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View Full Version : Instant fix for my Kiwaya



NatalieS
03-05-2009, 02:13 PM
Hi all!

Well I got a Kiwaya KTS-4 from MGM about a month ago as my birthday present. I was looking for a "vintage sounding" solid mahog soprano and had heard such wonderful things about the KTS line.

Based on Ken Middleton's video review, I changed out the stock strings to Worth clears, but was surprised by the "dead" sound with poor sustain that they produced. So I took the plunge and switched to Aquila Nylguts, even though Ken's video said they were a bit overpowering for this instrument. Presto-- volume! But now I had a mysterious buzz on the first fret, and the instrument still lacked that vintage tone. The KTS ended up sitting unplayed for days and days. What to do?

A couple days ago, I decided on a whim to tune the Kiwaya up to D. That did it!!! I still have the great sound of the Aquilas, but the buzz is gone and the instrument sounds like it popped right out of the 1930s. I just love it and can't put it down!

(Just thought I'd share...) :)

Renaissance-Man
03-05-2009, 02:57 PM
I'm happy to hear your Kiwaya found it's voice. Sometimes you have to search for the sweet spot. Instruments are like that.

Pippin
03-05-2009, 09:28 PM
Hi all!

Well I got a Kiwaya KTS-4 from MGM about a month ago as my birthday present. I was looking for a "vintage sounding" solid mahog soprano and had heard such wonderful things about the KTS line.

Based on Ken Middleton's video review, I changed out the stock strings to Worth clears, but was surprised by the "dead" sound with poor sustain that they produced. So I took the plunge and switched to Aquila Nylguts, even though Ken's video said they were a bit overpowering for this instrument. Presto-- volume! But now I had a mysterious buzz on the first fret, and the instrument still lacked that vintage tone. The KTS ended up sitting unplayed for days and days. What to do?

A couple days ago, I decided on a whim to tune the Kiwaya up to D. That did it!!! I still have the great sound of the Aquilas, but the buzz is gone and the instrument sounds like it popped right out of the 1930s. I just love it and can't put it down!

(Just thought I'd share...) :)

You might not realize just how significant this post is.

You came across something very important. One, it tells people something about the use of alternate tunings and why they were adopted in the ukulele's heyday, namely the uke just may have sounded better. Two, string diameters can change the performance of your instrument with unforeseen results or side-effects, some good, some bad.

Some performers changed tunings to match their vocal range, but my guess is that lots of performers found a buzz in "c" tuning, hence the popularity of the alternate.

NatalieS
03-07-2009, 09:59 AM
Thanks Pippin... that makes total sense. It really took a while for this uke to find its voice, which surprised me because it's such a well-made instrument. At any rate, I'm so glad I've found its magic formula because it's a complete joy to play now. :music: