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Thread: Hardwood baritones - mahogany or koa?

  1. #1
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    Default Hardwood baritones - mahogany or koa?

    In the realm of hardwood baritone ukuleles, what do fellow UU-ers prefer? Mahogany, koa, or another wood?

    I know there are plenty of "what's the best wood" threads but I want to start one specifically about hardwood baritones, which, to me, are a distinct thing. Many people seem to prefer baritones with soft tops (cedar or spruce) because they brighten up a dark-sounding uke or make it sound more like a guitar. I am interested to hear which, among the hard woods, people prefer for baritones.
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  2. #2
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    I have a Kamaka, koa of course that sounds fantastic. Is it the wood or the way Kamaka builds them or just that particular instrument???? I had a Kinnard all mahogany baritone and like the sound of the Kamaka better. This is too small a sample to draw any conclusions other then I really like the sound of my Kamaka koa baritone.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields walnut pineapple super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Enya Nova *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  3. #3
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    I have always preferred mahogany for my steel string guitars. When I switched over to nylon string guitars, mahogany was quite rare and the two top runners were spruce and cedar. I found cedar to be warmer and darker with more sustain, and spruce to be brighter and tighter with more punch. Now that I have just started playing baritone ukulele, I have only begun my new quest. So far my experience has been with mahogany with a lower level Kala - but I am finding that the tone is not as dark as I thought it might be. I'm thinking this just may have to do with the smaller (than guitar) body size. I have a feeling when I am ready to fund a higher quality instrument, I just may stay with mahogany

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by 13down View Post
    In the realm of hardwood baritone ukuleles, what do fellow UU-ers prefer? Mahogany, koa, or another wood?

    I know there are plenty of "what's the best wood" threads but I want to start one specifically about hardwood baritones, which, to me, are a distinct thing. Many people seem to prefer baritones with soft tops (cedar or spruce) because they brighten up a dark-sounding uke or make it sound more like a guitar. I am interested to hear which, among the hard woods, people prefer for baritones.
    My preference is for Koa, rather than mahogany, considering it the only variable. It’s got a little more crispness on the trebles. Spruce paired with a hard, dense wood such as ebony or rosewood is another great combination, IMHO.
    -Hodge
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  5. #5
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    I bought two solid topped baris, cedar & spruce, but I think if I went for an all solid, I'd likely stick to a traditional mahogany, (maybe consider acacia, but that may be too bright for a bari), my preference is for mellow tones on the bigger ukes.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  6. #6
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    I have two Baritones, both mid-priced Kalas. An all solid mahogany and a Cedar topped laminate acacia. I like both, but am finding strings make as much of a difference in sound as wood types. I do love the look of the cedar topped one a lot. If I came into some money, I would be tempted to try a cherry wood LoPrinzi Baritone.

  7. #7
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    Given my price range limitations when deciding what baritone I wanted, I listened to sound samples of all-mahogany and all-acacia models, rather than koa. For me, mahogany was the sound that I preferred. The acacia was less mellow to my ears. I imagine koa is similar to acacia, being the same family. I found a very reasonable and barely used mahogany Pono on an eBay buy-it-now, and grabbed it before someone else did. Very much just what I was looking for.

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  8. #8
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    If vintage, mahogany. If new, Koa or East Indian Rosewood. I have a Webber koa with Spruce top that's the best sounding bari. I've owned yet.

    Would like to find another top tiered bari. though.

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