The Tele Project: The Korina Wood Guitar Body

A new (or maybe old?) project that’s been simmering on my back burner was the building of a Telecaster given the fact that I’ve had these two beautiful planks of exotic African Koruna wood for a while now from my good friend Mark Boehm (thanks Mark!).

Korina Tele Body

Finally got a sweet deal from Nick Greer from Greer Amps (cost me the other plank) who did the laser cutting of the body and all the cavities. I have to say that I am very impressed with the work, and cut quality! Thanks Nick!

You might recall (if you had the privilege to live in that era), that Gibson had a run of the legendary 1958 Explorer and Flying V, now being among the most coveted guitars. There were only 200 guitars made of each model at that time. Today, if you have the luck of at least seeing a Gibson Korina Flying V or a Korina Explorer Flying V guitar for sale, then sell your possessions and house, and get deep in debt. Who cares if you become homeless with one of these guitars in possession! They might run between the ridiculous $300,000-$600,000.


50th Anniversary Korina Flying V

50th Anniversary Korina Flying V photo:

Gibson Explorer (photo:

Gibson Explorer photo:

Oh well. I guess I’ll stick with my home-made Korina Telecaster guitar. Don’t you think so? At least I’ll keep the roof over my head.

Luthiers are not happy to work with this wood despite its beautiful grain. The African exotic Korina wood (also known as Limba wood) splits very easily in the early stages of processing because of the fast water drainage. Plus it is very hard to get a hold of it and sometimes has stains because of fungus disease. My plank here looks kosher for a Telecaster body that when finished can rival the most coveted Teles.

Korina body


Korina Tele Body

Korina Tele Body

But with all that downside, a Korina wood body ads a much brighter and sweeter character to the guitar tone and that’s why I decided that a Tele would be the right impersonation. Luthiers call it “mahogany deluxe” since it looks very close to regular mahogany – although lighter in weight.

Next step would be choosing the right neck, and finish. I will go for the natural look – no stain whatsoever. Something close to this:


Korina Wood Telecaster Body

Korina Wood Telecaster Body

Not sure about the pick-guard. Stay tuned.

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