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Koa wood on acoustics


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Hey y'all,

In an earlier post, I talked about me and my son both buying a new acoustic guitar. Funny thing from the website we both were attracted to the one with Koa back and sides, but what will Koa be soundwise comparing to for example mahagony? 

 

Jeroen

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Should be similar to mahogany.  Best thing is to find the same model guitar with each wood and try them.  Taylor GS Mini comes to mind as they are everywhere.  As higher end model will have solid instead of laminated wood, would be closer, but you would get the idea.  Larrivee parlor guitars used to be easy to find in both woods and are all solid.
 

My limited experience - koa may be a bit brighter, a little less bass. But depends on typical variations in each piece of wood.  

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My opinion on acoustics with Koa, is that it maters what the rest of the guitar is made of and what shape. I got the best tip from my buddy Doug, he said when you go acoustic shopping take a guitar player that you respect with you and let him play the guitar while you sit in front of him. You wouldn't set behind your sealed back cabinet to dial in your tone? That being said I wanted a Koa Acoustic and settled on Taylor at GC. I have gotten to know one of the salesperson over the last couple of years. He very kindly played a handful for me, the Koa one slightly more focus, but had a little more detail when paired with an Ebony Board. I ended up not buying one, because my ears landed on a full Mahogany D Shaped guitar with and ebony board and a Sapele  and Cedar. I was perplexed enough that I ended up not getting anything. LOL 

Use your ears and not your eyes.

Edited by bubs_42
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I do have some guitars with mahogany, so looking for just something else,

Body Size Grand-Auditorium
Type Cutaway Electro-Acoustic
Top Solid Englemann Spruce
Back & Sides Koa
Scale Length 25.5" / 650mm
Guitar Length 41" / 1041mm
Orientation Right-handed
Neck Mahogany
Fretboard Rosewood
Bridge Rosewood
Binding Wood
Nut / Saddle Bone (Nut 42mm)
Machineheads Open-Gear Chrome
Finish Gloss Lacquer
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The incredibly pricey but equally beautiful solid koa Taylors I've played have always taken my breath away. There was a spruce topped koa grand auditorium model that we had at the store I worked at over 15 years ago that had the (at the time) relatively new Taylor expression system in it, and when I plugged it in (to a relatively basic Fender acoustic amp) and started playing my sloppy approximations of a couple Michael Hedges songs, it sounded more like the recordings than any other acoustic electric I've ever played. Warm, clear, never too bright or too boomy, plugged in or not. Amazing fingerstyle guitar. Never played it much with a pick, but I spent every lunch break playing that thing until it sold!

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22 hours ago, G Man said:

I put koa sort of between the sweetness of mahogany and the bell like piano tones of rosewood.  Again, as has been said, every guitar is different.

This.

Source: I have one.

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I really missed the "Koa Back and Sides", that is a lot safer decision to make than a Koa Top over another wood. G man and JGale have you covered. I have never been able to bring myself to purchase an Acoustic over the internet without playing it. They are just a more personal instrument and no two sound exactly alike. 

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My favorite tonewood combination on an acoustic guitar is a cedar top on koa back and sides. Koa is good compromise between the woody-ness of mahogany and the deep full richness of rosewood (more on the rosewood end), and the cedar top works with it to provide an airy top end sparkle. Cedar is not as dynamic as a spruce top, but you don't have to play cedar in for years for it to open up - it sounds great from day one.

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