A koa mandolin
1930 Martin A-K
© Frank Ford, 2002; Photos by FF
Even though the flat back mandolin and ukulele both come from Portuguese roots, the mandolin had essentially no place in the development or performance of Hawaiian music. Nonetheless, Martin added an all koa version to their mandolin lineup to fit right in with their koa ukuleles and Hawaiian guitars. You can argue whether you prefer the tonal response of a spruce top over a koa top, but it's really hard to argue against the visual appeal of this mandolin.
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