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Guitar of the week #103: Epiphone Wildkat Koa

Epiphone Wildkat Koa

This is one of the better Epiphone semi-hollow body guitars in arguably the most ritzy look available.

When you want a guitar with "the jangle" for that rockabilly tone at a more-than-fair price point, Epiphone Wildkat delivers.

The Wildkat comes in a natural finish mahogany body with a maple top. The one shown here however, model ETKWNAGH3, is also a natural finish but using a koa wood top. And to spice things up even further, there's gold hardware everywhere which includes the Bigsby vibrato system.

Does the koa top wood affect the tone at all?

Given the pickups are fully potted, I seriously doubt it.

The regular production Wildkat has a mahogany body with maple top. This one is the same but with a koa top.

I've not played the guitar, but to the best of my knowledge, there should be little to no difference tone-wise on the Wildkat between maple and koa.

To be more specific, what I believe may happen is that the player (you) may physically feel slightly more body resonance and hear a slightly louder acoustic tone. But as for what actually gets output to the amplifier, that will probably sound just the same as the maple top. Bear in mind the body wood is still the same and that this is a semi-hollow with the same center block as the regular model.

In other words, this is the Wildkat you buy when you want a nice marriage of koa with gold hardware. And you've got to admit, it looks pretty darned good. It definitely looks much more expensive than what it sells for.

Great guitar all around, and certainly a future collectible.


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