View Full Version : Kiwaya KS-5 fret height

12-11-2009, 10:42 AM
I've been working with a Kiwaya soprano KS-5 for a number of months now, with minimal pleasure. The quality of the build is excellent. I have Aquila strings on it and have tried Worths and Fremonts as well.

But the sound is just off. I've very meticulously tuned and re-tuned a lot, tuners tightened. The slightest off-tuning (the on uke tuner shows only a little variation from top dead center) and chords just doesn't sound quite right. I've checked tuning up and down the fretboard and it seems fine in that regard.

I heard recently--don't remember from where--that Kiwaya frets tend to be a bit low. Can anyone tell me if that is true? Otherwise, I'm afraid I'll have to give up on soprano size since I just can't get a consistent sound.

12-11-2009, 11:58 AM
As I see it, low frets are a good thing. I've had some ukes with more prominent frets, and they are more subject to going off-tune through uneven finger pressure. The amount of pressure you apply when fretting can have a noticeable effect on intonation, and higher frets seem to increase this.

This doesn't help you with your problem. Some people are more acutely aware of very slight differences in intonation than others. Perhaps you are one of these? When you play a chord, or pehaps a single note that makes you wince, try using the tuner to establish which note it is, and whether it is sharp or flat. Then see if varying the fretting pressure can alleviate the problem.

Some guitarists who turn to the uke, find themselves running into problems through using a "gorilla grip", when only minimal pressure is required.

Hope this helps.