One of the most visually stunning woods available, with golden hues and often with dramatic figure. Koa is characterized by a tone that is both clear and sweet. The voice grows over time, from sweet to sweeter.
Latin Name: acacia koa
Origin: Hawaiian Islands
Tone Profile: Clear and sweet. The wood “opens up” the more the instrument is played, expanding the midrange, for an even richer, sweeter tone over time.
Application: Great for ukes. Due to its popularity, it is harder and harder to find top-quality koa. Limited supply has driven up prices in recent years, making koa expensive, and therefore rarely found in production guitars.
Comparison: Has the stiffness and clarity of rosewood, but with the warm, light tones of mahogany. Similar in weight and strength to black walnut.
Aesthetics: Colors range from brown to gold, with rich and varying grain, tending toward curl or flame figure in old-growth trees.
Backstory: Koa is a fast-growing tropical hardwood, native to the Hawaiian Islands. It requires up to 200 inches of annual rainfall. As a nitrogen fixing plant, it is perfect for growing in the young volcanic soil of the Islands.
Trivia / Fact: In the Hawaiian language, koa, also means brave, bold, fearless, or warrior