You are currently viewing Worth It? 11 Acoustic Guitars With A Hole On The Side (Side Sound Ports)

Last Updated on March 5, 2024 by Teemu Suomala

If you are one of us who likes to constantly look for new ways to improve and change the way our guitars sound, this article is made for you.

Having your acoustic guitar equipped with a side sound port is a good way to add some extra spice to your tone, separate your tone from the rest, and get you noticed. All this is really welcome stuff for guitarists.

In this article, I reveal the top-notch acoustic guitars with side soundholes currently on the market, and I also tell which ones are my absolute favorites. We also talk about what advantages and disadvantages side soundholes can have.

Let’s get started!

Like the idea of a different kind of soundhole? Check these other soundhole articles of ours:

Acoustic Guitars With Offset Soundhole

Acoustic Guitars Without Soundhole

Acoustic Guitars With F-Holes

photo reveals owner of guitaristnextdoor.com

Author: Teemu Suomala

I first grabbed the guitar in 2009. I started this website in January 2020 because I couldn’t do window installation anymore due to my health problems. I love guitars and have played dozens and dozens of different guitars through different amps and pedals over the years, and also, building a website interested me, so I decided to just go for it! I got lucky and managed to get awesome people to help me with my website.

I also got lucky because I have you visiting my website right now. Thank you. I do all this for you guys. If you have any recommendations, tips, or feedback, just leave a comment, I would love to chat with you. I have also been fortunate to produce content for several large guitar websites, such as SongsterrMusicnotesGuitarGuitar, and Ultimate Guitar.

I spend my spare time exercising and hanging out with my wife and crazy dog (I guess that went the right way…).


What is The Sound Hole on The Side Of A Guitar Called?

The sound hole on the side of an acoustic guitar can be called:

  • Side Sound Port
  • Side Soundhole
  • Side Monitor Soundhole
  • Gibson Player Port (Gibson calls their side soundholes this)

11 Acoustic Guitars With A Hole On The Side

“Gibson G-45 is for any player looking for an affordable – yet capable – Gibson acoustic.” – GND’s acoustic guitar expert DL Shepherd. It’s not the best Gibson acoustic guitar, but it is still a solid option and does feature a Gibson Player Port on the side of the guitar.

Price Range Icon Meanings:

$= $399-599

$$= $600-899

$$$= $900-1299

$$$$= $1300-1999

$$$$$= $2000

*Consider all links in this post to be affiliate links. If you purchase, at no additional cost to you, we may earn a small commission. It helps us to keep the lights on, thanks! 🙂

ModelSoundhole TypeGuitar TypePrice RangeCheck The Current Price (affiliate links)
Ibanez FRH10NBSF Thinline – Best BudgetReally small soundhole on the side (side sound port)Thinline double cut, Nylon-String$Sweetwater – Thomann
Ibanez TOD10N Tim Henson SignatureReally small soundhole on the side (side sound port)Thinline double-cut, Nylon-String$$Sweetwater – Thomann
Breedlove Organic Solo Pro Concert CE – Best OverallSide Monitor Soundhole (comes with side monitor soundhole cover)Concert with cutaway, Steel-String$$$Sweetwater
Breedlove Organic Solo Pro Concert CE Nylon-stringSide Monitor Soundhole (comes with side monitor soundhole cover)Concert with cutaway, Nylon-String$$$Sweetwater
Breedlove Organic Solo Pro Concert CE 12-stringSide Monitor Soundhole (comes with side monitor soundhole cover)Concert with cutaway, Steel-String$$$Sweetwater
Gibson Acoustic G-45 – Find More Great Gibson Acoustics HereNormal soundhole and oval soundhole at the side of the guitarJ-45 Dreadnought, Steel-string acoustic guitar$$$SweetwaterThomann
Gibson Acoustic G-200 ECNormal soundhole and oval soundhole at the side of the guitarJ-200, Steel-string acoustic guitar$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Taylor 326ce – Best PremiumNormal soundhole and small oval soundhole on CutawayGrand Symphony with Soundport Cutaway, Steel-string acoustic guitar$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Hanika New Century LatticeNormal soundhole and small circle soundhole on shoulderClassical, Nylon-string$$$$$Thomann
Taylor 816ce Builder’s Edition – Find Our Favorite Taylor Guitars HereNormal soundhole and small oval soundhole on CutawayGrand Symphony with Soundport Cutaway, Steel-string acoustic guitar$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Taylor K26ceNormal soundhole and small oval soundhole on CutawayGrand Symphony with Soundport Cutaway, Steel-string acoustic guitar$$$$$SweetwaterThomann

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3 Acoustic Guitars With A Hole On The Side – My Favorites

Best Budget – Ibanez FRH10NBSF Thinline

What I like

  • Solid Sitka Spruce top
  • Bone nut & saddle for increased sustain
  • Comfortable C-shaped neck
  • Great quality Ibanez Custom Electronics
  • Meant to play plugged in and it shines with that
  • Side sound port helps you to hear your playing
  • Comfortable thinline acoustic body
  • Great for players transitioning from electric guitar to classical/nylon-string guitars
  • You either love it…

What I don’t like

  • …or hate it
  • Doesn’t shine acoustically
  • Not the most articulate sound overall

Who is it for?

If you are after really smooth playing classical guitar with a side soundhole and comfortable body size, and plan to play plugged in, check Ibanez FRH10NBSF Thinline out. It’s not the best option for players looking for the traditional classical guitar experience, but it’s still a great guitar worth testing.

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Best Overall – Breedlove Organic Solo Pro Concert CE

What I like

  • Comes with a side soundhole cover (play with or without it!)
  • Extremely comfortable for fingerstyle
  • Overall stunning looks
  • Solid Western Red Cedar top offers articulate, crisp, and sweet tones
  • Overall comfortably sized & shaped Concert body with a deep cutaway
  • Tusq nut & saddle offers rock-solid sustain

What I don’t like

  • Some players would prefer real bone nut & saddle
  • Not the loudest acoustic guitar

Who is it for?

If you are after a really versatile acoustic guitar that can take anything but shines with fingerstyle and features a side sound port & side sound port cover, Breedlove Organic Solo Pro Concert CE is an excellent option. It’s a stunning instrument with premium-level tonewoods and is a pleasure to play (and watch).

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Best Premium – Taylor 326ce

Displays Taylor 326ce offset cutaway

What I like

  • Incredible volume for a Grand Auditorium body
  • Beautiful finish with plenty of stage presence
  • Rich, balanced mid-range tone for excellent articulation on stage
  • Extremely comfortable to play
  • Small oval soundhole on the cutaway should offer fuller and more “stereo-like” sound

What I don’t like

  • Real bone nut and saddle would add more volume, sustain, and clarity
  • No onboard tuner

Who is it for?

If you are after a stage-worthy and stunning acoustic guitar with a side sound port. And you also value super-comfortable playability and rich sound & great volume, the Taylor 326ce is one of the best options you have. It’s a premium acoustic guitar, but worth the money.

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FAQ

Why Do Some Guitars Have A Hole on The Side(Side Port)?

Firstly, the side sound port helps the player to hear the sound of the acoustic guitar more directly, as the audience sitting in front of the player would.

Secondly, side soundholes are a way of changing the sound of an acoustic guitar and making the instrument sound unique. With some acoustic guitars without a normal soundhole, a side sound port helps the player and close listeners hear the guitar better (Ibanez FRH10NBSF Thinline is one such example).

Side soundholes also gather more eyeballs than just “normal acoustic guitars”. This can help a guitarist get noticed.

Does Soundhole Placement Affect The Sound Of An Acoustic Guitar?

Yes. Soundhole placement does affect the sound of a guitar. It mostly affects which direction the sound is projected and how well the guitar acoustically amplifies the sound and what frequencies are highlighted. With a normal soundhole, the sound is projected toward the people facing the acoustic guitar directly (listeners). Soundhole directly below the strings also ensures that the instrument can produce great volume and really even frequency response normal for acoustic guitars.

Soundholes at the side of the guitar are usually meant for the player to get better feedback from playing, provide more open sound, and/or add a “surround-stereo” kind of spice to the sound.

I recommend checking our full article about Acoustic Guitar Anatomy here.

Pros and Cons of An Side Soundhole and Sound Ports

Hear how 2 almost identical classical guitar with and without a side sound port sounds like:

Personally, I liked the guitar with the side sound port more. More open and full sound to me. But I do think that mids sounded better without the sound port, and the sound was overall tighter.

Pros

  • Can give the player better feedback from their playing
  • Makes the guitar sound more open & airy
  • Some experienced luthiers argue that the side sound port makes the guitar sound more natural
  • Guitar and guitarist with side sound port will get noticed better
  • Taylor guitars use their cutaway soundhole to make the guitar produce more full, “surround-stereo” type of tones

Cons

  • Harder to find
  • Sound can become too airy or loose
  • Side sound port can require some time to get used to
  • Guitars with side sound ports are usually more expensive

Guitar Brands Using Soundholes on The Side

  • Breedlove
  • Ibanez
  • Gibson
  • Taylor
  • Martin (not in currently available models)
  • Hanika

Conclusion

Whether the guitar has a side soundhole or not, if it’s fun to play and sounds good, I’ll love it. I’m not completely jumping on the side sound port bandwagon, but I’m definitely not going to say no to an acoustic guitar with a hole in the side. I think side soundholes are a super cool invention. I want to see and hear more of this kind of stuff.

If you have any questions, just leave a comment down below, we are here for you!

Keep rocking!

Teemu Suomala

I first grabbed the guitar in 2009. I started this website in January 2020 because I couldn’t do window installation anymore due to my health problems. I also noticed that most guitar websites don’t do a really good job, so I decided to just go for it! I got lucky and managed to get awesome people to help me with my website. I also got lucky because I have you visiting my website right now. Thank you. I do all this for you guys. If you have any recommendations, tips, or feedback, just leave a comment, I would love to chat with you. I have been fortunate to produce content for several large guitar websites, such as Songsterr, Musicnotes, GuitarGuitar, and Ultimate Guitar. I spend my spare time exercising and hanging out with my wife and crazy dog(I guess that went the right way…). Expertise: guitar learning techniques, electric guitars, and guitar amplifiers. You can connect with me on LinkedIn or just email me.
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