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View Full Version : Laminate Ukuleles (Kiwaya KS-1 vs Martin OXK)



delray48209
08-28-2012, 05:52 PM
I'm shopping for a laminate soprano ukulele that I can take outside during football season tailgate parties. I've narrowed it down to either a Kiwaya KS-1 or the Martin OXK. I'd be delighted to hear comments and suggestions between the two. I should also mention that I already have a Flea, but I'm looking for something more traditional in shape and sound. As always, thank you in advance for your comments.

Regards,
Frank

ukeeku
08-29-2012, 01:25 AM
Here are the reviews for both
http://ukeeku.com/2011/01/11/kiwaya-ks-1-full-review/
http://ukeeku.com/2010/07/06/martin-oxk-full-review/
Now, which one would I buy to do what you are doing? The Martin OXK is the clear winner. since the only wood is the laminate neck, it will be more stable in the cold
Have you thought about a Flea?

PhilUSAFRet
08-29-2012, 05:37 AM
Here are the reviews for both
http://ukeeku.com/2011/01/11/kiwaya-ks-1-full-review/
http://ukeeku.com/2010/07/06/martin-oxk-full-review/
Now, which one would I buy to do what you are doing? The Martin OXK is the clear winner. since the only wood is the laminate neck, it will be more stable in the cold
Have you thought about a Flea?

Clicked link, got a blank page.

Pukulele Pete
08-29-2012, 06:11 AM
Links worked for me. I have been thinking the same thing , Ks-1 or OXK , I like to leave a uke on the coffee table so I can grab it whenever I want. Reading about humidity problems I thought one of these would be a worry free uke. Now I've done a 180 and I'm thinking I'm just going to keep my Martin SO out on the coffee table all the time , humid or dry. If it cracks it cracks but I'm thinking it wont.
My old Gibson LG-1 was never humidified and it never cracked. All the old Martin ukes that are still around crack free were never humidified. Instead of me getting a laminate , I'm just going to leave my SO out on the table and take my chances.

kkimura
07-10-2013, 09:30 AM
Sorry about dredging up such an old thread but a was about to post this same question just before I found the thread with a Google search.

And, there wasn't a definitive answer to the OP question except maybe that a Martin SO would probably be rugged enough to survive living on the coffee table.

So here goes. Between a Martin OXK and a Kiwaya KS-1, which is a better choice for tailgate parties, travel and other stuff you may not want to use your solid wood uke for?

ukeeku
07-10-2013, 09:44 AM
Sorry about dredging up such an old thread but a was about to post this same question just before I found the thread with a Google search.

And, there wasn't a definitive answer to the OP question except maybe that a Martin SO would probably be rugged enough to survive living on the coffee table.

So here goes. Between a Martin OXK and a Kiwaya KS-1, which is a better choice for tailgate parties, travel and other stuff you may not want to use your solid wood uke for?
the Kiwaya is fragile like a regular uke, where the OXK is very rugged.
Not the same tone by any means, but the outdoor uke is another option that was not available when this was first posted.

T-nice98
07-10-2013, 09:45 AM
I only have experience with the oxk but I must say its a great soprano. Martin strings on it sound better than the aquillias that were installed but either way, it has great sound projection, tone and sustain. I personally like the neck being a bunch of pieces laminated together. It looks like no other. The body is alright but this thing is solid and you could beat up on it at will. Holds tune pretty well. I have 3 decent ukes and this is the one i play everyday. Build quality is superb. You cant go wrong with a new martin imo. Give it a whirl, worse that could happen is u return it. Best of luck!

kkimura
07-10-2013, 09:50 AM
the Kiwaya is fragile like a regular uke, where the OXK is very rugged.
Not the same tone by any means, but the outdoor uke is another option that was not available when this was first posted.

Thanks for responding. I would have never guessed that the Kiwaya is as fragile as a regular uke.

Lot's of great info on this site!

kkimura
07-10-2013, 09:53 AM
I only have experience with the oxk but I must say its a great soprano. Martin strings on it sound better than the aquillias that were installed but either way, it has great sound projection, tone and sustain. I personally like the neck being a bunch of pieces laminated together. It looks like no other. The body is alright but this thing is solid and you could beat up on it at will. Holds tune pretty well. I have 3 decent ukes and this is the one i play everyday. Build quality is superb. You cant go wrong with a new martin imo. Give it a whirl, worse that could happen is u return it. Best of luck!

This is the kind of feedback I was hoping to see. It's starting to tip towards the Martin OXK although the Outdoor uke is something I hadn't considered.

Thanks for posting

GinnyT11
07-10-2013, 10:22 AM
Take a look at a Favilla mahogany soprano. They are solid wood, and because they're vintage, they've had years in various weather and probably are pre-dinged for you. The ones made in the 1950s and 60s are rugged, and if you polish them up and put on Worth brown strings, they are very impressive, both in looks and sound.

The one I have has a repaired crack and some finish wear, and it's just great to play, with a boomy mahogany sound. It's my travel uke.
They come up for sale on ebay about once a week and, depending on condition, sell around $200-325.

kkimura
07-10-2013, 10:27 AM
Take a look at a Favilla mahogany soprano. They are solid wood, and because they're vintage, they've had years in various weather and probably are pre-dinged for you. The ones made in the 1950s and 60s are rugged, and if you polish them up and put on Worth brown strings, they are very impressive, both in looks and sound.

The one I have has a repaired crack and some finish wear, and it's just great to play, with a boomy mahogany sound. It's my travel uke.
They come up for sale on ebay about once a week and, depending on condition, sell around $200-325.

So a travel uke doesn't have to be a laminate? Interesting concept!

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
07-10-2013, 11:20 AM
I've played the Martin OXK at a shop---great, classic uke sound.

I own a laminate Kiwaya KS-0P (thin body pineapple uke). It's great sounding, and it's been plenty tough to be my travel/in-the-car/take-on-a-walk uke for the past couple years.

Don't think you can miss with either uke. But remember, no uke can withstand the abuse a random drunk person can do in one second. ("Dude, can I see your little guitar for a sec? Thanks. Cool. LOOK EVERBODY, I'M THE GUY FROM THE WHO!") Maybe better to get a uke you won't miss when it's gone for tail-gating (almost always a good deal on the local craigslist).

PeteyHoudini
07-10-2013, 11:36 AM
I've got an OXK. That thing is built like a tank. Might even survive WW3! hehe

Sound is mellow and good. The uke is heavy though.

Petey

kkimura
07-10-2013, 01:09 PM
Lots of good input. Not the least is the idea of, "get a uke you won't miss when it's gone for tail-gating". (Thanks Ralf) I had a similar situation with motorcycles when I switched from a BMW to a Kawasaki. With the Kawasaki I don't worry about dings and dents as much.

Captain Simian
07-10-2013, 01:24 PM
Have you considered a Makala Dolphin? Properly set up they sound good and if you spill beer on it you can just wipe it down. I think they're like $50 new.

kkimura
07-10-2013, 01:55 PM
Have you considered a Makala Dolphin? Properly set up they sound good and if you spill beer on it you can just wipe it down. I think they're like $50 new.

The price is right! So right now sitting by the computer practicing chords and tryin songs on the Mainland is cool but I am a little paranoid about taking the new uke anywhere it might get bumped. That will probably wear off in time I guess.

UncleMoon
07-10-2013, 02:02 PM
I am a little paranoid about taking the new uke anywhere it might get bumped.

Bump it right there, then take it for a walk.

silveraven
07-10-2013, 02:31 PM
Not sure what's your definition of a "beater" uke. :p

I've got a laminate (not the expensive ones like the Kiwaya and Martin) and I'm afraid of bringing it out where people can slam it around or drop it. Or crushing it when I go hiking. Or dropping into the sea. So I'm seriously considering the ODU when it comes back in stock (new headstock logo!) since I quite enjoy its abuse thread, haha~

kvehe
07-10-2013, 02:43 PM
The ODU is back in stock, according to their FB post. The new ones have the headstock logo and D'Addario titanium strings.

Depthy
07-10-2013, 03:07 PM
I dont know if the sound will be quite what you are looking fot, even though i cant imagine a better sounding $50 uke, but my Makala dolphin can stay in my hot/cold car for weeks and only sounds better and better. and no buzzing absolutely anywhere (bought from uke republic - reccomended for setup)

Skinny Money McGee
07-10-2013, 03:46 PM
I would suggest the OXK like the others, since you could drop it on the pavement in the parking lot and not hurt it. I own an OXK and take it on motorcycle trips and camping. That said, I think the Kiwaya is a better sounding uke from what I've experienced, comparing them side by side at Elderly Instruments. I don't think the OXK is as loud or projects like the Kiwaya does, but definately more durable by a long shot., and the playability is as good as it gets for a soprano.

silveraven
07-10-2013, 04:29 PM
I just saw it on my newsfeed! But I don't have the $$ yet so it'll have to wait. I'm also saving up for an all-solid uke. Decisions, decisions... (and yes, Makala Dolphins and Mahalos are super cheap I-don't-care-what-happens-to-them ukes too!) *shakes fist at UAS*


The ODU is back in stock, according to their FB post. The new ones have the headstock logo and D'Addario titanium strings.

kkimura
07-10-2013, 04:39 PM
What does an ODU go for? So far we're looking at a cost range from about $50 to $300 if I'm not mistaken.

silveraven
07-10-2013, 04:50 PM
$100 + free shipping in the US! I'd get it if I were you, since shipping kills everything for me. :(


What does an ODU go for? So far we're looking at a cost range from about $50 to $300 if I'm not mistaken.

pdxuke
07-10-2013, 04:51 PM
I owned both. I still have the OXK. It is BOMB PROOF (and middle school student proof.) It sounds as good as the S1 sounded. I sold the S1. I bring it where I don't want to bring my vintage Martins.

You cannot do better, IMHO.

I think I even did a sound test where I cheated and slipped it in with vintage Martins. It got a lot of votes. It's one of my keepers.

kkimura
07-10-2013, 05:03 PM
Yeah, sound is important after all we are talking about musical instruments. Next, the whole take it anywhere without worrying. And third reasonable cost. It's enough to cause analysis paralysis. Which may be a good way to forestall UAS.

Getting late, see you all tomorrow.

Pukulele Pete
07-11-2013, 03:24 AM
I bought a preowned OXK and it is a great uke. If you like Martins you will like this uke . Same great Martin neck , seems almost indistrucable,
great sound ( not as bright as solid wood) fret dots and side dots, it's an excellent ukulele .

kkimura
07-11-2013, 05:41 AM
I bought a preowned OXK and it is a great uke. If you like Martins you will like this uke . Same great Martin neck , seems almost indistrucable,
great sound ( not as bright as solid wood) fret dots and side dots, it's an excellent ukulele .

If you don't mind me asking, what's a preowned OXK go for these days?

Pukulele Pete
07-11-2013, 06:07 AM
Almost as much as a new one. If I did it again I would buy a new one.

kkimura
07-11-2013, 07:12 AM
Here's the count so far:
Martin SO, 1
Martin OXK, 5
Kiwaya KS1, (couldn't tell if the posts were for or against)
ODU, 2
Favilla, 1
Makala Dolphin, 2
(some posts were to close for me to figure out)

OldePhart
07-11-2013, 01:44 PM
Haven't had the Martin, but I own one of the longneck versions of the Kiwaya. It is a very good uke - not quite up with my solid ukes but very close. However, even being laminated it is not an "indestructible" uke. The laminate is thin (one of the reasons the sound is not that far behind a good solid uke) and the finish is quite delicate. I would say the finish is the most delicate of any of my ukes.

John

connor013
07-11-2013, 02:30 PM
One more contender: the slim/thin Bruko #1. It's solid maple throughout, has a distinct tone, and is bulletproof.

Mine's spent the past two summers on a steel barge, and has cumulatively logged weeks knocking around in my backpack.

It's got some scars, but it still sounds awesome; in fact, the more I wail on it the better I love it.

And... There's one for sale (it's not mine): http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bruko-Maple-Ukulele-Uke-Soprano-Thinline-Rockbag-Gigbag-Brueko-Germany-/200939798822?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2ec8f20126

Cheers.

UncleMoon
07-11-2013, 02:53 PM
One more contender: the slim/thin Bruko #1. It's solid maple throughout, has a distinct tone, and is bulletproof.

Mine's spent the past two summers on a steel barge, and has cumulatively logged weeks knocking around in my backpack.

It's got some scars, but it still sounds awesome; in fact, the more I wail on it the better I love it.

And... There's one for sale (it's not mine): http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bruko-Maple-Ukulele-Uke-Soprano-Thinline-Rockbag-Gigbag-Brueko-Germany-/200939798822?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2ec8f20126

Cheers.

That's coolkayaker1 here on UU. He seems like a stand up guy, I doubt you could do yourself any better on that particular uke.

connor013
07-11-2013, 03:44 PM
That's coolkayaker1 here on UU. He seems like a stand up guy, I doubt you could do yourself any better on that particular uke.

Yup. I'll vouch for Steve, and for the uke. As far as the price goes: it's as good as it gets new, and used ones come up rarely.

silveraven
07-11-2013, 05:25 PM
If I spend more than $150 on a beater uke and it breaks while I'm running around, my heart will shatter along with it. Especially if it's a Martin/Kiwaya.


Here's the count so far:
Martin SO, 1
Martin OXK, 5
Kiwaya KS1, (couldn't tell if the posts were for or against)
ODU, 2
Favilla, 1
Makala Dolphin, 2
(some posts were to close for me to figure out)

kkimura
07-12-2013, 04:17 AM
If I spend more than $150 on a beater uke and it breaks while I'm running around, my heart will shatter along with it. Especially if it's a Martin/Kiwaya.

Another vote for Makala Dolphin?

silveraven
07-12-2013, 04:44 AM
I actually voted for the ODU. :)

Which uke are you leaning towards?


Another vote for Makala Dolphin?

Captain Simian
07-12-2013, 04:45 AM
Why would you spend $150 on a beater uke? Cruise the thrift stores, flea markets, yard sales, and pawn shops for one. Or buy a Makala.

kkimura
07-12-2013, 04:59 AM
I actually voted for the ODU. :)

Which uke are you leaning towards?

Actually I'm starting to think cheaper may be better for this purpose. So Luna Hono Soprano or Cordoba UP110.

silveraven
07-12-2013, 05:30 AM
Exactly!


Why would you spend $150 on a beater uke? Cruise the thrift stores, flea markets, yard sales, and pawn shops for one. Or buy a Makala.

I have the Honu. But I like it so much that I don't want it to shatter (hence the craving for an ODU which is actually...more expensive...hmm, I shall rethink this). The Cordoba is a concert right? Isn't your Mainland a concert too?

Btw, you might wanna consider Captain Simian's Estrella soprano which he's letting go for $30 shipped.


Actually I'm starting to think cheaper may be better for this purpose. So Luna Hono Soprano or Cordoba UP110.

Captain Simian
07-12-2013, 06:21 AM
Btw, you might wanna consider Captain Simian's Estrella soprano which he's letting go for $30 shipped.

Thanks! You are both a gentleman and a scholar.

kkimura
07-12-2013, 08:51 AM
What's an Estrella? I looked all over and came up with; maybe made in Japan years a go.

May be I should just play the Mainland. I mean it's not going to self destruct unless I get caught in the rain or use it for a bat is it?

Captain Simian
07-12-2013, 09:16 AM
Estrella is just that, a cheap laminate Japanese uke from the late 60's, early 70's roughly.

As someone who has taken a bunch of ukes recently to some pool parties and barbecues, you don't want to take your main, kind of expensive uke out to any raucous events. Trust me on this. Get something that you're not going to freak out if it gets dinged, damaged, or destroyed. Especially if it's your only uke.

silveraven
07-12-2013, 09:20 AM
If it self destructs anytime soon, shouldn't it still be under warranty? ;)


What's an Estrella? I looked all over and came up with; maybe made in Japan years a go.

May be I should just play the Mainland. I mean it's not going to self destruct unless I get caught in the rain or use it for a bat is it?

Nah, I'm just a girl desperately trying to finish her thesis.


Thanks! You are both a gentleman and a scholar.

kkimura
07-12-2013, 10:49 AM
I need to win the Mega Bucks, get a "K" brand uke so I can use the Mainland as a "beater".

(holding my breath)

Captain Simian
07-12-2013, 11:30 AM
Nah, I'm just a girl desperately trying to finish her thesis.

I still stand by my original statement, sir.