sand on the entire top. Then he strummed the strings and watched where the sand was most active (danced). And it was clearly at the top of the upper bout. That's when he started experimenting with ways to let that sound escape and came up with the Nova Futura guitar. In honesty he took another luthiers concept, the "Thurman Multi-dimensional Sound Port" and refined it into his own design. His thought process was that the traditional sound hole is aimed directly at the instrument's back whereas this new design, opening the sound board and side simultaneously, is aimed diagonally into the lower bout where sound is generated. It is therefore in a very strategic position to liberate and project forward sonic activity moving up from the lower bout. And a side benefit is the port on the "down side" upper bout also functions as a cutaway for playing higher on the neck.

If it sounds like I'm kinda geeked out on this design, LoPrinzi was one of my favorite guitar builders when I played guitar. I've met him and his daughter Donna who now runs the guitar/ukulele shop in Clearwater FL. (how he got started in ukuleles after 25 years of guitar building is another great story for another time). I never owned a Nova Futura guitar but I've owned two of his Nova Ukes, spruce/mahog and all koa (still have the all koa and it's one of my regular players). I believe there's other owners here who have write-ups of their "Augie" Nova's. I believe Donna is still making this model. Here's some pics (last is the players view)
 

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I am quite happy with the sound I produce with my traditional ukes and can't imagine this could be improved with sound port. Has anyone recorded sound port ukes with or without center hole using two microphones - one placed in front and one above and compared recordings?
 
I am quite happy with the sound I produce with my traditional ukes and can't imagine this could be improved with sound port. Has anyone recorded sound port ukes with or without center hole using two microphones - one placed in front and one above and compared recordings?
Just try one and you will instantly hear the difference!
 
I can never understand anyone making a judgment without actually trying it. There was definitely more sound coming out of mine with the side sound holes judging by how much I heard and from the feedback the audience and members of my group expressed.

I've never played a uke with ONLY a side sound port but it would seem to me that then the audience out front would be hearing only the "recycled" sound, and while it may have enough volume to be heard I have to believe that the sound wouldn't be as clean out front.
I am quite happy with the sound I produce with my traditional ukes and can't imagine this could be improved with sound port.
 
I've never played a uke with ONLY a side sound port but it would seem to me that then the audience out front would be hearing only the "recycled" sound, and while it may have enough volume to be heard I have to believe that the sound wouldn't be as clean out front. That said, I'm a huge fan of both front and side sound port. But something I have always wondered about is the effects of the front sound hole when you have the side sound port. To my non-luthier mind, surely when the sound is escaping from 2 holes, it is reduced from the front hole? That leads to a continued thought process of what is the optimal proportion of the sound port to the front hole? I have some ported ukes where the sound port is close in total size to the front hole, and some (especially like the Kanile'a pineapple Platinum with the pineapple shaped port, of Pop's WOW ports which are 3 open parallel lines for ports) that are greatly reduced in total size. I can't hear a difference between these sizes like I can with a ported vs non-ported uke.

Another interesting approach to solving this problem is the LoPrinzi Nova (or Nova Futura and the 1st guitars were called). Augustino LoPrinzi and his brother were New Jersey barbers turned guitar builders back in the late 50's. At some point Augie did an experiment where he laid his guitar on it's back and sprinkled a thin layer of sand on the entire top. Then he strummed the strings and watched where the sand was most active (danced). And it was clearly at the top of the upper bout. That's when he started experimenting with ways to let that sound escape and came up with the Nova Futura guitar. In honesty he took another luthiers concept, the "Thurman Multi-dimensional Sound Port" and refined it into his own design. His thought process was that the traditional sound hole is aimed directly at the instrument's back whereas this new design, opening the sound board and side simultaneously, is aimed diagonally into the lower bout where sound is generated. It is therefore in a very strategic position to liberate and project forward sonic activity moving up from the lower bout. And a side benefit is the port on the "down side" upper bout also functions as a cutaway for playing higher on the neck.

If it sounds like I'm kinda geeked out on this design, LoPrinzi was one of my favorite guitar builders when I played guitar. I've met him and his daughter Donna who now runs the guitar/ukulele shop in Clearwater FL. (how he got started in ukuleles after 25 years of guitar building is another great story for another time). I never owned a Nova Futura guitar but I've owned two of his Nova Ukes, spruce/mahog and all koa (still have the all koa and it's one of my regular players). I believe there's other owners here who have write-ups of their "Augie" Nova's. I believe Donna is still making this model. Here's some pics (last is the players view)
There's Rebel uke this year that uses a very similar design, I think it's one of the Miranda one-offs. Very tempting.
 
I’m sorry, but there’s no way an acoustic instrument without a sound hole in the front, is ever going to project to an audience or a microphone properly…
My 2 cents…
 
I’m sorry, but there’s no way an acoustic instrument without a sound hole in the front, is ever going to project to an audience or a microphone properly…
My 2 cents…
Now I'm inspired to research this on guitars, since there are so many more guitars out there, there must be some examples! Those F-hole guitars have very different hole sizes than a great big circle.

Btw, my washtub bass makes a lot of sound, and there is no hole whatsoever. High frequencies...blah blah.
 
Hi there from my own experience I used to experiment with the position of soundhole for quite sometime I found that it's make the whole different sound the sustain and projection and that make me keep testing it cause it changed the character of wood tone and I kinda enjoyed
 
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I remember Rick Turner made a few guitars and ukes that had no front sound hole, but the chambering within the bodies produced some phenomenal sound.


I really miss Rick.
 
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