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Thread: Acacia vs. Koa

  1. #1
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    Default Acacia vs. Koa

    Just a quick question...do you think the average ear can tell the difference between Acacia and Koa?

  2. #2
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    no i do not. and the average eyes cannot, either

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    Acacia is kind of a misleading term. There are literally a few thousand species of acacia, from "real" koa acacia trees to small scrubby desert acacia shrubs.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by straygator View Post
    Just a quick question...do you think the average ear can tell the difference between Acacia and Koa?
    Fairly tricky question. Can the "average" person on here who plays ukuleles a lot tell the difference between a Kala Acacia instrument and a KoAloha Koa instrument played by the same person using the same recording equipment in the same room? Yes, I would think probably so. Would that same person be able to tell the difference between an Acacia instrument and Koa instrument made by the same luthier? Probably not.

    Construction is incredibly complicated, and wood is only one factor.
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  5. #5
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    this not just tricky, it is loaded.
    wood selection is a part of the sound, and it can truly effect the sound, but build style and how well the builder understands how to work with it that can make all the difference. there are also other factors like how the wood was dried, density at that part of the tree it was taken from, or even what glue is used.
    I could go on and one.
    For the most part I can tell the difference between drastically different wood density. Mahagany/Koa/Acacia sound the same, but very different from Cedar and soft woods like Spruce.
    This is all my opinion and not here to flame. Good question either way. it made me think
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  6. #6
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    I'm an average player and I can tell the difference between my Kala acacia tenor and my koa ukes. With the same strings, the koa has more sustain/resonance and is a little bit louder.

    But, as was well said by pulelehua, those aspects could be the difference between manufacturing and construction.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ukeeku View Post
    this not just tricky, it is loaded.
    wood selection is a part of the sound, and it can truly effect the sound, but build style and how well the builder understands how to work with it that can make all the difference. there are also other factors like how the wood was dried, density at that part of the tree it was taken from, or even what glue is used.
    I could go on and one.
    For the most part I can tell the difference between drastically different wood density. Mahagany/Koa/Acacia sound the same, but very different from Cedar and soft woods like Spruce.
    This is all my opinion and not here to flame. Good question either way. it made me think
    I'd agree that Mahogany, Koa and Acacia are more similar to each other than cedar or spruce, but it's really going some to say that mahogany and Acacia/Koa sound the same. I have a ukes made of Mahogany and Koa from the same maker (Collings) - both tenors, similar but slightly different models - the sound is very different. I've played acacia and mahogany tenor Ponos - much different sound as well, but I would say more similar to each other than those with spruce tops.

    BTW, much to my surprise, the koa Collings sounds great with a low G - incredible actually, where the Mahogany tenor sounds much better with a high G and really doesn't do justice to the low G tuning. I would have guessed the opposite.

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    Last edited by wendellfiddler; 10-01-2012 at 11:36 AM.

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    Here is one of the longer threads on the subject.
    http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/fo...-Acacia-vs-Koa
    If you google acacia vs koa. Ukulele underground has 4-5 threads I saw.
    Hope that helps.

  10. #10
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    What are the same thing? Mahogany, koa and acacia? Or do you mean that Koa is type of Acacia?

    From what I hear and read in previous threads, what we call Koa is a type of Acacia but that doesn't mean they are the same thing. It's a bit more complicated than that. Sitka spruce isn't the same as the spruce I have growing outside my house in Massachusetts, but they are related and are both spruce trees.

    dt
    Last edited by wendellfiddler; 10-01-2012 at 05:36 PM.

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