Overview: As a tropical hardwood, a koa top will initially project a bright and focused tone, especially together with koa back and sides, but as it's played, it matures into an increasingly warm, rich, sweet sound with healthy overtone "bloom," especially in the midrange. A common mistake is when a "bright" player buys a koa-top guitar in part for its visual beauty, finds it to be too bright, and doesn't play it enough to allow the wood to develop its resonant tone.
Origin: The Big Island of Hawaii
Goes Well With: Fingerstylists who play more with the pads of their fingers and tend to have a meatier touch. Bright players need to be careful because of koa's existing brightness.
The unique acoustic properties of top woods help color a body shape’s fundamental sound. The key is to find the wood that matches up best with your playing style, like the warmth of a cedar top for fingerpicking and the feeling of responsiveness in your hands.