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View Full Version : When and why did Koaloha switch to rosewood fretboards?



6025
09-10-2018, 01:36 PM
Been away for awhile and started playing my 2014 Koaloha KSM-00 soprano. Great little ukulele! It has an all koa fretboard with the five crown points st the bottom of the board. I noticed the newer models now come with a rosewood fretboard. Any reason why the switch? I really like the charm of the all koa front.

etudes
09-10-2018, 03:46 PM
My November 2015 Koaloha soprano has the rosewood fretboard, abalone inlay on the head stock, no crown on fretboard. Not sure exactly when the switch over was. I like both styles!

bearbike137
09-10-2018, 06:26 PM
They still make ukes with koa fretboards. Depends on the model.

Jerryc41
09-11-2018, 04:13 AM
Most makers are switching away from rosewood because of CITES regulations.

All solid Hawaiian Koa Body
Rosewood Fretboard and Fretboard Binding
Rosewood Bridge

Since Hawaii is part of the USA, they can legally ship ukes with rosewood here, but not internationally.

https://reverb.com/news/new-cites-regulations-for-all-rosewood-species

merlin666
09-11-2018, 07:41 AM
Been away for awhile and started playing my 2014 Koaloha KSM-00 soprano. Great little ukulele! It has an all koa fretboard with the five crown points st the bottom of the board. I noticed the newer models now come with a rosewood fretboard. Any reason why the switch? I really like the charm of the all koa front.

I think it was at least two years ago, so you may have bought one of the last ones. The main reason was probably to lower production costs, may have started to use CNC for necks and use fewer cuts. They also have a "classic" series with Koa fretboards and nice looking inlays, but still has a straight cut off at the end. Too bad. That's why I bought a used one as I prefer the older design.

Kenn2018
09-11-2018, 09:18 AM
I bought my 2017 KoAloha tenor about a year ago. At that time they offered models with a Koa fretboard with the inlays or an ebony fretboard that cost more. I purchased the only tenor I could find with a rosewood fretboard. I preferred the look of it over the koa version. Didn't want to pay extra for the ebony one.

I read that the koa fretboards weren't popular so they went back to the rosewood. Which is a shame because it's important to keep the trees around. I hope they can find a sustainable alternative to rosewood and ebony that people will embrace.

hoosierhiver
09-11-2018, 09:34 AM
If they are using abalone inlay, they might as well use rosewood fretboards. The abalone requires CITES documentation as well. Rosewood currently used for ukuleles is either pre-convention wood or wood from an approved source (unless t's illegal wood).

hoosierhiver
09-11-2018, 09:35 AM
I read that the koa fretboards weren't popular so they went back to the rosewood. Which is a shame because it's important to keep the trees around. I hope they can find a sustainable alternative to rosewood and ebony that people will embrace.

Ovangkol is a good alternative, in fact some of you probably have an ovangkol fretboard now and don't realize it.

Kenn2018
09-11-2018, 11:26 AM
If they are using abalone inlay, they might as well use rosewood fretboards. The abalone requires CITES documentation as well. Rosewood currently used for ukuleles is either pre-convention wood or wood from an approved source (unless t's illegal wood).

Thanks for the clarification. I wasn't sure if the position dots were abalone or MOP. I'm sure it isn't from illegal source. My understanding is that the US isn't as strict (yet) about the harvesting and use as are many far-east and EU countries are. Inter-US transportation is not restricted. It's the exportation to other countries that have caused manufacturers to move away from Rosewood and most likely in the near future, ebony.

I believe that the Opio and KoAloha instruments made in Thailand at Baan use other woods for the fretboards. Because the rosewood and I think ebony is protected.

Kenn2018
09-11-2018, 11:27 AM
Ovangkol is a good alternative, in fact some of you probably have an ovangkol fretboard now and don't realize it.

Most likely I do.

Mim
09-11-2018, 12:55 PM
I am unsure of their exact reason, but I am sure a lot of it is a supply and demand. People liked the rosewood and abalone more. Also, there is a nicer consistency to the look of the rosewood so that may have had something to do with it as well. Sometimes the koa would come out choppy and it "stains" more being lighter wood and marks up with extended play via finger gunk.

Steve in Kent
09-16-2018, 10:34 PM
Personally I like the ebony fretboard of my Pono better than the rosewood of my 2013 KoAloha, but just aesthetically, I can't tell the difference when playing.