Question for the wood experts...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by LiquidMidnight, Mar 13, 2002.

  1. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I was wondering, could you please describe what kind of sound I could expect from a bass made out of Mahogany.

    Also, what would be the difference in sound if the bass was made out of Koa?

    Thank you. :)
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Caveat - I'm not an "expert and YMMV, depending on the boards selected.

    Koa: very similar to mahogany except it has more brightness. Not in the same league as rock maple or other hard, dense, light-colored, wood "brightness, but more than mahogany.
    IMO, and that of many others, it is more beautiful than mahogany and has a lot of "snob appeal" because it is increasingly rare, at least until the stands that Hawaii has planted in recent years mature. So, it's pricier and continues to get more so. Here's a Zon Legacy of figured koa. This example is more reddish than the brown-honey koa I've had. But it all seems to have this beautiful iridescence and depth I haven't seen in mahogany, (e.g., my dining room furniture).


    Mahogany: Ever heard a "real" Gibson Les Paul??? All those thick mids are coming from the mid-heavy mahogany. It lacks brightness but offers warmth and big mids. As a result, it cuts through in the mix. It is usually paired with a laminate to complete the tonal spectrum. Some luthiers consider it a rather "neutral" sounding wood in that it really isn't identifiable to the ear.

    Poisunally - I would go for either one with a laminate of a harder, denser wood. If that wasn't an option, I'd go koa, especially the figured koa that can be found. Aside from snob appeal, it seems to offer more of the tonal spectrum.
  3. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Thanks Rickbass.

    Just pre-deciding on woods for when that day comes that I can order a Carvin. Of course, I need to get a freakin' job first, and then buy a better amp before anything. :D
  4. Dave Castelo

    Dave Castelo

    Apr 19, 2000
    hey, you can ask Ken Smith on Basses forum