This is something I've always wondered but never thought to ask:

What is it about the guitar that makes it lack the comparative volume/projection of the violin family? At first I thought it was just the bow, maybe it transferred more energy or something like that. But the other day I was reading about the Viol ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viol ), a fretted bowed instrument descended from an early proto-guitar. One of the reasons for its decline was the lack of volume/projection compared to the cello/violin, so it doesn't seem like that's the critical factor.

But what is it then, and are there (acoustic) hacks / remedies? Are we simply at a point where yes, it could be made louder but then it wouldn't sound like a guitar?
i think its the way the bridge is on the violin but i have no proof

edit could also be the bow giving it continious energy instead of the pluck which only sets it going

and agian i have no proof
Last edited by supersac at May 16, 2011,
Isn't it the higher pitch range? If memory serves, the lower the pitch of a sound from a stringed instrument, the larger the body needs to be to amplify it, hence why acoustic bass guitars are quieter than acoustic guitars, and the body of an upright bass is absolutely huge.
There's been a few different things done other than electrical amplification to try and make the acoustic guitar louder, including putting a steel cone inside the body, which became the resonator guitar and gives quite a different sound to a normal acoustic, and making the back curved, though how that effects volume and tone I've no idea. Really there's not much more that can be done to my knowledge.
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It's also about the harmonic series.

The violin and cello are shaped specifically to maximise resonance and projection when tuned properly.

The viola on the other hand, is a similar size to a cello and because of the reduced size (even though it's to scale) it's not as resonant as a violin or a cello.

The lack of frets also contributes somewhat to its resonance.

The back of violins/violas and cellos also have arched backs to increase the amount of volume that the instrument can create.