The future of Koa

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spudmunkey
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The future of Koa

Postby spudmunkey » Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:15 pm

(Since we don't have a "All things guitars AND bass" forum, I thought this might be the most-visible section...mods, feel free to move if desired)


Based on comments Jeff's shared over the last little while, we've gotten hints that koa has been getting slightly trickier to source, in the same balance of quality/quantity/price.

We know that within the last couple of years, in a pinch, Kiesel was able to buy some koa from their California neighbors, Taylor. Taylor have their own supplier and mill, and they let Kiesel pick through some of their wood that's too small to use on their acoustics. And while they were able to leverage that relationship to help fill a temporary hole, it wasn't sustainable at the un-changed pricing.

In the last Q&A, Jeff shared some more immediate information. Apparently, one of their primary sources (if not their primary source...I don't remember at the moment) of koa has closed up shop (I haven't watched the video since last week, but I came away with the sense that it was unexpected).

At some point, unless they forge a direct relationship with another supplier, they will likely have to raise pricing significantly.

In terms of their current supply, he stopped short of anything signalling "running out", per say, but when he said something along the lines of "We're...ok..." there seemed to be a hesitation.

In short...if you want koa, get it while the gettin's good...because there's seemingly a sea change coming.

Photo of Jeff's "Koa Angel", since this is the "Photo Gallery" forum, after all.
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JCG
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Re: The future of Koa

Postby JCG » Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:40 am

spudmunkey wrote:In short...if you want koa, get it while the gettin's good...because there's seemingly a sea change coming.


Larger than normal price increases and some koa options being discontinued. :(

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spudmunkey
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Re: The future of Koa

Postby spudmunkey » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:05 am

He said something like, "I wouldn't be surprised to see thousand-dollar koa tops."

I assume he was talking about flamed koa, there...

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MarshallTSL
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Re: The future of Koa

Postby MarshallTSL » Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:02 am

I had a flamed Koa neck on my last Aries (see my avatar). It was $800. I also ordered a Koa body and that doesn't seem to be at too much risk for the time being. According to asking Google whether Koa is endangered (it's not), one of the links led me to this Hawaiian furniture company: https://martinandmacarthur.com/blogs/news/is-koa-wood-endangered-or-extinct
CT6 Deep Blue Quilt, HH2 Claro Walnut, TL60C Black Cherry Quilt, SH65 Master Grade Ziricote, Aries A6X Crimson Flamed Redwood, Aries A6X Blue Hawaii Quilt, Icon 5 Bass Next Up

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Lefty Blues
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Re: The future of Koa

Postby Lefty Blues » Wed Dec 19, 2018 6:44 am

I believe Koa is only grown in Hawaii and it is definitely not extinct. It was over harvested and the amount of useable trees right now is lean. I know Taylor (love them!!) has some acreage they are replanting but will of course take years to bear fruit.

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Re: The future of Koa

Postby spudmunkey » Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:06 am

Is "plain" koala under the same restrictions as figured koa? My understanding' which could be completely mistaken, is that there's some restriction like "the tree already had to have fallen on it's own accord" type rule. Is that actually the case? Is it only the case of certain types?

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Toptube
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Re: The future of Koa

Postby Toptube » Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:55 am

Jeff just said that he recently refused a whole shipment of Koa, because it wasn't good enough.

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Doctor Turn
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Re: The future of Koa

Postby Doctor Turn » Fri Jan 04, 2019 6:46 am

Those of us with vintage, solid old growth koa, double-bucker/LP style guitars should cradle them just a little bit closer (because I believe that's the format where koa shines the most.. as nice as some of the Suhr--for example-- strat/long scale koa examples are, I don't believe that's the format that this wood shines on an electric.. it's proximity to mahogany, with the added top end sparkle sees it burst forth in mind-numbing radiance--nice sentence there dude :applause: --in the short scale humbucker format, the land of the Les Paul and the SG).

Let's salute the glory that is this supreme tonewood!

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Carvin Weaponry:
1985 DC150K (koa) Stereo, M22N/M22SD w/black hardware.
1985 100 Watt X Amp 2 x 12 combo (XV212) upgraded w/ 2 Vintage 30's
...and other gear.

https://soundcloud.com/the_heavy_clouds

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wickid
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Re: The future of Koa

Postby wickid » Fri Jan 04, 2019 7:48 am


Amen Doc -

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ilyti
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Re: The future of Koa

Postby ilyti » Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:17 am

Koa is an insanely beautiful wood. But so is walnut, limba and mahogany, so I'm not shedding tears over this. I think Kiesel should seek a lower cost option similar to koa, such as Australian Blackwood, for the non-purists who want the look of koa but not the price.

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arahobob
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Re: The future of Koa

Postby arahobob » Sat Jan 05, 2019 1:25 pm

spudmunkey wrote:Is "plain" koala under the same restrictions as figured koa? My understanding' which could be completely mistaken, is that there's some restriction like "the tree already had to have fallen on it's own accord" type rule. Is that actually the case? Is it only the case of certain types?


I'm not sure, but I believe koalas are a protected species as well.
Plain or otherwise.
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Some sort of multiscale 6 HSS with RAD ASH
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arahobob
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Re: The future of Koa

Postby arahobob » Sat Jan 05, 2019 1:29 pm

11515_Koa_003_1.jpg


My personal favorite koa guitar :mrgreen:
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Current Carvins:
2010 Bolt (Candy Red Metallic)
2013 Bolt Plus (Koa)
2016 Black n Blue VSEVEN
2017 TT SCB6

Wish List
Some sort of multiscale 6 HSS with RAD ASH
JB Numbers Guitar (July sale has given me the itch!)

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amispy
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Re: The future of Koa

Postby amispy » Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:53 am

This makes my heart skip a beat! I sooooooo wish I owned this one. :-)

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Doctor Turn
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Re: The future of Koa

Postby Doctor Turn » Tue Jan 08, 2019 12:00 pm

I remember when that one was up for sale. I had an internal war going on with myself.
Carvin Weaponry:
1985 DC150K (koa) Stereo, M22N/M22SD w/black hardware.
1985 100 Watt X Amp 2 x 12 combo (XV212) upgraded w/ 2 Vintage 30's
...and other gear.

https://soundcloud.com/the_heavy_clouds

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Re: The future of Koa

Postby Aether » Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:01 am

I have a couple of acoustics from Cole Clark that I bought during my time living in Australia that are made with Australian Blackwood. It is a close cousin of Koa with very similar properties in density, strength and appearance. It’s fast growing making a great alternative Koa. In addition to being a choice tone wood for Aussie luthiers, both Martin and Taylor have used Blackwood for special edition guitars in the last decade or so. Do a google image search on “Tasmanian Blackwood guitar” an you’ll see some beautiful examples.


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