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  #271  
Old 06-17-2019, 04:06 AM
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Mark Hatcher Mark Hatcher is offline
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Originally Posted by DanR View Post
That guitar really resonates with my personal aesthetics. It is absolutely beautiful.
Thanks DanR, glad to here the design works for you. I like to bring a touch of red in when I am working with Koa. I think it adds a warmth to the overall look.

Mark
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  #272  
Old 06-18-2019, 06:49 AM
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Default Sound Port Review Part #1

I'll admit my first impressions of sound ports weren't good. I called them PEOs (plectrum extraction orifices). I felt their only use was to help get picks out.
I thought I'd review how that all changed and how sound ports have evolved through the years in my shop.

It started when in my early years on AGF I put up a Cocobolo/Sitka Josie small jumbo for sale on the Market Forum. I got a strong offer pretty quickly but with the contingency that I install a sound port. I decided that at least my new client will be able to get his picks out easier.

I wanted to reinforce the area around the the port hole so I devised this little through-the-side clamp to glue in the laminate supports:



I did black-maple-black veneers so there would be a little purfling line inside the hole:



I strung the guitar back up and was shocked to realize that the guitar sounded better with the sound port in it! I needed to swallow a bit of pride and admit to myself I was wrong.

I learned several things from this: One-Yes sound ports can help make a guitar open up and sound clearer for the player. Two-I'd been making my sound holes on my small jumbos too small. In this case the guitar sounded better for the audience as well.

So I now needed to do some research. The first thing I learned was sound travels more efficiently through an oval hole than through a circle of equal area. On this scale and on a guitar there is likely no accurate way to measure this so let's just put this into the best practices category where something is done because it is more likely to help than harm:



Aesthetically, I needed to be a little more proud of my sound ports and start working to better integrate them into the design of the guitars. Some feel that "just a hole" in the side of a looks unfinished. That started with binding the sound ports. This usually involves mimicking the woods and purfling used for the body binding:





This is part #1. I'll have more to come!

Thanks for following along
Mark
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  #273  
Old 06-18-2019, 10:35 AM
Lonzo Lonzo is offline
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Holey moley... and that bearclaw (on) top...
good info and great pics as well !
  #274  
Old 06-18-2019, 11:11 AM
Nemoman Nemoman is offline
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All of your soundports look awesome, Mark.

Put me in the camp that a plain hole in the side looks too unfinished. It's really one of my pet peeves--a soundport needs to be bound in my opinion, to make the guitar look cohesive and finished. Even just a purfling line like your first example makes a big difference in upgrading the appearance.

Thanks for sharing!
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  #275  
Old 06-18-2019, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Nemoman View Post
All of your soundports look awesome, Mark.

Put me in the camp that a plain hole in the side looks too unfinished. It's really one of my pet peeves--a soundport needs to be bound in my opinion, to make the guitar look cohesive and finished. Even just a purfling line like your first example makes a big difference in upgrading the appearance.
+1
And I imagine it helps to protect the exposed end grains and, much like a rosette, to prevent splitting at the end grain by providing a perpendicular stop-gap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Hatcher View Post
I wanted to reinforce the area around the the port hole
Mark, is this something a lot of builders do or a practice fairly unique to Hatcher guitars? I've played a number of guitars with ports, but yours are the only ones that I can remember having interior laminates (not that I was really looking so I may have missed such details).
Do you reinforce the area to prevent cracks when cutting the hole, or is your goal to buttress the soundport region because a port somehow weakens it?

Last edited by Erithon; 06-18-2019 at 12:13 PM.
  #276  
Old 06-18-2019, 08:54 PM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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Originally Posted by Erithon View Post
+1
And I imagine it helps to protect the exposed end grains and, much like a rosette, to prevent splitting at the end grain by providing a perpendicular stop-gap.


Mark, is this something a lot of builders do or a practice fairly unique to Hatcher guitars? I've played a number of guitars with ports, but yours are the only ones that I can remember having interior laminates (not that I was really looking so I may have missed such details).
Do you reinforce the area to prevent cracks when cutting the hole, or is your goal to buttress the soundport region because a port somehow weakens it?
I think the reason for putting in veneers was to prevent the possibility that drilling into the side would create a key crack? I have to admit that decoratively it looks nicer to have a cross section with a little variation in it.
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  #277  
Old 06-18-2019, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Neil K Walk View Post
I think the reason for putting in veneers was to prevent the possibility that drilling into the side would create a key crack? I have to admit that decoratively it looks nicer to have a cross section with a little variation in it.
I have no idea what a key crack is, but if that's a term for the sort of cracks that can develop if you don't pre-drill and/or strengthen the target area then that's what I was getting at when I mentioned "reinforc[ing] the area to prevent cracks when cutting the hole."
I'm always happy to learn new vocabulary - thanks, Neil!
  #278  
Old 06-19-2019, 05:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonzo View Post
Holey moley... and that bearclaw (on) top...
good info and great pics as well !
Thanks Lonzo,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemoman View Post
All of your soundports look awesome, Mark.

Put me in the camp that a plain hole in the side looks too unfinished. It's really one of my pet peeves--a soundport needs to be bound in my opinion, to make the guitar look cohesive and finished. Even just a purfling line like your first example makes a big difference in upgrading the appearance.

Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Nemoman, I get how a bound sound port can look more finished. I confess that I sometimes like unbound ones as well. They can add a pattern to the side without calling a lot of attention to themselves.
Creating a rule that sound ports should be bound can really get in the way of some more complex sound port patterns. I'll have some samples of those that hopefully make my point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erithon View Post
+1
And I imagine it helps to protect the exposed end grains and, much like a rosette, to prevent splitting at the end grain by providing a perpendicular stop-gap.


Mark, is this something a lot of builders do or a practice fairly unique to Hatcher guitars? I've played a number of guitars with ports, but yours are the only ones that I can remember having interior laminates (not that I was really looking so I may have missed such details).
Do you reinforce the area to prevent cracks when cutting the hole, or is your goal to buttress the soundport region because a port somehow weakens it?
I use laminates for support mostly to help prevent cracks from developing. The way I build guitars I use the transverse brace to support the upper bout against the upward pull of the neck caused by the string tension. This tension makes the upper bout want to spread and the top wants to push down in the area of the fret board extension. This type of upper body distortion can lead to the need for future neck resets. In any case, because I use the transverse brace to help with these issues more of the force is spread out to the upper bout sides for support. In other words. The ends of my transverse braces push down on the upper bout sides more than the typical scooped type transverse brace.

So that happens right on top of where a sound port usually lands. The laminates are a safe guard. They certainly also help guard against cracks developing if that area if bumped or banged.

I usually don't add laminates to laminated sides as I consider them strong enough and crack resistant enough already.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil K Walk View Post
I think the reason for putting in veneers was to prevent the possibility that drilling into the side would create a key crack? I have to admit that decoratively it looks nicer to have a cross section with a little variation in it.
Thanks for commenting Neil, I don't worry too much about cracking while drilling because I usually just drill a pilot hole large enough to get a rotary tool in there and enlarge it to size.

I agree that I like the variation of a little purfling line inside the sound port.
This is a little detail for the intimate guitar. And who are we trying to please here anyway?

When I make a guitar I design three guitars:

1) The performance guitar to be seen and heard from around 12 feet or more. This is the guitar for the audience.

2) The social guitar to be seen and heard from maybe 2ft to 12ft. This is for friends and fellow players.

3) The intimate guitar to be seen and heard under 2ft. This is for the player, lovers, and our babies.

Mark
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  #279  
Old 06-19-2019, 09:07 AM
The Bard Rocks The Bard Rocks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonzo View Post
Holey moley... and that bearclaw (on) top...
good info and great pics as well !
I have it on good authority that it sounds every bit as amazing as it looks.
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  #280  
Old 06-19-2019, 09:21 AM
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Smile Fab idea Mr Hatcher!

https://live.staticflickr.com/8531/8...b1208a09_c.jpg

This idea is fantastic! I have been searching for years for a way for my techs to retro-fit sound ports.

I am completely sold on them, as I play unplugged and sing too, often in places with a lot going on. The soundports make singing SO MUCH EASIER, when there is a lot of background noise!!!

Your clamp and simple purffling line in the backing is BRILLIANT.

thank you for sharing this!!!

Paul
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  #281  
Old 06-19-2019, 12:34 PM
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Default Sound Port Review #2

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bard Rocks View Post
I have it on good authority that it sounds every bit as amazing as it looks.
Thanks for your comment Bard!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guitars44me View Post
https://live.staticflickr.com/8531/8...b1208a09_c.jpg

This idea is fantastic! I have been searching for years for a way for my techs to retro-fit sound ports.

I am completely sold on them, as I play unplugged and sing too, often in places with a lot going on. The sound ports make singing SO MUCH EASIER, when there is a lot of background noise!!!

Your clamp and simple purfling line in the backing is BRILLIANT.

thank you for sharing this!!!

Paul
I'm glad that was helpful Paul!

Where do we go from there?


Sound Port Review #2

Since I started making the sound ports the list of benefits, beyond getting your pick out and hearing yourself in various environments, started to grow.
I've had folks report that now. They can hear better because they no longer find the need to crouch forward toward the front of the guitar to hear what they are playing. They can sit back in a better posture and no longer get back and neck aches after extended play. So sound ports can be a real benefit to playing comfort.

Now that I'm a believer how do I make sound ports my own?

Well first off they can be another custom element for a client. I had a request for a special design:



I did this triquetra on a Cocobolo Josie small jumbo. It has abalone set in Koa to go with the Koa binding and abalone on the rest of the guitar:



After that door opened others followed:









Here is the heart shaped sound port that went onto a lullaby guitar:



I think it goes wonderfully with the lullaby theme along with the Mother of Pear crescent moon and Hollywood Stars on the rosette:



More to come!

Mark
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  #282  
Old 06-20-2019, 05:37 AM
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Default Sound Port Review Part #3

Pushing the design of sound ports I have become more daring in my work.



Another thing I've learned is the an intricate sound port design with a pattern of smaller holes performs more like a speaker grill than a bunch of tiny sound ports. The overall dimension of the design is what sound waves hit. The small holes don't act like a sieve only letting the highest frequencies through.



More recently I re-topped a Cocobolo Greta to set it up as a finger style instrument for Erithon. A sound port was requested. Erithon asked that we do a row of smaller sound ports in the similar to the inlay patterns on the arm rest and rosette. The challenge on this was just how small and how tight you can round the corners on the binding inside a very small sound port.







The answer is pretty tight!

That brings me up to date on the evolution of my sound ports.

Thanks for following along!
Mark
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  #283  
Old 06-20-2019, 06:00 AM
Lonzo Lonzo is offline
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Hi Mark - impressive! Such avariety of beautiful designs always complementing the other general theme of the respective guitar - but I was kinda expecting the tube like one of your Greta unlimited as the culmination... that is unique !
Best, Klaus
  #284  
Old 06-20-2019, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Lonzo View Post
Hi Mark - impressive! Such avariety of beautiful designs always complementing the other general theme of the respective guitar - but I was kinda expecting the tube like one of your Greta unlimited as the culmination... that is unique !
Best, Klaus
Thanks Lonzo, I thought about putting that throated port in here too but it's such a different animal and is specifically for the Greta GA model.

Mark
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  #285  
Old 06-25-2019, 08:33 AM
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Default Penelope WRC on Koa Sound Clips



Last night Charlie and I recorded some sound clips of this Penelope 000 Western Cedar on curly Koa guitar. We were also working on capturing a little better quality recording. However, these are unedited audio recordings. Clip #1 and Clip#2 are done with two Rode NT1 large diaphragm condenser mics and Clip #3 is with a single small diaphragm condenser mic.
I am using SoundCloud for the increased file quality compared to YouTube:







Thanks for listening!
Mark
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