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What's the deal with Korina, yo?

MrMunky

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,386
To you manufacturers, dealers, and other folks who pay attention to the supply and price of wood:

When I was a kid, not too long ago, Korina was some kind of fancy-pants holy-grail tonewood reserved for history books and small builders who could get away with making one or two guitars for customers who didn't mind wormholes.

In the past couple of years, a few manufacturers have introduced lines of relatively inexpensive guitars made of Korina. PRS, Reverend, and others come to mind.

Did the world discover a previously unknown abundant source of Korina? Has the guitar community decided to start calling something other than Limba Korina?

Whatever this new supply of Korina is, how long is it going to last? Should I stock up on cheap Korina guitars so I can use them to extort your grandchildren and retire?
 

Terry McInturff

45th Anniversary of guitar building!
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,290
"Korina" is the tradename that Gibson invented for Limba.

It was a made-up name. I suspect that it can now be applied to anything by anybody...dont know.

Get familiar with the wood and inspect those newer "Korina" guitars...in order to see if they are in fact made of Limba. I'll bet you'll find that most of them are not. Just guessing.

Any readers remember the name that Gibson made up for Balsa? I cant remember right now...but there was a name.....
 

MrMunky

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,386
I'm familiar with the story of Gibson's use of the term "Korina" and I recall that Epiphone made a "Korina" flying V for at least a while that people believe was made primarily out of some multi-part mystery wood with a veneer on top. The two companies that I'm thinking of have gone at least one step further and expressly identified their Korina as "Limba".

Paul Reed Smith states that its Korina is limba, http://www.prsguitars.com/mccartykorina/index.html, and states that both its import and USA models are made from "solid Korina". http://www.prsguitars.com/sesinglecutkorina/index.html; http://www.prsguitars.com/mirakorina/index.html

Reverend also states that their "korina" is "Limba". http://www.reverendguitars.com/reverend/faq.html

I don't have enough information to personally know whether either company is fudging on their specs, but I figure enough people on the internet hate PRS that, if PRS were using something other than solid Limba as people ordinarily understand the term, someone would have called PRS out on it.

Reverend doesn't seem to provoke the same kind of hatred, but they face a significant amount of competition at their price point and state that they have been making their guitars out of "Limba" for a couple of years. So I'd also guess that Reverend would have gotten some public flak about the term if they were misusing it.

I can't speak for most folks, but I don't think I'd care too much if some genetic distance exists between the trees that provided the source for Gibson's original V, Explorer, & Moderne and the trees that make up PRS & Reverend's stock. If the cosmetic and tone properties are close and impartial people familiar with wood would identify both classes of trees as "Limba", I'd think that people who buy the stuff thinking it's "Korina" would be getting their money's worth.

Any reason to think that Limba might be available in greater quantities or at less cost now than it was a couple of years ago?
 

Jack Briggs

Member
Messages
1,610
The companies like Gibson, PRS, Reverend, Hamer, etc. have extensive buying power vs. independent small builders. They are buying in quantities from a container load and up. This is how and why you are seeing model lines from what seems like an abundant supply of "Korina", whether truly limba or not. Not speaking for all small luthiers, but when I get calls for a korina, or white limba guitar, I have to tell the customer that their chances of finding the kind of lightweight material for a 1-pc. body and 1-pc. neck are slimmer than that of finding same in swamp ash and prime birdseye maple.

So why don't luthier supply houses go out on the limb and buy containers of korina for resale to builders - good question! Maybe a constant bombarding of requests by small builders will change that.



Cheers
 

Jim Soloway

Member
Messages
14,664
The companies like Gibson, PRS, Reverend, Hamer, etc. have extensive buying power vs. independent small builders. They are buying in quantities from a container load and up. This is how and why you are seeing model lines from what seems like an abundant supply of "Korina", whether truly limba or not. Not speaking for all small luthiers, but when I get calls for a korina, or white limba guitar, I have to tell the customer that their chances of finding the kind of lightweight material for a 1-pc. body and 1-pc. neck are slimmer than that of finding same in swamp ash and prime birdseye maple.

So why don't luthier supply houses go out on the limb and buy containers of korina for resale to builders - good question! Maybe a constant bombarding of requests by small builders will change that.

Cheers
"Lightweight" is the operative word there Jack. We were using it for a while and I got very discouraged by the tremendous disparity in weight from one piece to the next. There's also a wide variance in the appearance. I can always gt limba, both white and black. It just may not always be the quality I'd like to use.
 

sondich

Member
Messages
707
"Lightweight" is the operative word there Jack. We were using it for a while and I got very discouraged by the tremendous disparity in weight from one piece to the next. There's also a wide variance in the appearance. I can always gt limba, both white and black. It just may not always be the quality I'd like to use.
Exactly.

In a sawmill direct mill-bundled unit of limba, 70% of the boards may fall into one or more of these categories: too narrow for a 2 pc body, bland color, heavy weight, numerous bug holes. checking. Mostly OK for lower end guitars, but not for $3500 customs.
 

whoismarykelly

Oh look! This is a thing I can change!
Messages
8,126
Also keep in mind that most people's ideas about Korina come from Gibson's marketing and controlled release of instruments made from it at outrageous prices that implied that the wood was exceedingly rare. In reality, this was just gibson using marketing power to manufacture high prices and prestige. The whole purpose of the PRS korina guitars was to make affordable american guitars out of korina in relatively large numbers to refute everything that Gibson had made up.
 

wire-n-wood

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,674
Perhaps an old thread, but a good discussion about Limba/Korina.

I bought a black korina tele shape body on ebay. The grain is not as remarkable as you often see. But nice and dark nonetheless. But this guitar is HEAVY. It's really surprising to lift the guitar. With a fat neck, the beast weighs. I put P90s in it, and my oh my! It's a step above all my other guitars in terms of big fat output, full, rich and sweet. I really love the guitar. I initially wanted korina for the spectacular grain. But what I got was a plain looking guitar with the huge heart. Love it.

So I'd say that black limba (or korina) is hugely variable in both weight and appearance. But that might be a good thing, because there's some gems to be found with this wood.
 

paintguy

Long Hair Hippy Freak
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,411
Like wire-n-wood states above, I think there is certain magic in the heavier pieces as well as the lighter ones.

I was shooting for a low to mid 8lb guitar when I ordered my Briggs but luckily for me my 9lb Briggs Classic with a 1 piece korina body and neck and 1 piece maple top is the ****!:D A lighter weight piece would have been nice but I'm convinced there's a certain tone that I dig that might only have been achieved with the girth and clarity of my particular korina.
 
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magnus02

Member
Messages
2,984
Couldn't be happier I went with korina on my Stevens build... such beautiful grain and the sound... exactly what I wanted. Rare or not I dig it.
 

vortexxxx

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,317
"Korina" is the tradename that Gibson invented for Limba.

It was a made-up name. I suspect that it can now be applied to anything by anybody...dont know.

Get familiar with the wood and inspect those newer "Korina" guitars...in order to see if they are in fact made of Limba. I'll bet you'll find that most of them are not. Just guessing.

Any readers remember the name that Gibson made up for Balsa? I cant remember right now...but there was a name.....
The name Korina was used for furniture long before Gibson started using it. Gibson no longer uses Korina.
 

johan

Member
Messages
2,565
I had a brief discussion with TGP fanboy Johan Gustavsson many years ago.
Honduras Mahogany was next to impossible to find but Korina was available in good supply. The problem with Korina was it was either too heavy or full of worm holes. I think he mentioned he threw away close to 75%.
 

meanmud

Member
Messages
695
I had a brief discussion with TGP fanboy Johan Gustavsson many years ago.
Honduras Mahogany was next to impossible to find but Korina was available in good supply. The problem with Korina was it was either too heavy or full of worm holes. I think he mentioned he threw away close to 75%.
I am so grateful for my Futuremaster from Johan - it is really special!
 

WayneM

Member
Messages
1,589
I am a bit lucky. I own multiple Limba guitars that are less than heavy and sound great. Two of them are one piece. This one is awesome and is Black Limba.

 

enharmonic

Old Growth
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
9,034
Did someone say limba? Mark Fuqua knows a thing or two about limba. My MotorAve BelAire is the business.

 

graydane

Member
Messages
435
I own several Limba or Korina guitars, my main go to axe is a white limba body, quilted maple top, heavy birdseye maple f/b. This guitar is the most amazing toneful guitar i have ever played. I have 2 other white Limba guitars and those also are exceptional . Everyone has their own ears, and hands, to me they are awesome. Had them about 9 years now, still go to guitar
 




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