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View Full Version : New Martin 3's vs. Kiwaya KTS-7



Telperion
10-09-2013, 05:27 AM
I know this topic has been worked over in the past many times, but I would love to hear more opinions on people's experiences with the new Martin Style 3's, and whether they believe the KTS-7 is a better deal or not. I'm hoping to add something along these lines to my collection in the next month or so, but I am torn. I'm not currently considering vintage Martins, mostly because I wouldn't want to buy one without playing it first, as I have heard that not all old Martins are great players. I want good intonation, good tone, and an instrument that is crack free and has not been repaired in the past. Also, when you come across a vintage style 3 that meets these criteria, it is usually cost prohibitive.

So, anyone out there recently purchase a new Martin Style 3? I'm interested in the mahogany, koa, or even the cherry (although Petey's experience with the cracked katalox fretboard worries me).

Thanks,

-Steve

PeteyHoudini
10-09-2013, 06:48 AM
Hi Steve,

I also bought a new style 3 (mahogany) this spring. I didn't play it much but after two months later when I did, I find there is a slight intonation problem. I was going to change the strings first to see if it is not a bad string, but I've been too lazy with all my other ukes. The style 3 itself is very loud. It's surprising how loud it is. I prefer the more subtle cherry sound. I will eventually do a review of it but the intonation issue bothers me so I've just put it aside.

cheers,

Petey

Telperion
10-09-2013, 07:01 AM
Thanks, Petey. I knew that you had planned to eventually purchase a 3M and wondered if you had one by now. Sorry to hear about the intonation problem. This is my biggest concern, to be honest. I want a new Martin badly, but I seem to hear more and more cases of issues like this. I'm surprised that Martin isn't more concerned about the details, especially at their price point. Have you noticed any intonation issues with your Style 2's?

Speaking of the 3 Cherry... has yours been solid since your fretboard repair? Has it 'opened up' over time?

Steve
(previous member ID - sjshiner)

mm stan
10-09-2013, 08:21 AM
Aloha Steve,
Buying either new or vintage, there still will be risks....especially buying unseen or unplayed... best if you can at least call and let them play them for you...
I guage ukes not by their name or model, they all have individual voices just as you and me....best to play them side by side to really know, or ask them on the phone as previously stated
good Luck and happy strummings...let us know how it turns out....

Telperion
10-09-2013, 08:31 AM
Thanks, Stan. I hear what you're saying about making sure you get to listen to or play the instrument. I do believe the risk is a little lower buying new, as there is typically a return policy and factory warranty, should anything go wrong. I've bought a lot of new and used instruments and had pretty good luck over the years, however, I have not ventured into vintage Martins. So, I suppose some of the risk, is that I am unfamiliar/uneducated on vintage Martins. Thanks for the advice!

-Steve

jwieties
10-09-2013, 09:07 AM
FYI - Elderly has a great deal on a used Kiwaya kts7. This seems like a low risk way to test the waters. Should be easy enough to get most of your money back down the line if you come across a nice style 3.
http://elderly.com/vintage/names/kiwaya-kts-7-%28recent%29--180U-1903.htm

Patrick Madsen
10-09-2013, 11:02 AM
For myself, if it's not a custom uke then it's vintage. There is special feel in a vintage Martin neck; thin, low and fast that I have yet to find in a new one. I played a lot of them when I was first looking at ukes and was really disappointed but not surprized by the clunky feel of the neck and lack of a good setup. I hoped ukes in that price range, especially Martins, would have better quality control. Looking at the price of a new 3 series Martin and the challenges that seem more frequent, I'd choose a lower model and go with vintage bought with a sellers guarantee. But thats just my preferance for vintage.

New ukes devalue when wanting to sell, vintage Martins hold their value.

Telperion
10-09-2013, 11:06 AM
New ukes devalue when wanting to sell, vintage Martins hold their value.

This is an excellent point, Patrick. Appreciate the commentary on feel and set-up too. I've got a couple custom ukes, and the neck profile and feel are beautiful. I am certainly already spoiled, so I don't want to set myself up for disappointment.

-Steve

Patrick Madsen
10-09-2013, 11:21 AM
The closest I've found that feels similar to my Moore Bettah is my vintage Martin bari. neck. The new ones are not even in the ballpark as far as feel. We're not spoiled, just seasoned lol.

PeteyHoudini
10-09-2013, 01:21 PM
Thanks, Petey. I knew that you had planned to eventually purchase a 3M and wondered if you had one by now. Sorry to hear about the intonation problem. This is my biggest concern, to be honest. I want a new Martin badly, but I seem to hear more and more cases of issues like this. I'm surprised that Martin isn't more concerned about the details, especially at their price point. Have you noticed any intonation issues with your Style 2's?

Speaking of the 3 Cherry... has yours been solid since your fretboard repair? Has it 'opened up' over time?

Steve
(previous member ID - sjshiner)

Hi Steve,

I did think the 3M's intonation was a bit off when I first got it and I thought it might take some settling of the strings. However, too many other distractions in my personal life happened and by the time I got back to it 3 months later, it was too late to return it. So, best to give a new Martin uke a real going over in the first 30 days so you can return it if not satisfied. I'm not quite sure what I should do about it now.

Since I've been doing my funny Martin video reviews, I get a few emails from people complaining about their Martins and they want to know if I have the same problem. One guy had a new cherry 3 and the bridge was tilting. No joke. He sent me the photo! I told him to send it back right away.

My style 2 and 2k are perfectly fine in every way and superb intonation. My style 2 is just a real piece of work! Couldn't live without that one. I got lucky and got a really good one. I'll hang on to that baby until I'm 6 feet under! ;-) hehe The luthier who repaired my cherry said not to worry so much about the fretboard where the crack was. He did an amazing job and there hasn't been any issues. I just love that uke as much as my style 2. It has opened up and is fantastic to my ears. My style 2 and cherry 3 are the ukes I would save if I had a fire at my place. I have the new 2k tenor and that's a real keeper too.

Petey

willisoften
10-09-2013, 08:22 PM
Generally the Kiwayas are better instruments than the modern Martins, IMO.
But the modern Martin will hold its market value better especially in the US market I would think.

And - the Kiwaya is obviously intended to look like the original Martin, even if it does play well and sound good it's sort of naff repro.

coolkayaker1
10-10-2013, 06:43 AM
I have owned three Kiwayas, including the low end soprano (KTS-1, maybe?), a master grade koa tenor (very high end), and the highest end concert (is it a KTC-3, I think, yes)--they were all boxy and tight sounding. The tenor I owned longest, about a year--still tight. No ring. No twang. They are made to such exacting and tight tolerances, they just never opened in my mind.

Martins have a much, much better resale, if that's a future factor.

My new Martin 3C and Martin 2M sound head and shoulders better, right out of the box.

But, for the price of a new Martin, one could buy a vintage Martin, that will never lose value and sounds impeccable (and places like Gryphon, Elderly, Bernunzio, always are generous with returns if you don't like it--so you don't have to go eBay unless you want to).

(Petey, I just got done from backpacking and touring New Hampshire for 2.5 weeks, and now working on the book (fiction, plus a collab with my brother on non-fictioin business book) ...doing it full-time! Thx for your encouragement.)

fernandogardinali
10-10-2013, 07:19 AM
I can say about the vintage Martin style 0 x Kiwaya KTS-4. Even the Kiwaya being a very high quality instrument, the Martin is obviously superior. It has a bark that the Kiwaya fails to get. I'm not saying that the Kiwaya is a bad option, but a vintage Martin has something no other uke I played had. And browsing you can find a nice, clean, Martin style 0 that will blow your mind for less than the price tag of a new Kiwaya KTS-4.

coolkayaker1
10-17-2013, 05:53 AM
I agree with the well-educated and respected ukulele enthusiast from Brazil.