View Full Version : Kiwaya KTS4 - nut, finish and tuners? some questions

05-02-2017, 01:25 PM
Hi there!

thanks to (or I'd say "because of"...) the forum, I selected my future ukulele soprano, the Kiwaya KTS4. it's a bit pricey, but it seems that the quality is high.
I've had an Ohana sk38 and two Kala SMHS, but they all had issues like dead spots, poor finish (the Kalas) and narrow nut...

despite these "good" ukes (200/250), I've always came back to my laminated Arrow finding it much more comfortable to play (wide nut, 35,8mm) and even with the "poor" sound of a cheap laminated uke, it has the a better dynamic response, better setup and not even the trace of a dead spot.

so, the Kiwaya KTS4 seems to cover all my needs: small body, 12 frets, vintage look, lightweight and tuning pegs.

here are my questions:

1) how exactly is the nut wide? can someone measure it?

2) how's the finish? in some videos and pictures it seems to be a thin satin finish, in particular when it didin't have the logo on the headstock's front. in others it seems to be glossy.

3) the tuners: in some pictures it has "standard" tuning pegs. on the website it's advertised as having the "geared pegs" from Gotoh, so geared tuners with the look of vintage pegs:

a picture with normal pegs: http://www.theukulelesite.com/kiwaya-kts-4-solid-mahogany-soprano-vintage-martin-replica.html

the model advertised on the official site:

what should I expect? unfortunately I'll have to buy it online, 99% I'm going to buy it new, but I don't know since when the shops had it in stock.

thanks :D and help me ignite my UAS ahahah!

05-02-2017, 03:41 PM
If you're a fan of wider soprano nuts, you're gonna love Kiwaya's 37mm nut width, compared to many manufacturers' 35mm width.

The tuners in that pic are Gotoh UPT, which look like frictions, but are actually geared, and work way better, with no ears sticking out the sides.

I have a Famous FS-5 (Kiwaya's domestic Japan brand, budget/laminate koa), it is very light and resonant, loud, toneful and engineered to play perfect, right out of the box. I'd love to try a solid mahogany Kiwaya someday. What should you expect? I'd expect to be blown away.

05-02-2017, 04:43 PM
Good choice. My Kiwaya KTS-6 has GOTOH tuners, but they aren't UPT. I think it may have been made before those came out. Buy I'd ask your vendor to be sure. If they aren't, you may be able to negotiate for them. Someone with a newer model will probably pop up with the answer.

05-02-2017, 05:41 PM
If you care about the UPTs, confirm with the shop before you order. My Kiwaya KTS-5 has Gotohs but not UPTs; my Kiwaya KTC-2 came with UPTs but was not listed as such (bonus!). But IMO the non-UPT Gotoh friction tuners are among the best friction tuners I've encountered.

FWIW, the one uke that I have bought online, sight-unseen and sound-unheard, in recent years was my KTC-2. A friend bought the same model from a completely different seller at the same time, and - both arrived perfectly setup and with no intonation issues. Normally I'm a big advocate of try-before-you-buy, but if that's representative of Kiwaya these days, I'd tend to concur with Ukecaster - expect to be blown away!

ETA: as for finish, I think the KTS-4 is a satin finish like my KTS-5 and KTC-2 - in fact, none of the Kiwayas I've seen have a gloss finish. And I wonder if the nut widths vary between models, because my KTS-5 is 35mm exactly.

05-05-2017, 01:37 AM
wow, 37mm nut would be a dream!

playing with the Ohana sk38, which has just 34, I had lot of buzzes from strings touching my fingerse, playing those chords where I have to fret 3 or 4 strings at once...

can some KTS4 owner confirm the width? :D