Tasmanian Blackwood or Hawaiian Koa?
Tasmanian Blackwood or Hawaiian Koa?
When selecting the perfect tonewood for your instrument, the decision often boils down to two popular choices: Koa and Tasmanian Blackwood. Both woods, part of the Acacia family, are renowned for their remarkable similarities in appearance and tonal characteristics. This makes the decision challenging yet exciting for music enthusiasts and luthiers alike.
We offer Weissenborn guitars in both Hawaiian Koa and Tasmanian Blackwood
Hawaiian Koa (Acacia koa)
Hawaiian Koa, historically the preferred tonewood for original Weissenborn guitars, has a storied place in musical history. It's also a tonewood that is synonymous with the ukulele, Hawaii's most famous musical export.
In terms of tonal quality, Koa is celebrated for its rich and warm tone. It produces complex overtones complemented by a bright top end, making it a favorite among musicians who seek a sound that is both deep and sparkling. The visual appeal of Koa is equally impressive, characterized by its unique grain patterns and a color palette that ranges from light golden hues to deeper browns, often with a natural shimmer.
The Koa we source comes mostly from the slopes of Mauna Kea on Hawaii's Big Island. We use ethically sourced Koa, coming from salvaged, naturally fallen trees, mostly on private farmland and forests where sustainable reforesting programs are in place.
This sourcing method not only respects the environment but also adds a layer of exclusivity and sustainability to each instrument.
Jacob Raagaard demos a Koa Style 1:
Tasmanian Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon)
Tasmanian Blackwood, also known as Australian Blackwood or Black Acacia, has its own distinct charm. While this species grows along the entire east coast of Australia, the most desirable tonewoods come from Tasmania and Victoria. Our material comes from sustainable forestry and salvage operations in Tasmania (approx. 95% of our Blackwood instruments) as well as some salvaged from the Otway region of Victoria. This approach not only ensures the longevity of the timber supply but also contributes positively to the environment.
Tonally, Tasmanian Blackwood is often likened to Koa, but it has its unique attributes. It typically offers a strong midrange presence, making it ideal for players who seek a balanced, resonant sound with excellent projection. The wood's aesthetic is equally captivating, featuring rich chocolate browns intermingled with lighter streaks, giving each instrument a distinct and attractive appearance.
Jacob Raagaard demos a Tasmanian Blackwood Style 1:
The Final Decision
Ultimately, the choice between Koa and Tasmanian Blackwood is a personal one, influenced by aesthetic preferences, the history of the woods, as well as the specific sound qualities you seek in an instrument. While both woods share very similar visual and tonal traits, each brings its unique essence to the table.
We pride ourselves on individually voicing each instrument to ensure the best possible tone, regardless of the tonewood chosen. This bespoke approach guarantees that every instrument we craft is not only a visual masterpiece but also a sonic wonder, tailor-made to bring out the tone.
Whether you choose Koa for its Weissenborn heritage, or Tasmanian Blackwood for its modern reputation, you can rest assured that your instrument will be a testament to exceptional craftsmanship and the timeless beauty of these natural tonewoods.
We have both Hawaiian Koa and Tasmanian Blackwood Weissenborn guitars in stock, with free shipping anywhere in the world:
Of course, there are countless other incredible tonewoods from around the world, and we've built Weissenborn guitars with many of them over the years to great success. We regularly release limited series or one-off Weissenborn guitars built from many different traditional and exotic tonewoods.
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Each Weissenborn guitar we offer has been individually handcrafted, photographed, catalogued and recorded. The Weissenborn you see and hear is the instrument you will receive.
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Richard Wilson Guitars
Richard Wilson is a distinguished Australian luthier that has garnered acclaim for his mastery in crafting handcrafted ukuleles and guitars.
Richard and his small team of luthiers and artisans have deep appreciation for musical heritage, and bring the essence of Australia's rich musical culture into every instrument they produce. With a perfect fusion of passion and craftsmanship, their ukuleles and guitars are cherished by musicians worldwide for their distinctive character and resonant melodies, proudly bearing the mark of true Australian craftsmanship.