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Thread: Koa vs Maple/spruce

  1. #1
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    Default Koa vs Maple/spruce

    I put a deposit on a Willie Wixom and my first though was to get koa but as i was thinking more and more my favorite player is james hill and i love the sound of his maple Gstring. Is koa a better wood for me to get as my daily player or what should i do?

  2. #2
    Hippie Dribble Guest

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    depends what kind of sound you're after mate. personally, and I know I'm in the huge minority, I don't like koa at all. I owned a few and the sound never did it for me, sounded a bit muddy and dead...(with 2 exceptions...a kamaka pineapple and a mya moe soprano) maybe they were just dodgy ukes, but give me the clean punchiness of a spruce/maple uke anyday. plus i think they're better looking.

    of course the other answer is: get BOTH!!!!!!

    Kamoa has a pretty decent range of spruce/maple ukes at under 200 bucks which sound really nice once you get rid of the aquilas.

  3. #3
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    I'm a fan of koa but I'm also a fan of the spruce/maple combination. I think it really depends on what sound you're going for. Koa will have a balanced sound...not too bright, but not too mellow. The spruce/maple combo will be much brighter in comparison.

  4. #4
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    Two very different sounding ukes. You should play some of those wood combos. Or like Jon said buy an inexpensive one to play while you wait. You can sell it later and it will help you know what types of woods work best for you.
    RoxHum

    "Music self-played is happiness self-made"


    Sopranos: Donaldson (Myrtle), Kamaka (Koa), 2 Mainland's (Cedar/Rosewood & Mahogany),
    Nahenahe (Mahogany) (Thank you Stan)
    Concert: Mainland Classic Mahogany (low G)
    and one flashy white and gold Titano accordion

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nuprin View Post
    I'm a fan of koa but I'm also a fan of the spruce/maple combination. I think it really depends on what sound you're going for. Koa will have a balanced sound...not too bright, but not too mellow. The spruce/maple combo will be much brighter in comparison.
    I have both, agree with what Nuprin and everyone is saying, and I like both the all koas and the spruce topped maples.

    Best sounding uke I own, though: cedar top, rosewood sides/body. To my ear.

    Which is better for the your Willi Wix -- not a clue. lol

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by coolkayaker1 View Post
    I have both, agree with what Nuprin and everyone is saying, and I like both the all koas and the spruce topped maples.

    Best sounding uke I own, though: cedar top, rosewood sides/body. To my ear.

    Which is better for the your Willi Wix -- not a clue. lol
    Maple will definitely be brighter.
    James is now playing a spruce top on a koa body. I also really like this combo.
    The cedar topped rosewood body is like a classical guitar, mine really rings.
    Look at the Mya-Moe site, they have some great comparisons of the different wood combinations.
    Keep Strummin'

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SailingUke View Post
    Maple will definitely be brighter.
    James is now playing a spruce top on a koa body. I also really like this combo.
    His new DaSilva koa/spruce is loud and responsive and very nicely balanced.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by eugene ukulele View Post
    depends what kind of sound you're after mate. personally, and I know I'm in the huge minority, I don't like koa at all. I owned a few and the sound never did it for me, sounded a bit muddy and dead...(with 2 exceptions...a kamaka pineapple and a mya moe soprano) maybe they were just dodgy ukes, but give me the clean punchiness of a spruce/maple uke anyday. plus i think they're better looking.

    of course the other answer is: get BOTH!!!!!!
    As a ukulele builder this is probably heresy.....but I don't like Koa.
    I have to agree with eugene on this. I will choose a nice spruce top over a Koa hardwood top any day.
    Setting a new standard for the next age of contemporary ukuleles.

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  9. #9
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    What no Koa Eugene and Jake...arg arg "Ten Steps off the Plank mates" ha ha Only kidding... ha ha LOL
    Yes certain ones can sound dull and muddy, but then again...There are the great sounding ones too...which is outstanding..
    Guess you may have had some bad ones or should I say many bad ones...it's like any other woods and ukes...you get the
    bad and good ones ratio.... and who made them and if all the elements came together for a great uke...
    I guess it's your playing style too, and what sounds appeals to you....personal perference.. happy strummings

  10. #10
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    A luthier I know says koa doesn't have the overtones that spruce has. However, koa pays the bills for many makers as people think that Hawaiians invented the uke

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