View Full Version : Has anyone played a Kiwaya laminated uke?

05-08-2008, 11:52 AM
I'm thinking of getting a Kiwaya long-neck soprano laminated uke. I'm going out to the desert for awhile and thought the laminated woods might take the low humdity stress and the daily temperature changes better (I will have a humidified case for it though, but it's still hot during the day and quite cold at night - and the accomodations are pretty rustic. I also have ClimateCase case cover that I can put the uke case in.).

The particular model of the Kiwaya is KSL-2.

Has anyone tried any of these all-laminated ukes? Did it have good dynamics from loud to soft? I've heard they're really resonant but I'm wondering if they have any sustain or are they just really punchy? I'm hoping for decent sustain, but maybe that's not possible in a laminated instrument? How would you describe their playability?

I wish I could find one locally available I could try...

05-09-2008, 06:41 PM
I'm looking to get the mahogany long neck and I've played neither so I'm sorry I can't help you. But Kiwaya gets very good reviews so I won't hesitate to get one. A laminate uke should be better in any weather as far as not-cracking goes. I've got Kala ukes, they're all laminates and I love them, the tone is bright and true up the neck and I doubt they'll ever crack.

I hope you get some answers from some people in the know. :)

05-14-2008, 04:02 AM
I have played them at NAMM and they are superior to other laminates...very impressive and finely made (I just love the necks on Kiwaya ukes, would be one of my main reasons to get one) - playability is always excellent, no matter what Kiwaya uke you get...as for tone, punchy is probably the word.

For some obscure reason I thought the sunburst one wasn't as 'out there' tone-wise as the others...not sure why...

We stock the KTS-6 and KTS-7 at our shop, which are my pick of the bunch (particularly the KTS-7). In general, I like their solid mahogany ukes most of their range (didn't like the koa ukes as much).

I would go for an all-solid Kiwaya if this fits within your budget. Although temperature and climate changes aren't exactly good for your uke, many people (including me) have to put up with it every day of the year (we also have to cope with extremely high humidity). If you can look after your uke with a humidifier (in our case here in the north of Australia we need a dehumidifier most of the year) and don't expose it to direct sunlight etc, get the better all-solid instrument. In either case (laminate or solid), your main concern could turn out to be the neck, and not the body...

Alternatively, if you can afford it, get Mike DaSilva to make you a uke out of carbon fibre (I played his proto type and it's awesome) and wood back and sides or all carbon... www.ukemaker.com

Good luck on deciding which way to go!