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igorthebarbarian
07-16-2015, 01:59 PM
I had been jones'ing for a new laminate soprano. I wound up picking up a Martin OXK in a trade with a local uker (Danno). And I just ordered a Famous FS5-G off Amazon, with free two-day shipping for $268.

http://www.amazon.com/FAMOUS-KIWAYA-FS-5G-Soprano-Ukulele/dp/B006JW7YJI/ref=sr_1_2/183-6593019-7133611?ie=UTF8&qid=1437090755&sr=8-2&keywords=famous+ukulele

The "Famous" brand appears to be the budget line of Japanese Kiwaya. I have not yet had the chance to play a Kiwaya but I am guessing they are very close. HMS has a similar Kiwaya but it's $100 more (before shipping/case).

The Famous is very lightweight, and very pretty. It came with a uke strap/lanyard-style that I wouldn't want to use on this nice looking one for fear of scratching it, but if I have a beater, I guess it would be nice. It came with a pitch pipe which is useless since everyone has a tuner, or a tuner app on their phone. And it came with the world's cheapest uke bag. But the ukulele itself is very nice so far.

The tuners are geared which actually doesn't add much weight (one thing I worried about). They seem to hold pretty well.

The action is nice and low. I anticipated that from everything else I'd read. I would say the action is perfect (might be too low for some people perhaps).

It came with some sort of purple-ish fluorocarbon strings, that I just swapped out for Martin fluocarbons. So far so good. I would definitely recommend this if you're looking for a good high-quality laminate soprano.

Pics to follow

igorthebarbarian
07-16-2015, 03:43 PM
8156681566

igorthebarbarian
07-16-2015, 03:44 PM
81567
A couple pics

igorthebarbarian
07-16-2015, 03:46 PM
81568
It's Famous(!)

UkerDanno
07-16-2015, 04:27 PM
Awesome, enjoy you're Famous...;-D

gregmchugh
07-16-2015, 04:42 PM
My understanding is that Famous is not a budget brand but the original brand name used for the Japanese market. There also appear to be more models available under the a Famous brand.

Nickie
07-16-2015, 05:08 PM
Congrats on your Famous! I hope it makes you famous!

igorthebarbarian
07-16-2015, 06:19 PM
My understanding is that Famous is not a budget brand but the original brand name used for the Japanese market. There also appear to be more models available under the a Famous brand.

I noticed that too, Greg. There are a ton of them out there on rakuten's website.
I am looking at their FS-0 slimline now since they look to be well under $200 USD. I might take a chance on that one too since it's so affordable (don't want to say 'cheap').
The Bubinga one is interesting too.

I am liking the contrast between the sturdy OXK and the feathery-ness of this Famous one.

I also love the badly/unintentionally goofy name "Famous".

westcoast
07-16-2015, 07:00 PM
How's the intonation on the higher frets? Any sound clips? :)

igorthebarbarian
07-16-2015, 07:30 PM
Intonation looks good on my Snark up the fretboard. I'm still settling in the new strings but very good so far.
No sound samples, sorry - I used youtube for that research myself, though they're in Japanese.
I'll do a follow-up if I get a Famous FS-0 or FS-0P... someone here said WS64's favorite is a FS-0; WS64 is amazing.
Here's the two side-by-side:
81585

westcoast
07-16-2015, 07:38 PM
I had an 0XK briefly -- great sound but I didn't like the fact that the neck was a little heavier than the body. I wonder if Martin had used normal wood instead of stratobond for the neck if it would be lighter.

In any case, the other sopranos I've been looking at are the KS-1 and KS-5 at HMS, so nice to hear there's another place you can get them. Though I admit I do like the friction tuner look on the sopranos.

Camsuke
07-16-2015, 09:27 PM
Looking good, congratulations!

Ukejenny
07-17-2015, 05:52 AM
Nice!!! I hope you and your new uke get along...... famously.

Sylvan
07-17-2015, 03:27 PM
Congrats on your new uke. It appears to be essentially the same as my Kiwaya KS-5 except for the tuners and strings so that sounds like a great deal. My KS-5 has great intonation up the neck, so you shouldn't have any problems once your strings settle in.