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Tonewoods

A number of woods has been used in ukulele construction- some for longer than others- if you look closely at Vos’ 19th century painting of Hawaiian Troubador, you will notice the golden hue of Koa with curl figure on the Ukulele’s top!

Here are a list of the most common with a brief description and a link to more detailed information:

 

Australian Blackwood | Acacia melanoxylon


Australian Blackwood is a native Australian medium hardwood. Blackwood is almost identical to Hawaiian Koa both visually and tonally. Hence, it is one of the best ukulele tonewoods. Blackwood can display colour variations from darker browns through to light honey gold and can have intense curl. Ukuleles from Australian Blackwood have a punchy, ringing tone.
More detailed information can be found here: Profile

 

Honduran Mahogany | Swietenia macrophylla


Honduran Mahogany is one of the highly sort after traditional tonewoods used in MAKAIO Ukuleles. Honduras Mahogany has a straight and tight grain structure, and it’s easy workability and ability to take a beautiful finish make it is a popular tonewood for small and major manufacturers. It is suitable for most ukulele parts, including necks, soundboards, backs and sides. Instruments from mahogany tend to display good mid-range punch.
More detailed information can be found here: Profile

 

Indian Rosewood | Dalbergia sissoo/latifolia


Indian Rosewood is a stable for back and sides in guitars and this translates into ukuleles where modern builders have been using it. There are 2 species, Dalbergia Sissoo which is dark brown with a white sapwood and Dalbergia Latifolia with a purple-brown heartwood with a dark streaks. It is a hard, durable wood which displays good stability and ease of bending. Ukuleles from Indian Rosewood tend towards a darker deeper tone.
More detailed information can be found here: Profile

 

Koa | Acacia Koa


Koa is one of the highly sort after traditional tonewoods used in Ukuleles. Koa can display colour variations from darker browns through to light honey gold and can have intense curl- more so than Australian Blackwood. It is relatively easy workability and takes on a brilliant sheen under finish. Koa ukuleles have a punchy, ringing tone.
More detailed information can be found here: Profile

 

Sitka Spruce | Picea Sitchensis


Various varieties of Spruce are used for stringed instruments soundboards. Sitka Spruce is the most commonly used imparting a clear, bright tone to ukuleles. Sitka Spruce has a white/pink cream colour.
More detailed information can be found here: Profile

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