Violinmaking: Designing the Sound Holes

By: Benning Violins-Studio City Music  12/18/2014
Keywords: Musical Instrument, Stringed Instruments, String Instruments

The sound holes of stringed instruments such as fine cellos, violas and violins, also known as F-holes, are openings in the top plate. The holes allow the plate to resonate more freely and let internal air resonance to travel outside the instruments, enhancing their lower pitches. In box resonating musical instruments, sound holes come in other shapes, like the O-opening in the guitar.

After the thickness and contours of the top plate are finished, the violinmaker is ready to carve sound holes into the plate. A template is made of thin plywood in the shape of a desired design, wide enough to push a sound post through. It is placed on the plate accurately keeping in mind the length of strings. The end of the F-holes should also lead to where the bridge should be placed. Then, the template is traced with a pencil. Different sized instruments require their own template. Cellos require a larger template than violas do, and violas require a larger template than violins.

The next step is to flute, or make grooves, at the edge of the sound hole using a gouge, and then finished with a steel scraper. The grooving effect is purely decorative. Using a scriber, the two end holes are marked for the drill, and then punctured with a hand drill. They are cut larger, first on the outside of the plate, and then the inside, to avoid splitting wood.

The trickiest step for the violinmaker is to saw out the F-hole while avoiding splintering wood and damaging the top plate, so precautions must be taken to follow the grains of the wood. The purpose is to remove the inner wood, and the saw should stay well within the previous line, as precise edges can be worked on later. Next, a knife is used to pare away waste wood and, through cutting a complex series of curves, achieve the final cut of the F-hole design on the instrument.

Keywords: Cello Bows, Cello Rental, Musical Instrument, Musical Instrument And Supplies, Musical Instrument Dealers, String Instruments, Stringed Instruments, Viola Bows, Violin Accessories, Violin Cases, Violin Maker, Violin Making, Violin Rental, Violin Repair, Violin Restoration, Violin Shop, Violin Strings

Contact Benning Violins-Studio City Music

Email

Print this page

Other news and updates from Benning Violins-Studio City Music

11/07/2016

Benning Violins Offers Historic Antique American-made Violin for Sale

The violin, crafted by inventor Thomas Edison’s assistant and owned and played by a President Woodrow Wilson-appointed borough Postmaster, is


08/19/2016

Benning Violins, Los Angeles Violinmakers, Releases Jascha Heifetz Remembrance Video

In a newly released video, violinmaker Hans Benning, patriarch of the violinmaking family, remembers his years maintaining Jascha Heifetz’s 1740


05/21/2016

Acclaimed Violinist, Vijay Gupta, Acquires Violin Crafted by Violinmaker Eric Benning

Critically renowned violinist, Vijay Gupta, has acquired a newly crafted violin by violinmaker Eric Benning. The instrument, modeled after a


05/21/2016

Los Angeles-based Violin Shop, Benning Violins, Launches new Website

Benning Violins, a preeminent violin shop in Los Angeles, has launched a new, industry-leading website. Launched in April, the state-of-the-art


11/04/2015

Distinguished Violinist Tamamo Gibbs Acquires Violin Crafted by Eric Benning, Preeminent Los Angeles

Kansas City Symphony principal second violinist Tamamo Gibbs has acquired a 2005 Stradivarius model violin crafted by renowned violinmaker Eric


09/07/2015

Renowned Cellist Mark Gibbs Acquires Cello Crafted by Preeminent Violinmaker Eric Benning

Mark Gibbs, principal cellist of the Kansas City Symphony, has acquired a cello crafted by distinguished Los Angeles violinmaker Eric


01/13/2015

Violinmaking: Measuring and Fitting the Neck Piece

When crafting fine violins, as opposed to cheap, mass-produced ones, placing the neck onto the violin body is the most


12/25/2014

Violinmaking: Carving the Scroll

The distinctive scroll found at the top of fine violins, violas and cellos is a purely decorative woodcarving that showcases


12/23/2014

Violinist Alex Granger Premiers Composer Lucas Floyd's Violin Concerto with Violin Crafted by Violin

On April 27, 2014, violinist Alex Granger premiered American composer Lucas Floyd's violin concerto in San Francisco Conservatory of Music's


12/10/2014

Consigning Your Violin: What to Know

When you're looking to sell your fine violin (or a viola or cello), consignment to a notable violin shop may


11/24/2014

Dendrochronology and Fine Violins

Dendrochronology is the act of analyzing tree ring patterns in wood in order to determine the wood’s age. Dendrochronology has


11/17/2014

Choosing the Tailpiece On a Stringed Instrument

The tailpiece anchors the strings on the bottom end of violins, violas and cellos. As the top of the strings


11/09/2014

Standard Tunings for Violins, Violas and Cellos

For the practicing instrumentalist, tuning a violin, viola or cello is a daily task. Located in the peg box towards


10/14/2014

The Violin Bass Bar

The bass bar is a piece of wood on the underside of the faceplate or "belly"” of stringed instruments such