I'm currently working on 4 "paddle box" style guitars/strummers/whatever. I'm at the stage of shaping the tops and trying to decide on sound hole size and design. I've looked online at a lot of technical discussions on Helmholtz resonation and such, all of which is way over my head. I'm looking for a simple formula to get a general idea of calculating sound hole size to box capacity (if there is such a thing).
The second part of this concerns soundhole shape and whether that affects sound. Most flat-top guitars have round holes. Arch-top and bowed instruments (violins, cellos, etc) favor f-holes, and then there are luthiers that get creative and carve very elaborate designs. Is it just personal preference? Obviously round holes are easiest to make, but I'm trying to take my builds to the next level in terms of both workmanship and performance.
Any input is greatly appreciated!
I recently built a 3-stringer with a 3/8 thick soundboard and (4) 1/2 inch holes near the corners and it belts out plenty of volume. It is tuned to DAD and sounds awesome without the amp
As long as air can move in and out of the box, the soundboard can sing, and string size is something you should play with until you find each guitar's "voice".
Find where you want a hole. And drill or cut it. Start small and test drill bigger test till you like what you hear. Next time you know how big a hole to drill , but where sould you drill same place or try a new place your ears will tell you what works.
The warmest tone comes from the round hole,,next best is th F holes,,,the black one is a bit dull sounding,,,thats what ive found with my first few builds
Are all four guitars equal in all other ways? (Box size, wood thickness, scale, bridge height, string size, etc.?) Do you notice any difference in volume or prjection? Looks like there is a plate on top of the black box (lower right corner) that may be reducing the soundboard vibration accounting for the duller tone? The black one has the most artistic ones - I may have to steal them, LOL. Nice job.
yeah i like the sound holes in the black one,,,ill try them again,,,,,you never know,,
It looks like this thread came back to life, so I'll just add to it instead of starting a new one. I'm trying to find a reference that derives the ratio of soundhole radius to the radius of the "equivalent sphere" for maximum loudness. I've seen this ratio referred to as 1/4 in a couple of places, but the information is given with the caveat that "I don't pretend to understand the math, but I've been told, ..."
I've found a bunch of places where the Helmholtz resonance frequency is derived, various ways to affect it, fudge factors to correct for the fact that the guitar body isn't rigid, etc. But I haven't been able to find a reference that derives the ratio for maximum loudness.
I know these are CBGs, and "there are no rules", and there are all sorts of empirical ways to determine the optimal hole-to-box ratio. So this is kind of intellectual curiosity on my part. But there is a practical element as well.
For any box, if the urban legend is true, there's going to be a soundhole diameter that gives the maximum loudness when you play it unplugged. That soundhole radius to volume ratio will correspond to a particular Helmholtz resonance frequency, which, for best results, should be close to the pitch frequency of the second-lowest string on the instrument (at least that's what's done on regular guitars - it should certainly be a higher frequency than the lowest string, and biased towards the bass). Which means that, for any box, there's a configuration of strings and tuning that will give not only the loudest, but also the best balanced sound. It would be cool to know (sort of), in advance, what sort of instrument a particular box is best suited for if it's to be played unplugged.
Or maybe it's just intellectual wanking... :) In any case, does anyone know if this urban legend of a ratio of 1/4 between the radii of the soundhole and the "equivalent sphere" is true? And, if it is, can anyone point me to the reference where it's derived?