Mexican cowboys were brought to Hawaii in the 1800s to wrangle wild cattle. They brought their guitars with them, and, before long, islanders embraced the instrument of the Spanish-speaking “españoles” – the paniolos. Hawaiian slack-key guitar playing is descended directly from the cowboy heritage.
Paniolo Tonewoods, a collaboration between Pacific Rim Tonewoods and Taylor Guitars, is a new project based in Hawaii, aimed at bringing koa and other ethically-sourced tonewoods to market.
Native only to Hawaii, koa has long been prized for its beauty and versatility. It has traditionally been the wood of canoes, surfboards and guitars. Koa forests have been much diminished, and good koa lumber is now scarce. All over the world, hardwoods are becoming more difficult to responsibly harvest, yet the demand for beautiful wooden instruments keeps growing.
Paniolo Tonewoods is dedicated to meeting this growing demand with good forest management, reforestation, and innovation. We are promoting new ways to plant, grow, and manage Hawaiian tonewoods forests to ensure their abundance and vitality.
We are committed to environmental stewardship and honoring traditional local cultures.