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View Full Version : Kiwaya KTC-2: I tried to like it...



Matt Clara
09-30-2009, 11:44 AM
Tried to like it, but I didn't. Oh, sure, it's fit and finish were outstanding. I've never held a better constructed uke, except perhaps for a couple offerings from Bill Collings (elderly has two of his, one koa one mahogany). I couldn't find a flaw in its finish, nothing to say, they could have done that better. But I strongly disliked its sound--the more I played it, the less I liked it. I bought it sight unseen based on its reputation and the fact that I like my $125 mahogany Ohana CK-25 second quite a bit (I still like it, even compared to my Ko'Aloha concert). But the sound the Kiwaya made was very, I don't know, plinky, I guess, didn't resonate, had no depth, and it didn't make me want to pick it up and play it. And once I realized I didn't want to play it, I put it in its case and listed it on Ebay. I hear other people talking about how loud and resonant their Kiwaya laminates are, and all I can say is, sweet, don't upgrade, you might not like the result. I didn't like its color, either, too much yellow and green in it, resulting in a kind of a understated brown, again, though, great finish, that brown had a definite glow to it, when the light hit it just right.

So it sold today, and if it wasn't for those pesky ebay/paypal fees, I would have almost broke even. Still, I learned something, just not sure what. I will have to listen more closely to those old Martin's, as well as that Collings mahogany, to see if I'm really in love with mahogany as much as I thought. I'm currently digging the Ko'Aloha koa punch of my new/used concert uke, but I wouldn't say it sounded better than my Ohana CK-25, and not entirely different, either, just punchier, with a little twang, or, spice, if you will. If only I had an extra $1700, I'd try the Collings for a while! Both of them. :rolleyes:

existence
09-30-2009, 02:03 PM
Tried to like it, but I didn't. Oh, sure, it's fit and finish were outstanding. I've never held a better constructed uke, except perhaps for a couple offerings from Bill Collings' (elderly has two of his, one koa one mahogany). I couldn't find a flaw in its finish, nothing to say, they could have done that better. But I strongly disliked its sound--the more I played it, the less I liked it. I bought it sight unseen based on its reputation and the fact that I like my $125 mahogany Ohana CK-25 second quite a bit (I still like it, even compared to my Ko'Aloha concert). But the sound the Kiwaya made was very, I don't know, plinky, I guess, didn't resonate, had no depth, and it didn't make me want to pick it up and play it. And once I realized I didn't want to play it, I put it in its case and listed it on Ebay. I hear other people talking about how loud and resonant their Kiwaya laminates are, and all I can say is, sweet, don't upgrade, you might not like the result. I didn't like its color, either, too much yellow and green in it, resulting in a kind of a understated brown, again, though, great finish, that brown had a definite glow to it, when the light hit it just right.

So it sold today, and if it wasn't for those pesky ebay/paypal fees, I would have almost broke even. Still, I learned something, just not sure what. I will have to listen more closely to those old Martin's, as well as that Collings mahogany, to see if I'm really in love with mahogany as much as I thought. I'm currently digging the Ko'Aloha koa punch of my new/used concert uke, but I wouldn't say it sounded better than my Ohana CK-25, and not entirely different, either, just punchier, with a little twang, or, spice, if you will. If only I had an extra $1700, I'd try the Collings for a while! Both of them. :rolleyes:

Sorry to hear you didn't like it...at least you recovered most of your money though. Hopefully it wasn't too expensive an experiment for you.

Regarding Kiwaya laminates, I don't know if you saw the thread I started last night, but I just got the KS-1 and am quite enamored with it. Remarkable sound and playability...one of these days I gotta try their solid instruments!

fergs1
09-30-2009, 02:20 PM
I absolutely adore my kts-7. I wonder if it is the concert sound. for me it has neither the lovely plunkiness of the soprano or the solidity and volume of a tenor, a sort of meh sound. My kts-7 has a beatiful sound. I'm not even mad on the tenor sound, I've dropped my hamano tenor to a bari tuning. Sops rule.
cheers fergs

Matt Clara
09-30-2009, 02:28 PM
Sorry to hear you didn't like it...at least you recovered most of your money though. Hopefully it wasn't too expensive an experiment for you.

Regarding Kiwaya laminates, I don't know if you saw the thread I started last night, but I just got the KS-1 and am quite enamored with it. Remarkable sound and playability...one of these days I gotta try their solid instruments!

I have heard lots of good reviews about the KS-1 and the KS-4, and I think that's great, nor do I intend for my one review to detract from Kiwaya itself. A lot has to do with personal taste, and my preconceived expectations.
Keep rockin' those kiwayas!
:music:

uke5417
09-30-2009, 11:18 PM
Reviews, reschmus, buying a ukulele without playing it first is like getting a mail-order bride. I can't count the number of times I've read about and looked at ukuleles online, thinking they'd be perfect - only to play them (luckily before buying, ususally) and deem them totally unsuitable. I don't know what the solution is for people whose local vendors don't carry much in the way of ukuleles. When I first read about people going to Hawaii on uke-buying expeditions I thought it absurd. But I happened to go there for the first time this past summer and found the best part was the opportunity to try out so many ukes from so many makers. Huge, huge, huge differences among ukes tried in a single shop. (Not all koa "pops" like '60s Kamakas, and not all mahogany sings like '50s Martins. Some ukes are light as feathers, others feel like bricks. Others are light as feathers but carry a half pound of overly engineered tuners, giving them a terrible feel in-hand.) I figure it's either go somewhere you can try them or work with someone who has a terrific return policy. lol

buddhuu
10-01-2009, 12:38 AM
Good balance to your review. No bashing, highlight the good as well as the disappointing. That's the way to do it.

Sorry you were disappointed. :(

existence
10-01-2009, 09:38 AM
Reviews, reschmus, buying a ukulele without playing it first is like getting a mail-order bride. I can't count the number of times I've read about and looked at ukuleles online, thinking they'd be perfect - only to play them (luckily before buying, ususally) and deem them totally unsuitable. I don't know what the solution is for people whose local vendors don't carry much in the way of ukuleles. When I first read about people going to Hawaii on uke-buying expeditions I thought it absurd. But I happened to go there for the first time this past summer and found the best part was the opportunity to try out so many ukes from so many makers. Huge, huge, huge differences among ukes tried in a single shop. (Not all koa "pops" like '60s Kamakas, and not all mahogany sings like '50s Martins. Some ukes are light as feathers, others feel like bricks. Others are light as feathers but carry a half pound of overly engineered tuners, giving them a terrible feel in-hand.) I figure it's either go somewhere you can try them or work with someone who has a terrific return policy. lol

So true. I'm pretty new to ukuleles, but since I've been bitten by the bug I've been ordering and returning them at an alarming rate. Cost me quite a bit between shipping and restocking fees (I made the mistake of buying from a place that charged restocks once, and won't do it again.) It's been expensive for me to try them out, but now at last I can say I have two that I am happy with, and will be keeping (concert flea and Kiwaya soprano.)

I would love to go to a real uke shop and just sit down and try a bunch out back to back. There's one about an hour away from me, and it's gonna be a weekend adveture here one of these days (the only problem is that I know I will be incapable of driving an hour, trying out a bunch of ukes, and then NOT buying one...)

guitharsis
11-25-2009, 01:56 AM
I'm pretty new to uke too and have tried out several in three different music stores so far. My last trip to a music store, I traded two laminates in on a Pono OS soprano which sounded better to me than the concert Pono in stock and many of the others I played. The next day I ordered a KoAloha concert from MGM. That was a bit impulsive but I had played some KoAlohas in one of the stores. The one I preferred for sound and playability in the store was the Noah which was just too small. The concert KoAloha received from MGM is wonderful! Gorgeous to look at, sounds full and resonant, and plays easily. Besides fast free shipping, MGM included a deluxe case, a humidifier, a tuner and a book.

EDIT: Responding to the original post. I had a Kiwaya KS-1 that I loved. Great sound and playability. Also tried a KS-4 at one of the stores that was equally as good, maybe better.