Koa more expensive than African Blackwood

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    • #5521

      Hey all,

      Hope this is the right category. Just wondering about Santa Cruz guitars made with Koa for the back and sides.

      I note there’s an upcharge of $2700 for Koa on Santa Cruz guitars and only $2300 for African Blackwood. My other favourite guitar brand is Lowden and they include Koa in their core series whilst African Blackwood is only available in their top of the line custom range at a considerable upcharge (don’t ask me how I know).

      Just wondering if any of you know why the Koa is so much more expensive on Santa Cruz guitars? I’m just curious really. Is their Koa really special? Do any of you own one made with Koa? Not buying another Santa Cruz anytime soon unfortunately but I think Koa would definitely be in the running of I was.

      Would appreciate your thoughts!



    • #5522

      Aloha Danny,

      Richard has been using KOA since the beginning, it’s a fantastic wood, don’t look at any SCGC Koa guitars unless you have sunglasses on, they are special instruments. DigDog (AKA Chris) has some spectacular pieces.

    • #5523


      Well it certainly makes for an incredible sounding instrument as you can tell from the video above!

      Amazing clarity! I’d love to play one!

    • #5525

      Hi Denny,   As a long time SCGC patron and a KOA crazed woodworker I can tell you that SCGC has some of the best KOA sources than most.   I’ve had a number of custom koa guitars made for me by Santa Cruz and all have been spectacular sounding looking guitars.  KOA like many woods come in different quality / grading levels and associated pricing levels.

      I’ve spoken with Richard on several occasions about his quality compared to what I’ve seen  and have in my coffers.

      Simply put in my words ,Richard  sources only the best most highly figured and best tap tone sets for his KOA built instruments.     Suppliers ,wood sources can all have their $$$$ value based on supply,  demand and availability .

      from my experience African Blackwood is a denser heavier wood compared to koa and possibly a level less controlled in the wood market.     I know Lowden and Furch both use Blackwood in there guitar builds

    • #5526

      Thanks for that Chris!!

      I certainly would love to get a chance to play a Koa Santa Cruz someday!

      The pictures online and the YouTube videos will have to do for now!

      • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by Dannymeeg.
    • #5528

      I think its important to emphasize that Richard is very particular about how and where his koa is sourced from – true Hawaiian koa has been extremely over-harvested, and much of it is now protected. This wasn’t always the case – when koa was first brought onto the market, it was cheaper than walnut, and because of its unusual color and figure, got used for everything. Richards first guitars were made with koa – I have D#4, and its lived a very hard life, but its still a very nice guitar – and SCGC has used koa quite a bit over the years. But increased awareness and demand caused the price and availability of the premium material to skyrocket. Nice, because it meant we didn’t see so many large sets of kitchen cabinets being made from flamed koa, but not nice, because it caused quite a black market in koa. Lots of very old trees were getting cut on protected lands, or individuals were finding stumps on their property after a weekend away –

      Richard won’t use anything that isn’t correctly obtained, and of the best quality – which means that the amount of material available is small, and the price can be high. But his resources and connections are deep and well established, so Santa Cruz should always have outstanding guitars made from premium koa available to purchase  – but I doubt the price will come down.

      As said above, there are a number of very nice acacias, and some are extremely difficult to tell apart from Hawaiian acacia koa, and even have much of the same color and figure, so we’ll see what that means in years ahead. And with the increase in demand and price, there is more effort to replant and grow more on the islands, so again, we’ll see what that means in the years ahead. But maybe not my lifetime. That’s OK – I have all the koa SC guitars I need (about 6!)

      Yes – if you want koa, SCGC is definitely the shop to talk to –

      Lots o’ SCGC guitars! But never ask which is my fav

    • #5532

      Thanks for that Tadol! That’s really informative and exactly what I was after!

      Any chance of seeing any pictures of all these Koa guitars you guys have? 🙂

      • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by Dannymeeg.
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