A short summary of the benefits
A sideport can significantly change the sound properties and projection of your instrument. A sliding door enables you to adjust the sound of your instrument to the current environment – no matter whether you are at home practising, recording in a studio or giving a concert in a large room. Read on to learn more about the sideport.
The sideport becomes more and more popular in steel string guitars, and recently also in classical guitars. The origin of the side port is not precisely known at this point, but articles about the instruments of Linda Manzer, John Monteleone and Charles Fox document their presence in the 20th century. In the year 2000, Gerhard Meier applied for a legal protection of registered designs for a sideport with an adjustable door (Found in the beginner’s mode search on the 25th of June, 2008 at http://depatisnet.dpma.de).
A sliding door enables the musician to modify the sound of an instrument and also to get a direct and immediate sound feedback while the sliding door is fully opened. The position of the sideport should be adjusted based on the musicians playing position, since ideally the musician should have no obstructions between the ear and the bridge area on the inside of the guitar.
Impact on the sound – for the player:
When the sliding door in the sideport is completely open, the sound characteristics of the instrument are shifted towards the a-formant, which is best described as open and bright. A significant amount of the sound energy that is emitted on the inside of the instrument can leave through the sideport, giving the player a strong response. This can be of advantage when playing in a group with other instrument, because the player can hear his/her own instrument much better. When the sideport is closed, the Helmholtz frequency (or volume frequency) drops by four to five semitones, having an impact on the other main frequencies and modes of the instrument. The sound of the instrument then also gets closer to that of the traditional classical guitar.
Impact on the sound – for the audience:
All characteristics described above are perceived by the audience as well, with one exception: the audience also gets to enjoy the improved projection of the instrument when the sideport is fully open.