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  #1  
Old 07-10-2018, 10:19 AM
Slothead56 Slothead56 is offline
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Default Hereís to Koa...a most under appreciated tone wood

I pretty much only play my OM 21 or my big ole Jumbo Gurian anymore. But I broke out my OM 42 with Koa back and sides yesterday for the first time in a long time and what a delight. A little less thumpy than rosewood, a little more ummph than mahogany. And beautiful to look at.

So hereís a salute to this uniquely harvested tonewood from the beautiful Hawaiian islands!!

Last edited by Slothead56; 07-11-2018 at 01:40 PM. Reason: Already explained once!
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Old 07-10-2018, 10:37 AM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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I wouldn't call koa as being underrated. I consider it to be "rare" and the price reflects it. For me, black walnut is underrated because it's considered to be more plentiful yet also produces a pleasing tone and can be found with some figuring that I find as visually beautiful as koa.

As for tone, that's personal preference. Personally, I'm not wowed by koa. I once played a Martin OMC-15E Koa and found its bass to be "restrained" compared to rosewood and the trebles not nearly as "warm" sounding as mahogany.
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Old 07-10-2018, 11:25 AM
paulzoom paulzoom is offline
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I love my All Koa 12 string!
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Old 07-10-2018, 12:28 PM
Parlorman Parlorman is offline
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I love my Froggy Bottom L Deluxe with Koa body. It compares VERY favorably with some of my other parlors with fabulous Brazilian RW bodies.
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Old 07-10-2018, 12:37 PM
zmf zmf is offline
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I know you're just enjoying your OM-42, but I'm surprised that you think of koa as underrated.

However, this does bring up the interesting question of what are the top five most commonly used and "highly rated" (whatever that means) tonewoods used for guitar back and sides?

You'd have to put rosewood and mahogany on top, but koa might be in there, along with -- what -- maple and walnut?

Bet there would be a range of opinions on the top five.
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Old 07-10-2018, 12:44 PM
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The other thing to keep in mind is that a koa guitar needs time to open up so the tone can be "subdued" when new. I was pretty happy with my Taylor K-22 when I got it last year. It was just not as loud and responsive as my other guitars but it's opened up a bit improving in both areas and it will only get better with more playing time. It's very balanced which makes for a sweet sounding guitar.
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Old 07-10-2018, 12:51 PM
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I agree, I adore koa, though I find many people disagree with me. I will admit though that part of my love comes from it being Hawaiian. I have three custom koa ukuleles and my familyís ashes are scattered in Hawaii. So I feel a deep sentimental bond to my koa guitar that transcends its sound, though I like that as well.
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Old 07-10-2018, 12:56 PM
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I'm a big fan of Koa...good Koa. The problem with it, is that it can be all over the place; but that said, when a builder knows and understands Koa, I find it glorious sounding! I've sold off all my guitars but a few to pursue a build with Michael Greenfield, and that guitar will be Koa because Michael knows Koa...can't wait!
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Last edited by drplayer; 07-11-2018 at 06:03 AM.
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Old 07-10-2018, 01:11 PM
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My Koa twins keep me smiling pretty big!
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Old 07-10-2018, 01:18 PM
RussL30 RussL30 is offline
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Iíve always wondered if Koa is either really variable or if you need a really good piece to get good results. Iíve owned one koa guitar and it didnít last long. It was a Taylor 400 series limited, so the koa may have been low quality to be on a 400. That is the only Taylor Iíve owned of about 10 that have passed through my hands, that was super bright and sterile and had absolutely no character.

Iíve heard clips of koa guitars that sound great so Iím going to write my experience with as a one off for a guitar that just didnít have it.
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Old 07-10-2018, 01:18 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slothead56 View Post
Hereís to Koa...a most under rated tone wood
Underrated? Where did you get that idea?
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  #12  
Old 07-10-2018, 01:26 PM
383roller 383roller is offline
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Koa has a very rich mid range overall, that's not my tonal opinion but it's a fact. my opinion is its unmatched in its uniqueness.
How it's presented in the build determines projection potential.
Everyone should experience a good Koa guitar.
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Old 07-10-2018, 02:04 PM
Slothead56 Slothead56 is offline
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OP here. Wow...getting called out for calling Koa underated. Perhaps I should clarify.
In my opinion Koa is a misunderstood wood in the broader guitar world that focuses (in my opinion) on rosewood and mahogany. My opinion is that Koa, since it doesnít have a very broad and deep representation in the guitar world is not appreciated by the masses because they donít get to hear it/see it.

Of course, thatís just my opinion
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Old 07-10-2018, 02:24 PM
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I have a very special Alrvarez Yairi with cedar top and Koa back and sides. With the right fresh strings it is amazing.
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Old 07-10-2018, 04:41 PM
frets4fun frets4fun is offline
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I'm a big koa fan. My K24ce has a beautiful tone that gets better the more I play it.
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