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Thread: Sound Ports, are they any good

  1. #1
    Registered User Reinhardt's Avatar
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    Default Sound Ports, are they any good

    Hi there, a quick question or 2 for all you CBOM lovers. Have any of you instruments with sound ports and if so do you find any difference to the sound projected to you in a live environment, Session/jam??

    I have a beautiful Guitar Bouzouki which sounds fantastic at home or in a studio but gets a bit lost soundwise in a session environment. My pals tell me that they can hear it but I cant, well not as well as my standard zouk. The guitar zouk has much more base response than my standard one, that could be a contributing factor. I find it particularly hard to hear my treble notes.

    Just wondering also , if it's possible to have a sound port installed on an existing instrument or do luthiers frown upon that.

    Regards John

  2. #2
    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sound Ports, are they any good

    I recently built a mandola with a soundport and was very surprised at the difference in available sound I was getting from the player's perspective. I got a couple of fellow players to try it as well and they were similarly surprised at the difference. While one was playing I covered the soundport with my hand and the drop in volume was noticeable.
    As far as retro-fitting, there will be two opinions on this, I am sure. You would need to know the construction of your instrument and whether there were strengthening fingers added to the sides during original construction. I build in four finger braces on the sides on my builds (whether necessary or not, i like to have them), and I also added extra ones each side of the soundport to avoid possible cracks developing from the hole.
    It would be easy enough for a builder/luthier/repairer to add a port and brace it, I would think, but I await other views on this now! Mine was built in during construction and after I had bent the sides to shape. I was a bit scared of sidebending on the heated former with a hole in the thin material of the side!
    Hope this helps. There is a clearly audible increase in sound for the player, as far as my own experience is.
    I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order. - Eric Morecambe

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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sound Ports, are they any good

    There are probably luthiers who might take on the work of adding a port to an existing instrument, but doing it right might not be cheap. It would require careful inspection with an eye to not impairing the structure (as John notes above). You would probably want it bound to match the current binding color and not just a raw hole, if you care about resale value. And it might require refinishing the side of the instrument if the installation messes up the finish.

    While it will no doubt let you hear it a little better, it's probably not going to fix the underlying issues if the timbre just isn't right for playing in a loud session. I think you may be on the right track in thinking there is too much bass response on this instrument. That can sound fine at home, but in my experience, "dark" sounding instruments tend to disappear first in a loud enough session. It may just not be the right tool for the job.

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    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sound Ports, are they any good

    wish i could find it, but there was something i read somewhere that suggested that having a soundport made the instrument louder.

    i have a soundport on my octave mandolin (teardrop) shape. I'm very glad i did it. it's brilliant.

    i have a normal zouk from Paul Shippey (both instruments were built by him) and you can tell straight away.
    My name is Rob, and I am Lord of All Badgers

    Paul Shippey custom "Tone" Octave Mandolin, Paul Shippey "Axe" Bouzouki,
    Phil Davidson A5 "Badgerlin" mandolin, Phil Davidson F5 mandolin,
    Mcilroy Tenor Guitar, Phil Davidson Tenor Mandola
    My band's website

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    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sound Ports, are they any good

    My Tom TJ Jessen F5 was originally built in 1998. He recently reworked it, including adding soundports before I bought her last year.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I like how I can better hear what I sound like without losing projected volume out front.

    He also features soundports in some of his other instruments.

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  7. #6
    Registered User Reinhardt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sound Ports, are they any good

    Thanks for all your quick and really informative replies. I've asked a local luthier and friend Joe Foley for his opinion and he's a bit reluctant to take on the job. Instrument wasnt made by him so I can understand that. Had a similar response from Frank Tate another great Dublin Luthier. The original maker has emigrated to a far distant shore so he's not really an option. Brilliant instrument though , and I suppose I should consider myself lucky that I have a Standard Bouzouki by the same maker that really cuts through in sessions and is equally brilliant, just sounds different!!.

    John

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    Default Re: Sound Ports, are they any good

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
    My Tom TJ Jessen F5 was originally built in 1998. He recently reworked it, including adding soundports before I bought her last year.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	0326190939.jpg 
Views:	32 
Size:	389.3 KB 
ID:	175585

    I like how I can better hear what I sound like without losing projected volume out front.

    He also features soundports in some of his other instruments.
    Ahhhh! So you wound up with it!!! I had TJ build that for me. Spent many, many hours with that instrument. It wound up with a buddy about 10 years ago. He had left it unattended in his closet for a number of years and it "came undone". I got it back from him and swapped it back to TJ for a new build (A deep body, four string, 16" scale, snakehead, oval hole "A" mandola). You can see that one on his Facebook site (not his webpage). Glad it found a good home!
    Tony

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  10. #8
    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sound Ports, are they any good

    Quote Originally Posted by Reinhardt View Post
    Thanks for all your quick and really informative replies. I've asked a local luthier and friend Joe Foley for his opinion and he's a bit reluctant to take on the job. Instrument wasnt made by him so I can understand that. Had a similar response from Frank Tate another great Dublin Luthier. The original maker has emigrated to a far distant shore so he's not really an option. Brilliant instrument though , and I suppose I should consider myself lucky that I have a Standard Bouzouki by the same maker that really cuts through in sessions and is equally brilliant, just sounds different!!.

    John
    Getting through that laminate construction is gonna be the bit that puts them off....
    My name is Rob, and I am Lord of All Badgers

    Paul Shippey custom "Tone" Octave Mandolin, Paul Shippey "Axe" Bouzouki,
    Phil Davidson A5 "Badgerlin" mandolin, Phil Davidson F5 mandolin,
    Mcilroy Tenor Guitar, Phil Davidson Tenor Mandola
    My band's website

  11. #9

    Default Re: Sound Ports, are they any good

    Get a circular soundport. They're ideal if you fancy an ice cream mid set. You can pop it in place and tuck in whilst you play.


    Nigel

    https://www.nkforsterguitars.com/ins...itar-bouzouki/

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  13. #10
    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sound Ports, are they any good

    My name is Rob, and I am Lord of All Badgers

    Paul Shippey custom "Tone" Octave Mandolin, Paul Shippey "Axe" Bouzouki,
    Phil Davidson A5 "Badgerlin" mandolin, Phil Davidson F5 mandolin,
    Mcilroy Tenor Guitar, Phil Davidson Tenor Mandola
    My band's website

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