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View Full Version : In praise of Kiwaya KTS4



pdxuke
01-11-2011, 01:12 PM
Friends:

I've lived with the Kiwaya KTS4 for about a week now. The strings have settled in, and...

It is simply exceptional. The tone, action (thanks MGM) and simple beauty of it takes my breath away.

I love my vintage ukes, I really, really do, but sometimes I get tired of old tuners and the quirks of an 50 to 80 year old instrument. Sometimes I just want ez, state of the art playing. The Kiwaya KTS4 is just that. It is a vintage uke without vintage problems, just like Mike says.

If you are a serious fan of mahogany soprano ukes, save your money and buy one.

I'll do a more formal and actual review sometime. But I had to tell you how impressed I am with this instrument. I've never been more impressed!

SweetWaterBlue
01-11-2011, 01:23 PM
I know how much you have come to love those mahogany sopranos in the last year. I am really glad to hear how happy the KTS4 is making you. Keep on strumming.

mm stan
01-11-2011, 02:11 PM
Aloha Thom,
Congrats on the new Kiwaya ukulele..and thanks for sharing the info....Happy Strummings....Have fun and enjoy!! MM Stan

shrink9
01-11-2011, 07:23 PM
Congrats on your new Kiwaya. I own a KTS6 and a KTS7 and they are amazing instruments. You'll have to travel a long distance to hear better sounding sopranos.

beergeek
01-11-2011, 11:14 PM
I agree Thom...Kiwaya's present themselves as bonding experiences...my KTS-7 is exceptional in every way:D

Pukulele Pete
01-12-2011, 02:33 AM
I've got a KTS-4 and I agree with everything you said. I bought mine after returning a 1930's Martin style 1 that I bought on Ebay. The guy selling it said it had no cracks and was in original condition. When I received it , the bridge was broken off and glued badly ,you could see daylight underneath. This turned me off from vintage ukes ( for a while) . I paid almost 700 for this uke and it came from a music store from a guy who is supposed to be a writer for guitar mags. Anyway, I think new is the way to go. My Kts-4 is perfect for me.

strumsilly
01-12-2011, 03:26 AM
I agree Thom...Kiwaya's present themselves as bonding experiences...my KTS-7 is exceptional in every way:D

I feel the same way about my KTC-1, and I like the bit more room between the frets, makes some of my chords cleaner. If I could only keep 1 uke, it would be the 1.

fromthee2me
01-12-2011, 03:46 AM
I praise it as well, but do not own one yet. I'm very interested in that brand, and know that it is good, BUT there are 3 models that I cannot seem to make a decision on: KTS4, KTS 5 and the KTC solid concert model. The KTS 4 has such simple and nice clean lines and sounds tops! Was it the Martin shape that did it for you? Was it the mahogany, the fretboard, the brand ? The confusion comes from a very experienced member on this BB who owns a KTS4 who wrote,that he had bought the KTS 5 instead, because of the extended fretboard, so I like that one too (peer influence) and then there is the solid mahogany concert (again influenced by a very able uke performer). So the sound is not an issue, the workmanship is not an issue, but if I am going to shell out the lolly, I would like to spend it on the right(est) one..... Returning to the praising thread of the Kiwaya, what made you choose that particular model, and did you try out any of the other Kiwaya models? I am not trying to hi-jack your thread.

strumsilly
01-12-2011, 04:58 AM
Never tried any other models but the KTC-1 I own. had a Martin 0 and side by side they sounded very I similar [both sounded great] . got the concert because I didn't have that size and wanted a little more room between the frets than a soprano, plus it was used [barely] here on UU. Would love to get my hands on a KTC-2, but new it would force a divorce, so I'll bide my time and keep looking for a used one. In a soprano, the KTS-5, 6, or 7 would be hard to beat [imho] , but I'm sure any Kiwaya would be great, don't think you could go wrong with any. Haven't heard of anyone who has one that doesn't love it.

or maybe this if I win the lottery

http://ukuleleacademy.bigcartel.com/product/kiwaya-km-kc-master-model-koa-concert-serial-10

janeray1940
01-12-2011, 06:21 AM
I'm starting to want one of those Kiwaya longneck sopranos something awful! Don't encourage me :)

I know what you mean with the vintage instruments. When I first started playing I thought I was a vintage Martin girl all the way, but every one I encountered had issues.

mik55
01-12-2011, 06:35 AM
The KTS 4 has such simple and nice clean lines and sounds tops!

+1. Exactly that plain & simple elegance is what it made for me.

http://i239.photobucket.com/albums/ff281/n6kvH938z67Rg/KTS4-full-back.jpg

Regs
Mike

pdxuke
01-12-2011, 05:08 PM
I praise it as well, but do not own one yet. I'm very interested in that brand, and know that it is good, BUT there are 3 models that I cannot seem to make a decision on: KTS4, KTS 5 and the KTC solid concert model. The KTS 4 has such simple and nice clean lines and sounds tops! Was it the Martin shape that did it for you? Was it the mahogany, the fretboard, the brand ? The confusion comes from a very experienced member on this BB who owns a KTS4 who wrote,that he had bought the KTS 5 instead, because of the extended fretboard, so I like that one too (peer influence) and then there is the solid mahogany concert (again influenced by a very able uke performer). So the sound is not an issue, the workmanship is not an issue, but if I am going to shell out the lolly, I would like to spend it on the right(est) one..... Returning to the praising thread of the Kiwaya, what made you choose that particular model, and did you try out any of the other Kiwaya models? I am not trying to hi-jack your thread.

For me it was the desire to have a modern uke that stands up to the quality of my vintage ukes, without the special babying that vintage ukes require. I know I should not compare ukes, cause each one is what it is, but I feel like getting this KTS4 is what it must have been like to buy a brand new Martin O in the 30s.

I don't do a lot of high fret work, so the 4 was fine instead of the 5. And the 4 was in the budget, and the 7 was not.

pdxuke
01-12-2011, 05:11 PM
I'm starting to want one of those Kiwaya longneck sopranos something awful! Don't encourage me :)

I know what you mean with the vintage instruments. When I first started playing I thought I was a vintage Martin girl all the way, but every one I encountered had issues.

I know what you mean. All my vintage ukes are in really good shape, but all have the same issue--the tuning pegs are finicky. If I could change them out without destroying the value of the uke I'd do it, because having new pegs on them would be sweet.

toobacat
01-13-2011, 03:36 AM
I've had my KTS-4 for almost a year now, and I agree that it is an exceptional ukulele.

spots
01-13-2011, 05:27 AM
I took possession of a KTS-4 not too long ago and I love it too. The build quality is outstanding and the intonation is spot on all the way up the neck. I can't say enough good things about this instrument.

I didn't care for the stock Fremont Black Line strings for finger picking. On this particular uke they had too much "raspiness" when finger picking (the body of the uke transmits string sounds really well). I moved over to Worth CM strings and the sound is cleaner.

beergeek
01-14-2011, 12:52 AM
I took possession of a KTS-4 not too long ago and I love it too. The build quality is outstanding and the intonation is spot on all the way up the neck. I can't say enough good things about this instrument.

I didn't care for the stock Fremont Black Line strings for finger picking. On this particular uke they had too much "raspiness" when finger picking (the body of the uke transmits string sounds really well). I moved over to Worth CM strings and the sound is cleaner.

That was the one thing I did not like about the Kiwaya...the Fremont strings. Like you, I have Worth CM's on it now and it truly sings!

EDW
01-14-2011, 02:23 AM
I just bought one and received it yesterday. It is a fantastic instrument. Of course, everything that everyone says is true. It is unbelievably resonant.

In the last few years I have had a couple of different custom ukes from some top makers. I sold them off because there were things that I felt they were lacking. This instrument blows them away. It is definitely a keeper.

we tigers
09-26-2012, 07:29 PM
Mine came in this week. I've been truly blown away by it! Changed the strings to CM and it sings. I plan on trying Worth Browns and Living Waters as well.

Pics:
http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h229/sasenmike/4920987E-4DFA-4B9B-97D5-D12BBDE9AEAB-5567-0000050C0EBB0CFA.jpg

http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h229/sasenmike/B42F5BB4-7CF9-4E50-A652-30EE815FD0AC-5567-0000050C14EEA50F.jpg

Lalz
09-26-2012, 10:19 PM
I have a KS1 and I love it to pieces! Excellent craftmanship, tone, etc. The action came a tiny bit too high for my taste but that's easy to adjust.
Fantastic ukes!

barefootgypsy
09-27-2012, 01:11 AM
I love mine too. It's a beautiful instrument. Was lucky enough to get a used one in perfect condition on ebay. I have Living Waters on mine now and it really sings out.

Pukulele Pete
09-27-2012, 03:47 AM
Kiwaya has been making ukes for a long time. I hardly ever see a used Kiwaya on Ebay and I check almost every day. I think this can be considered testimony that Kiwaya owners love their ukes and don't sell them very often.

barefootgypsy
09-27-2012, 05:53 AM
Kiwaya has been making ukes for a long time. I hardly ever see a used Kiwaya on Ebay and I check almost every day. I think this can be considered testimony that Kiwaya owners love their ukes and don't sell them very often.Yes, mine was on ebay.co.uk - the chap selling it was about to get his custom tenor from Pete Howlett. I won out! It's gorgeous! I don't do it justice..... but I'm working on it!

Olarte
09-27-2012, 02:51 PM
Try worth browns on the kts4 it's a match made in heaven! :music:

barefootgypsy
09-28-2012, 02:58 AM
Try worth browns on the kts4 it's a match made in heaven! :music: Thanks - I will try them!

we tigers
09-28-2012, 03:11 AM
Just ordered a set of BM's. I now have CMs on it and those sound great as well, but I'm really curious about the Browns.

we tigers
09-28-2012, 06:26 AM
Let's throw in a couple more photographs:
http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h229/sasenmike/79108AEB-3418-403B-AAD2-553D782B19AF-6684-000006524B4FE08B.jpg
http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h229/sasenmike/42505438-0FE9-4672-8743-B343F3701758-6684-0000065261B51AB9.jpg
http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h229/sasenmike/38AE37D6-1234-40A0-9FDC-4E3F1BE5AF9F-6684-000006526C76F1C3.jpg

Can't get enough of this little rascal...

pdxuke
09-29-2012, 12:35 PM
I have since sold mine since my first post, but only because my vintage Martin was getting more play than the KTS4. But it is a marvelous instrument.

I had Martin 600s on mine. I love those strings on a mahogany uke.

fabioponta
09-29-2012, 04:40 PM
I bought mine KTS-4 used here in UU a one and half year ago. Mine has worth brown on it. Perfect for a warm sound and perfect tone. I always play my sad songs on it, and it's just perfect.

didgeridoo2
09-29-2012, 05:27 PM
I thought Savarez Alliance strings were a perfect match on my old KTS-5. A little smoother than worth clears which I also liked very much.

we tigers
10-02-2012, 10:28 PM
Can't wait to put BMs on, but the Clears are excellent as well. The sound has developed so much in this first week of ownership; I can hardly imagine what it'll be like in two months time.

I also have a Ohana SK-38 that I really like and thought very highly of, because of the sound, but the Kiwaya blows it out of the water... Probably be ending up selling the SK-38... Creating a little budget for a koa soprano; a nice KoAloha or something.

http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h229/sasenmike/4920987E-4DFA-4B9B-97D5-D12BBDE9AEAB-5567-0000050C0EBB0CFA.jpg
My precious....

barefootgypsy
10-02-2012, 10:47 PM
Can't wait to put BMs on, but the Clears are excellent as well. The sound has developed so much in this first week of ownership; I can hardly imagine what it'll be like in two months time.

I also have a Ohana SK-38 that I really like and thought very highly of, because of the sound, but the Kiwaya blows it out of the water... Probably be ending up selling the SK-38... Creating a little budget for a koa soprano; a nice KoAloha or something.

http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h229/sasenmike/4920987E-4DFA-4B9B-97D5-D12BBDE9AEAB-5567-0000050C0EBB0CFA.jpg
My precious....That's a first class photo! Beautiful!

we tigers
10-03-2012, 12:46 AM
Thanks Gypsy!

we tigers
10-04-2012, 10:40 PM
I just can't stop taking pictures of the little Kiwaya... She's such a lovely model for photo sessions; always cooperative never grumpy. I've put the BMs on by the way; excellent! Love the colour combination as well.

Here's a little double exposure shot I made this morning:
http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h229/sasenmike/79D747C8-FF6C-4A82-8D65-4D04A656F772-9880-000009C5BD0A245B.jpg

Skinny Money McGee
10-05-2012, 02:43 AM
Was over at Elderly a couple of days ago to get some Gotoh tuners installed on my Kamaka Soprano. While waiting I checked out 4 different models of Kiwaya ukes. I couldn't put down the KTS-5 for some reason. I would stick it back on the rack and go try some other brand, but always came back to the Kiwaya. The fit and finish is superb. The neck shape is so comfortable, the intonation was great, the action height was perfect for me (fairly low), and plus, they come with Gotoh deluxe tuners.

Having installed Gotoh tuners on my Kamaka soprano, drove the cost of it up another 90 bucks. So with the Kamaka Soprano, your talking a little over 950 dollars where the Kiwaya KTS-5 is 250 less and the KTS-4 is 350 less...

If there ever was such thing as a plain jane work of art, the Kiwaya is it. If I hadn't had my mind set on buying the Kamaka, I would probably have walked out with the Kiwaya instead. I still like the tone of the all Koa Kamaka better, but the Kiwaya was great also, just in a different way, comes set up from the factory perfectly (the models I tried), and cost hundreds less.