Here we explore the different models offered by Honolua by looking at the tonewoods used on each.
Sapele is a very popular tonewood used primarily on entry level ukuleles. Sapele is visually and tonally similar to mahogany, which means it will give you a rich, warm tone without being overly bright. We use laminated sapele on the top, back and sides of our entry level Honu models. Laminated wood will not provide the same volume or sustain as solid wood, but it is stronger, more durable, and less susceptible to humidity and temperature so is a good choice if you think you might be especially hard on your uke.
Another popular wood in stringed instruments is mahogany. Mahogany is highly regarded as the best tonewood available for warm, balanced, mellow tones. You will find mahogany on our Mano models, with the top being solid mahogany. The benefit of a solid top is that solid wood is less rigid than laminated woods and can move and vibrate more. The vibration of the top is what produces the sound, so a top that can vibrate more usually produces more volume, more tone, and more sustain.
Often confused with koa, acacia actually refers to a family of wood species, of which one is the famous Hawaiian Koa. There are more than 1300 species of acacia and they are, for the most part, all extremely similar. Acacia is often chosen because visually, it has one of the most beautiful and interesting woodgrains. Every instrument made with acacia looks unique since there is a huge variance in how the wood can look once cut. Acacia produces a deep, woody tone that is often preferred on a uke since it balances out the ukuleles natural brightness. We feature solid acacia tops on our Kohala series.
To learn more about the other differences between our models, check out this blog post.