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Thread: Adding side port to mandolin

  1. #1
    Registered User CWRoyds's Avatar
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    Default Adding side port to mandolin

    Hi all,

    Just wondering if anyone experimented with adding side ports to an existing mandolin.
    My question is about how it effects the existing tone from the front the mandolin.

    I like the idea of having a sound port on the side at the top of a mandolin/guitar, to allow the player to hear the instrument better while playing it.
    I know some makers provide these on new instruments.

    If you create sound ports on an existing mandolin, will it have much of an effect on the tone of the mandolin in general from the listener's point of view?
    Mandolins: Northfield 5-Bar Artist Model "Old Dog", J Bovier F5 Special, Gibson A-00 (1940)
    Fiddles: 1920s Strad copy, 1930s Strad copy, Liu Xi T20, Liu Xi T19+ Dark.
    Guitars: Taylor 514c (1995), Gibson Southern Jumbo (1940s), Gibson L-48 (1940s), Les Paul Custom (1978), Fender Strat (Black/RWFB) (1984), Fender Strat (Candy Apple Red/MFB) (1985).
    Sitars: Hiren Roy KP (1980s), Naskar (1970s), Naskar (1960s).
    Misc: 8 Course Lute (L.K.Brown)

  2. #2

    Default Re: Adding side port to mandolin

    There was a whole thread about this less than a month ago. Bottom line was, no difference... as I recall. Do a quick search, you'll see all the info that was shared, including by some builders.

  3. #3
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adding side port to mandolin

    Some past threads are here.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  4. #4
    Registered User CWRoyds's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adding side port to mandolin

    LOL.
    Thanks for the past thread suggestions.
    Sorry, I had a thought and posted, and I certainly know better, as I usually search for past threads on subjects first before posting.
    There certainly are a LOT of past discussions on the subject, and I pretty much found the answer to the question.

    Im not in any rush to cut a hole in the side of my mandolin.
    I have just had more than one musician tell me that my mandolin is one of the loudest they have ever heard, but as the player I sometimes have a hard time hearing it clearly in a jam setting. When I put my head over the top, suddenly it is loud and clear as a bell.
    I guess mandolins are made to project outward from the face, and don't push as much sound backward toward the player.
    Mandolins: Northfield 5-Bar Artist Model "Old Dog", J Bovier F5 Special, Gibson A-00 (1940)
    Fiddles: 1920s Strad copy, 1930s Strad copy, Liu Xi T20, Liu Xi T19+ Dark.
    Guitars: Taylor 514c (1995), Gibson Southern Jumbo (1940s), Gibson L-48 (1940s), Les Paul Custom (1978), Fender Strat (Black/RWFB) (1984), Fender Strat (Candy Apple Red/MFB) (1985).
    Sitars: Hiren Roy KP (1980s), Naskar (1970s), Naskar (1960s).
    Misc: 8 Course Lute (L.K.Brown)

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  6. #5

    Default Re: Adding side port to mandolin

    I don't think you're going to substantially change the projection qualities of the instrument- but careful!
    Adding a side sound port to an instrument not designed for it is going to act approximately like adding treble to the EQ of the instrument. By adding soundport area, you're resonant frequency of the box/air system, and therefore emphasizing the treble end. The effect can be quite dramatic. And may not be to your liking.

  7. The following members say thank you to Marty Jacobson for this post:


  8. #6
    Registered User CWRoyds's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adding side port to mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    I don't think you're going to substantially change the projection qualities of the instrument- but careful!
    Adding a side sound port to an instrument not designed for it is going to act approximately like adding treble to the EQ of the instrument. By adding soundport area, you're resonant frequency of the box/air system, and therefore emphasizing the treble end. The effect can be quite dramatic. And may not be to your liking.
    Thank you for the input, Marty.
    I appreciate your opinion, as I admire your instruments, and see your experiments with different types of sound holes, etc.

    I am not going to start cutting holes in my mandolin.
    It was more of a hypothetical question.
    Although, adding a bit of treble EQ wouldn't hurt my mandolin, as it is a very dark toned beast.
    It is a Northfield 5Bar Artist, and has a huge dark tone.
    Mandolins: Northfield 5-Bar Artist Model "Old Dog", J Bovier F5 Special, Gibson A-00 (1940)
    Fiddles: 1920s Strad copy, 1930s Strad copy, Liu Xi T20, Liu Xi T19+ Dark.
    Guitars: Taylor 514c (1995), Gibson Southern Jumbo (1940s), Gibson L-48 (1940s), Les Paul Custom (1978), Fender Strat (Black/RWFB) (1984), Fender Strat (Candy Apple Red/MFB) (1985).
    Sitars: Hiren Roy KP (1980s), Naskar (1970s), Naskar (1960s).
    Misc: 8 Course Lute (L.K.Brown)

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