Introduction to Hawaiian Koa Wood

Koa is generally admired by many because of its striking looks, superb musical properties and for being a good source of valuable lumber.

Koa Ukulele Sets - We offer partial and complete sets for soprano, concert, and tenor.
Koa Acoustic Guitar Sets - We offer partial and complete sets for jumbo and orchestra model.
Koa Electric Guitar Sets - We offer partial and complete sets for guitar tops and solid guitar body blanks.

Origin and Common Uses

Koa is an endemic wood specie to the Islands of Hawaii. This beautiful tree is a fairly dense tropical hardwood that is sought for use in furniture, cabinetry, flooring, wood carving and a number of other gift items. Koa is generally admired by many because of its striking looks, superb musical properties and for being a good source of valuable lumber. Koa is also a tonewood, in fact it is one of most known tonewood in the musical instrument market, a traditional wood of choice for construction of ukuleles by Hawaiians. Aside from ukuleles, it is also often used in electric and acoustic guitars.

Pricing, Colors and Wood Grain

However Koa is not a cheap wood considering it is highly regulated and much sought-after because of its stunning color and wood grain patterns making it a rare commodity. Koa's colors can range from a very light, golden color to a deep chocolate brown or reddish gold. The wood grain usually look swirly or wavy, it sometimes has interlocking patterns and all of these aspects produces a very curly or figured appearance. Since Koa is a rare ukulele and guitar wood, it commonly only appears in special and limited edition series; our customer Taylor Guitars is one of the few manufacturers that sell Hawaiian Koa ukulele and guitar on a wide array of models.

Tonal Properties and Comparisons

Koa turned out to be a fairly decent tonewood with its own unique warm tones. The tone is different than mahogany or rosewood or maple but built to the right specification. Koa resonates differently than medium-bodied and lighter woods because of its density, making this tonewood one of the best in the musical instrument market. It is strong enough to be used as sound board but soft enough to vibrate and produce rich, unique warm tones. Meaning Koa is the best of both worlds. When a player buys Koa-top guitar, particularly with Koa back and sides, at first the sound can turn out to be very bright and tight, thus it requires a good amount of playing to allow the wood to warm up and develop its natural and rich resonant tone. The more a Koa guitar is struck and vibrated, the more the sound opens up which expands the midrange and will result to a more resonant tone over time. A lot of luthiers argues that it's well worth the effort and the wait to get there! Koa tonewood goes well with fingerstylists who use the pad of their fingers or those that like to strum the strings with their thumbs.

Note: In our research for this article, we used references from different sites that explained the origin and tonal properties of Hawaiian Koa. Clicking on the links below will send readers to their sites for more information. This article is for informational/educational purposes only. Any infringement of copyright is entirely unintentional. Any copyright concerns should be address to us directly, send us an email and we will try to resolve the concerns as quickly as possible. Thank you.

Taylor Guitars Body Woods Hawaiian Koa
Taylor Guitars Top Woods Hawaiian Koa
Andertons Music Co Blog Acoustic Guitar Tonewood Guide
Leolani Ukulele Blog Koa Wood The Holy Grail

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