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View Full Version : Uke choice: Kamaka HF-1/Kiwaya KTS-4/Kiwaya KTC-1



Astein2006
12-03-2015, 08:53 AM
Let's pretend the Kamaka HF-1 and the Kiwaya KTS-4/KTC-1 are the same price(dreamland). Which one would you choose and why? I want an understated design that all three offer. I like both Koa and mahogany sounds. I just need to pull the trigger on one. Thanks all!

janeray1940
12-03-2015, 09:05 AM
Tough call when "one of each" isn't a possibility :)

Well... first question I'd ask you is if you're mainly a first-position strummer, or if you play higher up the neck. The HF-1 has 16 frets, whereas if I'm not mistaken both of the Kiwayas you mentioned only have 12. Then there's the matter of soprano scale vs. concert scale - personally I'm comfortable on both, but after years of playing mainly soprano I came to realize I liked the louder volume and longer sustain of the concert scale. So that's something to consider if either of those is a factor.

FWIW, Kiwaya does make a few sopranos with more than 12 frets. They're very nice ukes and I've come close to pulling the trigger on one a couple of times, but each time I ended up deterred by intonation issues. The issues were only higher than the 12th fret and the ukes sounded fine for strumming and most playing, but since I play high up the neck a lot I knew it would drive me crazy. This was on several different models - and as I mentioned in your other thread, I've only encountered a single Kamaka with intonation problems in 6+ years of playing (and too many Kamaka encounters to count). I know these are generally things that can be fixed, but I tend to want my ukes playable right out of the box.

That said - I know you're planning to buy from HMS so setup/intonation may not be a concern, but thought it was worth mentioning anyway.

Astein2006
12-03-2015, 09:35 AM
Tough call when "one of each" isn't a possibility :)

Well... first question I'd ask you is if you're mainly a first-position strummer, or if you play higher up the neck. The HF-1 has 16 frets, whereas if I'm not mistaken both of the Kiwayas you mentioned only have 12. Then there's the matter of soprano scale vs. concert scale - personally I'm comfortable on both, but after years of playing mainly soprano I came to realize I liked the louder volume and longer sustain of the concert scale. So that's something to consider if either of those is a factor.

FWIW, Kiwaya does make a few sopranos with more than 12 frets. They're very nice ukes and I've come close to pulling the trigger on one a couple of times, but each time I ended up deterred by intonation issues. The issues were only higher than the 12th fret and the ukes sounded fine for strumming and most playing, but since I play high up the neck a lot I knew it would drive me crazy. This was on several different models - and as I mentioned in your other thread, I've only encountered a single Kamaka with intonation problems in 6+ years of playing (and too many Kamaka encounters to count). I know these are generally things that can be fixed, but I tend to want my ukes playable right out of the box.

That said - I know you're planning to buy from HMS so setup/intonation may not be a concern, but thought it was worth mentioning anyway.

This is my first Uke but I want to make it count. I want a top quality instrument right off. I've been playing guitar for years so I know what means to have a nice instrument. I am basically a strummer. I don't do any fingerpicking on guitar but I plan to learn some when I get my Uke. Ive tried a KTs-4 before and liked it and thought the KTC-1 would be even better because it is a little easier to hold. I've never tried a Kamaka but on pure history and reputation I want one. I don't think I'll be one of those high up players on the neck. 12 frets seem like they will be enough. More of a song writer than an instrumentalist. I know the Kamaka has 16 frets but I can deal with it because it's a Kamaka. If there were a 12 fret if probably lean towards than one. I know they have different tone than the mahogany Kiwayas. I guess I'm more leaning toward the Kamaka and the KTC-1. I love the sound of both but can only have one. My wife is a practical sort so spending money on multiple Ukes probably isn't in my future. That's why this one is so important.

janeray1940
12-03-2015, 09:49 AM
...

I know they have different tone than the mahogany Kiwayas. I guess I'm more leaning toward the Kamaka and the KTC-1. I love the sound of both but can only have one. My wife is a practical sort so spending money on multiple Ukes probably isn't in my future. That's why this one is so important.

They do have very different tones - and maybe that's what I'd recommend you use as the deciding factor, then. I can say from my own experience that while I do like both koa and mahogany, of the ukes I've owned over the years I've only kept three and they all are koa. At one point I thought I had a need for both koa and mahogany due to their different sounds, but in the end my preference runs toward koa.

And even though I've got nobody to answer to but myself, I'm not a multiple-uke sort either, which is why I only have three. Two are absolutely necessary - one low G, one reentrant - and the third (my Kamaka pineapple) gets to stick around purely for sentimental reasons even though it doesn't get played quite as much.

I think you're on the right track - the Kamaka or the KTC-1. Looking forward to learning what you decide!

Astein2006
12-03-2015, 10:15 AM
They do have very different tones - and maybe that's what I'd recommend you use as the deciding factor, then. I can say from my own experience that while I do like both koa and mahogany, of the ukes I've owned over the years I've only kept three and they all are koa. At one point I thought I had a need for both koa and mahogany due to their different sounds, but in the end my preference runs toward koa.

And even though I've got nobody to answer to but myself, I'm not a multiple-uke sort either, which is why I only have three. Two are absolutely necessary - one low G, one reentrant - and the third (my Kamaka pineapple) gets to stick around purely for sentimental reasons even though it doesn't get played quite as much.

I think you're on the right track - the Kamaka or the KTC-1. Looking forward to learning what you decide!
I am leaning toward the Kamaka for many reasons. Looks, that Koa sound, quality and history. I don't think I'll need another soprano after this one. Maybe if Im crafty I can figure out a way to get the Kiwaya concert down the line so I have both a soprano and a concert.

brimmer
12-03-2015, 10:26 AM
I have a nearly mint Kiwaya KTC-1 that I plan to put on the UU marketplace. I only need on uke larger than a soprano, and my strad uke fills that slot in my collection. pm me if interested. Its a great uke.

ukuleleden
12-03-2015, 10:49 AM
I would select the Kamaka, hands down. Not becuase any of the other selections aren't worthy, but becuase if you are even remotely like me, you'll be left feeling that you still need to move up to the often more sought after model you left waiting at the door. And make no mistake, Kamaka is move up that shouldn't leave you wondering...

Most of all, have fun with the decision process!

Astein2006
12-03-2015, 11:15 AM
I would select the Kamaka, hands down. Not becuase any of the other selections aren't worthy, but becuase if you're like me, you'll be left feeling that you still need to move up to the often more sought after model you left waiting at the door. And make no mistake, Kamaka is move up that shouldn't leave you wondering...

Most of all, have fun with the decision process!
You hit the nail on the head! I want a top shelf soprano. Sometimes you need someone to just push you into the direction you know you want to go. Thanks for the push:). It will be the Kamaka.

ukuleleden
12-03-2015, 11:40 AM
You hit the nail on the head! I want a top shelf soprano. Sometimes you need someone to just push you into the direction you know you want to go. Thanks for the push:). It will be the Kamaka.

Well, you're quite welcomed! I think that's a fine choice! Though I don't think I want to get the reputation around here as a "pusher"' LOL!:o

Astein2006
12-03-2015, 12:34 PM
Well, you're quite welcomed! I think that's a fine choice! Though I don't think I want to get the reputation around here as a "pusher"' LOL!:o

Ha! I'll edit my remarks and thank you for "guiding" me in the right direction;)

ukuleleden
12-04-2015, 12:15 AM
Ha! I'll edit my remarks and thank you for "guiding" me in the right direction;)

Its all good! Be sure to share your "New Kamaka Day!" with us when that awesome day happens!

wayfarer75
12-04-2015, 02:27 AM
Kamaka. Nothing wrong with Kiwaya, I'm sure, maybe get the concert one later.