The Sound Hole...
A Sound Hole of Pimentel & Sons Guitars
A vibrating guitar top creates sound. The air displacement, through the Sound Hole, is what amplifies the sound. Making the hole too small reduces the displacement and lowers volume. Too large of a hole reduces velocity and in turn also lessens volume. The ideal size of a Sound Hole can vary with the size of the sound chamber.
A nontraditional Sound Hole by McGill Guitars
An Acoustic Port of Oberg Guitars
Sound Holes are not limited to a particular site or number.
The Tornavoz of Joshua Alexander French
The Tornavoz is a conical tube beneath the soundboard that extends toward the back of the guitar. For more on the Tornavoz see Tornavoz.
The rosette serves several purposes. It acts as a reinforcement to prevent cracking at the end grains of the sound hole area of the top. It also acts as a visual focal point to the beauty of the guitar and, by design, is personal to its maker.
Making a Rosette by Joshua Alexander French
One of the areas on a guitar where a maker can truly express their artistic talent is the decoration surrounding the sound hole. The time consuming and meticulous intarsia found on the guitars of the great masters like Romanillos and Torres offer us a slight glimpse into the creativeness and spirit imbued in their instruments. Rarely are two examples exactly the same, yet often the work is readily recognizable and even copied.
Rosettes are created from thousands of tiny pieces of wood, arranged in a specific pattern to achieve a design that is both aesthetically pleasing and unique. The uniqueness of the hand made rosette far exceeds the mass produced, and the designs can be manipulated according to the feelings and judgment of the maker for each individual instrument. I feel that guitar making is a contemplative and deeply personal craft - and I seek to imbue my guitars with spirit and life. A guitar maker presents himself to the world through the quality and creativeness of his work. I take a personal interest in every guitar I make on every level, and it stays with me. Every guitar I've made reiterates to me who I was and what I felt at the time in a very specific way when I'm able to see it again. The small details, though they may go unnoticed upon a cursory glance, truly have a connection to the personality of the maker.
For these reasons I have spent the past two years experimenting with and refining rosette designs until I finally had a design that fulfilled my vision for my guitars. I've worked at length with an extremely talented sculptor in developing a sense of aesthetics that is refined and complicated, yet appears simple and effective.
Most rosettes are made from a mosaic of veneers of various colors glued together to create an attractive pattern. While in most cases I prefer the traditional approach I have given a lot of thought to the construction of the classic Romanillos rosette and chose a method inspired by it. The difference is that instead of gluing veneers together to create a design made up of tiny squares of the same shape, this method requires different pieces of wood to be of different sizes and shapes to execute the design.
This rosette is new for 2004 and is the standard for my latest guitars. It is an interwoven design made of only natural woods - nothing dyed. It is achieved by creating a log from which the pieces of the central motif are sawn and inlaid in a circle just slightly larger then the circumference of the sound hole. Later, decorative borders are added to complete the design. When finished the rosette contains more than 3300 individual pieces of wood.
A completed Rosette created by Joshua Alexander French