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thaidye39
10-13-2018, 10:25 AM
Iíve done some searching in old posts and havenít found exactly what Iím looking for. Iíve also chatted with a few online retailers and a close friend, but would really love to ask the community (especially those who may own or may have owned each): which would you go for and why?

The ukes in question:
Kiwaya KS1
Martin OX Bamboo Natural
Martin OXK

A little about me/my wants:
Iím moving from California back to Pennsylvania in less than 3 weeks and donít want to necessarily have to worry a lot about humidity issues. This will be my only ukulele. I play mostly fingerstyle, but there is a pretty nice ukulele club that I will be joining so I will be strumming/playing along with others about once a month.

Alright, my expert ukulele friends: share your knowledge and experiences, please :).

hendulele
10-13-2018, 11:09 AM
I've owned a OXK and have played and lusted after the Kiwaya (and probably will get one or its cousin, the Famous, before the end of the year).

The Martin plays like a dream. So does the Kiwaya. Its build is lighter but (IMO) no less durable than the Martin. I think the Kiwaya has slightly better volume and projection.

You shouldn't have humidity issues with either. Of the two, clearly I prefer the Kiwaya. I sold the Martin and would rather pay a few more bucks for a Kiwaya/Famous than get another OXK or bamboo. But you won't go wrong with either.

EDW
10-13-2018, 05:18 PM
I like the Kiwaya over the Martin. The feel and the sound were much more to my preference. To my ear the Kiwaya has a more lively sound, but you probably can't go wrong with either. It may be just a matter or taste. Check these reviews if you have not seen them:

https://www.gotaukulele.com/2018/05/famous-fs-1-soprano-ukulele-review.html

https://www.gotaukulele.com/2017/05/martin-0x-uke-bamboo-soprano-ukulele.html

https://www.gotaukulele.com/2018/05/martin-0xk-soprano-ukulele-review.html

mingus
10-14-2018, 12:44 AM
Just to throw in a different perspective...

I have owned both models, and prefer the Martin. The Kiwaya ukes are made well and sound good, but the Martin has a slight edge in build quality and sound. My Martin sounds very sweet and fuller than the Kiwaya I owned. Actually sold the Kiwaya and kept the Martin. I have owned the KS-1 and the KS-5. The Martin is better than both. The only thing I prefer about the Kiwaya is the look, the KS-5 was very nice looking and the body of the 0X ukes are not much to look at in my book.

I think you would enjoy either.

hendulele
10-14-2018, 02:39 AM
Just to throw in a different perspective...

I have owned both models, and prefer the Martin. The Kiwaya ukes are made well and sound good, but the Martin has a slight edge in build quality and sound. My Martin sounds very sweet and fuller than the Kiwaya I owned. Actually sold the Kiwaya and kept the Martin. I have owned the KS-1 and the KS-5. The Martin is better than both. The only thing I prefer about the Kiwaya is the look, the KS-5 was very nice looking and the body of the 0X ukes are not much to look at in my book.

I think you would enjoy either.

I’m glad you posted this. It is personal preference, or YMMV.

Jerryc41
10-14-2018, 04:15 AM
If humidity is a concern, the OXK is your only choice. On the other hand, humidity shouldn't be a concern. There are loads of ukulele humidifiers available. The D'Addario Humidistat is basically a place-it-and-forget-it humidifier. Go for the uke you like best, without concern for humidity. Many ukes from the early 20th century were stored here and there with no concern for humidity, and they have survived in good health. I've owned the Martin OXK and the Kiwaya KS-5, and they are both very nice instruments.

Pukulele Pete
10-14-2018, 05:40 AM
I've got an OXK . It is a great uke , the only complaint I have is that it feels dead , the uke doesnt vibrate when you play. Other than that , it is a great uke.
If I were you , I woud buy a solid wood uke and take my chances. I think this humidity thing has gotten a little over done.
I have forced air heat and it gets cold and dry up here. I've left my Martin SO out on the coffee table for many years with no problems . YMMV
Life is too short , play the uke you want most.

hendulele
10-14-2018, 06:21 AM
I've got an OXK . It is a great uke , the only complaint I have is that it feels dead , the uke doesnt vibrate when you play. Other than that , it is a great uke.
If I were you , I woud buy a solid wood uke and take my chances. I think this humidity thing has gotten a little over done.
I have forced air heat and it gets cold and dry up here. I've left my Martin SO out on the coffee table for many years with no problems . YMMV
Life is too short , play the uke you want most.

Just to be contrary, I left my Ohana solid mahogany soprano out of its case one winter. We live in a very humid climate but have forced-air heat. The uke was nowhere near a heat register, but it split on the top of the sound hole where the book match was glued. A luthier glued a tiny new brace in place, and it’s as good as new. But humidity can be an issue. Even Phyllis at Magic Fluke suggests keeping their solid-topped Fleas and Flukes away from forced-air heat outlets. If you’re not going to keep the uke in a case with a humidifier, I’d suggest a laminate.

Ziret
10-14-2018, 06:40 AM
If humidity is a concern, the OXK is your only choice.
I think any laminate should be fine. I guess you could worry about the neck and fretboard, but I don't think most people do. If the frets start to sprout you can either file them or humidify. You won't get cracks. Just get the one you like the most. If you can't play them in person, get the one that you like the look of most, or that fits your budget. They're both fine. The 0X is heavy. A strap will help with that.

Booli
10-14-2018, 10:55 AM
If humidity is a concern, the OXK is your only choice...

I do not think that humidity will be much concern with either the Martin or the Kiwaya models under consideration here...

From the description on Elderly:

"Extremely thin laminated mahogany body"

see: https://www.elderly.com/kiwaya-eco-series-ks-1-soprano-ukulele.htm

actadh
10-14-2018, 01:17 PM
I have the OXK, as well as solid woods, solid tops, and an Outdoor Ukulele.. The OXK is my go-to music club uke.

edhaponik
10-14-2018, 02:51 PM
I also have the OXK. Although it's not one of my "fanciest" ukes, it is so SO satisfying to play. Great sound, and nearly indestructible. I've had mine since they first introduced them around 2010, and I've brought it all over the place, handed it to kids at school, left it on the beach for hours, on the porch overnight... It plays as sweet, true, and easy as when I first got it. It has a more versatile sound and more volume than my S1, too. Would 100% recommend.

patico
10-15-2018, 05:24 PM
Flawless finish.
sounds awesome,

big fan of the kiwayas here, in this video i'm playin the Soprano.
now it's tuned one whole tone up, in D, and plays better.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqA3PiD-xbk

iorana, maururu for watching

Uk3player78
10-16-2018, 06:34 AM
Are we talking about the KSU 1 here? Iím really keen on one. I was advised by a shop to not bother with one because of the caliber Iíve had. Iím still keen...

Ukecaster
10-16-2018, 07:02 AM
Are we talking about the KSU 1 here? Iím really keen on one. I was advised by a shop to not bother with one because of the caliber Iíve had. Iím still keen...

I have a KS-1, which I really like, great construction, wide nut, good volume & tone. Had a Martin S-1 a while back, it was nice, but the one I had was rather muted, much less volume than I expected, sold that one. Never had an OXK.

Re the KSU-1, the newer model made in China? I haven't had one, but did have the concert model KCU-1. It was just OK, nothing special at all. I found that QC was poor by comparison, it had finish imperfections, dings on the headstock crown points, and a space under one of the bridge corners. Also, it didn't sound nearly as loud or good as the KS-1, or any of the others I've owned: Famous FS-0 and FS-05. I'd take FS-1/KS1 any day of the week over the newer KSU-1.

Uk3player78
10-16-2018, 07:14 AM
I have a KS-1, which I really like, great construction, wide nut, good volume & tone. Had a Martin S-1 a while back, it was nice, but the one I had was rather muted, much less volume than I expected, sold that one. Never had an OXK.

Re the KSU-1, the newer model made in China? I haven't had one, but did have the concert model KCU-1. It was just OK, nothing special at all. I found that QC was poor by comparison, it had finish imperfections, dings on the headstock crown points, and a space under one of the bridge corners. Also, it didn't sound nearly as loud or good as the KS-1, or any of the others I've owned: Famous FS-0 and FS-05. I'd take FS-1/KS1 any day of the week over the newer KSU-1.

I am talking about the China made KSU. While researching i did spot your posts on it. Maybe I was politely advised well. :)

I have had the OXK and would recommend it.

Ukecaster
10-16-2018, 07:54 AM
I am talking about the China made KSU. While researching i did spot your posts on it. Maybe I was politely advised well. :)

I have had the OXK and would recommend it.

Understood. I expect the China-made KSU-1 soprano will be much the same quality as the China-made KCU-1 concert I had, that is, of less quality than the Japan-made Kiwaya and Famous models. Maybe I just got a bad one, and maybe they'll improve on their QC. We'll see.

Ziret
10-17-2018, 04:53 AM
I have a KS-1, which I really like, great construction, wide nut, good volume & tone. Had a Martin S-1 a while back, it was nice, but the one I had was rather muted, much less volume than I expected, sold that one. Never had an OXK.

Re the KSU-1, the newer model made in China? I haven't had one, but did have the concert model KCU-1. It was just OK, nothing special at all. I found that QC was poor by comparison, it had finish imperfections, dings on the headstock crown points, and a space under one of the bridge corners. Also, it didn't sound nearly as loud or good as the KS-1, or any of the others I've owned: Famous FS-0 and FS-05. I'd take FS-1/KS1 any day of the week over the newer KSU-1.
Thanks for saving me from an impulse buy of the long neck.

kkimura
10-17-2018, 07:43 AM
I have an OXK. Every so often it gets locked in the closet so the other ukuleles can play.

edhaponik
10-17-2018, 10:01 AM
I have an OXK. Every so often it gets locked in the closet so the other ukuleles can play.

Gotta say I approve of your ukulele collection lol. Should I pick up an Eastman? ;)

kkimura
10-17-2018, 11:25 AM
Gotta say I approve of your ukulele collection lol. Should I pick up an Eastman? ;)

Thanks, great minds think alike! And, having an Eastman around can't hurt but they're probably not as good as a Kiwaya.