Kevin Kelly

Sound Hole Design Ideas

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For the design fans in the crowd with time to kill...

There seems to be a lot of interest in design topics at the moment.  I thought I'd share some ideas about designing classic sound holes here.  These slide shows are more or less ones that I presented at the AFVBM meeting at U.C. Berkeley in May and the VSA in Cleveland in November.  As usual, please forgive the fact that they are not rehearsed or edited.

I'm happy to say that there are some irrational numbers included for Torbjörn.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwtAjEJTouE

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzsgCLGkEVI

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-A4fdxi6img

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Thank you, Kevin!  Great addition to my design folder.  On a related note, you may be aware of this resource on classic f-hole models:

 

https://www.booklooker.de/Bücher/Hans-Edler+f-Modelle-alter-Meistergeigen-Geigenbau-Geigenbauer-Violine-Geige/id/A02eVmaV01ZZb

 

I have found it helpful in the conceptual study of f-hole designs of "The Ancients".

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Thanks, Julian.  I don't have that book.  I also wasn't aware that youtube offers a transcript.  The frames that i used in this presentation aren't universal - I just chose some that are the most common, so it is really just an overview, as I said at the beginning.  If want a copy of the pdfs of the frames that I used, just email me and I will gladly send them to you. 

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Nice work, Kevin.

Indeed there seems to be an underlying design system. How do you find the centre of the circles? For practical work using only a straight edge, ruler and compass, I'd think that you need a framework of some kind.

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2 hours ago, Torbjörn Zethelius said:

Nice work, Kevin.

Indeed there seems to be an underlying design system. How do you find the centre of the circles? For practical work using only a straight edge, ruler and compass, I'd think that you need a framework of some kind.

Thanks Torbjörn. I'm not sure what circles you mean, though. Part two describes how to draw the framework - did you watch that section?

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I thought the "f-hole" design came from looking at an orange peel!?   As always, I appreciate your in-depth research and visual presentations ...  especially the scroll design.  ... thanks

If f-holes were constructed (laid out) from the inside first should we not do the analysis from the inside of the plate?  The other question I have is: Are f-holes flared a bit on the inside?

f-hole-orange1.jpg

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On 1/6/2017 at 5:14 AM, Torbjörn Zethelius said:

Nice work, Kevin.

Indeed there seems to be an underlying design system. How do you find the centre of the circles? For practical work using only a straight edge, ruler and compass, I'd think that you need a framework of some kind.

The instrument predecessors  of the violin often used C holes in either a  (  )    or   )  (   arrangement.  Somebody (I can't recall the reference) suggested that the f hole design was really just the old C hole cut in half with the top or bottom half flipped horizontally.

For fun I sketched a C hole on paper and then cut it out with scissors as shown in the bellow photo.  I then cut it in half and flipped the bottom end over to form an f hole as shown in the other photo.

I also some sketched smaller eye hole sizes to show how the wing shape  can be enlarged.

f.jpg

c.jpg

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1 hour ago, Dwight Brown said:

This is my Dilworth Linarol model viola.  Original probably a Lyra of some sort.

Those soundholes reminded me of what I ended up doing on my most recent viola, although your viola F-holes appear to be done primarily as a stylistic feature, and I made mine for what I thought was more functional reason.

The lower curve of the F starts sooner and curves much more than the upper part, definitely not symmetrical.  If I didn't do that, the lower eye would end up very far away from the edge, or I'd have to slant the F-holes steeply.  Neither of those options I though looked good, and I have some vague notions of plate movement that I thought would work better with the way I did it.  And besides... the daSalo small viola poster (starting point for the design) is like this, but I just took it a bit further.

Viola F.jpg

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9 hours ago, Don Noon said:

Those soundholes reminded me of what I ended up doing on my most recent viola, although your viola F-holes appear to be done primarily as a stylistic feature, and I made mine for what I thought was more functional reason.

The lower curve of the F starts sooner and curves much more than the upper part, definitely not symmetrical.  If I didn't do that, the lower eye would end up very far away from the edge, or I'd have to slant the F-holes steeply.  Neither of those options I though looked good, and I have some vague notions of plate movement that I thought would work better with the way I did it.  And besides... the daSalo small viola poster (starting point for the design) is like this, but I just took it a bit further.

Viola F.jpg

Hey Don, I like that f hole , do you know what it's from?  

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56 minutes ago, Berl Mendenhall said:

Hey Don, I like that f hole , do you know what it's from?  

Yup... it's from my VSA viola.  More photos here.

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The original Linarol viola is owned by one of the founders of the English Camber Orchestra.  John Dilworth restored it some years ago and has made several copies of it.  The sound holes are the same as the original.  

This is another one. http://www-personal.umich.edu/~yzhch/mm/stationery/images/viola/                                                                                                                 

 

Here is mine.

http://johndilworthviolins.co.uk/blog/

 

DLB

 

 

 

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On 1/7/2017 at 5:46 PM, Marty Kasprzyk said:

The instrument predecessors  of the violin often used C holes in either a  (  )    or   )  (   arrangement.  Somebody (I can't recall the reference) suggested that the f hole design was really just the old C hole cut in half with the top or bottom half flipped horizontally.

For fun I sketched a C hole on paper and then cut it out with scissors as shown in the bellow photo.  I then cut it in half and flipped the bottom end over to form an f hole as shown in the other photo.

I also some sketched smaller eye hole sizes to show how the wing shape  can be enlarged.

f.jpg

c.jpg

I should have added that what ever the original technique was used for drawing the C bouts might also been used for drawing the C holes.  Their shapes look very similar.

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In the context of the original post, am I right in assuming we are talking about designs that then get tweaked (widened in different places, lobes larger or smaller, etc.) based on other construction considerations, e.g. arching, other dimensions?

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13 hours ago, Julian Cossmann Cooke said:

In the context of the original post, am I right in assuming we are talking about designs that then get tweaked (widened in different places, lobes larger or smaller, etc.) based on other construction considerations, e.g. arching, other dimensions?

 
 

And I've been told that flaring or beveling the inside edge changes tone.

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12 hours ago, Julian Cossmann Cooke said:

In the context of the original post, am I right in assuming we are talking about designs that then get tweaked (widened in different places, lobes larger or smaller, etc.) based on other construction considerations, e.g. arching, other dimensions?

Charles Rufino wrote an interesting article on violin designing :"Authenticity, Originality, and Unleashing a Personal Style in Violin Making"` that was in the Fall 2015 issue 123 of the American Lutherie, in which he describes in detail how he draws his own f hole shapes and their locations.  

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1 hour ago, Michael_Molnar said:

And I've been told that flaring or beveling the inside edge changes tone.

Then do you flare or not? Is one way more standard than another? What tonal influence do flaring have?

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10 hours ago, Mike Spencer said:

Then do you flare or not? Is one way more standard than another? What tonal influence do flaring have?

I flare them a tad. This seems to act like widening the holes. It is not a tuning tool like adjusting the soundpost or trimming the bridge.

Keep in mind that I haven't won any awards. So caveat emptor.

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