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View Full Version : Has anyone ever seen a curly koa Koaloha ukulele?



iHak
05-22-2012, 03:14 PM
Koaloha are some of the nicest feeling and sounding ukuleles I have ever played, but I have never seen a curly koa one. The grain seems to be always ordinary and light colored even, and although the design is gorgeous I feel like a nice curly koa wood one would be so much nicer.

wickedwahine11
05-22-2012, 03:55 PM
The only curly koa KoAlohas I ever recall seeing were the custom ones made for their stable of artists, like Brittni Paiva's old uke (before she signed with Kamaka) and Daniel Ho, etc.

Skottoman
05-22-2012, 04:02 PM
Now that you mention it... I've never seen a KoAloha with the curly koa that Kanile'a has...

Maybe that is their plan... to get ahold of some super curly koa and make some awesome upgrades!
Honestly, I'd sell my KoAloha concert for a curly koa version... and don't get me started on a master grade curly koa Pineapple Sunday.

Cheers,
Skottoman

consitter
05-22-2012, 04:13 PM
I've got one, but it's a custom.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
05-22-2012, 04:15 PM
Here are some things I know about curly koa as opposed to less figured koa:

Curly koa is very expensive $$$$
Curly koa is much harder to work with, especially when it comes to bending sides.
Curly koa can make a beautiful sounding instrument but it's harder to do so and takes more time than working with less figured koa.

consitter
05-22-2012, 04:22 PM
Curly koa is much harder to work with, especially when it comes to bending sides.

Did not know this. The curliest wood by far was on the sides. I'll have to thank Paul even more when I see him in September.

iHak
05-23-2012, 01:36 AM
I have a theory..

I'm absolutely in love with curly Koa, it's the most amazing thing to me.

However, in my experience, very curly Koa can sound a little dead. (Please don't take offense, owners of these instruments. I'm not bashing curly wood. Like I said, I LOVE it. And it can produce an absolutely gorgeous sound as well. It's just that the wood doesn't seem to resonate like a very nice straight grained wood.)


Like I said at the start of this thread, I have never seen a Koaloha that's made of curly koa, but I've also never played a koaloha that didn't have an absolutely superb, sizzling top end and vibrant mids and lows and incredibly long sustain.

My theory is that Koaloha knows that the best sound is to be found in that straight grain koa that they use, and that's a big part of why they're so consistently high quality.

haolejohn
05-23-2012, 02:34 AM
I'm going off my memory here. I believe I was told by Koaloha themselves that kKoaloha prefers to build with the straight grained/ plainer koa because they feel that produces the best sound.

PhilUSAFRet
05-23-2012, 03:09 AM
Probably why, price wise, they are a great, great value. Sound as good as the fancy looking ones, often better. Notice they refer to the Kanilea K-1's as "tone monsters" and they too costs hundreds, often a thousand dollars less than their fanciest koa models.

PedalFreak
05-23-2012, 04:18 AM
Curly koa can make a beautiful sounding instrument but it's harder to do so and takes more time than working with less figured koa.

Read a cool interview with James Goodall in Fretboard Journal where he talked about this point. Can't remember all of what he said. But he commented on how a lot of builders just grab the wood and build with it like it was a normal piece of spruce, but with figured wood a lot more needs to go into it if it's going to sound good. He also mentioned how some figured wood just isn't going to sound good as a top, so he'll use it as a back.


I'm going off my memory here. I believe I was told by Koaloha themselves that kKoaloha prefers to build with the straight grained/ plainer koa because they feel that produces the best sound.

This is what I was told last year when I called them. I asked them about doing an upgrade on the wood, and they said they only use select curly koa (maybe for the reason Chuck mentioned above), and mainly use plain koa because of the sound.

kamaka_4_life
05-23-2012, 07:25 AM
I have only seen curly koa on the custom Ko'Aloha's that people order, or for the sponsored artists. My buddy Kirk Shimabukuro own's the nicest curly koa Ko'Aloha I have ever seen, but "he never plays it" :confused: he likes his Kamaka better LOL

Joshypogi
05-23-2012, 02:45 PM
I am addicted to curly koa, there is just something captivating about it.


I have a theory..

I'm absolutely in love with curly Koa, it's the most amazing thing to me.

However, in my experience, very curly Koa can sound a little dead. (Please don't take offense, owners of these instruments. I'm not bashing curly wood. Like I said, I LOVE it. And it can produce an absolutely gorgeous sound as well. It's just that the wood doesn't seem to resonate like a very nice straight grained wood.)


Like I said at the start of this thread, I have never seen a Koaloha that's made of curly koa, but I've also never played a koaloha that didn't have an absolutely superb, sizzling top end and vibrant mids and lows and incredibly long sustain.

My theory is that Koaloha knows that the best sound is to be found in that straight grain koa that they use, and that's a big part of why they're so consistently high quality.

nscafe
05-23-2012, 03:56 PM
Before I bought my KoAloha and posted this thread about it (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?65392-New-Uke-Day!-(KoAloha-Tenor)) I didn't realize that KoAlohas generally looked fairly plain with regards to the wood they use. I got a lot of feedback on that thread about how unusual it apparently is, so I feel pretty fortunate that I got one with a bit more character. I've never had the chance to play a curly koa uke so I can't vouch for any sound quality difference.

I do love a nice interesting straight grain pattern though. Someday I hope to pick up a Mya Moe with some super stripey myrtle. We'll see...

Markr1
05-23-2012, 04:47 PM
You got a beauty.
Before I bought my KoAloha and posted this thread about it (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?65392-New-Uke-Day!-(KoAloha-Tenor)) I didn't realize that KoAlohas generally looked fairly plain with regards to the wood they use. I got a lot of feedback on that thread about how unusual it apparently is, so I feel pretty fortunate that I got one with a bit more character. I've never had the chance to play a curly koa uke so I can't vouch for any sound quality difference.

I do love a nice interesting straight grain pattern though. Someday I hope to pick up a Mya Moe with some super stripey myrtle. We'll see...