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View Full Version : 2nd soprano for a lover of the Kiwaya KS-5



CPG
03-22-2019, 04:20 AM
Hey all,

Let me say up front that I know that these types of "what uke to get next" threads are sorta pointless as its really hard to know what any other person will like. Still they can be helpful to sort through things.

Currently, my only soprano is the KS-5. I bought it here from another UU member a few months ago. I've been in love with it since the day I received it. Prior to getting it I mainly played my KA-ATP-CTG, but lately this soprano has been the uke I pick up.

Lately, I've been getting an itch for another soprano that I may or may not scratch. I haven't played a lot of "nice" sopranos, but for some additional context I have played my uke club leaders wonderful vintage martin and also previously owned a pre-1980 Bruko 6 that I loved the sound of, but sold because I wasn't playing a lot of soprano at the time and the neck was a little small for me (I'm pretty sure it had a shorter scale was narrower at the nut than modern Brukos).

So anyway, any thoughts on how to complete this sentence?

"If you love your KS-5 you...
- will love a Bruko soprano in 'x' wood"
- will love a Bruko longneck soprano in 'x' wood
- will love an opio KS0-10 (all acacia) soprano
- will love an opio KS0-02 long neck soprano
- will love an opio KS0-10S (spruce top) soprano
- won't really gain anything from any of the ukes listed. The KS-5 is so good that to get something you will like as much you should save your money and get a K-brand soprano

To be clear, I'm not asking which of these sound the most like the KS-5. I realize all these, particularly the Brukos will sound very different, I'm really just using the KS-5 as a reference for one thing I do like an awful lot.

Any thoughts, particularly from those familiar with the KS-5 and any of the other ukes listed, would be much appreciated.

EDIT: I just realized there is board dedicated to buying advice. Oops, probably should have posted this there.

Ukecaster
03-22-2019, 04:33 AM
I've had 2 FS-5 (same thing), have owed Bruko sops (always found them too bright for my strumming style). I'd look for a nice vintage Martin Style 0, there's thousands out there, nothing like them, and the hog tone would be a nice compliment to your koa. With patience and watchfulness, you can find them on CL, eBay or Reverb for between $300-400. I just saw a nice one sell on eBay for $325.00.

CPG
03-22-2019, 04:44 AM
I've had 2 FS-5 (same thing), have owed Bruko sops (always found them too bright for my strumming style). I'd look for a nice vintage Martin Style 0, there's thousands out there, nothing like them, and the hog tone would be a nice compliment to your koa. With patience and watchfulness, you can find them on CL, eBay or Reverb for between $300-400. I just saw a nice one sell on eBay for $325.00.

Thanks! That's helpful. That's my concern with Bruko. When I hear sound samples of them I have moments where I really like the sound, but really I go back and forth on it. A part me just loves the novelty of Brukos and, as someone who has dabble in woodworking, the different wood combinations are appealing, but I'm on the fence about whether I would enjoy one as a regular player.

I've considered a vintage martin or kamaka. Elderly usually has a few. They usually go for a good bit more than that, but it would be inspected and setup up, which makes it potentially worth while.

natchez
03-22-2019, 05:12 AM
If you love your KS-5 you should IMO wait until you see a really good used instrument for sale. For example, I've picked up a used Kanile'a koa soprano for ~$400 from Elderly- now ten years old that rings nice and true, and a used MyaMoe super soprano- now 8 years old that is my daily player in Reno for ~$600 back in 2016 from a listing here- https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?124352-MYA-MOE-Super-Soprano-Uke-KOA-Traditon-Model-Serial-511-PERFECT-CONDITION

We recently bought a second home in Arizona, so I have some instruments in each home. Keep an eye out for something special and have patience. I picked up a long-neck, pineapple soprano Kamaka, that was really sweet, but sold it at a bargain price with payments over time to a very talented young student of mine who otherwise would not have been able to afford a top-notch instrument for years. The young man salivated over the instrument when he was here playing with me, and I figured what the heck it was worth paying it forward.

Also, I mostly buy ukuleles that are at least a few years old and have settled in. That being said, I just commissioned Cary at MyaMoe to build me what I am confident will be an amazing concert ukulele, torrefied spruce top and mahogany body. Of course, YMMV.

CPG
03-22-2019, 05:37 AM
If you love your KS-5 you should IMO wait until you see a really good used instrument for sale. For example, I've picked up a used Kanile'a koa soprano for ~$400 from Elderly- now ten years old that rings nice and true, and a used MyaMoe super soprano- now 8 years old that is my daily player in Reno for ~$600 back in 2016 from a listing here- https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?124352-MYA-MOE-Super-Soprano-Uke-KOA-Traditon-Model-Serial-511-PERFECT-CONDITION

We recently bought a second home in Arizona, so I have some instruments in each home. Keep an eye out for something special and have patience. I picked up a long-neck, pineapple soprano Kamaka, that was really sweet, but sold it at a bargain price with payments over time to a very talented young student of mine who otherwise would not have been able to afford a top-notch instrument for years. The young man salivated over the instrument when he was here playing with me, and I figured what the heck it was worth paying it forward.

Also, I mostly buy ukuleles that are at least a few years old and have settled in. That being said, I just commissioned Cary at MyaMoe to build me what I am confident will be an amazing concert ukulele, torrefied spruce top and mahogany body. Of course, YMMV.

Thanks. This is great advice and definitely one thing I've really been tossing around in my head. I'm not a UAS kind of guy. While I'm a very curious person and would love to try a bunch of different ukes, I really don't like owning things that I don't use, and I don't want to drop $300 to $500 something that I end up selling for a loss in a few months. I'm mainly a clawhammer banjo player, so my ukes don't get a ton of play as is. If I get anything I want it to be nice enough that it drives me to put down my banjo and pick the uke up instead on a semi regular basis (the ks-5 does that).

I think my dream soprano would be a recent Kamaka (HF-1, HF-1L, HP-1,or HP-1L), so at this point I really may be best off just saving my pennies and/or waiting for a good deal on something like that.

That's super cool that you did that for your student btw! Good on you!

Swamp Yankee
03-22-2019, 06:11 AM
Is there any particular reason not to check out the solid wood Kiwaya Artist series? Second hand KTS-4s are available at around $400. They're excellent ukes!

CPG
03-22-2019, 06:33 AM
Is there any particular reason not to check out the solid wood Kiwaya Artist series? Second hand KTS-4s are available at around $400. They're excellent ukes!

I've actually tried one once and much to my surprise did not care for it.

Ziret
03-22-2019, 06:34 AM
I've had a few Brukos and have a soft spot in my heart for them, but I probably won't buy another because I always end up passing them along, and if I don't buy, I'll cut out the middleman. But I'm not at all saying you won't like one. It will be a very different beast than the KS-5, which is also a very nice ukulele, and I've owned two of them, but..there's a pattern here--again, not going to buy another.

I've never had a Kamaka, but how could that be wrong? If you can afford it and/or can wait, that's a good option.

I'll second the KTS-4 suggestion and add one. I bought a Khaya I aNueNue soprano on Reverb, and it's a lovely instrument. Light, loud, well made, and easy to play. Not quite in KTS-4 league, but very, very close. It's not listed currently, but it will be back, she takes them down periodically. I offered $150 for it (new!) and it was an absolute steal. It's currently my only soprano, and I'm not even looking at others. Right now. Could change. I've owned some spectacular sopranos. This one hits the spot for me of sounding, looking, and playing great, while not having cost enough to make me feel bad about the money I've got tied up in it. So I'll probably keep it for the long haul. I stole Ukecaster's photo for this, I'm pretty sure he's OK with that.

116320

EDW
03-22-2019, 06:36 AM
What did you not like about it? I was going to suggest the same thing. The KTS4 is a fantastic instrument in all respects.

CPG
03-22-2019, 07:13 AM
What did you not like about it? I was going to suggest the same thing. The KTS4 is a fantastic instrument in all respects.

I didn't like the neck. It was pretty different from my ks-5 which has a neck I love. I have fairly large hands and I just felt like I had to pinch it.

Also, in all honesty, I wasn't going to mention this because most people don't understand, but I'm a vegan. While it is pretty much impossible to avoid all animal products, especially when it comes to musical instruments (animal glue, shellac, bone, abalone, MOP, etc), it is personally very important to me to avoid them to the greatest extent that I am able. As meaningless as it may seem in the big scheme of things that means I much prefer a uke that doesn't have bone nut/saddle. At the time I was considering a kts4, I wasn't aware of any "step up" ukes that didn't have bone nuts, so even though I was uncomfortable with it I decided to entertain the idea of getting one. I legitimately didn't like it, so I didn't consider it further, but since then I have found that there are number of mid range and higher end ukes (including Kamaka's, KoAlohas/Opios, and I think maybe Kanile'as) that don't have bone/nuts and saddles.

Sorry for the long-winded explanation. When being a vegan gets mentioned on discussion boards there is sometimes a tendency on for 1 or 2 people to think you are judging them, or to feel the need to mention all things that have animal products in them that they think I'm not aware, or all the ways in which synthetics might be worse. I'm not accusing anyone here of doing that. But I tend to avoid mentioning it in an effort to not let things go off the rails and when I do I tend to be long-winded just to preemptively answer any questions people may have.

Anyway, it is a great suggestion. Everyone, I've never heard of anyone who didn't love there's. I'd probably get used to the neck, but after that first time I tried one and passed I've never reconsidered because of my personal reasons.

CPG
03-22-2019, 07:14 AM
I've had a few Brukos and have a soft spot in my heart for them, but I probably won't buy another because I always end up passing them along, and if I don't buy, I'll cut out the middleman. But I'm not at all saying you won't like one. It will be a very different beast than the KS-5, which is also a very nice ukulele, and I've owned two of them, but..there's a pattern here--again, not going to buy another.

116320

I'm pretty sure my KS-5 used to be your KS-5. It is very happy in its new home.

Ziret
03-22-2019, 08:26 AM
The neck on the aNueNue is somewhere between the KS-5 and the KTS-4. Although I realize you are not going to buy it, I'm mentioning it in case anyone else is interested. Like Kiwaya, I think most, though possibly not all, aNueNue instruments have bone nuts and saddles. I don't feel judged and I'm not judging you, your reasons are personal and valid. I am ready and waiting with rationalizations, though, should you need any. And thanks for being a vegan, it's the right choice for the planet.

CPG
03-22-2019, 08:45 AM
The neck on the aNueNue is somewhere between the KS-5 and the KTS-4. Although I realize you are not going to buy it, I'm mentioning it in case anyone else is interested. Like Kiwaya, I think most, though possibly not all, aNueNue instruments have bone nuts and saddles. I don't feel judged and I'm not judging you, your reasons are personal and valid. I am ready and waiting with rationalizations, though, should you need any. And thanks for being a vegan, it's the right choice for the planet.

Thank you Ziret! I really did appreciate the recommendation and I did look and find one on reverb for $199. It looks like a heck of nice uke for the price. You are correct however, it has buffalo bone nut and saddle. Thanks again for recommendation, valuing my personal beliefs, and most of all thank you for selling me your KS-5! It's sitting next to me at my desk at work right now...part of the reason I'm considering another soprano. I may just need a soprano for the office and one for home. I currently keep a banjo in my office and one at home as well; there is no better way to spend a lunch break once the weather warms up.

glennerd
03-22-2019, 09:12 AM
I love my Opio KSO-10, but I will comment that it you're really into the thin Kiwaya fret wires, maybe you won't like the regular size fret wires on an Opio, or other brands. Possibly it's not something that bothers you, or you'd adjust quickly. Looking from the other side, I'm not a fan of the thin fret wires, but if I had a thin-fretted instrument long term I might grow to prefer them.

Ukecaster
03-22-2019, 09:21 AM
Yes, all good on the pic Teri. The aNueNue sops at $150.00 are really a steal, all solid, sweet tone.

CPG
03-22-2019, 09:35 AM
I love my Opio KSO-10, but I will comment that it you're really into the thin Kiwaya fret wires, maybe you won't like the regular size fret wires on an Opio, or other brands. Possibly it's not something that bothers you, or you'd adjust quickly. Looking from the other side, I'm not a fan of the thin fret wires, but if I had a thin-fretted instrument long term I might grow to prefer them.

Good to know. The opios intrigue me, especially the spruce top one. I know they are well reviewed, but I haven't really heard any personal insights on them and have never seen an Opio or KoAloha in person. I don't care much either way about the fretwires. I do like the thin ones on my ks-5 but I like regular fretwires too, and its in no way a make or break thing for me. I do wish they would put a couple more frets on them. I'm not a good enough uke player yet to need them yet, but it would be nice to have them there just in case I ever need them. Of course, that's true of a lot of standard scale soprano's and I do have my tenors so that's not a dealer breaker for me either.

Swamp Yankee
03-22-2019, 01:58 PM
I've considered a vintage martin or kamaka. Elderly usually has a few. They usually go for a good bit more than that, but it would be inspected and setup up, which makes it potentially worth while.

One consideration with older Martins is that they were likely made with hide glue.

CPG
03-22-2019, 02:22 PM
One consideration with older Martins is that they were likely made with hide glue.

Thats a really good point and is almost certainly true. Probably true on a lot of modern ukes too, and its likely many glues that aren't hide glue have some animal ingrediants. As black and white as veganism is on paper vintage stuff and things with unknown ingrients is where things can get a little gray in practice for myself and others I know. Someday I'll learn to make my own banjos and ukes, but for now I make those decisions on individual basis based on specific item and the available alternatives. I'd definitely have to think about that.

CPG
03-22-2019, 03:03 PM
Well, my curiosity about one of the special Brukos I've been eyeballing for a while got the best of me. I decided to pull the trigger on this cedar top, mahogany body and neck, standard scale soprano (https://ukulelen.brueko.de/screen/product/sopran-ukulele-mahagoni-zeder-gewoelbter-boden).

I love the sound of cedar and I figure this will answer the bruko question for me once and for all. If all hog and cedar are too bright then any bruko will be too bright for me. I figure if I dont like it I'll just sell it here and take the loss having learned a little more about what I like.

Ziret
03-22-2019, 08:12 PM
This is sad, to remember a ukulele and not a human, I apologise. I'm glad that one found a good home. I think I had it before I smashed up my thumb, I'd have a hard time with the neck now, I think.

Let us know what you decide on, there are so many good option, you're sure to find something wonderful.


I'm pretty sure my KS-5 used to be your KS-5. It is very happy in its new home.

Ziret
03-22-2019, 08:15 PM
Gorgeous! I had a rosewood and cedar Bruko concert that was fantastic. Waiting for that DHL truck was agony, though.


Well, my curiosity about one of the special Brukos I've been eyeballing for a while got the best of me. I decided to pull the trigger on this cedar top, mahogany body and neck, standard scale soprano (https://ukulelen.brueko.de/screen/product/sopran-ukulele-mahagoni-zeder-gewoelbter-boden).

I love the sound of cedar and I figure this will answer the bruko question for me once and for all. If all hog and cedar are too bright then any bruko will be too bright for me. I figure if I dont like it I'll just sell it here and take the loss having learned a little more about what I like.

Swamp Yankee
03-23-2019, 01:01 AM
I love cedar tops! Give us an NUD post after it arrives (please).

CPG
03-23-2019, 01:12 AM
This is sad, to remember a ukulele and not a human, I apologise. I'm glad that one found a good home. I think I had it before I smashed up my thumb, I'd have a hard time with the neck now, I think.

No worries. I don't think I had ever posted here at the time so there wasn't really anyone for you to remember. I sure as heck dont remember everyone I've sold things to on forums.

CPG
03-23-2019, 01:21 AM
I love cedar tops! Give us an NUD post after it arrives (please).

Will do. Yeah cedar is awesome. I don't think I will ever sell my Kala cedar top tenor, no matter that other higher end ukes I might end up with some day. I just love those cedar overtones. Im really curious to learn how cedar impacts that quintessential bruko sound, if at all.

Plus this Bruko will look like my Kalas baby.