View Full Version : Kiwaya KS1 or Mainland Concert as 1st 'serious' ukulele?

05-15-2014, 02:20 PM
Hello all,
I've been playing for a couple of months, and have a cheap Mahalo which I have been practising on. I've not been playing long enough to get good yet, but long enough to know I'm serious enough to spend a bit more money on a better uke.

I've got the chance to get either a Kiwaya KS1 or a Mainland mahogany concert with a slotted headstock, and have been offered either of them at basically half price. I wish could afford both but I can't, so I was just wondering which one would be most suitable for me to progress on? I've found lots of good reviews about both, but would appreciate some better qualified opinions.

And 'hello' too - I've lurked around the forum since before I got my Mahalo, and have learnt a lot. Mainly that I'm probably going to own a lot of ukuleles!


05-15-2014, 02:34 PM
You'll be pretty happy with either. If the Kiwaya is like my longneck soprano it will have vintage style frets - very thin and low. I kind of like them but they are different than the medium frets you'll find on almost any other modern uke and they can make barre chords a bit more difficult especially if you have bony fingers.

Other than that...either of them will be such a huge step up from the Mahalo that you'll be pretty happy for quite a while.


05-15-2014, 02:41 PM
I don't know anything about the Kiwaya. But I LOVE my Mainland classic mahogany tenor. It plays better than any uke I've tried. The intonation is spot on. Plus it sounds really great.

Good luck!

05-15-2014, 03:08 PM
Never played a mainland but i have heard amazing reviews on them and everyone seems to recommend them.

The Kiwaya felt great, i loved the neck and the fret shape and feel.

Both would be great, if you have the opportunity to play them both that could be the way to decide. Cause what feels right for you is the best ukulele and the best way to decide

05-15-2014, 04:16 PM

kiwayas are lightly built, made in japan, and lovely in every regard.

05-15-2014, 04:59 PM
I would definitely go Kiwaya. I have never played one but I have heard good things and I much prefer the style of it. Plain and classic. I have played many Mainlands. They are a nice uke for the price but never really wowed me. I also don't like slotted headstocks especially on concerts.

Tell us what you decide and how you like it.

05-16-2014, 01:37 AM
My vote goes to Kiwaya. I've been on a crazy uke buying binge since December and my used Kiwaya KS-5 is still my go to uke. It's a combination of the low frets and low string action that make it so easy to play. I've not tried a Mainlaind soprano, but it might be great too. :)

05-16-2014, 02:00 AM
[QUOTE=dirtiestkidever;1524601]...... I also don't like slotted headstocks especially on concerts........QUOTE]

Slotted headstocks should not be a problem with Mainlands. They only make a couple of models with slotted headstocks. Most are the standard flat headstock.

05-16-2014, 02:50 AM
Unless I'm mistaken, the Kiwaya is soprano size and the Mainland is concert size. Do you have any idea which size you might prefer? For me, that would be a pretty big consideration.

05-16-2014, 03:53 AM
Unless I'm mistaken, the Kiwaya is soprano size and the Mainland is concert size. Do you have any idea which size you might prefer? For me, that would be a pretty big consideration.


I've been drooling over that Mainland, but don't really need another solid concert.

Pukulele Pete
05-16-2014, 04:15 AM
Mainlands are nice but Kiwaya makes an awesome ukulele . Go with the Kiwaya .

05-16-2014, 05:44 AM
They are both great ukes. I play a Mainland concert and it's what I started wth.

This has already been touched on in this thread - but I'd suggest that rather than wrestle with which brand to choose, make a decision on which scale you prefer. Once you've sorted that out, go with the uke in that scale, as either one will work well for you.

05-16-2014, 05:53 AM
Is the original poster still here?

Pukulele Pete
05-16-2014, 08:25 AM
There is a big difference between a concert and a soprano , like apples and oranges. Concert size is too big for me. Anything larger than a soprano is cheating.

05-16-2014, 08:45 AM
Is the original poster still here?

Hi! yes, i'm still here - it was my son's birthday so we've been out all day. Thanks for all the replies and thoughts - it seems like Kiwaya definitely has the edge.
I know there'd be a difference between concert and soprano, but that's part of the reason I asked - I've only played soprano so far, and don't know enough to know what 'extra' I'd get out of a concert (apart from more frets). Is a concert something I'd naturally 'move up' to, or can I keep playing soprano as long as I want?

Anyhow, I think I'm leaning towards the Kiwaya myself, I really like the simple look of it. Also it is soprano which is what I currently know!

05-16-2014, 09:32 AM
Also with the Kiwaya you have the option of a super high quality laminate or if you want it and are willing to spend the extra you can go with a solid wood model. I love that the laminate Kiwaya doesn't compromise on quality of build or playability, honestly my KS6 is my favorite soprano even though it's a laminate and comparing to many ukes two or three times the price.

05-16-2014, 10:40 AM
Hi again,
Just when I'd decided on the Kiwaya, a family friend (of a family friend) has offered to sell me his Bruko (Brueko?). He says he's hardly played it, and that it's a slim model, solid mahogany with a one piece mahogany neck, rosewood fretboard, two piece saddle and Worth strings (I'm copying this from his email as I'm not 100% sure which are good points!), and has a special slimline hardcase with it.

So I don't know - it's either the Kiwaya for £100 (well, just over) or the Bruko for £80 - is the Kiwaya worth the extra? Does the Brueko being slim mean it's quieter? Oh who knew choosing a new ukulele was so complicated - is this why so many people on here seem to have so many ukuleles?!

05-16-2014, 10:46 AM
I'm not knocking the Bruko, they are amazingly well made uke's. But they have a very specific sound to them that you either love or hate. Play it before you decide, the Kiwaya is worth the extra IMO but you decide...

05-16-2014, 11:03 AM
That's my main problem, I'm nowhere near either of these ukuleles - the only place that sells ukuleles within 100miles of me only sells £25 cheapies. I've been told the Bruko is a custom model - does that make a difference? From the picture it looks very similar to the Kiwaya, both very understated with no soundhole ring.

Maybe I should do a poll!