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Koa Vs Spruce Top


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Actually just got my first look at the 2012 price guide for Martin. An all Koa Authentic or Museum grade guitar from Martin is around 55 thousand dollars. That's a lot less than the all Brazilian Rosewood which comes in at 105 thousand dollars

In all seriousness, all Koa is simply an esthetic desire and will not enhance the sound. Finding good looking Koa is very hard (unless you can walk around Martin's acclimating room like I get to do every day.) Actually,with Certs, it's even hard to do at Martin now.

Good rosewood or mahogany backs/sides and a spruce top will give you a great tone at a lot less cash. You can still get good looking rosewood out there if you look hard enough.

If you want something that stands out, go find some black limba for the backs and sides. You;ll end up with a stunning guitar.

Edited by zyonsdream
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My personal opinion on this topic is that with acoustic guitars, what matters most comes in the following order:

1) The skill of the luthier/company

2) The tonal goal of the luthier/company

3) Body shape

4) Wood

I should add a caveat to say that I base this primarily on observational experience. I do think there's a significant difference between all Koa and Spruce/Mahogany, but I'd rather have something cheap from a highly skilled luthier than a custom shop exotic wood guitar from a production line. (No offense, zyonsdream. If you want to change my mind, feel free to send me a free Martin for, um...testing and stuff).

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Hey, I'd never spend the cash martin asks for a guitar. I'd venture to say that most people at Martin would look at you stupid if you asked them what the term "luthier" means. However, Martin will make 100 million this year off those "production" guitars so they must be doing something right. Keep in mind that the high end Authentic and museum guitars are widely crafted by the two or three luthiers at Martin. Don't believe me, take a tour of the shop and you'll see them hard at work.

As I've been told, "handcrafted" depends on your definition of handcrafted. All of us use tools to build our guitars. What's the difference between a bench plane and a motorized planer? Mostly speed...

To me, anyone can churn out a half decent body with just about any tools. To me a real Luthier is a person who can craft a stable and playable neck without the use of CNC's. CNC's don;t make you a luthier, it makes you a machinist.

Edited by zyonsdream
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