Best known as the tone-wood of Gibson’s radical Modernistic Series of the late 1950s—the flashy Flying V and Explorer—as well as more recent guitars that follow these templates, Korina is Well known for its warm, resonant, and balanced performance. The species is known generically as limba—an African wood related to mahogany, but imported under the trade name Korina. It’s a fairly light hardwood with a fine grain that’s usually enhanced in the finishing process to appear as an attractive array of long, thin streaks. White limba—as used by Gibson and Hamer—has a light appearance in its natural state,
The mere mention of Korina wood in the same breath with a guitar makes many guitarists and collectors drool. Why? Typically its the notion that the wood used built some of the most legendary Gibsons of all time—the original Flying V and the Explorer. Its easy to Find Raving Fans on forums and Guitar professionals Rave about the Tonatlity and Feel, being far superior to that of the Standard Mahogany.
So what Generally is the consensus on Korina?
"Korina has a sweeter midrange, with enhanced responsiveness,"
"Korina is a warm, resonant, and balanced performer. It also yields great clarity, definition, "
"To me it has a certain subtle kind of "sweetness" that i strongly associate with a nice 50's LP, or even a nice old 335. "
"To me, they sound completely different! Korina is less dense, softer, louder, more woody sounding. Mahogany is MUCH darker sounding than a korina Gibson."
It seems to be a very good wood for guitars, Edwin Wilson, (Historic Program Manager/Engineering at Gibson’s famed Custom Shop) Said, “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.”. Although these qoutes are only snippets amoung a wealth of information, many believe that Korina is Lighter, Sweeter, and more resonant. In other words, Korina may Offer more clarity and definition, in sound over the Standard Mahogany.
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. Gabriel J. Hernandez of Gibson states that problems occur with Moisture content, the limited supply of Good Quality Korina and the Staining Process. Consequently Production numbers for Gibson Korina Guitars are low, providing these associated Problems.
Its appears to be common Understanding that Korina Built Gibson Guitars are different in many complex ways. Many Individuals describe korina as Lighter, Sweeter, and more resonant. That coupled with the Limited supply offers the buyer a great investment opportunity, and a Cracking player.