PDA

View Full Version : wood combo with sound closest to koa?



mandrew
06-29-2011, 03:46 PM
I would just love a solid koa K brand uke, but that is way out of my league financially. I would like opinions on what combination of woods gives the closest sound to solid koa? I am told that solid mango, or perhaps a cedar top with rosewood body are fairly close. Any other thoughts?

iDavid
06-29-2011, 04:13 PM
Acacia?


http://www.kalaukulele.com/Kala_Solid_Acacia.asp

didgeridoo2
06-29-2011, 04:18 PM
Solid Mahogany sounds so very sweet and you can usually find a decent uke out there for a fraction of solid Koa uke. Take a look and listen to www.mpukuleles.com (http://www.mpukuleles.com) mp ukes's site. He has a couple of affordable all mahogany ukes that are incredible to look at and listen to.

haolejohn
06-29-2011, 04:22 PM
I would just love a solid koa K brand uke, but that is way out of my league financially. I would like opinions on what combination of woods gives the closest sound to solid koa? I am told that solid mango, or perhaps a cedar top with rosewood body are fairly close. Any other thoughts?

have you looked into Keli'i? These are solid koa and other wood ukes that are made in hawai'i as well. Keli'i also offers a solid koa top with mahogany back and sides.

My first koa ukulele was a Mele and it only had the koa top. I loved the way that uke sounded and I regret letting it go everyday.

guitarsnrotts
06-29-2011, 10:20 PM
I have all 3 woods/combinations and IMO it would be the mango. Including solid mahogany, the cedar/rosewood combination, which I really like, probably sounds the least like koa. Am looking for an acacia pineapple so would hope to make that comparison someday as well.

PhilUSAFRet
06-30-2011, 02:00 AM
have you looked into Keli'i? These are solid koa and other wood ukes that are made in hawai'i as well. Keli'i also offers a solid koa top with mahogany back and sides.

My first koa ukulele was a Mele and it only had the koa top. I loved the way that uke sounded and I regret letting it go everyday.

Yeah, Mele has some nice solid mahogany bodied ukes with solid koa tops.

OldePhart
06-30-2011, 07:23 AM
Definitely acacia (koa is of the acacia family) or mango. Red cedar / rosewood combo is about as far away as you can get, I think (I have koa, mango, acacia, and red cedar/spruce ukes, BTW).

However, keep in mind that construction, thickness of wood, bracing, precision of assembly etc. all play as big a part in overall tone and volume as does the type of wood. Just because something is made of a wood similar to koa doesn't mean it is necessarily going to sound like a koa uke!

In fact, my Kiwaya thin-laminate longneck soprano sounds more like my KoAloha longneck soprano than any of my other ukes do.

John

hoosierhiver
06-30-2011, 07:38 AM
I sometimes describe mango as sounding somewhat like mahogany with some of the airiness of koa.

Rick Turner
06-30-2011, 08:18 AM
There's koa, and there's koa...

What I mean is that plain koa need not be horribly expensive, and in fact, I've found it almost hard to give away...metaphorically speaking. Plain koa is like a very nicely enhanced mahogany, and it is very available since everyone wants the bling stuff and is willing to pay for it.

One of the luthiers' little secrets is that plain koa often sounds better than the highly figured stuff because the grain is straight and even. This means that it can actually be worked thinner to be more responsive, and the more continuous wood fibers do not damp vibration as much as curly fibers which result in tons of "run-out".

That said, mahogany is just fine, but bear in mind that it's not about a species, it's about a specific instrument. Use your ears, not your eyes if you're a serious player.

My go-to uke is an outrageously figured koa one. It sounds just fine, but we've made better sounding ukes, too. I happen to really like this one...it is an attention grabber, and having played it for four years now, I'm very used to the feel and playability, but I'm going for a spruce/milo tenor next, and then a spruce/Brazilian rosewood concert.

mm stan
06-30-2011, 08:27 AM
Not sure what would be close to Koa, but mahogany is a good alternative..if not better to some..real sweet ...Arcacia and Mahogany are in the same family as Koa.. as Rick mentioned many say and I do too that
Straight grain is better for sound preformance.. this time beauty is after the sound.. I always prefer sound before beauty in all my ukes....

Uke Republic
06-30-2011, 08:29 AM
we sell Kelii silver series that has a Hawaiian koa top with mahogany back and sides. Very affordable. Tenor, concert , soprano and soprano pineapples plus you can get 6 and 8 strings on the tenors. Made in Hawaii too.

garyg
07-01-2011, 01:40 AM
I would echo those folks who said that a good quality solid koa uke can be found for not much more than ukes made of less expensive woods. Recently Duane of Black Bear ukes was selling a solid koa soprano that had superb craftsmanship and great sound for $350, which is a price that you may be able to buy a used K-brand uke for. I walked into a brick and mortar store recently and walked out with a KoAloha Pikake for $350. Someone on the board offered me a used Pikake for $400. In addition, you may be able to get an old Martin soprano O for around $400 if you're a careful shopper. I'm a not a uke expert but there seem to be many good deals out there for the patient and careful shopper. I don't recall you saying how much you had to spend but my guess is that a new mango or acacia uke will cost you ~$200 or more. Ukers seem to be addicted to buying and selling ukes i.e., the proverbial UAS, so think used for good deals.

herby660
09-27-2011, 08:30 PM
Go with Mahogany it is beautiful and by no means second best to KOA. they are both beautiful in their own right. Why are so many instruments made out of them, they are the best tone woods thats why. Simple.

I would second the Kelii (keli'i) Silver series. Mahogany and Koa are a great sounding ukulele. Better than all Koa in my opinion and cheaper too.

mendel
09-28-2011, 02:50 AM
I have a Koa/ Myrtle Custom Donaldson. It sounds amazing. Bradford, a UU poster, built it for me. He explained to me, very thoroughly, that Myrtle was almost identical to Koa and that the sound quality is phenomenal. I am very happy with the Uke. I hope that helps.

OldePhart
09-28-2011, 12:45 PM
I would just love a solid koa K brand uke, but that is way out of my league financially. I would like opinions on what combination of woods gives the closest sound to solid koa? I am told that solid mango, or perhaps a cedar top with rosewood body are fairly close. Any other thoughts?

The mango is fairly close. IMHO the cedar/rosewood is not even on the same planet, let alone in the ballpark (doesn't make it bad, it's just nothing like Koa).

BTW, I own a KoAloha solid koa (have actually had two, sold the concert and kept the longneck soprano), a Mainland mango tenor, and a Mainland cedar/rosewood tenor (oh, and a Mainland cedar/rosewood concert that I converted to a coffee-can resonator).

I'd characterize the Mango as very similar to the KoAloha but a bit less volume and sustain (the latter probably more a factor of the relative overall quality of the instruments than a verdict on the mango vs koa, actually).

I also had a Kala acacia pocket uke. I'd say it was kind of similar to Koa but it's really hard to say when you're dealing with such a tiny box and relatively heavy construction.

John

OldePhart
09-28-2011, 12:49 PM
Solid Mahogany sounds so very sweet and you can usually find a decent uke out there for a fraction of solid Koa uke. Take a look and listen to www.mpukuleles.com (http://www.mpukuleles.com) mp ukes's site. He has a couple of affordable all mahogany ukes that are incredible to look at and listen to.

Mahogany is nice but not even similar to Koa. Koa has a bright "sparkliness" while mahogany is a darker, though often richer, tone. Not saying mahogany is a bad choice but the OP was specifically asking about ukes close to Koa - presumably because they like the Koa brightness.

John

Uke Republic
09-28-2011, 01:14 PM
Well when they finally get here I'd say check out the new Pono Acacia series in satin and the more figured gloss deluxe version.
Also check out Kelii Silver series- solid koa top and solid mahogany b/s
Mango can be close but it's sweeter:)