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View Full Version : NUD - Famous (Kiwaya) FLS-1G Long Neck Soprano



RafterGirl
11-24-2017, 05:31 PM
Wow, that was fast! Six days from time of order to delivery from Japan. The uke arrived in great condition. Well packaged. The finish looks good, and it is a satin finish as I had hoped. The label on the inside of the uke reads Famous Ukulele Eco Series FLS-1G. As far as I know the Eco Series is all laminate, which is fine with me. I had some conflicting information on whether this would be an all laminate ukulele, or a solid top/laminate uke. Since the brochure that came with it is 100% Japanese, I can't tell for sure.

Workmanship appears very good. The fret dots could be a little bigger, but that's a personal thing. It does have the fret dots on the 3rd, 5th, double 7th,10th, and 12th. It also has side dots which I really like. The nut size is 37mm, so 1 7/16 which it what many Famous/Kiwaya owners had posted. That's the same size nut as my KoAloha and the Loprinzi I'm having built, so I'm happy with that. The neck is comfortable. I think it's a "D" shape neck as opposed to a "C' shape, but not chunky to me.

Sound is very nice. More resonant & brighter that my Islander laminate soprano. Of course I'm most comfortable with a concert scale, so that's why I wanted to try out a long neck soprano. I'm not sure what to think about the strings that came on it. They seem softer than what I'm used to. I'll probably switch them out pretty quickly. I like the Worth Clears that I put on my Islander, and I have some Oasis Brights already that I could put on it. The Oasis Brights really helped out my laminate starter concert quite a bit. I love the Living Waters that are on my KoAloha, so that's another thought.

It fits perfectly in the soprano hard case that I bought for the Islander soprano. Overall, it's just a smidgen longer than the Islander which has 14 frets to the body, but a soprano scale. However, it's a tight squeeze in the soprano gig bag. Doable, but I wish there was a little more room. A concert gig bag is way too big though. I guess I'll prowl Amazon or maybe a UU member has a suggestion for a long neck gig bag???

For now, I think I'll keep both the Famous and the Islander ukes. I have a feeling the Islander might get neglected, especially once I put better strings on the Famous long neck. The Islander can always be a loaner, or extra uke on river trips.

zztush
11-24-2017, 08:08 PM
Hi, RafterGirl! Congrats on new Famous uku! Great review!

The strings which came on it may be this one below. This one is soft and very good on my sopranos.

https://s17.postimg.org/ew5yzhpq7/famous-st-marron-01.jpg (https://postimages.org/)

Rakelele
11-24-2017, 08:24 PM
Congratulation on what sounds like a great acquisition! Would love to see some pictures of your new treasure, possibly along with your Islander for comparison.

Croaky Keith
11-25-2017, 12:00 AM
I like long necks.......& I'm glad to hear you're getting aquainted/attached to yours so quickly. :)

I use Stagg 10mm thick soprano gig bags on my long neck sopranos, they tend to stretch into shape after a little while, so you may be OK with what you have.

DownUpDave
11-25-2017, 01:58 AM
You go girl!!! Congratulations on another fine addition to your growing herd. I love what you said about the Islander becoming a loner uke, that is the way I justify keeping all of mine as well. This Famous is really a lovely instrument from everything I have heard.

But as they say no pictures..........it didn't happen. We need uke porn:p

RafterGirl
11-25-2017, 04:27 AM
Hi, RafterGirl! Congrats on new Famous uku! Great review!

The strings which came on it may be this one below. This one is soft and very good on my sopranos.

https://s17.postimg.org/ew5yzhpq7/famous-st-marron-01.jpg (https://postimages.org/)

If those are the strings, then that explains why they feel thin & soft. The Worth Clears that are on my Islander are twice as thick. I keep forgetting that this is a concert scale and I do have Living Waters concert strings at home, as well as Oasis Brights. So I'll change strings soon.

RafterGirl
11-25-2017, 04:29 AM
You go girl!!! Congratulations on another fine addition to your growing herd. I love what you said about the Islander becoming a loner uke, that is the way I justify keeping all of mine as well. This Famous is really a lovely instrument from everything I have heard.

But as they say no pictures..........it didn't happen. We need uke porn:p

Uke Porn it is!

hendulele
11-25-2017, 06:24 AM
Gorgeous uke!

Ukecaster
11-25-2017, 07:31 AM
Looks great! What wood is the fingerboard? It seems nice & dark. Some of these lately have lighter walnut boards, which don't look as nice, IMO.

janeray1940
11-25-2017, 08:17 AM
Congrats! When my Famous longneck arrived I *thought* the strings were OK and lived with them for a while. I'm not sure what they were, but I think fluorocarbon with a sort of blue/grey tint to them. I ended up changing them out to my usual Martin M600s and - wow. Yet another reminder of why I never use anything else! Both volume and intonation improved.

Also - if you can post scans of the brochure I'm sure that there are a few of us here who can help translate. The trouble I've run into is that there just don't seem to be one-to-one equivalents for the words used in Japanese to describe wood, and the words used in English - I think zztush and I touched on this in another thread recently.

Ziret
11-25-2017, 08:51 AM
Congrats! When my Famous longneck arrived I *thought* the strings were OK and lived with them for a while. I'm not sure what they were, but I think fluorocarbon with a sort of blue/grey tint to them. I ended up changing them out to my usual Martin M600s and - wow. Yet another reminder of why I never use anything else! Both volume and intonation improved.

Also - if you can post scans of the brochure I'm sure that there are a few of us here who can help translate. The trouble I've run into is that there just don't seem to be one-to-one equivalents for the words used in Japanese to describe wood, and the words used in English - I think zztush and I touched on this in another thread recently.
So glad to have you around, Jane. Your Kiwaya obsession and Japanese translation ability are appreciated.

janeray1940
11-25-2017, 09:08 AM
So glad to have you around, Jane. Your Kiwaya obsession and Japanese translation ability are appreciated.

Aw thanks! I only wish my translation ability was what it once was. Use it or lose it, as they say :)

Ziret
11-25-2017, 09:52 AM
Aw thanks! I only wish my translation ability was what it once was. Use it or lose it, as they say :)
I know what you mean. My mediocre Spanish skills have slipped to next-to worthless.

RafterGirl
11-25-2017, 10:21 AM
That scanner on my printer is possessed by the devil, so let's try a picture.

RafterGirl
11-25-2017, 10:29 AM
Looks great! What wood is the fingerboard? It seems nice & dark. Some of these lately have lighter walnut boards, which don't look as nice, IMO.
I'm not sure about the fret board. It has a lighter brown hue to it. It does look about the same as the Kiwaya KS-1 on the HMS website that lists it as rosewood
https://www.theukulelesite.com/shop-by/size/soprano/kiwaya-ks-1-mahogany-soprano.html

The Islander is rosewood, but much darker, almost black appearing. I think the lighter brown of the Famous doesn't help the small fret marker dots stand out very well. But it does have the side dots, which are more helpful to me.

janeray1940
11-25-2017, 10:34 AM
That scanner on my printer is possessed by the devil, so let's try a picture.

Works for me! Unfortunately on first glance I'm not seeing anything that tells you about your particular ukulele.

The page with the big Kiwaya logo is pretty much a stock "Thank you for purchasing this ukulele, please enjoy using it" message. The page with the red circle at upper left is how to take care of your ukulele - roughly, don't use steel strings, if the pegs loosen tighten with a screwdriver, keep it in a case, be mindful of temperature fluctuations, use strings of the right gauge, you can use low G but the width of guitar strings might warp the neck." There are a few words in there that I'd have to look up, but it's pretty generic.

RafterGirl
11-25-2017, 11:08 AM
Works for me! Unfortunately on first glance I'm not seeing anything that tells you about your particular ukulele.

The page with the big Kiwaya logo is pretty much a stock "Thank you for purchasing this ukulele, please enjoy using it" message. The page with the red circle at upper left is how to take care of your ukulele - roughly, don't use steel strings, if the pegs loosen tighten with a screwdriver, keep it in a case, be mindful of temperature fluctuations, use strings of the right gauge, you can use low G but the width of guitar strings might warp the neck." There are a few words in there that I'd have to look up, but it's pretty generic.
Thanks for taking a look at that. I found another resource that's probably pretty accurate. A Kiwaya Eco Series soprano on the Elderly website.
https://www.elderly.com/acoustics/ukuleles/soprano-ukuleles/kiwaya-eco-series-ks-5-koa-soprano-ukulele.htm

It lists the uke was laminate with a rosewood fretboard. The fretboard looks like the one on mine, so I'm satisfied with that. I'm 100% ok with it being a laminate as it will be packed into the wilderness on my raft or tucked inside my sea kayak.

I did some measuring this morning, and the Islander is 22 inches long. The Famous long neck is just a hair under 23 inches. I think the long neck would squeeze into the gig bag that I have for the Islander if it had friction tuners instead of geared tuners. I'm looking on Amazon to see if I can find a soprano gig bag that's roomier. HMS carries an inexpensive Oahu that might work. On my raft, my ukes go in a hard case, then inside a dry bag, then they ride on top of the gear pile. For the sea kayak, they go inside a padded gig bag, then into a dry bag, then they get tucked into a space inside the kayak. I'd like the padded gig bag to be a proper fit.

zztush
11-25-2017, 12:33 PM
Hi, janeray1940 and RafterGirl! I am happy to translate it for you.

https://s18.postimg.org/4gbrgyoux/image.png (https://postimages.org/)

Read me first

Ukulele is wodden instrument. Attention these things below.
Nylon strings are not stable in the beginning. Tune every time you play until it will be stable.
Friction tuner may become loose. Use screw driver to fix it. (gear pegs are ok)
Humidity may cause some problem on fret board or neck. We recommend you cases for storage. Be carefully about the dry by the heater in winter.
String's damage may cause intonation problem. Change your strings when you see scars on the strings. Note: As strings may vary in gauge by makes, you may need set up in some case.
We recommend ukulele's genuine low G strings as wound low G. We do not recommend guitar strings for it, because it is thick and may cause neck problem.


Ukulele inspection certificate
Thank you for buying our ukulele. This instrument is made with perfect quality management and inspection. Please use this charm small instrument with love for years.
Hara (inspection stamp)

zztush
11-25-2017, 01:14 PM
Hi, janeray1940 and RafterGirl!


The label on the inside of the uke reads Famous Ukulele Eco Series FLS-1G. As far as I know the Eco Series is all laminate, which is fine with me.

Eco stands for Eco laminate, which is triple layered laminate by Japanese special technology. It is strong as sold and thin as laminate. It is thin and light but strong. It is even (uniform, plane) and good for resonating. Three crossed layered but it is only 1.6 mm thick, we Japanese proud this technology to the world. Famous use this Eco technology for laminate.

Famous FLS-1G has it's sound board solid mahogany. back and side boards are made by Eco laminate. Famous FS-1G is all Eco laminate including sound board.

RafterGirl
11-25-2017, 01:47 PM
Thanks for the info.

janeray1940
11-25-2017, 11:32 PM
ありがとう zztushさん!

RafterGirl
11-26-2017, 04:09 AM
There was a lot of speculation on the other thread I started about buying this long neck soprano as to whether this was all laminate or not. zztush posted that in Japan it was listed as a solid top. The Eco Series label in it made me second guess and think it was all laminate. Everything I could find about the Eco series said it was all laminate. Either way, it's a lovely instrument. Since I live in a dry climate with central air in the summer & forced air heating in the winter, I keep all my ukes in hard shell cases with humidifiers. Doesn't matter if they are laminate or not. I've had a fret board on a laminate get dry with rough fret ends when I didn't humidify.

zztush
11-26-2017, 01:17 PM
Hi, RafterGirl! Sorry we have language barrier. I think this post may solve your speculation.

Famous FLS-1G has it's sound board solid mahogany. back and side boards are made by Eco laminate.
http://www.kurosawagakki.com/items/detail/405212.html

Famous FLS-2G is Eco model and all Eco laminate.
http://www.kurosawagakki.com/items/detail/465798.html

RafterGirl
11-26-2017, 03:43 PM
Hi, RafterGirl! Sorry we have language barrier. I think this post may solve your speculation.

Famous FLS-1G has it's sound board solid mahogany. back and side boards are made by Eco laminate.
http://www.kurosawagakki.com/items/detail/405212.html

Famous FLS-2G is Eco model and all Eco laminate.
http://www.kurosawagakki.com/items/detail/465798.html
Thanks. Good to have the right info so that I'm sure to care for it properly. Solid top with laminate back and sides is the best of both worlds.