WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH KOA?

Why is Everyone Kookoo for Koa?!  

What is koa? Found on the big island of Hawaii and made from the Hawaiian acacia koa tree, this tropical hardwood blends the midrange of mahogany with the top end of maple. Due to its density, a new koa guitar often starts out sounding bright – but the more it is played, the more the sound opens up with a beautifully rich, resonant tone.

A Little Background on Koa:

Koa trees are very large – known to grow as tall as 82ft with a spread of up to 39ft wide (even larger if growing in deep volcanic ash). Koa trees were used by ancient Hawaiians to build canoes and surfboards and are sometimes still used to build furniture. Because koa is a 'tonewood,' it is used to make ukuleles, acoustic guitars, and Weissenborn-style Hawaiian steel guitars. In Hawaiian, the word koa itself means brave, bold, fearless or warrior.

The Hawaiian music fad of the 1900s-1920s brought farther reaching awareness to this unique and beautiful wood. In 1916, CF Martin created six models of all-koa wood guitars for their largest dealer at the time, Southern California Music Company in Los Angeles. After WWII, koa instruments started popping up all over the world. Taylor Guitars now makes an extensive line of koa guitars: the Taylor Acoustic Koa Series. 

So Why Are Koa Guitars So Popular?

While many believe that the Holy Grail of tonewoods is Brazilian rosewood, Hawaiian Koa just might be in the running. Koa is lightweight and has a wonderfully compressed dynamic range. It combines clarity with warm, thick tone and produces incredible separation for individual notes. Koa wood is diverse and complex with an incomparable appearance. The color spectrum and swirling grain pattern is as wide as it is breathtaking—from varying reds to cinnamon browns and bold charcoal streaks. So the sound quality and the look makes koa guitars highly sought-after instruments.

Another factor is the scarcity of the wood and the fact that koa guitars will always be in limited supply. Koa forests have been depleted over the years, making the procurement of koa wood more difficult and very expensive. This is why the Taylor GS Mini-e Solid Koa Top Lefty w/ES-B is one of the most noteworthy items we have in stock right now. GS Minis are already a popular Taylor model, so at $799, this GS Mini which features all-solid koa top, back and sides is an incredible value.

Chicago Music Exchange has an impressive selection of koa guitars in-store and online. Shop Koa guitars now!

SHOP ACOUSTIC GUITARS

Gibson J-45 Standard Cherry 2022 LEFTY
Gibson J-45 Standard Cherry 2022 LEFTY
Gibson J-45 Standard Cherry 2022 LEFTY
Gibson J-45 Standard Cherry 2022 LEFTY
Gibson J-45 Standard Cherry 2022 LEFTY
Gibson J-45 Standard Cherry 2022 LEFTY
Gibson J-45 Standard Cherry 2022 LEFTY
Gibson J-45 Standard Cherry 2022 LEFTY
Gibson J-45 Standard Cherry 2022 LEFTY
Gibson J-45 Standard Cherry 2022 LEFTY
Gibson J-45 Standard Cherry 2022 LEFTY
Gibson J-45 Standard Cherry 2022 LEFTY

Gibson J-45 Standard Cherry 2022 LEFTY

$1,995.00
Taylor 614ce Natural 2022 LEFTY
Taylor 614ce Natural 2022 LEFTY
Taylor 614ce Natural 2022 LEFTY
Taylor 614ce Natural 2022 LEFTY
Taylor 614ce Natural 2022 LEFTY
Taylor 614ce Natural 2022 LEFTY
Taylor 614ce Natural 2022 LEFTY
Taylor 614ce Natural 2022 LEFTY
Taylor 614ce Natural 2022 LEFTY
Taylor 614ce Natural 2022 LEFTY
Taylor 614ce Natural 2022 LEFTY
Taylor 614ce Natural 2022 LEFTY
Taylor 614ce Natural 2022 LEFTY

Taylor 614ce Natural 2022 LEFTY

$2,395.00
Gibson SJ-200 Studio Walnut Natural 2022 LEFTY
Gibson SJ-200 Studio Walnut Natural 2022 LEFTY
Gibson SJ-200 Studio Walnut Natural 2022 LEFTY
Gibson SJ-200 Studio Walnut Natural 2022 LEFTY
Gibson SJ-200 Studio Walnut Natural 2022 LEFTY
Gibson SJ-200 Studio Walnut Natural 2022 LEFTY
Gibson SJ-200 Studio Walnut Natural 2022 LEFTY
Gibson SJ-200 Studio Walnut Natural 2022 LEFTY
Gibson SJ-200 Studio Walnut Natural 2022 LEFTY
Gibson SJ-200 Studio Walnut Natural 2022 LEFTY
Gibson SJ-200 Studio Walnut Natural 2022 LEFTY
Gibson SJ-200 Studio Walnut Natural 2022 LEFTY

Gibson SJ-200 Studio Walnut Natural 2022 LEFTY

$2,795.00
Gibson Slash J-45  2020 LEFTY
Gibson Slash J-45  2020 LEFTY
Gibson Slash J-45  2020 LEFTY
Gibson Slash J-45  2020 LEFTY
Gibson Slash J-45  2020 LEFTY
Gibson Slash J-45  2020 LEFTY
Gibson Slash J-45  2020 LEFTY
Gibson Slash J-45  2020 LEFTY
Gibson Slash J-45  2020 LEFTY
Gibson Slash J-45  2020 LEFTY
Gibson Slash J-45  2020 LEFTY
Gibson Slash J-45  2020 LEFTY
Gibson Slash J-45  2020 LEFTY
Gibson Slash J-45  2020 LEFTY

Gibson Slash J-45 2020 LEFTY

$2,295.00
Guild D4 Natural 1994
Guild D4 Natural 1994
Guild D4 Natural 1994
Guild D4 Natural 1994
Guild D4 Natural 1994
Guild D4 Natural 1994
Guild D4 Natural 1994
Guild D4 Natural 1994
Guild D4 Natural 1994
Guild D4 Natural 1994
Guild D4 Natural 1994
Guild D4 Natural 1994
Guild D4 Natural 1994
Guild D4 Natural 1994
Guild D4 Natural 1994
Guild D4 Natural 1994
Guild D4 Natural 1994
Guild D4 Natural 1994

Guild D4 Natural 1994

$595.00
Martin 000CJR-10E StreetMaster Natural
Martin 000CJR-10E StreetMaster Natural
Martin 000CJR-10E StreetMaster Natural
Martin 000CJR-10E StreetMaster Natural
Martin 000CJR-10E StreetMaster Natural
Martin 000CJR-10E StreetMaster Natural
Martin 000CJR-10E StreetMaster Natural
Martin 000CJR-10E StreetMaster Natural
Martin 000CJR-10E StreetMaster Natural
Martin 000CJR-10E StreetMaster Natural

Martin 000CJR-10E StreetMaster Natural

$675.00
Eastman E1SS Solid Sitka/Sapele Truetone Satin Sunburst
Eastman E1SS Solid Sitka/Sapele Truetone Satin Sunburst
Eastman E1SS Solid Sitka/Sapele Truetone Satin Sunburst
Eastman E1SS Solid Sitka/Sapele Truetone Satin Sunburst
Eastman E1SS Solid Sitka/Sapele Truetone Satin Sunburst
Eastman E1SS Solid Sitka/Sapele Truetone Satin Sunburst
Eastman E1SS Solid Sitka/Sapele Truetone Satin Sunburst
Eastman E1SS Solid Sitka/Sapele Truetone Satin Sunburst
Eastman E1SS Solid Sitka/Sapele Truetone Satin Sunburst
Eastman E1SS Solid Sitka/Sapele Truetone Satin Sunburst

Eastman E1SS Solid Sitka/Sapele Truetone Satin Sunburst

$520.00
Martin 00-X2E Grand Sitka/Mahogany HPL Natural w/Fishman MX
Martin 00-X2E Grand Sitka/Mahogany HPL Natural w/Fishman MX
Martin 00-X2E Grand Sitka/Mahogany HPL Natural w/Fishman MX
Martin 00-X2E Grand Sitka/Mahogany HPL Natural w/Fishman MX
Martin 00-X2E Grand Sitka/Mahogany HPL Natural w/Fishman MX
Martin 00-X2E Grand Sitka/Mahogany HPL Natural w/Fishman MX
Martin 00-X2E Grand Sitka/Mahogany HPL Natural w/Fishman MX
Martin 00-X2E Grand Sitka/Mahogany HPL Natural w/Fishman MX
Martin 00-X2E Grand Sitka/Mahogany HPL Natural w/Fishman MX

Martin 00-X2E Grand Sitka/Mahogany HPL Natural w/Fishman MX

$585.00

Related Posts

DR. Z | X-RAY Amplifier Head & 1X12 Combo Amp

DR. Z | X-RAY Amplifier Head & 1X12 Combo Amp

Conceived as an amalgamation of two amps country legend Brad Paisley helped popularize —the Stang Ray and the DB4—the new Dr. Z X-RAY combines the best of both earlier amplifiers,...

Read more
Orangewood | Juniper Rubber Bridge Acoustics

Orangewood | Juniper Rubber Bridge Acoustics

Now available at Chicago Music Exchange: the Orangewood Guitars Juniper live rubber bridge guitar acoustic guitars provide musicians with a modern parlor model that delivers a clean muted tone, yet...

Read more
Intuitive Instruments | Exquis Expressive MIDI Controller

Intuitive Instruments | Exquis Expressive MIDI Controller

The new Intuitive Instruments Exquis controller—now available at Chicago Synth Exchange!—combines an intuitive MPE controller with a versatile app, promising to revolutionize the way you compose music! Learn more on Chicago...

Read more