Koa is NOT worth it?!
Just thought I’d share my thoughts as a tonewood supplier and ukulele builder, since I get asked a LOT about whether or not a player should spring the extra $$ for an all solid Hawaiian Koa ukulele (or guitar).
Simple answer - Yes, if you can afford it. But why?
Is a Koa ukulele any better than a maple, walnut or mahogany? Will it produce a better sound? And will the epic looking curly koa sound better?
Grading Hawaiian Koa
Please have a look at the photo above and you can see the wood grain range from the left to right from NON (1A) curly to SUPER (5A) curly. I adopted this grading system from the Maple, Spruce and Cedar market (thanks Dave!) in order to have a base line grading system when trying to sell Hawaiian Koa in the instrument market. My father had his grading system for lumber that was adopted from NHLA grading rules, but that just didn’t work when speaking luthiery. While not perfect, I found this does help our buyers understand what to expect from us. We do our best to match the buyer’s expectations with what we promise to supply.