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O-port device improves guitar sound?

Little Hawk 28 Mar 10 - 05:44 PM
Seamus Kennedy 29 Mar 10 - 03:00 AM
Melissa 29 Mar 10 - 03:14 AM
GUEST, Richard Bridge on the other browser 29 Mar 10 - 03:30 AM
Darowyn 29 Mar 10 - 03:41 AM
Little Hawk 29 Mar 10 - 03:44 AM
Seamus Kennedy 29 Mar 10 - 03:47 AM
Seamus Kennedy 29 Mar 10 - 03:48 AM
Little Hawk 29 Mar 10 - 04:16 AM
Will Fly 29 Mar 10 - 05:45 AM
Will Fly 29 Mar 10 - 06:39 AM
mandotim 29 Mar 10 - 07:24 AM
Little Hawk 29 Mar 10 - 12:29 PM
PoppaGator 29 Mar 10 - 01:55 PM
Seamus Kennedy 29 Mar 10 - 02:14 PM
Little Hawk 29 Mar 10 - 04:41 PM
Seamus Kennedy 29 Mar 10 - 11:31 PM
Little Hawk 29 Mar 10 - 11:34 PM
banjoman 30 Mar 10 - 06:30 AM
Little Hawk 30 Mar 10 - 01:26 PM
PoppaGator 30 Mar 10 - 02:09 PM
Little Hawk 30 Mar 10 - 04:47 PM
bubblyrat 30 Mar 10 - 06:09 PM
GUEST,erbert 30 Mar 10 - 06:54 PM
Don Firth 30 Mar 10 - 08:21 PM
Melissa 30 Mar 10 - 08:28 PM
Little Hawk 31 Mar 10 - 01:20 AM
mandotim 31 Mar 10 - 03:06 AM
Little Hawk 31 Mar 10 - 12:56 PM
Don Firth 31 Mar 10 - 01:24 PM
Little Hawk 31 Mar 10 - 01:51 PM
bubblyrat 31 Mar 10 - 02:29 PM
PoppaGator 31 Mar 10 - 04:55 PM
Little Hawk 01 Apr 10 - 11:57 AM
PoppaGator 01 Apr 10 - 05:25 PM
mandotim 02 Apr 10 - 03:49 AM
bubblyrat 02 Apr 10 - 05:10 AM
PoppaGator 02 Apr 10 - 01:42 PM
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Subject: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 05:44 PM

Here's an interesting and very simple little item that's available now as an add-on for acoustic guitars. It apparently boosts and improves the sound, both acoustically and through the electronic pickup (if the guitar has one):

Review of the O-Port

Has anyone here tried it out?


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 03:00 AM

I just e-mailed them to see about ordering one and the e-mail address is non-functional.
I'm willing to give it a shot.


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: Melissa
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 03:14 AM

http://www.dmg-austin.com/en/products/
$29.95

If you get one, I hope you'll come back and let us know what you think.


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: GUEST, Richard Bridge on the other browser
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 03:30 AM

A brief review of scientific literature about Hemholz resonators will enable the prediction that the devide will lower the resonant frequency of the body cavity. In adding weight it will do the same to the top.

If that's what you want, all well and good.


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: Darowyn
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 03:41 AM

It seems to be designed to reduce turbulence as air passes in and out through the soundhole, but in doing that, it adds mass to the guitar top.
As such, it will make a difference to the frequency spectrum of the sound. Whether that is an improvement or not is likely to be a matter of opinion. It is worth bearing in mind that an acoustic guitar is not a trumpet. Many components are sound emitters in addition to the sound hole.
Anyone who tries to amplify the sound of a guitar by sticking a Mic next to the sound hole will soon learn that the boomy tone from there is not, by any means, the true sound of the guitar.
The way in which the vibrations of the strings are 'coupled' to the surrounding air to create sound is highly complex and varies with both pitch and volume as well as from one string to another.
You guitar will sound like a different guitar, but it will cost you thirty dollars to find out whether you like it.
My advice would be to buy it for a guitar you don't like, and leave alone a guitar that you do.
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 03:44 AM

The only way to find out for sure is to try one. As to the weight, it would be negligible. This device is made of quite thin plastic in a circular open form which acts to shape and direct the sound waves inside the guitar body. It would probably weigh about the same (or less) as one of those rubber thingies that some people put in the sound hole to prevent feedback from occurring when playing plugged in. It would also probably weigh less than some of the "in the sound hole" pickups that one can mount on a guitar.

According to magazine reviews of the device that I've read, it improves the acoustic sound noticeably, but it has an even greater beneficial effect when you're plugged in with a pickup.

Seamus - I emailed them and it appears to have gone through. I'll see if an answer comes tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 03:47 AM

Thanks, LH.
As I said, I'm willing to try it.


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 03:48 AM

When I tried to e-mail them, it bounced back with a message that the address was on an illegal server, whatever that means...


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 04:16 AM

Hmm? I don't know. My message didn't bounce back. If I don't hear from them in a day or two, I'll check with The Arts Music store in Newmarket (Ontario, Canada). They generally have a good connection for all the new stuff that's out there.

For anyone travelling to southern/central Ontario...check out The Arts Music Store in Newmarket, north of Toronto. GREAT selection of top end guitars (Martin, Taylor, Larrivee, a few Gibson, etc....) And they really encourage people to PLAY the instruments. That's smart, because that is how you sell guitars...not by making the customer walk through a metal detector and sign a waiver before putting his hands on one! ;-)

If you're in Toronto, then the best place to go is the Twelfth Fret. They've got just about every top brand of guitar. The best I've played there are probably Collings and Santa Cruz, plus some of the Martins, of course...but Martins, I find, vary from mediocre to absolutely wonderful. I never played a Collings or Santa Cruz that I would call "mediocre".


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: Will Fly
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 05:45 AM

I listened to the comparative sound clips on the Bill Lewington O-Port web page - and could detect very little difference between "without" and "with".

I also don't like the way the device is stuck into the rim of the soundhole - it looks as though the natural vibration of the face will be inhibited. I've asked a luthier friend of mine to have a look at the page and offer an opinion. I'm personally not convinced - and it's of no use to electro-acoustic guitars with the volume wheel just inside the soundhole rim.

However, if anyone has a practical test and reports improvement, I'd be very interested.


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: Will Fly
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 06:39 AM

Just been discussing this with an experienced luthier friend of mine. Apparently the idea is as old as Torres, who called it something like the "tournevox". Some Selmer'Macaferri guitars also incorporated a similar device. The general opinion was that it didn't much of a difference.


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: mandotim
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 07:24 AM

The original Selmer Macaferri guitars were indeed fitted with one of these devices (occasionally) made from aluminium. Most players took them out. There is a parallel in the mandolin world, a small wooden resonator inside the body called a Virzi Tone Producer. Never liked a mandolin with one of those in it.
Tim


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 12:29 PM

Hmm. Well, I'm not convinced either, I'm just curious. I did get an email back from the manufacturers, who are located in Austin, Texas. They said to contact their Canadian distributor, Coast Music. I went to the distributor's website and had a look. They don't sell direct to the public, but they do sell stuff to some stores in my region, including The Arts. So I called The Arts up. They said they haven't seen the O-Port yet, but they'll talk to the distributor and see if they can get one in and find out if it's any good.


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 01:55 PM

I doubt that the very slight added weight would significantly inhibit vibration of the top of a giutar; in the video, the device looks to be made of VERY thin flexible plastic. I also doubt that a valid judgement on the gizmo's effect upon sound/tone could be made by a comparison of with-and-without sound bites that have been (a) recorded by who-knows-what technology and (b) played back through the internet.

I'm somewhat intrigued, and if I could afford thirty bucks as readily today as I could have a couple of years ago, I'd give one a try.
Money's a little tighter now; I can live with the current sound of my very nice old acoustic-only guitar as-is, thank you. But louder and boomier would be better, all else remaining equal...


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 02:14 PM

I ordered one from the Austin address Melissa gave (thanks Melissa!) and will let you all know how it works out.

I have a 1969 Martin and 3 Takamines.

The Martin and 2 of the Taks are very good acoustically, but the third is very weak (fine when plugged in) so that's the one I'll try first.


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 04:41 PM

Excellent. Be sure and let us know how it works out. Some of those Takamines could definitely use some acoustic help.

If you get a chance to, Seamus, try out some Taylor guitars. They are mostly just lovely, built to a very high standard.


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 11:31 PM

I'll definitely let you know, LH.

I have a Baby Taylor which is a loud little bugger, so I don't think I'll need the O-Port in it.

I like Taylors, but I ain't buying a big one with a Martin, 3 Taks, a Baby Taylor, an Adamas, a guitar-banjo, a 5-string banjo, a tenor banjo,
a mandolin, 2 fiddles and 3 bodhráns.

My wife will have my guts for garters if I get another guitar.


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 11:34 PM

Yikes! Talk about conspicuous consumption. ;-) Here I am with only 4 guitars...and I'm planning to sell 2 of them.


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: banjoman
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 06:30 AM

I tried something similar years ago that a friend claimed to have invented. I could not detect any difference but perhaps this one is different. The only device I have found which significantly altered the sound of my Lakewood was a set of Brass Bridge Pins which produced a very bright and resonant sound. Not everyone's taste but worth a try. I have found that most decent guitars, and I have owned and played a few, dont need embellishment other than regular string changes. Same goes for banjos


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 01:26 PM

Brass bridge pins probably would transmit string vibration to the rest of the bridge really well, I should think.


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 02:09 PM

Been thinking about this gizmo.

At first glance, I assumed that the design had something to do with the projection of sound vibrations out of the soundhole, but now I believe it has more to do with directing the "raw" sound of the strings into the body of the guitar. (Actually, the device would have an effect on sound movement in both directions; it's an interesting question in which direction the "sound-funnel" has the greater, or the more desirable. effect.)

I'm troubled (well, OK, only slightly bothered) when manufacturers promote/announce products like this on the world-wide internet, but do not offer them for sale themselves and do not yet have an adequate selection of resellers signed up either. The result is that an interested party simply cannot acquire the product.

I had such an experience recently in regard to a new "copper-bronze" line of guitar strings marketed as "Red Brand." Their website listed a number of retail outlets, none of which were near me except for the local Guitar Center branch, which proved not to keep my preferred weight (mediums/13s) in stock. After I bitched and moaned a bit on Facebook (and also briefly here on Mudcat in a thread that died quickly without much response), they sent me a free sample, plus the information that their product was now available via mail order from the online retailer Musician's Friend.

I really like the strings, but am put off a bit by the high price ($12.99/set). The four wrapped stings are actually somewhat "red" in color, or more precisely the color of a bright new penny. FYI: Bronze is an alloy or copper and tin. Conventional bronze-wrapped guitar strings are 80% copper, 20% tin; phosphor bronze are higher in copper content, about 92/8, and the new Red brand strings claim to be about 96-97% copper. Very nice tone.

I'm gonna try those bronze bridge pins one of these days, too...


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 04:47 PM

It seems that one can order the O-port direct from the manufacturer in Austin, Texas...but only if one lives in the USA. I'm in Canada, so that leaves me out unless I get a friend in the USA to order one and send it to me, I guess.

Any guitar store which doesn't provide medium gauge strings is not much of a guitar store in my opinion...


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 06:09 PM

Yes.....Brass bridge-pins are a great idea ; I have been a fan for several years now,and I use them on my Martin,Avalon and Guild guitars.The improvement in volume and tone is noticable,and several friends have taken up the practice; Dave Fenner (Reading) and Bob Templeman (Chesham) are now "converts" as was the late,great,Dave Bennet,who always had them on HIS Avalon.
             Can't say that I am overly impressed with the plastic thingy,though; looks like some kind of surgical appliance !


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: GUEST,erbert
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 06:54 PM

its reviewed this month in one of the UK guitar mags.
I know because I read it in Smiths this afternoon while it was raining heavily outside..

Fairly positive review claiming moderate improvements
in some sonic areas in certain guitars.


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: Don Firth
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 08:21 PM

I have two classics and one flamenco, and I wouldn't do anything to mess with the sound of any of them. They're fine as is.

But I have two travel guitars, both GO-GWs (CLICKY). In both, the soundhole is fairly small, and I doubt very seriously that the O-Port would fit. One of them is a wide neck nylon-string, and the other is a steel-string with a fairly standard narrow neck. Both of these GO-GWs sound amazingly good for such small sound boxes. The nylon-string is actually considerably louder than the steel string. I'm interested in giving the steel-string GO a shot of steroids, and I'm wondering if trading the issue bridge pins for a set of brass pins will make a difference.

I note that Elderly Instruments lists four sets of solid brass bridge pins (CLICKY), (Brass "Tone" Pins), one set for $8.95, the other three for $15.95, one featuring an abalone dot and the other two with different flavors of mother-of-pearl. I assume that the differences between all four are strictly cosmetic, so the solid brass for $8.95 really should do the job, n'est-ce pas?

Don (cheapskate) Firth


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: Melissa
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 08:28 PM

Poppagator,
How do the Red strings hold up? Do they seem to last ok and all that?


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 01:20 AM

Those brass bridge pins at Elderly Instruments look like a good idea to me, Don. I think I like the traditional-shaped ones the best of the lot, strictly because of the appearance. I'll probably order a set and try them out on the Martin.


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: mandotim
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 03:06 AM

Brass bridge pins do only one thing really; they add mass to the bridge plate. Whether or not this is a good thing or not depends on the type of guitar and the method of construction. Some guitars respond very well indeed, with a noticeable increase in volume and a somewhat brighter sound. Others don't, and their sound may even suffer. I suppose it depends on what the guitar sounded like before, and what the player's idea of a 'good' sound is in the first place. I've tried brass pins on most of my guitars, but only use them on one currently. I've also done back-to-back comparisons and recorded them to try to take out the subjectivity, but the results were inconclusive at best; I guess my technique isn't consistent enough to produce truly viable comparisons. My current theory about this is that the brass pins add mass to the central area of the resonating body (i.e. the top) and thereby alter the fundamental harmonic of that body. This may alter which pitches are emphasised in the response to played notes, and thereby change the apparent tone of the guitar. Now, where did I put that oscilloscope...
Tim


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 12:56 PM

Hmmmm.

Well, no harm getting one set and trying them, I guess.


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: Don Firth
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 01:24 PM

And I'll save the old pins, just in case. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 01:51 PM

Definitely.


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 02:29 PM

Yes---save the old pins,and go for the brass pins that are really solid,and traditional-looking ; the first ones I bought to try were sort of hollow,with knurled tops & "MOP" inserts. They looked and sounded crap ! I noticed fairly recently that Martin themselves have produced at least one "commemorative" that uses spun aluminium bridge-pins,which might also be worth a try ??


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 04:55 PM

Melissa: I really liked the sound of the Red Brand strings when I put them on. They're just over a month old now and have lost a bit of their tone but are still OK. (I never have been one to change strings very often.*) You can google "red brand" and find their website, or if you're on facebook, check their FB "group" page.

They had used the FB page to promote a free-sample promotion a few months ago; unfortunately, I discovered them just a few days too late for the sample-request period (but, as noted above, I managed to con them into sending me a free set by being a crybaby). Now that they are selling online through Musicians Friend, they may never again offer the freebies, but they HAD intimated that there might be future free-sample offers for short periods of time.

Little Hawk: My local Guitar Center in the New Orleans suburbs stocks a lot of different brands and weights of strings for acoustic and electric guitars, but for some reason hasn't bothered to offer the full range of products from this new manufacturer. Red Brand makes extra-lights as well as lights and mediums, but my local GC store had only the 12s.

Don: I'm a cheapskate, too. Did you see Elderly's listing of "10,000-year-old fossil ivory" bridge pins for $19 EACH? I'm sure neither you not I will every try a set of those!

* When I received my surprise shipment of free Red Brand strings, I had just put on a set of Martin phosphor bronze 13s. When I took 'em off, I saved them ~ and when I finally feel the need to change strings, I'll probably re-install that nearly-new set... Like I said, I'm a true cheapskate!


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 11:57 AM

I'm halfway between. Not that I don't appreciate a good bargain...I do. But I'm always willing to pay a bit more for something I think looks better...as in the case of those bridge pins. No way I'd buy the $19 each ones, but I'm willing to buy the $15.95 set.


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 05:25 PM

Continuing thread-drift on the brass-pin tangent:

Brass bridge pins do only one thing really; they add mass to the bridge plate...."

I disagree (I think): I would theorize that brass pins (in contrast to plastic pins) would vibrate louder and more effectively along with the metal strings (two steel, four steel-wrapped-in-something-else-like-bronze) in which they are in such tight contact.

(I realize that the above is a long and perhaps unneccesarily complex sentence, but it's the best I can do right now to express my idea.)


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: mandotim
Date: 02 Apr 10 - 03:49 AM

Hi Poppagator; I thought about that, but came up with the answer that the pins are so tightly fitted to the bridge plate that they are effectively part of it. The pins and the bridge plate are therefore a single body for acoustic purposes, and vibrate together as governed by the combined mass. Imagine if the bridge pins were glued in, and you get the idea. I wasn't joking about the oscilloscope; I'm going to set something up and report back. From what I know already, the main transmission of sound is via the point of highest vertical pressure on the string, which is at the saddle, not the pins. This pressure drives the bridge plate (including the pins), which transfers energy to the top. What seems to make the biggest difference here is the 'break angle' of the strings over the saddle. There is also some sound from the strings moving air over the soundhole. I think I'm actually agreeing with you; the brass pins will cause the acoustic properties of the bridge plate to change; but by adding mass, not by vibrating as a separate acoustic body.


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 02 Apr 10 - 05:10 AM

Tim ---I love your scientific approach,and can't wait to discover your 'scope findings ! I just went by what I'd heard,ie that they increased / improved tone & volume ,which they do,so I use them all the time.


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Subject: RE: O-port device improves guitar sound?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 02 Apr 10 - 01:42 PM

Tim ~ interesting, I think I get it! I can certainly see that you're right about the strings vibrating on the other side of the saddle, away from the bridge pins.


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