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  #1  
Old 07-01-2006, 09:20 PM
mr guitar mr guitar is offline
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Default Drill a soundport?

Hi everyone,

I love the effect of soundports but unfortunately they're uncommon. Now I don't have the money to buy a Mcknight or anything, so I was thinking of drilling a soundport on the side of a guitar myself.

I was wondering, have any of you tried this?
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Old 07-01-2006, 09:47 PM
DM3MD DM3MD is offline
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email Mr. Mcknight himself...he's very nice during my annoying email questions, so I'm sure he'd be more than accomodating to help out. Also, there is a nice gentleman who goes by "ljguitar" on this forum who has done them before. Maybe he can chime in here or you can Private Message him.

Hope this helps!
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Old 07-01-2006, 09:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr guitar
...I was wondering, have any of you tried this?
Hi MG...
With coaching from Tim McKnight, and an old RV guitar this is the outcome:

For scale:
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  #4  
Old 07-01-2006, 09:53 PM
mr guitar mr guitar is offline
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That looks fantastic ljguitar! Nice smooth shape to yours, and quite an interesting location close to the neck. Did you place it their because you play your guitar at an upward angle?
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Old 07-01-2006, 10:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr guitar
That looks fantastic ljguitar! Nice smooth shape to yours, and quite an interesting location close to the neck. Did you place it their because you play your guitar at an upward angle?
Hi MG...
Thanks...I had the right tools, and just took my time.

Yes. I am a neck up player. Tim told me that the tone for the player will exhibit more bass there as well.

It actually works well when we are travelling in the RV and my wife is taking her turn driving. That is one of the times I like to practice - and the sound port has made it easier to hear while we are moving down the road (RVs are not exactly the most quiet of vehicles).
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Last edited by ljguitar; 07-01-2006 at 10:11 PM. Reason: oops -
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  #6  
Old 07-02-2006, 07:12 AM
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Tim McKnight Tim McKnight is offline
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For three easy installments of $19.95 (paid to the order of McKnight Guitars), you too can enjoy the benefits of your very own side sound port.

Sound port installation instructions:

List of materials:
Dremel with router base
1/8" Downcut spiral bit (StewMac)
1/2" dia Dremel sanding drum
180, 220, 320 sand papers
Brush on super glue (Stew Mac)
2" masking tape

Tape the area off with two layers of masking tape. Be generous so you don't risk scratching the surrounding finished area around the port.

Look inside your guitar and see if there are any internal side braces. If so, transfer the brace locations onto the outside on the masking tape so they are visible from the outside. This is the area that your sound hole must be located [between] as you don't want to sever a brace. Stay well below the top and back kerfed linings too.

Draw out the port shape on the masking tape. Smooth designs seem to produce a better tone. I use a port roughly the size of a small egg. Remember the larger the sound port the higher pitch your guitar will be. Start out smaller and you can always make it larger.

Use the Dremmel , router base and down cut spiral cutting bit. Stay 1/16" inside of the line and cut the hole out.

Put the sanding drum in the Dremmel and now sand to the finished shape outline.

Use 180 sandpaper and round over the internal and external edges of the hole. Progress to 220 and finish with 320. Be very careful NOT to sand the finish on the exterior of the guitar.

Coat the edge of the hole with superglue. It will dry hard and shiny. Use the edge of the brush to apply the glue and make a circle around the freshly sanded edge.

Remove the masking tape. If the glue is rough (usually it isn't) you can smooth with 600 wet or dry sandpaper and then buff.

Get a glass of iced tea, kick back on the couch and let me know how big your smile is when you first hear your ported guitar.

Tim…

Warning [read the fine print >] Even though this may seem like a simple modification please remember there is no way to reverse it once the port is cut. It took me about 9 months of continuous R&D to work out the ideal shape and location for my sound ports. I tune my sound box to a certain frequency and if the port is cut too large you will raise the Helmholz or main air resonance of the body. The result will be a loss of power and projection. If the port is cut to the correct size the sound port will actually produce a gain in forward and 360* projection.
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Old 07-02-2006, 07:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim McKnight
...Warning [read the fine print >] Even though this may seem like a simple modification please remember there is no way to reverse it once the port is cut.
Hi Tim...
Thanks for posting the instructions again.

Someone asked why the side port hole on my Seagull is asymmetrical. It is because the initial egg shaped hole was a bit small, and I wanted to enlarge it but did not have the forethought to have made the ''egg shaped hole'' point the egg toward the neck and lower end of the guitar...it was side to side.

So enlarging it was done in the ''almost a guitar pick, not really a heart and definitely not a triangle'' shape so I'd not run the ends of the ellipse too close to the edges of the side. I played the guitar frequently during the alteration (actually, I didn't even unstring it but kept it at standard pitch throughout). I'd modify and play then modify a tiny bit and play, cover it and play, uncover it and play etc.

This was an experimental guitar for me which I picked up off e-bay cheap and had to reglue the bridge on. You may notice I've not added side ports to my Olson, Bashkin, nor Kronbauer.
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Old 07-02-2006, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar
Hi Tim...
You may notice I've not added side ports to my Olson, Bashkin, nor Kronbauer.
Bawk, cluck, cluck, bawk, bawk, bawk ...... just kidding
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Old 07-02-2006, 07:00 PM
johbren johbren is offline
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I did it to my experimental epiphone and was very impressed with the sound Im thinking of doing it to a seagull folk I just recently purchased off of evil bay. I just used a hole saw.


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  #10  
Old 07-02-2006, 07:17 PM
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A note of caution: Although a holesaw will work you should back up the inner side of the hole with a scrap piece of wood. A hole saw has a tendancy to splinter the wood as it breaks through the other side.
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  #11  
Old 07-02-2006, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim McKnight
Bawk, cluck, cluck, bawk, bawk, bawk ...... just kidding
Hi Tim...
I'm definitely not up to doing surgery on my better instruments.

Seriously, Tim, if I thought it would improve one or more of them, I'd have a side port put in by a competent luthier. I hold guitars with the lower bout resting near my right knee and the upper bout rounded corner leaning against the center of my chest, and the headstock is chin level or a bit above.

This opens the top of the guitar to my ear (and face), so I already hear a lot of guitar. When playing guitars with standard side ports, I generally cannot hear much of it because of my body posture compared to where they are located (hence where I located the port in my Seagull). Standard knee droppers don't get a lot of feedback from my side port - but I do.

When wearing a strap I'd be more likely to hear some of a more normally situated port, but when I'm wearing a strap, the guitar is plugged into an amp or PA so I'm not exactly in acoustic heaven.
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  #12  
Old 07-02-2006, 09:24 PM
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I'm curious - what's the function of these soundports? Is it simply to hear what you're playing by having the sound projected directly at you via the hole(s)?
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Old 07-02-2006, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reags
I'm curious - what's the function of these soundports? Is it simply to hear what you're playing by having the sound projected directly at you via the hole(s)?
Streamlining.

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Old 07-02-2006, 10:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reags
I'm curious - what's the function of these soundports? Is it simply to hear what you're playing by having the sound projected directly at you via the hole(s)?
Exactly. The player gets to hear what normally comes out the front of the instrument.

I've done this to 2 of my lesser guitars and have enjoyed the new sound. I suggest getting a good sharp hole saw, with many teeth per inch (try Ace Hardware for about $10), take your time and follow the instructions above. I wouldn't do this to a premium guitar because, even if you do an excellent job, it will dramatically reduce it's resale value if you ever want to sell it.
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  #15  
Old 07-02-2006, 11:00 PM
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How large should the egg shaped hole be about? I see 2" of masking tape so it's gotta be no longer than 2". What about the width at the largest diameter? I'm tempted to do this on my Washburn.
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