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View Full Version : Does Acacia and Koa Sound the Same?



Kyle23
11-12-2013, 08:19 AM
I've read that they're like cousins in the wood world, but how much do they sound alike? I know it depends on the instrument, but what if you have the same brand, size, but one is koa and one is acacia? Is it noticeable? Sorry if this is a dumb question.

JonThysell
11-12-2013, 09:03 AM
I've read that they're like cousins in the wood world, but how much do they sound alike? I know it depends on the instrument, but what if you have the same brand, size, but one is koa and one is acacia? Is it noticeable? Sorry if this is a dumb question.

FWIW, (and it may be due to other factors like the overall construction) but my experience is:

My solid koa Kamaka pineapple soprano sounds brighter, and is much lighter feeling, than my solid acacia Melokia pineapple soprano. The acacia Melokia feels abnormally heavy for a soprano.

My solid koa KoAloha concert is definitely lighter than other concert ukes I've used. The sound can't be beat.

I also have a solid acacia Kala baritone, and it's definitely heavier/heftier that other baritones I've tried (like Pono). But despite its heft, I love the sound.

Again, I'm comparing top-tier koa ukes to mid-end acacia ukes, so take what I say with a grain of salt. The cheaper ukes may just have been built heavier.

/jon

caukulele
11-12-2013, 09:09 AM
There is this thread that may give you more information.
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?25545-Acacia-vs-Koa-How-Similar

Kyle23
11-12-2013, 09:45 AM
Thanks guys. I'll go ahead and check out that thread, this one can be locked/deleted.

OldePhart
11-12-2013, 11:20 AM
Acacia and acacia don't sound the same, nor do Koa and Koa. The design and build quality has far more affect on the tone than the type of wood. That said, acacia and koa are pretty similar, all else being equal, which it rarely is. :)

John

Appalachian picker
11-12-2013, 11:43 AM
I'd even go further and say, IMHO, that 2 models of the same instrument, both made from the same wood can sound different.

PhilUSAFRet
11-12-2013, 12:11 PM
If all things were equal (good luck) between the two tone woods, I doubt many could tell the difference.

Kamanaaloha
11-12-2013, 12:27 PM
I think the only way to possibly check this is with maybe a tenor Pono versus a tenor Ko'olau etc.

But with what others have said...I compared two very different looking Kanilea K1-TP and I chose the brighter one, which happened to be really awesome looking...see my profile. The sounds were very different, imho! So it is entirely possible to compare similarly constructed acacia and koa instruments, but with different sound results[koa>acacia]...then compare two similar constructed ones made out of different koa and acacia components and have the opposite result[koa<acacia]

Test drive before you buy!

Kamanaaloha
11-12-2013, 03:31 PM
If you get two pieces of wood from the same tree in the species of Acacia koa, they may sound the same. If the woods are from two of the other 1300 or so species of Acacia they may not sound the same.

this ^^^

koa$>acacia$ this is always a big determinant...hawaiian koa is much rarer then many other acacia types, imho.

tangimango
11-12-2013, 06:42 PM
in my experience, No. they sound different even if made to same spec. the acasia is a heavier wood. Hawaiian koa is more rare and nicer curliness to it.