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I am about to embark on my first project guitar and have always been a big fan of the look of flamed Koa. I was just wondering of anyone who has worked with this wood can give me some tips. :D

I have not heard too much about the tonal qualities of Koa, except for the description posted on the Warmoth website. I am thinking of building an all Koa guitar body with a flamed Koa top. Any tips/info would be appreciated.


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I would suggest you build just an ordinary guitar before jumping off the deep end with exotic woods, unless you don't mind losing the Koa due to lack of experience if something unexpected happens.

I always say the real deal (especially pricey exotics) is no place to be learning on.

Learn on something more ordinary first and see if you can, in fact, build a guitar first.

Use an Alder body blank and maybe a Koa topper. Alder is pretty inexpensive and makes a great guitar.

Last time I checked, the Driving School places weren't using Ferrarri's or Vipers for their students to learn in.

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If you want to use Koa, I say use it. The first guitar that I made/ am making has a KOA top. Yes it is a bit pricey, but if you are comfortable working with wood, I say go for it. I had done zero woodworking before beginning this project. I have 3 bodies going at once, 1. 1/4" Koa top over mahog, 2. 1'3/4" Black Limba, 3. 1/4' redwood over mahog. All will be tele shape with varying styles of p/u's.

To me the Koa cut very easily - I picked this top up on ebay for about $85- very reasonable. All koa = $$$$$$$$$$$$$


the rest : http://photobucket.com/albums/v403/whoofnagle/

p/u's on order!!

Edited by litchfield
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When you've built a guitar or two, come see me then.

I'll be waiting at your finish line. :D:D

PS, I do like your body woods, quite attractive, and I am definitely a Tele guy!

Nice glue-up job on the Koa too! Did you glue it up?

To be perfectly honest with you, never having built a guitar before and starting out with THREE pricey bodies is an even -bigger- newb mistake.

Having said that, I must admit I pretty much did the same thing when I started out :DB):D

But I'm also not a whiner. When I had to toss a few on the fire, it never bothered me. You might be the same, but good solid advice would warn against jumping off in the deep end.

PS, not to be nit-picky, but your Tele's look a little weird on the upper horns. How did you come by that shape exactly? Is it a template you freehanded or what?

Just curious, maybe it's the camera angle...

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You are correct sir- the horns are slightly off. I was going for a tele shape, but not an exact replica. Also, on the one with Koa, I did snag the hell out of the horn (the body, not the koa), but a little band sawing and routing and I was back in business - the top was routed to match.

In my opinion the Black Limba - was the most difficult to cut- wanted to chip - could be me and the router, but I am learning :D

The KOA top was jointed, glued and routed by me - I was very excited with how well it came out.

My thought on the wood is if I am spending a lot of time building this why do it with just any wood. The fact taht the wood is nicer makes me work harder, plus IF I actually complete it I will have something that I want to play not just say I did it. If not the fire will burn bright and I will try again!

3 bodies are being built because there are too many combinations that I want to play.

I still have tons to learn and have learned a lot from reading this board. All you guys are great help!!!


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