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MaxHart85231281734137

Korina or Mahogany

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Hey guys heres a question ive been lookn at some reverend guitars latley and they have some in mahog and some in korina, i see epis got some of this goin on too, whats the pros or cons to each of these and what do yall feel is overall the better for guitars?

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Here's what guitar maker Ed Roman has to say on the subject:

 

"Korina is legendary as a tone wood. It is not overly expensive but it is rare. My theory on it's rarity is there aren't many lumber importers bringing it in to the country because there is simply not enough other uses for it. I believe it is the absolute best wood to make a guitar from.

 

The guitar business is actually minuscule in the grand scheme of things. For most similar applications Mahogany works just as well. Mahogany is extremely plentiful readily available and very inexpensive."

 

I will add that I own one guitar made from Korina, The Epiphone '58 Flying V. That perticular guitar is bright, resonant and feather-light. It's helped me make up my mind that if I ever get an Explorer, it will be the Korina model. There is another member of this forum, Maniac, I believe, that has both the V, the Explorer and an SG made from Korina and has had nothing but positive things to say about them all. Plus ... thay all look marvelous!

 

Jim

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I believe Goldie is correct,,ive heard the exact same thing that Korina is just a gibson made up name for african Limba which is actually a mahogony of sorts. Whatever it is it sure does sound and look marvelous and so ,,,here they are again,,,My Uhholy Trinity:

DSC00740.jpg

 

 

MY Noisemakers:

Epiphone 2008 Sg Custom Prophecy GX

Epiphone 2003 Korina G-400 Sg

Epiphone 1998 Korina Explorer

Epiphone 1998 Korina Flying V

BC Rich 1981 Maple Mockingbird Handmade

Ibanez 1976 Stratocaster

Gibson 1968 Les Paul Custom

Charvel Fretless Bass

Washburn Lyon P bass

Guild Madiera P-600 Jumbo Acoustic

Applause A-25 Acoustic

Carlo Robelli 5 string Banjo

Carlo Robelli Electric Violin

Kay Electric Mandolin

Lignatone Mandolin

Midiman Radium Keyboard

2 Marshall JTM-612 60 watt 1 12 Combos

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Actually, I'm going to have to disagree with Korina being a made-up name by the good folks at Gibson:

 

Terminalia superba (Superb Terminalia or Limba, Afara (UK), Korina (US) ) is a large tree in the family Combretaceae, native to tropical western Africa.

 

It grows up to 60 m tall, with a domed or flat crown, and a trunk typically clear of branches for much of its height, buttressed at the base. The leaves are 10 cm long and 5 cm broad, and are deciduous in the dry season (November to February). The flowers are produced at the end of the dry season just before the new leaves; they are small and whitish, growing in loose spikes 10-12 cm long. The fruit is a samara with two wings.

 

 

Uses

The wood is either a light ('white limba') or with dark stripes ('black limba' or 'korina') hardwood. Used for making furniture and musical instruments and prized for its workability and excellent colour and finish. The most famous example of its use in guitars is when it was used by Gibson in producing their now highly sought-after Flying V and Explorer guitars in 1957. When finished in a clear coat, 'White Limba' results in an attractive light golden colour.

 

So ... Gibson might have made it famous, but the name aparently already existed. Small point, I know. Apparently Korina is often confused with Koa wood which supposedly makes a fine top for an acoustic guitar as well.

 

Jim

 

PS: Maniac, I've said it before and I'll say it again ... what a trio! I'm a third of the way there now! -J

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But wait, there's more -

 

The wood is either a light ('white limba') or with dark stripes ('black limba' or 'korina') hardwood. Used for making furniture and musical instruments and prized for its workability and excellent colour and finish. The most famous example of its use in guitars is when it was used by Gibson in producing their now highly sought-after Flying V and Explorer guitars in 1957. When finished in a clear coat' date=' 'White Limba' results in an attractive light golden colour.

 

Contrary to popular belief, it is not rare and expensive due to overharvesting and there is plenty of supply due to efforts in the 1950s to preserve natural supply of the wood. This species is reported to be relatively secure, with little or no threat to its population within its natural growth range, according to the World Conservation Monitoring Center in 1992.[/quote']

 

There still may be a grain of truth in what Goldie said, in that the article above calls the black limba "korina", not the white variety. Gibson has been guilty of this before when they put balsa wood blocks in thinline hollow bodies and called it "Chromyte" because "balsa wood" sounded cheap.

 

This is not a condemnation of Gibson, though. This is just marketing. Wood names have always been notoriously used in a "fast-and-loose" way by furniture and instrument makers. Cheers.

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Grrrrrrrrrr !!!!

My Gold Top isn't even here yet, and y'all have me almost "jonesing"(1 step shy of fullblown G.A.S.sing)

for a '58 V to go with my Ebony Gibson-V.

My Mrs. ain't gonna like y'all................

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My reference comes from the book "The Gibson Electric Guitar" by Walter Carter, a highly respected aficionado of Gibson guitars. And yes, it was Black Limba he was refering to.

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... and my only point was that Gibson did not invent the word "Korina".

 

I know the feeling, Bender ... every time I see that picture of Maniac's "terrible trio", I get a "funny feeling deep down in my bones".

 

Jim

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... and my only point was that Gibson did not invent the word "Korina".

 

Jim

 

Well, I'm not one to argue, and maybe the author just told a lie, but I'll quote from page 52 of the book,The Gibson Electric Guitar Book(ISBN 978 0 87930 895 7)

 

"Gibson made up a catchy name for it-Korina- and used it for all three of McCarty's Modernistics."

He was describing the use of African Black Limba.

 

Woodworking is my business, and I can't say that I've ever heard the word 'Korina' used in conjunction with wood used for any other item, besides a guitar.:)

Do you have any sources? I'm really interested in the truth of the matter.

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I think we are all sort-of violently agreeing (as a friend of mine likes to say). It's very likely that Gibson DID start the use of the 'Korina' name for this wood. But it also seems that that name is now in pretty common use--at least for guitars.

 

Perhaps more to the point, there is a lot of hype circulating about so-called "tone woods". This phrase makes some sense when you are talking about acoustic guitars. But for solid-body electrics, it begins to get a little spurious. As Bob Benedetto famously demonstrated when building his knotty-pine archtop, the sound is more due to the craftsmanship than to the materials in use.

 

What conclusions can be gathered from this? Choose the wood in your guitar for the following factors:

1) Looks--very important! Pick a good-looking wood. (In this sense, "Korina" certainly qualifies.)

2) Heft. Pick a wood that won't weigh you down. (Or conversely, pick a dense wood for the sustain--whatever you are looking for.)

3) Price. Some woods are terribly overpriced. Undeservedly so, as there are serviceable substitutes for popular woods.

4) Sound. This is purposely at the bottom as there are so many other factors in a solid-body that determine this.

 

And finally, PLAY THE GUITAR YOURSELF! It's the only way to truly judge all of the above. Cheers.

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I agree that this is a fairly interesting subject, apparently not without it’s own share of mythology and apocrypha. The quote I reprinted regarding Terminalia Superba in my first port came from the following:

 

Gledhill, D. (1972). West African Trees. London:Longman. ISBN 0-582-60427-3

 

I did a little more digging this afternoon and came up with the following article that was posted over on the My Les Paul forum:

 

The Trouble with Korina: Great for Guitars, Tough for Luthiers

 

The mere mention of Korina wood in the same breath with a guitar makes many guitarists and collectors drool. It is, after all, the wood used to build some of the most legendary Gibsons of all time—the original Flying V and the Explorer. Guitar builders, however, usually have a totally different reaction; Korina tends to make them reach for the nearest bottle of aspirin in order to ward off the headaches working with it causes.

 

Considered by most experts to be a “super mahogany” or “mahogany deluxe,” Korina wood bears a strong resemblance to mahogany in both tone and grain characteristics. Those same experts also agree that Korina has a sweeter midrange, with enhanced responsiveness, which would seemingly make it more desirable as a guitar-making wood. So why isn’t Korina—more commonly known as Limba—used more extensively to make guitars?

 

“It’s a very good wood for guitars,” said Edwin Wilson, Historic Program Manager/Engineering at Gibson’s famed Custom Shop. “It’s typically lighter in weight than mahogany, and tonewise it’s a bit brighter. But mahogany is the accepted standard. It comes down to tradition.”

 

Tradition yes, but Wilson said several other factors also play into a guitar maker’s decision to stay away from Korina as a wood of choice. For one, limited availability of this African wood makes it difficult for many guitar manufacturers to acquire the necessary planks to make large quantities of Korina guitars. And the quality of available Korina leaves many manufacturers sticking to the more traditional woods, like mahogany, maple, and rosewood.

 

“There’s simply not a very good supply chain to buy Korina from,” Wilson said. “You have to search outside of the U.S. to find it, and a lot of the time manufacturers want wood they can get easily.

“The other big problem is that in its initial stages, Korina is a difficult wood to work with. Korina trees tend to grow very large, but good large pieces are very hard to come by. Like any wood, Korina has a lot of moisture, and when the water drains from it, it drains very fast and causes the wood to split very easily. When we make Explorers and Flying Vs, we require big sections of wood, and we can’t use sections that have cracks and splits,” Wilson said.

 

Once Korina wood reaches between 30 and 40 percent moisture content, it is sealed to slow down the rate of moisture removal and stabilize the wood. The rest of the drying process then takes place inside kilns designed specifically for drying wood.

The other problem with Korina, according to Wilson, is that the wood is highly susceptible to staining. While still in the jungles of Guinea, Angola, and Zaire, various forms of fungus and bacteria can attach themselves to the wood to feed off its sugar content, which causes large black blotches that penetrate deep into the core of the wood. Once dried, the stains become permanent, making the wood unusable for a guitar.

 

But among guitar aficionados, the mention of “Korina” usually fires up memories of the golden era of electric guitar-making—an era that began in earnest in 1958 when Gibson and its legendary visionary President Ted McCarty shocked the guitar world with the introduction of a series of electric guitars that were seemingly years ahead of their time. Among these revolutionary instruments were the futuristic-looking Flying V and Explorer, both of them constructed using Korina.

 

The rest of the story is, of course, history. After a slow start, the Les Paul Standard went on to achieve six-string immortality, while lack of sales forced Gibson to temporarily suspend production of the Korina Flying V and Korina Explorer after only producing approximately 200 units of each guitar. Today, those same 400 or so Korina Flying Vs and Korina Explorers are two of the most priceless and sought-after vintage guitars on the market, fetching prices in excess of $300,000-$600,000.

 

Still, because of its association with the legendary Gibson Flying V and Explorer, Korina wood remains one of the most exotic—if not the most exotic—guitar-making wood in the world. And in celebration of the 50th anniversary of some of the world’s most revered guitars, Gibson plans to use Korina in some very special, limited issues, including a 50th Anniversary Korina Flying V and a 50th Anniversary Korina Explorer.

 

“We’ve got some pretty cool guitars coming out later this year,” Wilson said, adding that the 50th Anniversary Korina Flying V and Korina Explorer are simply the first two. “We’re going to build some special Les Pauls using Korina, and maybe a few others. It is a very beautiful wood that makes very good guitars. We’ve got some great looking golden-colored grains, and we plan to take advantage of that. They’ll be some fairly exotic guitars.”

 

Finally, I thought this was kind of cool … here’s a clipping from the February 24th, 1952 issue of the St Petersburg Times. This is a full six years before Gibson would produce their legendary (especially in the case of the Moderne) guitars. The Google page for this clipping is:

 

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=888&dat=19520224&id=0RwLAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ME8DAAAAIBAJ&pg=5857,3961790

 

KorinaWoodBedroomset.jpg

 

So I guess it’s pretty clear that whatever Gibson did to confuse the situation between White Limba and Black Limba, they did not invent the name Korina. Goldie's author kind of makes it sound like Gibson did what DuPont did with Acrylon and later Kevlar … giving a new use and a newly patented name to an already existing acrylic fiber.

 

I feel a little bit like “my Cousin Vinny” the way I am arguing this case … but like I said, it was an interesting read.

Jim

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The ad for the furniture at the bottom seems to be the nail in the coffin, as the article quoted really has nothing to dispute Carter's claim that Gibson made the name up.

 

Do you have a link for the thread in the Les Paul forum? I'm interested to read it.

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I've got a 98 Korina V and love it, BUT theres about as much Korina wood on it as there is flamed Maple on a Epi Les Paul .Two thin sheets on both sides with who knows what kind of wood in the middle. We've gone over this in the past on EPIWIKI.COM and i'm sorry to say it's true. Still a fun guitar but not 100% Korina by any means. Stan.

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Goldie - Here's a link for that thread in the Les Paul Forum. There's not really much in there other than what I reprinted. It's in the "Luthier's Corner" section:

 

http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/luthiers-corner/10642-trouble-korina.html

 

Stan - Right on about the V being a fun fiddle! God (and the factory) knows what any of them are really made from anymore. Sometimes I think that the only way to ensure that your guitar is made from a particular wood it to head out into the forest with your own chain-saw!

 

JIm

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There have been some hellishly hot and interesting threads previously with regard to the so-called 'Korina' guitars. However a friend of mine has in the past built a large number of Korina replicas of a guitar shaped like a letter of the alphabet... and having seen and worked with genuine Korina, all I can say is that in this case the Korina is only skin deep.

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In which case, Rotty? Epi's or Gibsons or ... any of them? Actually, the quest we were discussing was whether or not the name "Korina" was invented by Gibson as a marketing tool.

 

Jim

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So I guess it’s pretty clear that whatever Gibson did to confuse the situation between White Limba and Black Limba' date=' [b']they did not invent the name Korina[/b]. Goldie's author kind of makes it sound like Gibson did what DuPont did with Acrylon and later Kevlar … giving a new use and a newly patented name to an already existing acrylic fiber.

 

I feel a little bit like “my Cousin Vinny” the way I am arguing this case … but like I said, it was an interesting read.

Jim

 

quoting Joe Pesci here...

"yur honor..these two youts.... are totally innocent of robbing the Sack-o-Suds in their 1978 Buick Skylark...

because as it does not have posi-traction, like the '78 Pontiac GTO..even though both cars look identical

from a distance"..O:)

 

According to my book (Gibson Guitars..Ted McCarty's golden years).."the people that cut and sold the Limba wood

called it "Korina". We bought it because its a pretty wood, has the same basic appearance as mahogany

but almost white. ..with the Flying V, we wanted to shake em up..and did we shake em up at the

(1958 NAMM trade show).

 

This was all spurred out of Leo Fender talking to people around the country and when somebody would

mention Gibson to him, he would exclaim.." oh that fuddy-duddy outfit..they haven't had a new idea

in centuries"

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Hilarious post, carver ... and very interesting too!

 

So according to Ted McCarty, the name Korina name came to Gibson from the lumber dealers. Thanks for sharing this additional piece to the puzzle ...

 

Jim

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Mahog is clearly the more widely used wood, z. Seems a lot of people and the guitar manufacturers agree with you. I'm not sure that it makes all that much difference other than looks-wise anyway.

 

Besides, a few of the guys in this thread stated that the only Korina in these guitars is a thin sheet on the outside of the guitar. What's on the inside? Mahogany? Foam rubber? Left over uneaten rice from Chinese orphanages?? Who knows ....

 

Jim

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Besides' date=' a few of the guys in this thread stated that the only Korina in these guitars is a thin sheet on the outside of the guitar. What's on the inside? Mahogany? Foam rubber? Left over uneaten rice from Chinese orphanages?? Who knows ....

 

Jim[/quote'] The Korina Epiphones are veneered but I'm not sure what the core wood is. That would be interesting to know.

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Good point RotcanX.

 

I also noticed that the solid (3piece) back of my Amberburst LP is a light colored wood that resembles Philippine Mahogany.

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