View Full Version : Review of Kiwaya KS-1

08-20-2009, 01:54 AM
I purchased a Kiwaya KS-1 (soprano) about 6 months ago & had a bit of buyer's remorse at the time. I was so accustomed to playing the tenor uke, that a soprano was really awkward for me. But since buying a concert ukulele, my fingers have become more accustomed to the smaller size & now I really enjoy this little Kiwaya KS-1!

Anyway, here's my review http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjx1mn4-uD8

The only other Kiwaya review I've seen is Ken Midddleton's at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BN1DgGqgA_A


08-21-2009, 08:36 AM
Nice review. I'm all about the Kiwayas these days.

08-21-2009, 10:23 AM

I really like my Kiwaya a lot. The laminate is so thin & the instrument is so resonant, that it really doesn't sound like most laminates I've heard. I wish they made a Concert in laminate too. I'm a travelling music teacher in Vermont, so a laminate uke can be a very good thing. (Of course, I'd settle for one of the KTC concerts!)

08-21-2009, 02:06 PM
Hi Franulele,

Have you looked at the "Famous" brand. It's the Japanese branded laminates from Kiwaya. I was looking for their "Luna" brand a while ago because they had more variations such as radius necks and koa wood! I bet you might be able to find a Famous in concert size.

Unfortunately I couldn't find a US dealer for Luna or Famous. I contacted Kiwaya from their US website and they told me they could ship a special order of a Luna to me. Unfortunately the one I wanted was completely out of stock. It was a limited edition.

08-21-2009, 05:37 PM
Actually, I think these are it. Famous (Kiwaya) laminate concert size. Model numbers FC-1 to FC-3


08-23-2009, 06:01 PM
Any idea how much? Is the quality the same as the Kiwaya line?

08-23-2009, 07:51 PM
I think the one you reviewed is an overseas version of the Famous FS-1, which is the basic laminate model from Kiwaya in Japan. Here, the traditional generation has a saying that "first, you get a Famous (preferably FS-5 laminate koa), then you go on".

The Luna brand are all solid if I am not mistaken, and a little bit more expensive. Never tried them, but they are supposed to be very nice sounding ukes.
Strangely, some of the inland produce (for the Japanese market) does not look all that refined, with some drippy finish and rough edges here and there.

09-03-2009, 12:37 AM
Great review! I also have a Kiwaya KS-1 strung with Aquilas. Love it.

09-11-2009, 04:44 AM
Do you have any problems getting in tune with these friction tuners? You said in your review that you have to tighten them occasionally, but I just wondered if it is easy to tune with them.

09-11-2009, 10:49 AM
No tuner troubles with the Kiwaya. Friction tuners take a little getting used to. If they are too loose, just use a screw driver & tighten the screw just 1/16th turn at a time.

09-13-2009, 08:26 PM
Sucks to put so much money in a laminate Uke tbh... :cool:

09-27-2009, 06:25 AM
UPDATE: UU member & Kiwaya owner, Tube, PMed me noticing that the saddle on the Kiwaya was turned around! (At the 50-56 sec. mark)

Here's what happened... I had taken the saddle of the Kiwaya out & tried it in another uke, then put it back backwards. OOPS! I was hoping no one would notice on the YouTube video, but Tube did!

Now,the really funny thing was that the intonation was still very good! I know it's hard to believe, but true. I think the fact that due to the action being very low & the strings being Aquillas contributed to good intonation even with the saddle turned around. ALso I rarely play past the 5th fret on the soprano uke & use very little finger pressure while playing this uke.

Thanks for watching & noticing my "mistook" !

09-27-2009, 05:09 PM
Nice review.

09-28-2009, 04:29 PM
Sucks to put so much money in a laminate Uke tbh... :cool:

With all due respect, I hope you are wrong because I just did! Should arrive tomorrow. I'll come back here to share my thoughts on the KS-1 once I've tried it out...