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Author Topic: Parlor; Koa Vs. Mahogany  (Read 1701 times)
Perigord
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« on: August 29, 2003, 06:01:43 AM »

The koa sure is a knockout looking guitar, but for 100 bucks less I could go mahogany. Whats the difference in sound between the two ?
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Koamon
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« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2003, 10:39:50 AM »

I tried the  rosewood, mahogany, maple, koa and all koa parlors. Here's my take: the rosewood is too dark and gets boomy real fast as you increase your attack due to the compression of the small body, the mahogany is nicely balanced but I found a bit strident compared to the maple and koa spruce tops. The maple rings like a bell, is nicely balanced and atriculates well. The bottom has a bit treble sound, but on the smaller body it won't get mushy as you play harder. The flame on many of them are almost reserve grade IMO. The koa is bright on the top, almost like the maple but has a better bottom response like a mahogany and is also well balanced. The all Koa (my guitar) picks up a little more bottom and is not as bright on the top. It is well balanced though and sounds great fingerpicking with a light touch and starts sounding woody and dobro-like as you play harder and the body compresses. (too bad I don't play slide!) Mine has killer looking koa, but I seen the variations in the quality of the grain IMO... but I subsequenly had a chance to test run a walnut parlor and I found the sound to be killer. It has a great bottom response, yet is very balanced with a nice bright top which isn't too harsh. The walnut color and grain looked killer in the satin finish!
                     Good luck and good hunting,
                                                Koamon
FYI, all parlors were test run at Andy's Guitar.com courtesy of UnclRob.
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Larrivee LC-10 Koa
Larrivee DV-10 Koa
Larrivee all Koa Parlor Special Edition
Larrivee 00-03 Venetian Cutaway Limited
Larrivee Maple Parlor Special Edition
charlies3
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« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2003, 03:01:04 PM »

I have a koa parlor and a friend of mine has a mahogany.   We did some comparisons over vacation this year and here's my impression.

The koa was brighter and more articulate.   Probably better for fingerstyle and jazz.    The mahogany was beefier and handled strumming and rock styles a little better.

I've used the koa for recording on my home system and it is very clean sounding.   No boomy overtones which you get sometimes with acoustics.

I've also played a maple parlor at my local dealer.   Really nice but I still lke the koa.    I've never played any Larrivee parlor that I didn't like.   I think these are the best guitars for the money anywhere.
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Griff
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« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2003, 03:59:45 PM »

I have to agree with both observations. I have tried the Rosewood, Koa and Mahogany and stuck with the Koa. I haven't had the pleasure to run across a Walnut Parlour yet.

I found the Rosewood lacking in brightness somehow and found it frustrating to use fingerstyle on the high notes especially. The mahogany seemed more suited to the high end but the "boxiness" was more pronounced in the low range. The Koa seemed a better all-around instrument with good dymanics throughout.

Having said that, I found that if you toss the saddle and replace it with compensated bone and toss the plastic bridge pins and replace them with ebony, and use different strings (I use Elixur Nanowebs) you are going to improve the sound dramatically. I would guess that this goes with Parlours of all types of wood.

I also chose to peel off the low-luster pick guard which I found to be really ugly. You could probably order a gloss pickguard which probably wouldn't look quite so awful.

I also have a small Pearse Armrest on order which may improve the sound a bit more - we'll see.

Griff
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Larrivée: LJ-10 Custom (Gryphon)
L-10-12 (Bell Tower)
Parlour Koa Special Edition (Sweet Baby)
Gibson: 1951 Southern Jumbo ('Tiger')
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