Acacia Koa

A kind of acacia found on Hawaii traditionally used as tonewood for Ukuleles. Its sound is clear and distinct.


Sound of a tenor ukulele with koa body


The most important forest tree is the koa (Acacia Koa) (…) and in abundance is probably second only to the ohia (o-hee-a). The wood of the koa is used for cabinet making and for construction.The ukulele, a mandolin-like musical instrument, is usually made of koa wood; and the ancient war canoes of the natives were hollowed out from the trunks of koa trees.

A. S. Hitchcock: „A Botanical Trip to the Hawaiian Islands“. In: The Scientific Monthly Bd. 5 Nr. 4 (Okt. 1917), S. 323–349, hier S. 337


Ukes are traditionally made from Hawaiian koa and some aficionados still swear it's the best of all the tonewoods to use. It's certainly one of the most attractive (especially the curly koa). The sound is often described as „woody“ which roughly translates to warm and full.

Ian Chadwick

Koa seems to have the warmth of a rosewood, the woody-ness of mahogany, the clarity of maple and the sustain of a vintage Les Paul……Perhaps an aged single malt Scotch will serve as a respectable metaphor.

Laurence Juber

Heavy koa, mahogany and walnut are all comparable in their tone. Everything else being equal, it is generally recognized that mahogany and koa will produce a „warmer“ sound in a guitar than the more brittle rosewoods can.

Ervin Somogvy