View Full Version : Koa f

Dave Cohen
Apr-01-2008, 9:01pm
Here is a just-completed F mandolin in redwood and Koa. Bindings are rosewood and maple. The top plate came from the excess from a redwood mandocello top plate. That particular piece of redwood from Bruce Harvie was wide enough for the mandocello and a mandolin from the trimmings.


Dave Cohen
Apr-01-2008, 9:10pm
This mandolin originated from this lovely one-piece Koa back that I bought from Bruce Kreps at the 2006 GAL convention. When I stopped at his table, Bruce said, "Dave, you should have this." I didn't know what I would do with it -or when-, but I couldn't refuse, and the price was reasonable.

Dave Cohen
Apr-01-2008, 9:15pm
The headplate became the motif for the decoration. I couldn't decide between a conventional ebony headplate and a Koa one. Then I saw an ad for one of Steve Anderson's archtop guitars, and I stole the idea of a mixed headplate delineated by some rippled green abalone pearl. I decided to continue that motif in the pickguard and the tailpiece cover, as you can see in the first photo.

Dave Cohen
Apr-01-2008, 9:18pm
Here's an image showing some scroll and fingerboard detail. The side dots are black pearl.

Brad Weiss
Apr-01-2008, 9:19pm
Beautiful work as ever, Dave! #The Koa figure looks cool, even through the "F/S" holes.

Skip Kelley
Apr-01-2008, 9:20pm
Awesome looking mandolin! I love that redwood top! The binding really compliments the wood selection!

Dave Cohen
Apr-01-2008, 9:21pm
I decided to continue the diagonal abalone slash motif for the fingerboard markers. I was aiming for some consistency. Hope it worked.


Sean Greer
Apr-01-2008, 9:52pm
Nice work!! As has been said, that redwood looks fantastic. How is the tonal quality of redwood compared to, say, spruce? As someone new to mandos I have no clue. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif Of course, the back is gorgeous as well!

Eric F.
Apr-01-2008, 10:23pm
Sometimes different is good, and this is one of those times. Yowzah!

Gail Hester
Apr-01-2008, 11:08pm
Fantastic job Dave on a very special mandolin. I'd love to hear it.

james condino
Apr-02-2008, 1:15am
Nice Dave! Will you have that at this year's GAL show?


Apr-02-2008, 4:50am
I got to see this mandolin "in the white" and drooled all over it. It is a very striking instrument. All of the design features work together perfectly. I hope I get to play it soon!

Dale Ludewig
Apr-02-2008, 7:07am
Very nice Dave. And what a knockout piece of koa.

Apr-02-2008, 7:14am
Stunning woods. Great work, Doctor!


Mario Proulx
Apr-02-2008, 8:22am

Apr-02-2008, 12:05pm
Fabulous appointments. Love the fingerboard inlay, headstock (great attention to detail on the truss rod cover), bindings, pick guard, and tail piece. Attractive wood too. Is there a lucky owner?

Dave Cohen
Apr-02-2008, 6:20pm
Both this mandolin and the "sleek black beauty" (other thread) were built on spec, so no owners as yet. The other instruments in this batch are commissions.

Not sure what I will take with me to Tacoma yet.


Mando Morsi
Apr-03-2008, 12:35am
Wow what a unique looking beauty, the mixed headstock veneer/pickguard/tailpiece cover are an awesome addition and i think it compliments the flash of the rich Koa coloring. How does it sound by the way? I have played a few Koa guitars that have that complex dark tone, does it carry over to Koa Mandolins? and how does the redwood top compliment it?

Dave Cohen
Apr-03-2008, 8:41am
I never know what to reply about the sound of one of my instruments. I'm uncomfortable with claiming that my own instruments sound wonderful. I think that I can only put them in the hands of players and let them decide. Besides which, I speak a different language -physics speak- and I'm not really sure what terms like "complex" or "dark" mean. I do have a notion of "bright" vs "warm" and my instruments tend toward "warm". This one and the one in the "sleek black beauty" thread are not exceptions to that.

Regarding Koa, it has assets and liabilities. In its' favor, it is certainly beautiful. On the other hand, the beautifully figured stuff has always been really dense in my experience. I have had to struggle to get Koa parts down to reasonable masses. Also, Bruce Kreps warned me that Koa can be less stable than some other woods, so I put both a (single action) truss rod and deeply set CF reinforcing bars in the neck of this one for insurance. Seems quite stable so far.

At the Denver CMSA convention in Nov., 2005, I had two C# demo mandolins. One was redwood/Eastern black walnut, and the other was Engelmann spruce/western maple. About as different as they could be, materials-wise. They did sound a bit different, but overall surprisingly similar considering the difference in materials. I'm pretty sure that blindfolded listeners could get confused trying to identify the different woods in those two mandolins. Btw, both of those instruments sold at Elderly in early 2007.


Apr-03-2008, 10:26am
Love the pickguard, headstock and tailpiece. Well, I love the whole thing actually. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Apr-04-2008, 1:05pm

Daring to be different.

I really like what you are doing

Apr-04-2008, 2:21pm
That is one beautiful mandolin. Interesting thoughts on the neck. If it sounds half as good as it looks, it is a keeper.