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View Full Version : Kiwaya KTC-2 Mahogany - at least 11 years old. Questions



etudes
06-25-2018, 05:44 PM
I'm going to see a Kiwaya KTC-2 tomorrow (for sale locally). A mahogany concert. It's at least 11-12 years old. Any thoughts on purchasing an older Kiwaya? Have the Kiwaya's innovated/improved over the last 10 years? Are the newer Kiwaya's better instruments, or conversely maybe the older ones are more desirable?

Thanks UU

Ziret
06-26-2018, 05:50 AM
I have a KTC-2 that's about a year old, and I've had an older (about 10-12 years) KTS-6. I've also owned an older FS-5 and currently have a KS-5 (they are the same, only the brand is different). Additionally, I have a friend with an older Kiwaya mahogany concert.

I don't think the construction has changed on the KT models, but I haven't looked at the most-recent ones. The laminate models have had cosmetic changes, and are CITES compliant, so a walnut fretboard. Inside they're the same.

My friend's concert is a little different than mine (and more expensive). It has a slothead and a smaller, less deep body. Neither of us likes it as much as the KTC, but that could just be the difference between two instruments.

The KTS-6 was the prettiest, best-sounding mahogany soprano I've seen, owned, or played. But whether that's due to age, I'll never know. My KTC-2 is the best-sounding concert I've owned or played, but i have less experience with concerts. This is my second and I haven't shopped for others since I got it. I also think it has an understated beauty, and the finish is so perfect you just want to pet it.

The older FS-5 sounded somewhat better--or at least different--than the KS-5. Again, no way to know if that's due to age.

So I'd say if the price is right and you like it, get it, you won't regret it. If wood really improves with age, you're ahead in that respect. If not, you're still getting a beautiful instrument, but at a reduced posted. Win-win.

ukeinfused
06-26-2018, 09:08 AM
I'm not sure if this is a factor, but one thing I noticed is that new prices have gone up in that time by ALOT. Even relative to other brands. (This seemed true of Koaloha as well.)

I wonder if that's because they initially suppressed prices to get them out there, or if were able eventually to identify as 'Cadillac' kind of ukes (both are outstanding), or if the build actually changed... ??

Anyway, since you get to play it, you have nothing to lose! Hope you love it.

And Teri is right, that KTS-6 was the purtiest ever...

Ziret
06-26-2018, 11:24 AM
I'm not sure if this is a factor, but one thing I noticed is that new prices have gone up in that time by ALOT. Even relative to other brands. (This seemed true of Koaloha as well.)

I wonder if that's because they initially suppressed prices to get them out there, or if were able eventually to identify as 'Cadillac' kind of ukes (both are outstanding), or if the build actually changed...

I think this chart helps explain the price increase. A couple of years ago, the dollar was much stronger, relative to the yen. Their prices probably haven't increased more than you'd expect given inflation--if you live in Japan. Pretty sure the build hasn't changed. I don't know about Koaloha.

110058

etudes
06-26-2018, 06:05 PM
Thanks for both, plenty to consider. I played the KTC-2 and I must say it expanded my concept of ukulele with how light and resonant it is. Wow. Good looking and if I'm not mistaken an ebony fingerboard. It has a lovely responsive tone. One concern though, doing some light strumming the open high G was ringing out nicely but when I dug in just a little it responded like I was playing too hard, but I certainly wasn't (there might be a term for this but I can't come up with one).. It gave me pause and I wonder if new different strings would correct it. (The strings are black, not sure what they are). I should ask when they changed strings last. The seller is giving me a little time to decide..

etudes
06-27-2018, 09:44 AM
I learned the strings are worth Browns and haven’t been changed for 10+ years. So there’s good reason to expect the the off tones I was hearing will be remedied. :)

Swamp Yankee
06-27-2018, 11:49 AM
One concern though, doing some light strumming the open high G was ringing out nicely but when I dug in just a little it responded like I was playing too hard, but I certainly wasn't (there might be a term for this but I can't come up with one)....

one might say that it didn't seem to have enough headroom

etudes
06-27-2018, 03:14 PM
Headroom yes! Now that I've learned the strings were installed in 2007 I'm ready to push the trust button. IF it it sounds that good with 11 year old strings I think I might be into something good. So Kiwaya owners, what strings do you recommend for the KTC-2? I pick it up tomorrow night.

etudes
06-27-2018, 05:34 PM
I have a KTC-2 that's about a year old, and I've had an older (about 10-12 years) KTS-6. I've also owned an older FS-5 and currently have a KS-5 (they are the same, only the brand is different). Additionally, I have a friend with an older Kiwaya mahogany concert.

I don't think the construction has changed on the KT models, but I haven't looked at the most-recent ones. The laminate models have had cosmetic changes, and are CITES compliant, so a walnut fretboard. Inside they're the same.

My friend's concert is a little different than mine (and more expensive). It has a slothead and a smaller, less deep body. Neither of us likes it as much as the KTC, but that could just be the difference between two instruments.

The KTS-6 was the prettiest, best-sounding mahogany soprano I've seen, owned, or played. But whether that's due to age, I'll never know. My KTC-2 is the best-sounding concert I've owned or played, but i have less experience with concerts. This is my second and I haven't shopped for others since I got it. I also think it has an understated beauty, and the finish is so perfect you just want to pet it.

The older FS-5 sounded somewhat better--or at least different--than the KS-5. Again, no way to know if that's due to age.

So I'd say if the price is right and you like it, get it, you won't regret it. If wood really improves with age, you're ahead in that respect. If not, you're still getting a beautiful instrument, but at a reduced posted. Win-win.

Thanks for the good data and impressions. Fascinating brand Kiwaya

Ziret
06-28-2018, 05:50 AM
Congratulations, let us know how you like it, please.

I've had good luck with soprano Carbonblack, Oasis, and tenor Nylgut. As you might have guessed, I slap on what I have. What didn't sound good was Sugar strings. I'd be interested to hear what you try and how it works out.

etudes
06-28-2018, 05:10 PM
Time to turn this thread into NUD! I picked it up (all of 7 minutes away) Previous owner purchased at a uke fest in New York state in 2007. I like that it has some history and you can see it's been played. Light strum marks on the face. This might be the uke that makes me a concert player. It's sweet voice comes through even with the old strings, the compensated bone saddle is a nice piece of work, and intonation seems dialed in. Serial number 324. i think I did OK..

Jan D
06-28-2018, 05:31 PM
Great looking uke. Congratulations! Sounds like the start of a beautiful relationship. :-)
Jan D.

etudes
06-28-2018, 06:13 PM
Thanks Jan!

etudes
07-06-2018, 08:28 PM
The Kiwaya is strung now with the Worth Browns. I came up with this tune last night and quickly recorded today- drop 3 tuning.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zm4Vdstu6P4

Ziret
07-07-2018, 05:59 AM
Sounds great! I might have to try those strings. I didn't notice you're in Portland. Is the used uke market good there? I'll have to keep an eye on Craigslist. If you're ever over this way, bring your Kiwaya to our uke group!

etudes
07-07-2018, 06:48 AM
Sounds great! I might have to try those strings. I didn't notice you're in Portland. Is the used uke market good there? I'll have to keep an eye on Craigslist. If you're ever over this way, bring your Kiwaya to our uke group!

I think the used market in Portland is getting better, but as John Lennon said 'it couldn't get much worse'. Eugene comes up on my Craigslist as a surrounding area and they have consistently had more interesting instruments. I drove down once and purchased a Ko'olau concert which was a great deal. I did sell it a year later for what I paid for it. Yeah I like the worth brown but they don't sound great tuned up to standard.

Jan D
07-07-2018, 07:28 AM
Wow! Was all of that sound coming from one ukulele? Amazing! Great song, haunting melody and chord structure. Just fabulous, Tim.

etudes
07-07-2018, 08:43 AM
Wow! Was all of that sound coming from one ukulele? Amazing! Great song, haunting melody and chord structure. Just fabulous, Tim.

Thanks. I added a second track of the Kiwaya just doubling the part as the audio from the iPhone by itself wasn't great.

joakiml
07-07-2018, 09:45 AM
Great stuff! Love the song!

Ukecaster
07-07-2018, 12:44 PM
Congrats...great looking and sounding concert uke, and talented playing! Kiwayas are excellent ukes!

Ziret
07-09-2018, 04:35 AM
I think the used market in Portland is getting better, but as John Lennon said 'it couldn't get much worse'. Eugene comes up on my Craigslist as a surrounding area and they have consistently had more interesting instruments. I drove down once and purchased a Ko'olau concert which was a great deal. I did sell it a year later for what I paid for it. Yeah I like the worth brown but they don't sound great tuned up to standard.
I noticed that about Eugene too, but that is really far from here, plus with family and friends in Portland, it's easy to arrange transport for a uke. Maybe the market there will continue to improve.

I have tuned down a different concert and liked it. Have never done it with this one, but I should try it.

etudes
07-09-2018, 12:51 PM
I noticed that about Eugene too, but that is really far from here, plus with family and friends in Portland, it's easy to arrange transport for a uke. Maybe the market there will continue to improve.

I have tuned down a different concert and liked it. Have never done it with this one, but I should try it.

Id be interested to hear what you think of it tuned down. For mine it was a game changer.