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koa wood guitars?

olddude 28 Jan 10 - 08:47 PM
M.Ted 28 Jan 10 - 08:58 PM
Wesley S 28 Jan 10 - 09:21 PM
olddude 28 Jan 10 - 09:27 PM
Songbob 28 Jan 10 - 09:39 PM
Will Fly 29 Jan 10 - 04:27 AM
Murray MacLeod 29 Jan 10 - 05:23 AM
Charley Noble 29 Jan 10 - 07:58 AM
Will Fly 29 Jan 10 - 09:04 AM
Michael Harrison 29 Jan 10 - 11:15 AM
reggie miles 29 Jan 10 - 11:57 AM
Barbara 29 Jan 10 - 12:51 PM
Will Fly 29 Jan 10 - 02:12 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 29 Jan 10 - 03:36 PM
Phil Cooper 29 Jan 10 - 04:10 PM
Spot 29 Jan 10 - 04:22 PM
Will Fly 29 Jan 10 - 04:34 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 29 Jan 10 - 04:48 PM
Spot 29 Jan 10 - 05:38 PM
mkebenn 30 Jan 10 - 03:04 PM
Anne Lister 30 Jan 10 - 04:36 PM
Justa Picker 30 Jan 10 - 06:51 PM
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Subject: koa wood guitars?
From: olddude
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 08:47 PM

anyone own one or played one? how are they compared to rosewood?


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Subject: RE: koa wood guitars?
From: M.Ted
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 08:58 PM

I have a koa guitar--it has a very characteristic sound, I think it is brighter, and has more complex overtones, but different people describe it in different ways. To a fair degree, the sound depends on the quality of the wood and the skill of the maker. To my mind, it resonates in a unique way, and feels different in your hands when you play it. Best to try and form your own opinion.


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Subject: RE: koa wood guitars?
From: Wesley S
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 09:21 PM

I prefer rosewood if I'm actually going to play the guitar. But if I'm just going to look at it - Koa is prettier. If I ever find an all Koa guitar that I love I'll snatch it up in a heartbeat.

Are you interested in a guitar with a Koa top? Or a Koa body with spruce top?


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Subject: RE: koa wood guitars?
From: olddude
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 09:27 PM

for my buddy wes   he was looking at a spruce top , koa body don't remember the maker, seagull maybe. i said i would ask, he didn't try one yet


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Subject: RE: koa wood guitars?
From: Songbob
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 09:39 PM

Koa, as the man says, is characteristic in its tone qualities. It has some mahogany qualities -- brightness and "zing" -- and some rosewood qualities -- complex overtones and "deepness" of bass -- and is really a personal choice among players. That is, some hate it, some love it, and some are ambivalent.

I think of it as a "chimey" version of rosewood, or as a mid-range-heavy version of mahogany.

It's used for ukes a lot, too, and you might get an idea of its qualities by listening to tenor or baritone ukes (which are larger in body than soprano ones, and thus closer to what a guitar would sound like). I have a couple of Koa ukes (one tenor and one concert), but have never gone out of my way to get a Koa guitar. Probably because I don't need that sound, prefering my mahogany Martin or my sycamore (a relative of maple) Running Dog, or possibly because I can't afford one.

Whatever, Koa can be an interesting choice for a guitar tonewood, but you need to play the "target guitar" to make sure you like it. Remember that the maker and model will determine how much you like it, too -- the first major maker to make Koa a large part of his run was Bob Taylor, and his company makes a wide variety of models using the wood, so you're not restricted to just a few dreadnoughts.

Koa makes an interesting top as well as back & sides, too -- with better results than mahogany, which Martin used for lower-level guitars (the 00-17 or 00-15, for example) "back in the day." All-Koa guitars are pretty desirable, it seems (to judge by the prices).

Like I said, it's a buyer's choice thing, but don't be afraid to try 'em. Many do, and many like 'em.

Bob


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Subject: RE: koa wood guitars?
From: Will Fly
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 04:27 AM

I have a koa tenor uke, which gives out a surprising amount of volume for its size. The wood is pleasant to look. Direct comparisons with how a steel-strung koa guitar might sound are not simple, because a uke is normally strung with nylon, which gives a different tone. However, my guess is - purely a guess - that koa has been used for ukes because, size for size, it produces volume and brightness.


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Subject: RE: koa wood guitars?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 05:23 AM

or maybe because koa is native to Hawaii, as is the uke?


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Subject: RE: koa wood guitars?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 07:58 AM

Koa wood makes a very pretty guitar!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: koa wood guitars?
From: Will Fly
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 09:04 AM

Koa is not the only tree species in Hawaii. There is a huge variety of species, including mahogany, cedar, spruce, etc. There may perhaps be restrictions on using certain species of wood, and there may be large quantities of koa available for instrument making.


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Subject: RE: koa wood guitars?
From: Michael Harrison
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 11:15 AM

2 cents here: I have a Breedlove C25 with koa back and sides and a German spruce top. Most folks see it and fall in love with it; sound techs rave about it's stage sound, and players across the board have told me how special the guitar is, so...

Again, every guitar is different. If you like the look of the wood, search until you find the instrument that sounds like what you want to hear. I've stated here before how much I like mine, and a good friend of mine has a Taylor koa that he just raves about. So, you might get your hands on a couple of Breedlove's and a Taylor or two and see what you think. Good luck.................harrison


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Subject: RE: koa wood guitars?
From: reggie miles
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 11:57 AM

I've got an old one, late 20s I think. It sounds incredible.


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Subject: RE: koa wood guitars?
From: Barbara
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 12:51 PM

Will -- my experience on Maui is that Koa is protected and very expensive when you can find it. No live trees can be cut, so the wood must come from trees that have fallen.
I made a parlor guitar a couple years ago with the back and sides being Black acacia, and it is quite loud for its size and complex in its sound.
Koa is in the acacia family of trees and my guitar looks a lot like koa only a bit more honey colored. For a more complete discussion of the sound qualities I would try one of the luthier sites, or maybe LMI or StewMac guitar supplies.
Blessings
Barbara


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Subject: RE: koa wood guitars?
From: Will Fly
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 02:12 PM

Barbara - thanks for that info. Puts my little tenor uke into persepctive! :-)


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Subject: RE: koa wood guitars?
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 03:36 PM

Black Acacia is a tree that can be found in parking strips in older neighborhoods around San Diego. I once had an old one in front of a house I owned at the time. It was felled by the city because it was causing problems with the sidewalk. The wood is incredibly tight grained and fibrous and nearly as hard as ironwood. I never thought of it as luthier material, but I can see the possibilities. I wonder if Bob Taylor has ever considered it.


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Subject: RE: koa wood guitars?
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 04:10 PM

I have owned and played a Taylor K14 c since 1998. It has a cedar top. Before that I owned a Santa Cruz model H with spruce and koa. I liked both of their sounds. The sound engineer on a couple of our recordings really liked recording it (the Taylor). There's songfiles on our myspace section and I can give you a youtube channel if you want to see/hear how it sounds (even through computer speakers). Send me a PM if you want the details.


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Subject: RE: koa wood guitars?
From: Spot
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 04:22 PM

Halllooo everybody...

Like Senor Fly, I have a koa tenor uke (Lanakai) Amazingly loud , bright and seriously pretty... What make's yours Will? Only ever played one koa guitar - Taylor... Very well made etc. but left no particularly lasting impression tone wise... sorry...

Regards to all... Spot


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Subject: RE: koa wood guitars?
From: Will Fly
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 04:34 PM

Hi Spot - mine's a Lanikai as well - LU-21T model. As you say, amazingly loud and very sweet in tone.


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Subject: RE: koa wood guitars?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 04:48 PM

I was once told by a luthier friend that koa is more prone to cracks than other tonewoods. Whether that's an acknowledged fact or just his opinion, I'm not qualified to say. Any koa onwners experienced problems with cracks?


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Subject: RE: koa wood guitars?
From: Spot
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 05:38 PM

Will

Mine's a CK-T - Love it to pieces.....

Spot :-)


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Subject: RE: koa wood guitars?
From: mkebenn
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 03:04 PM

I played a Martin that belonged to Bob Shane that was spuce top, koa back and sides. I didn't notice any differnce from my spruce/rosewood D35, 'course I was playing it[LOL] Damn beautiful thing though. He played it, then chucked it on the floor. Disscusted me. Mike


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Subject: RE: koa wood guitars?
From: Anne Lister
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 04:36 PM

I have a Ralph Bown guitar made in 1986 which is koa top, sides and back and built to be like a Martin 0028. It attracts favourable attention wherever it goes because of the sound quite as much as the appearance. In fact, sometimes it gets more attention than I do, and I'm convinced it has its own fan club. It's a dream to record with, as wherever you place the mics you get a different tone, so we can vary the sound on different songs.
No problem with cracks (so far in its life, at any rate). No problems at all, in fact, except that I have nightmares when I take it on plane journeys as I'm terrified something will happen to it and I'll have to find a different guitar I love it to pieces.


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Subject: RE: koa wood guitars?
From: Justa Picker
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 06:51 PM

Lovely.
All the best tonal properties combined in rosewood and mahogany.


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