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View Full Version : Kiwaya KS-1 Soprano



existence
09-29-2009, 06:49 PM
Just a few quick impressions of this: I'm currently calling it Little Monster because it is as punchy as a cannon. Every time you strum a chord, you can feel the entire body and neck of the ukulele vibrating like crazy; this sucker is lively. I turned it so that it was facing me --so that I was looking into the soundhole-- and strummed the open strings. I followed that ringing sound for a long time before it finally died out....this thing rings.

Yup, it's a laminate too....

Ahnko Honu
09-29-2009, 09:18 PM
Yes, on my bucket list is a Kiwaya Koa Laminate Pineapple.
http://www.kiwayaukuleles.com/kiwayaukuleles_gallery/slides/Kiwaya%20KS-4P.jpg

Mafioso
09-29-2009, 10:49 PM
Simply overpriced for laminate.

franulele
09-30-2009, 01:04 AM
Overpriced? Almost everything seems overpriced right now!

My Kiwaya KS-1 really doesn't sound like a typical laminate. It resonates surprisingly well. Unfortunately the wood won't age like fine wine, but its a great little player & sturdy which is good for anyone who wants great intonation & durability.

As an elementary music teacher in a northern climate, durability factors prominently into my everyday uke choices.

KC8AFW
09-30-2009, 01:26 AM
Just a few quick impressions of this: I'm currently calling it Little Monster because it is as punchy as a cannon. Every time you strum a chord, you can feel the entire body and neck of the ukulele vibrating like crazy; this sucker is lively. I turned it so that it was facing me --so that I was looking into the soundhole-- and strummed the open strings. I followed that ringing sound for a long time before it finally died out....this thing rings.

Yup, it's a laminate too....

Okay...so the big questions is "do you like it?" And, where are the pics...we must have pics. Congratulations.:D

Mopey
09-30-2009, 04:26 AM
I forked out for a Kiwaya KS5 in a moment of madness a few months ago. I really like the uke, its is brash and loud and sings that old Martin sound.

I have solid Honu, kala, and Kanilea ukes and sound wise the Kiwaya stands up to them.

So why dont I love it? I carry the shame of its little laminate body in my heart!

It cost a hell of a lot for a laminate too! Having said that the KS1 is priced much better.

Utimately Kiwaya make really nice instruments and if you are not bothered about laminate body you will be well pleased with it.

existence
09-30-2009, 05:27 AM
Simply overpriced for laminate.

You might not feel that way if you tried it out. The wood is wafer thin, so the entire body rings and sings when you strum. I have a feeling the fact that this is a $200 laminate turns many away...that's understandable, as we're all conditioned to think "solid good, laminate bad", and that's generally correct, but not always. The Japanese in particular seem to know how to make a great sounding laminate--witness the highly desirable vintage Yamaha guitars.

existence
09-30-2009, 05:40 AM
Okay...so the big questions is "do you like it?" And, where are the pics...we must have pics. Congratulations.:D

I'm sorry...lost my camera while moving and still haven't got a new one! Total failure, I know.

The KS-1 looks great...very unassuming and vintage. Matte finish, no binding or rosette (I think it makes it have a cool sort of minimalism going.)

And YES, I love this thing. Stayed up until 4am strumming last night. It can do the loud strumming/chunking thing, and it can also do low volume plucking with a nice rich woody tone. Punch and clarity are the orders of the day, with a fair amount of resonance and depth thrown in. The frets are perfect; I scrutinized this thing with psychotic intensity and can find not one flaw....Japanese craftsmanship. I had high expectations when this arrived at the door, and the KS-1 exceeded them. I played a similarly priced solid wood soprano over the weekend, a more heavily built instrument, and it lacked the character and depth of sound the Kiwaya has. I knew this thing was a keeper after 10 minutes of playing it.

existence
09-30-2009, 05:48 AM
Yes, on my bucket list is a Kiwaya Koa Laminate Pineapple.
http://www.kiwayaukuleles.com/kiwayaukuleles_gallery/slides/Kiwaya%20KS-4P.jpg

Looks nice! I'm wondering what the KTS4 sounds like now. If the KS-1 is this good, the KTS4 might just be out of this world....

GreyPoupon
09-30-2009, 05:52 AM
I own a KTS-4 and its awesome.

I won't say it's the best, because each uke is wonderful in its own way, but my kiwaya is very special. What I love the most about it, is how light it is. It's like playing a floating feather.

existence
09-30-2009, 07:11 AM
I own a KTS-4 and its awesome.

I won't say it's the best, because each uke is wonderful in its own way, but my kiwaya is very special. What I love the most about it, is how light it is. It's like playing a floating feather.

Haha, that's a great simile -- couldn't have said it better. The KS-1 is ultra-light too. Light uke with a big sound.

Pippin
09-30-2009, 09:18 AM
You might not feel that way if you tried it out. The wood is wafer thin, so the entire body rings and sings when you strum. I have a feeling the fact that this is a $200 laminate turns many away...that's understandable, as we're all conditioned to think "solid good, laminate bad", and that's generally correct, but not always. The Japanese in particular seem to know how to make a great sounding laminate--witness the highly desirable vintage Yamaha guitars.

And don't forget the Alvarez Yairi guitars. They are loved by those that own them.

Ahnko Honu
09-30-2009, 10:17 AM
You might not feel that way if you tried it out. The wood is wafer thin, so the entire body rings and sings when you strum. I have a feeling the fact that this is a $200 laminate turns many away...that's understandable, as we're all conditioned to think "solid good, laminate bad", and that's generally correct, but not always. The Japanese in particular seem to know how to make a great sounding laminate--witness the highly desirable vintage Yamaha guitars.

Amen! I've played some very lame sounding solid wood 'ukuleles so general statements don't always apply. How much are plywood and plastic Flukes selling for? Their sound belies their construction materials. Kiwaya is the innovator in laminates making the thinnest 2 ply laminates used in instrument construction. Their laminates sound better than some big name solid 'ukuleles.

existence
09-30-2009, 11:44 AM
Amen! I've played some very lame sounding solid wood 'ukuleles so general statements don't always apply. How much are plywood and plastic Flukes selling for? Their sound belies their construction materials. Kiwaya is the innovator in laminates making the thinnest 2 ply laminates used in instrument construction. Their laminates sound better than some big name solid 'ukuleles.

By the way, I'll ask you this since you seem to be a pineapple afficionado: what are the general tonal differences between the pineapple shape and the standard shape? I've heard they're louder, which makes sense, but what I'm really wondering is whether the wider body changes the tonal balance to a more mids/lows heavy one. Or is the difference mostly aesthetic?