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View Full Version : Cordoba ran out of "Portugese koa !"



Bill Mc
07-10-2012, 06:31 PM
All the "k" series ukuleles at Musician's Friend are now advertised as "acacia." Or is this finally long-awaited truth in advertising ?

Liam Ryan
07-10-2012, 08:56 PM
So has the actual timber changed?

I've got pieces of acacia that sink in water and are as hard as stone and others as light as cedar........

PhilUSAFRet
07-11-2012, 01:31 AM
All the "k" series ukuleles at Musician's Friend are now advertised as "acacia." Or is this finally long-awaited truth in advertising ?

Kala? Have always been advertised as acacia. Don't understand

Raygf
07-11-2012, 01:42 AM
Cordoba 25 SK
(http://www.musiciansfriend.com/folk-traditional-instruments/cordoba-25sk-soprano-ukulele)Cordoba 25 CK
(http://www.musiciansfriend.com/folk-traditional-instruments/cordoba-25ck-concert-ukulele)Cordoba 25 TK (http://www.musiciansfriend.com/folk-traditional-instruments/cordoba-25tk-tenor-ukulele)

Gwynedd
07-11-2012, 03:13 AM
Perhaps it was always a case of "acacia identity"....

SweetWaterBlue
07-11-2012, 03:53 AM
"Portugese Koa." I never saw that before and it's hilarious. I guess if I made a ukulele from Southern Yellow Pine (not advisable), I could call it Georgia Koa.

Bill Mc
07-11-2012, 04:52 AM
Kala? Have always been advertised as acacia. Don't understand

My header said "Cordoba."

PoiDog
07-11-2012, 05:20 AM
I'd like to think that somehow Cordoba caught enough crap off people for their shady descriptions to where they've decided to finally just be honest with their materials.

Of course, it helps that the honesty of other brands (i.e. Kala, KPK, etc) who use acacia and call it acacia has made it so acacia is no longer a four letter word.

I'm just a cynic, though.

Mandarb
07-11-2012, 06:47 AM
Of course, it helps that the honesty of other brands (i.e. Kala, KPK, etc) who use acacia and call it acacia has made it so acacia is no longer a four letter word.

Acacia is a six letter word.

PoiDog
07-11-2012, 06:53 AM
Acacia is a six letter word.

I see what you did there ...

Liam Ryan
07-11-2012, 12:10 PM
So nobody thinks the term "Acacia" is misleading in itself? There are over 1000 species of acacia.

Bill Mc
07-11-2012, 12:45 PM
So nobody thinks the term "Acacia" is misleading in itself? There are over 1000 species of acacia.

Not misleading at all; incomplete, yes. But Portugese koa - that is outright misleading.

haolejohn
07-11-2012, 02:21 PM
Bought time. I'll still not but one b/c I brought this issue up in an email and phone call back in 2006.

fernandogardinali
07-11-2012, 03:11 PM
What is absolutely misleading is Koa Pili Koko (with a big KOA written on the headstock) being made of Acacia.

TheCraftedCow
07-11-2012, 08:49 PM
Actually Acacia is a three letter word ....A C I and the first two are repeated. One of the first companies to use Acacia melanoxylon was Lehua. The line was designed by Bob Gleason of Pegasus fame. The similarities of the first Cordoba ukes was more than coincidental. The first I saw it called Portugese koa was a Bounty Music ad. When I called them to discuss the deception, they agreed that the material they were provided was untrue. They immediately changed their web site information. They also called me back and thanked me for bringing it to their attention. Now that's a standard of honesty to respect and accept as part of one's own mission statement. If they can so blatantly practice deceit and deception on what we can see, what are they doing where it is not visibly evident ? There are over 180 species of the Genus Acacia. To some from a natural sciences background(whether formally or informally does not matter) things like this matter. There are a couple other importer-makers who practice deception in describing their products. Caveat emptor Let the buyer beware.

PhilUSAFRet
07-12-2012, 03:24 AM
My header said "Cordoba."

Ahhhhh, you also said K series, sorry!

Bill Mc
07-12-2012, 03:43 AM
Ahhhhh, you also said K series, sorry!

True, I did. That is because Cordoba has a K series.

guitarsnrotts
07-12-2012, 04:34 AM
The same is becoming increasing common concerning mahogany. Historically the mahogany was from Central America but many makers are using the term 'African Mahogany' as the traditional species is getting harder to come by.

haolejohn
07-12-2012, 04:58 AM
Actually Acacia is a three letter word ....A C I and the first two are repeated. One of the first companies to use Acacia melanoxylon was Lehua. The line was designed by Bob Gleason of Pegasus fame. The similarities of the first Cordoba ukes was more than coincidental. The first I saw it called Portugese koa was a Bounty Music ad. When I called them to discuss the deception, they agreed that the material they were provided was untrue. They immediately changed their web site information. They also called me back and thanked me for bringing it to their attention. Now that's a standard of honesty to respect and accept as part of one's own mission statement. If they can so blatantly practice deceit and deception on what we can see, what are they doing where it is not visibly evident ? There are over 180 species of the Genus Acacia. To some from a natural sciences background(whether formally or informally does not matter) things like this matter. There are a couple other importer-makers who practice deception in describing their products. Caveat emptor Let the buyer beware.

When did you contact them? In my opinion it took them over 6 years to correct their advertisement fraud.

Paul December
07-12-2012, 01:31 PM
Kala has a uke with a Cedar top that originally was listed as having Koa back and sides...
...now they say Acacia.
I wonder if they actually changed the wood or just changed the name. The two ukes look exactly the same (don't know if they have different model numbers).
BTW I own the one sold as "Acacia" & Cedar, and it sound absolutely Fantastic.

RichM
07-12-2012, 04:38 PM
Kala has a uke with a Cedar top that originally was listed as having Koa back and sides...
...now they say Acacia.
I wonder if they actually changed the wood or just changed the name. The two ukes look exactly the same (don't know if they have different model numbers).
BTW I own the one sold as "Acacia" & Cedar, and it sound absolutely Fantastic.

If we're talking about the same Kala uke, I have one of the Koa & Cedar ones. I agree it sounds great, and I've kept it close by even as I've acquired higher $$ ukes. The koa is laminate, so I don't imagine the fact that it's koa has much to do with the uke's tone. The figure it has is very traditional koa (well, the .001" of koa that's laminated on top, anyway), but I don't not much about the figure for non-koa acacia, so it might look the same. In the end, I couldn't care less, coz it's a great uke!

Nickie
07-12-2012, 05:31 PM
All I can say is BUSTED!

Kitters
07-13-2012, 01:30 AM
Aren't the ukuleles marketed as Cordobas in the U.S. the same as the ones sold in Europe as APC ukuleles or Antonio Carvalho? The maker is Antonio Pinto de Carvalho (APC Instruments).
APC Instruments ukuleles (http://apc-instruments.com/web/category.php?id_category=103)

On their pages the ukuleles are made of "Koa maciša" whatever that means, someone better in Portuguese can translate that. I've seen their ukes listed as being made from "European Koa" as well. Risa is a big importer here in Europe and they sell APCs too. On their pages they say "The body is made of "European Koa", which is the same acacia wood like the Hawaiian koa, but grown in Europe." Their own line of Risa acoustics looks a lot like APC but they are listed as being made from Acacia, does anyone know if they make those themselves or are they made somewhere else?

Costo
07-30-2012, 05:12 AM
"Koa maciša" means solid koa.

There are really 2 different issues at hand here :
a. the portuguese acacia wood being marketed as koa
b. one or more portuguese ukulele builders who are doing contract work for bigger companies.

For a.), it might not be "real koa", but that doesn't make it a bad wood... And if, in 2012, you're still fooled by marketing practices of big companies, shame on you ;)

For b.), I've seen ukuleles built of solid portuguese koa/acacia/blackwood with the following brands : Cordoba, APC Instruments, Iberica, Hoyer and Risa (I believe their european made ukes might come from Portugal too, but I might be wrong).
What I'd like to know, is if they're all made in the same factory or different factories but using the same woodworking techniques with different woods (for the fingerboard, bridge and neck), because they all look strikingly similar on the net...

As a multiple test, I just ordered 2 ukuleles branded as Hoyer on ebay, a tenor and a concert, to have first hand experience in the following matters :
- ordering my first instrument from ebay
- giving my money to european builders instead of chinese, promoting the local use of wood, etc.
- testing the sound of the portuguese acacia/koa/blackwood
- checking out the build quality of the portuguese luthier, hoping for a great instrument at a bargain price (175€ for the TH, sh.incl)
- comparing the sound and playability on 2 ukes from the same series in concert and tenor sizes (soprano being too small for my hands and playing style)

Mandarb
07-30-2012, 07:21 AM
Welcome to the UU. Interesting - never heard of "Koa maciša".

Yestyn The Great
07-30-2012, 07:36 AM
I think at the beginning of 2012 cordoba started listing the wood as Acacia because there were too many arguments as to whether it was real koa. Also in 2012 they changed the design of the ukuleles. You can't tell by looking at them but when I compare my older cordoba 25tk-cm to the new ones in the music stores mine is heavier has a lot more bracing and the new ones don't have the cordoba name engraved on the headstock.

Costo
08-13-2012, 05:44 PM
(never mind the title, captcha gotcha)

A quick follow up...

I think it's what I suspected, though I have no proof.
Both instruments are indeed made of solid wood, but I know now why they were so cheap :
- tuners are pretty cheap ;
- there are lots of mistakes in the wood work (little saw and file marks, a repaired crack in the back, a heel that isn't straight, ...) ;
- absolutely no inlays or headstock markings (no dots on the fretboard)
- badly strung (lots of buzzes, strings too long at the bridge, ...)

Looks to me like some instruments destined to a higher price that didn't pass the Quality Control. Maybe it's the same factory as the other portuguese made acacia ukes, maybe not.

But... To my ears at least, they both sound wonderful. It's a huge step up from my Kala KA-T.

The action is dead on, and once fitted with the perfect strings (I like the Nyltech for the tenor for a mellow but still punchy sound and the Titaniums for the concert for an overly bright sound), the qualities of the portuguese acacia come out great.

The only strings I hate are the wound ones : they project too much, make the overal sound of chords very muddy and metallic. The Aquila Low-G set is completely ruined on the tenor because the g string is wound. I haven't found a source for unwound g3 alone or in set. I wonder about using a classic guitar string later on, but for now I'm still learning on my high G strung ukes :)

Feels like the portuguese acacia is indeed in the same family as the hawaiian koa. But definitely not the same sound. I'd put the mahogany on one end of the scale, the acacia on the other, and the koa in the middle. Really sounds like the koa is a mix of the two : the warmth of the mahogany with the definition and brightness of the acacia.

I'm so pleased with the sound of my new babies that I've decided to upgrade them myself. I ordered some dot inlays for the fretboards (MOP) and Gotoh gold tuners with black buttons.

My next ukulele will definitely be solid wood... I'd love koa but I'm not sure I'm ready to cash out what's needed for a high end instrument from Pono/Kanile'a or a uke builder, so I'll probably make a few experiments myself. I'd like to combine a cedar top with rosewood back & sides, to get the brightness and definition of the acacia with the warmth of the mahogany... Or something like that. I even found an old furniture my late parents bought when we were living in Brazil. Ugly as butt, and... in solid jacaranda (Brazilian Rosewood) - it smells like my guitar and weighs a ton. But that's another story ;)