Respond to This

Drilled a hole in my guitar...

I have a cheap beater acoustic guitar that I bought for $39 to use on campouts. I bought it when a local music store sold out to Guitar Center a year or two ago. It actually sounds pretty good - it's better than a lot of $150-200 starters I've heard.

At any rate, the sound indoors was good, but outdoors it seemed pretty lame to me, though others said it sounded good to them. Then I saw a guitar online with a second soundhole - a player's soundhole. It was put on the upper side of the guitar about where the electronics are often put on acoustic-electrics. It seemed to make sense. Here's the site I saw it on...I used to take lessons from this guy.

So after a little thinking about it, I decided to try. A quick trip to Home Depot for a 1 1/2 inch hole saw for the drill and about 3 minutes of drilling and sanding and I was done.

The results were interesting. When played outdoors, it was not appreciably louder, but the sound was definitely fuller and richer to me. The overtones that were being lost before were all there. I wouldn't have the guts to try it on one of my Martins, but the operation was a success on the camp guitar.

Has anyone seen any other guitars with soundholes like these?

Respond to this

Re: Drilled a hole in my guitar...

3/8/2008 7:33 PM

David Mackie (11072) wrote:

I've seen it quite a bit actually on high end customs, but no names came to mind right away, so I googled "side soundholes" and right away came up with this one. Then I remembered that I had seen pictures of this to-die-for Quattroport by John Monteleone and was able to find it. I've also seen some classical designs that use it. It's a design element that's going around. I suspect we'll see it some more

Respond to this

Re: Drilled a hole in my guitar...

3/8/2008 8:16 PM

Bill Jones (1622) wrote:

Wow! Thanks for linking those. You're absolutely right about the Quattroport - it's beautiful.

My son and I have been experimenting with the guitar since I drilled it out a few hours ago and there is no doubt it has significantly improved the sound of the guitar TO THE PLAYER - whether it's played indoors or outdoors. We have also noticed that it appears to make no difference to someone 6 feet in front of the guitar...meaning to the listener it sounds as it always did.

I drilled the hole a little closer to the the inner curve of the topside, not so much on the outer curve as it moves towards the neck. So, it's probably not optimal placement, but I wanted a flat place to drill.

I'm like you. I think this is something we'll see more of.


Respond to this

Re: Drilled a hole in my guitar...

3/9/2008 6:24 PM

Andrew Ells-O'Brien (563) wrote:

The sound-hole allows air to circulate within the gtr. The top, back,
and sides vibrate to create the gtr's sound.
Don't believe me?
Get a tuning fork and place it in the sound whole. Hear nothing?
Not surprised. Not touch the base of the tuning fork to the top of
the gtr. Surprised? Bet ya are.
I am not discounting the change in sound experienced by the
previous posts, but of course if you remove some wood the gtr
should sound different.

Respond to this

Re: Drilled a hole in my guitar...

3/9/2008 8:55 PM

Bill Jones (1622) wrote:

Actually, I've played around with tuning forks and my guitars a number of times over the last 35 years, and I know a little about the construction and vibration aspects of the guitar.

You're absolutely right about the front/top and back vibrating to create the sound. That's why a well-figured, tight-grained sitka spruce top is so highly valued - it's resonating qualities. It's also why rosewood and mahogany are standards for the body. And yes, I know there are a lot of specialty woods used that make great sound as well.

The sides, I believe, are more about structural support and creating depth than resonation. The soundhole does allow air movement within the guitar, and the placement of the hole can affect the amount of air movement (and thereby soundwaves) coming from the guitar. When the hole is blocked a lot less sound comes out - it just makes sense.

I had heard the side soundholes called "player's" soundholes because they allow for some soundwaves to be directed right at the player. The guitar I tried this one didn't sound very good (to me while playing) in acoustically poor situations (like playing outdoors) and that made it less fun to play.

That's why I was willing to try this modification (on a very cheap guitar). The bottom line is that it now sounds considerably better played inside or out. Neither my son or I can tell any difference in the sound (from before) when one is playing it and the other listening from 6-10 feet in front of it.

Would I try this modification on either of my better quality guitars? Absolutely not. Would I be more willing to try a new guitar with this feature, you bet.


Respond to this

Re: Drilled a hole in my guitar...

3/10/2008 4:55 PM

Craig Lindsey (5518) wrote:

Bill, man, I learn something new every day. I had never even considered that soundhole option, but now I am eyeing my own beater for the job. (Which is hiding nervously in it's stand).

Thanks for that good post. I really enjoyed the "dream guitar" link that someone put up, as well.