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merlin666
08-12-2016, 10:35 AM
I am interested in getting a 6-string uke (lili'u) and the Kala ASAC-T6 just seems to have some very appealing features. However, I have played two of the four string models in stores and was not at all impressed by the sound. One thing about them I found confusing is that they are made of "acacia" which encompasses 100s of different plants. The acacia family includes two notable tonewoods: Acacia KOA and Acacia melanoxylon (Tasmanian Blackwood), but the Kala site is not specific about what they are using.

So I emailed Kala and asked them and after a few days I got a detailed response that stated it was Acacia confusa ("Formosan Koa") and included a link to the Wikipedia article. Now this article only refers to uses as a tea and a rough lumber but does not mention tonewood use at all. However, some threads on here suggest that several makers such as Pono and Kala use this for their budget ukes. It sure looks pretty, but I wonder why it is not used more often for other instruments as wel,l as it seems to be very common and even invasive in Hawaii. How does it compare to the more common ukulele tonewoods such as Koa and Mahogany?

PhilUSAFRet
08-12-2016, 03:45 PM
For the money, check out the Ohana 8 string all solid tenor.

Nickie
08-12-2016, 04:42 PM
If it doesn't sound good, leave it. Look for something else. Looks ain't everything. You'll play it more than you look at it.

river_driver
08-12-2016, 05:43 PM
For DECADES the musical instrument manufacturing industry has played fast & loose with identifying tone woods. You are right, in this case there are MANY species of acacia and in this case they are actually using one of them, though perhaps not the most optimal to use as a tone wood.

As a "fer instance" a lot of the "mahogany" used on entry level instruments is completely unrelated to true mahogany; things like sapele, which have some of the tonal qualities of mahogany- according to some! (Personally, I kinda like sapele!)

Caveat emptor!!

river_driver
08-12-2016, 05:47 PM
I should add that just because Wikipedia doesn't state it can be used as a tone wood doesn't mean it isn't one. But as stated above, ultimately the proof is in the pudding!

stevejfc
08-12-2016, 05:49 PM
I had a Pono acacia once upon a time...... looked good, sounded dead. I have a Córdoba acacia made in Portugal, which I use for a beater. It looks great, plays nice and sounds way above its price point. Cost about 1/3 of the Pono..Nothing against Ponos, as a lot of them, most of them sound and look great. But, you never know until you actually play them. Even solid Hawaiian Koa ukes can range from bad, to ok, to great depending on the piece of wood and the builder.

anthonyg
08-12-2016, 09:53 PM
If the instrument sounds dead then don't buy it but its not the wood. Its the construction.

I have 1 Mele ukulele made from Hawaiian Koa.
I have a couple of Australian ukuleles made from Tasmanian Blackwood.
I have a few Vietnamese ukuleles made from "Acacia".

They all sound great. The differences between the ukuleles comes down to mostly construction, not materials.

For the record my Vietnamese Acacia ukuleles sound better than the Kala Acacia instruments that I have played so I have never forked out the money for a Kala Acacia ukulele.

Anthony

hoosierhiver
08-13-2016, 07:31 AM
Acacia refers to a large genus of hundreds if not a few thousand species, ranging from desert shrubs to Hawaiian Koa. I honestly think Acacia ukuleles started as a tone wood in the hopes people would assume it was Koa.

wayfarer75
08-13-2016, 01:50 PM
Acacia refers to a large genus of hundreds if not a few thousand species, ranging from desert shrubs to Hawaiian Koa. I honestly think Acacia ukuleles started as a tone wood in the hopes people would assume it was Koa.

I agree. I'm sure there are many who think acacia is always koa. And there are builders/sellers who purposely "confusa" the issue.

johnson430
08-13-2016, 02:20 PM
I agree. I'm sure there are many who think acacia is always koa. And there are builders/sellers who purposely "confusa" the issue.

Lol, I love puns. Good one.

anthonyg
08-13-2016, 02:37 PM
I'm perfectly happy with, and consider it perfectly reasonable for a variety of woods from the species Acacia to be labeled "Acacia". They're NOT calling it KOA. They're not using Sapelle and calling it Mahogany.

Honestly, what do you people want? Lots of different Acacia sub-speces make great instruments. Do you want builders to stop using them? Do you want builders to use up every single Koa tree until they are all gone?

Be careful what you wish for.

Anthony

Ukejenny
08-14-2016, 07:05 AM
It would be nice to know exactly what type of acacia our KPK tenor is made from, but in the end, I guess it doesn't matter. It has a gorgeous sound and sustain. Nice grains and pretty to boot, but the sound is what makes me smile the most.