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Thread: Lloyd Loar in 1921 on Soundholes

  1. #1
    Registered User Joe Spann's Avatar
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    Apr 2011
    Nashville. TN

    Default Lloyd Loar in 1921 on Soundholes

    In 1921 Lloyd Loar gave a speech at the Guild of Banjoists, Mandolinists and Guitarists Convention in Los Angeles, California. His topic was "Gibson Selling Points From Science." The entire speech was recorded in the January 1922 issue of Sounding Board Salesman magazine, but I have extracted just his thoughts about stringed instrument sound-holes here.

    I believe this speech is particularly important as it was made at a point in time just a few months prior to the release of the first Master Model instruments (summer 1922). Therefore, it allows us a look at what Loar had been thinking about during the developmental phase.

    "The sound-hole weakens the top without diminishing its size or bulk and thus makes it more sensitive, allows the tone inside the air chamber to escape and assists in determining the pitch of the air chamber. Its size, shape and position are decided by the above three factors. Generally speaking, an instrument having a sustained tone needs a very sensitive top, and one balanced nicely with the string pressure, therefore the sound-hole is constructed so that it cuts across many of the fibers upon which the bridge rests, the size and shape desirable to make the other factors effective being adjusted to this necessity."

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  3. #2
    Registered User pfox14's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    Holiday, FL

    Default Re: Lloyd Loar in 1921 on Soundholes

    Say what? The sound hole cuts across many of fibers upon which the bridge rests?? On what guitar does that occur. Maybe this is the reason why he designed Vivi-Tone instruments with the sound holes on the back.
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  4. #3

    Default Re: Lloyd Loar in 1921 on Soundholes

    I presume he's talking about oval sound holes, and only means indirectly. If you look at a section of the arched top from the neck block to the tail block, then the sound hole does indeed remove material (indirectly) supporting the bridge. The top is effectively a truss, and making the hypotenuse member discontinuous on one side is a major impact on the structure.

    Is the rest of the article available anywhere online, Joe? Or if not, did he mention ff-holes anywhere in the address? Just curious.

  5. #4
    Registered User
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    Sep 2005
    Atascadero, CA 93423 USA

    Default Re: Lloyd Loar in 1921 on Soundholes

    Thanks for posting this, Joe. Of great importance is that he goes on to say that an air-chamber should be tuned a quarter-tone off [of concert pitch] to prevent it from responding "more prominently." ..>R

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