Famous-Japan. New Soprano variant

RPAtech

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I just saw this while browsing.
A new variation of their Eco Series (laminated).

What's different compared to their FS-1:

1.) It's in a "Matcha" color, which is green tea powder.

2.) The body is made from black walnut.

3.) Gold tuners.

I thought is was interesting. Only 50 made.

Here's a link:

I think it looks pretty nice based on the pictures.
My wife things it's ugly.
I'm curious what people think about this one.

SmartSelect_20220810-221558_Chrome.jpg
 

RPAtech

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I forgot to add.
That's approx. $247 USD, or £202
 
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kaimuki

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She's got a great personality .

https://quietvillage.jp/item/29213/


DSC_0013-2000x1333.jpeg
 
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uketorik

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I just saw this while browsing.
A new variation of their Eco Series (laminated).

What's different compared to their FS-1:

1.) It's in a "Matcha" color, which is green tea powder.

2.) The body is made from black walnut.

3.) Gold tuners.

I thought is was interesting. Only 50 made.

Here's a link:

I think it looks pretty nice based on the pictures.
My wife things it's ugly.
I'm curious what people think about this one.

View attachment 142432
I think it looks great! With only 50 made, it’ll be a future collectors item.
 

BigJackBrass

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The colour doesn’t come across well on that website, by the look of it. Either that or they’re angling for customers who love swamps.

An interesting variant, but… guitar-style tuners *shakes head sadly*
 
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hendulele

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Whatever is going on there, it would be wonderful if more Famous/Kiwaya instruments were easily accessible in the US!
 

RPAtech

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Whatever is going on there, it would be wonderful if more Famous/Kiwaya instruments were easily accessible in the US!
I'm surprised that a distributor in the US hasn't established a business arrangement with Kiwaya/Famous over the years.

The prices now are good considering the USD-to-Yen exchange rate.

But to get one to the states, adds to the cost quite a bit.

For example, a Famous FC-5G after taxes cost me $330 USD, an FS-5G cost me $280.
** Keep in mind, these prices are only due to the current exchange rate that's in my favor.
Normally it would be a bit higher.

Both great prices for those two ukuleles.
If I had to send one to the states, packaging one up to ensure it isn't damaged as well as the shipping cost (probably around $45) using US Postal Service Priority Mail.

Not too bad on a single basis, I suppose.

It would certainly be much better if a dealer could bring them in in a more cost efficient way. The price likely almost doubles once they factor in their cost of doing business.

Aloha City Ukes seems to have some always in stock. But I'd imagine he has to factor in the reality of sitting on inventory.

Ukuleles are probably too small of a market for anyone to want to bring in a large volume of them.
 

man0a

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I'm surprised that a distributor in the US hasn't established a business arrangement with Kiwaya/Famous over the years.

The prices now are good considering the USD-to-Yen exchange rate.

But to get one to the states, adds to the cost quite a bit.

For example, a Famous FC-5G after taxes cost me $330 USD, an FS-5G cost me $280.
** Keep in mind, these prices are only due to the current exchange rate that's in my favor.
Normally it would be a bit higher.

Both great prices for those two ukuleles.
If I had to send one to the states, packaging one up to ensure it isn't damaged as well as the shipping cost (probably around $45) using US Postal Service Priority Mail.

Not too bad on a single basis, I suppose.

It would certainly be much better if a dealer could bring them in in a more cost efficient way. The price likely almost doubles once they factor in their cost of doing business.

Aloha City Ukes seems to have some always in stock. But I'd imagine he has to factor in the reality of sitting on inventory.

Ukuleles are probably too small of a market for anyone to want to bring in a large volume of them.
Does Kiwaya have any distributors outside of Asia? Prices and supply in Europe seem to be as wacky as in the USA. Would not surprise me if Kiwaya is satisfied with their current Asian sales levels and may not have enough manufacturing capacity to expand while maintaining their quality levels. Expanding to the USA or Europe is not an easy or inexpensive project.
 

DuckyI

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Very cool Matcha colour!

UK availability of Kiwaya is pretty good, and I think there is a healthy market demand even at sharp mid-segment prices. SUS always have some Kiwayas in stock, both beginner and mid to high end ones.

As mentioned, the yen exchange rate is particularly good for those outside Japan at the moment. I took advantage of this and ordered directly from Japan when I bought my Tkitki. I use a proxy, Zenmarket in my case. Not for everyone but it's an option people can consider.

People from the US often mention high prices in relation to Kiwaya, but I think this is somewhat unfair. The US is exceptional in that it has very high levels of domestic production of high quality ukuleles. Similar quality imports will tend to be somewhat pricier due to handling, duty and shipping costs. In the rest of the world, US made ukuleles come at a premium and alongside that, Kiwaya is actually fairly good value. (
 

Neil_O

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That's quite a color. I suppose they messed up a batch of stain and decided to use it anyway?
 

man0a

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I recall that the Martin OX laminate soprano ukulele (which was often compared to the Kiwaya KS-1) came in a variety of colors. The Martin 0X sopranos were popular for a while, but were discontinued a few years ago. I think Kiwaya has the right idea in limiting the number of colored ukuleles that they sell. That will help them look more like collectors items than toys.
 

RPAtech

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You’re right, you’ve a keen eye! It’s 560mm long, slightly bigger than Famous standard FS-5/5G which is 545mm in length.
I was just checking their site again.
The FS-220 has 14 frets to the body instead of 12 that the FS-5/5G has.

I'm guessing their use of "hybrid" means both the solid top as well as a concert neck, rather than just calling it a long neck soprano.

Either way, that FS-220 is really grabbing my attention.
I've always been interested in an Opio spruce top, but the Famous FS-220 seems like it would be a great one to get.
I really like the neck shape, nut width, and the 30mm G-to-A string spacing on my FS-5G & FS-1G ukuleles.
 

RPAtech

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That's quite a color. I suppose they messed up a batch of stain and decided to use it anyway?
I wonder if they got a batch of Black Walnut, which is different (cheaper) from the normal woods they use in their laminates.

And decided to dye it that matcha color just to give some visual appeal to what would otherwise be a more plain and boring looking wood.

Just a guess. I have no way of really knowing.

I think the green looks pretty nice. Especially with the headstock and gold tuners.
But it won't get me to open my wallet.
It doesnt offer anything to me in terms of a better sound compared to my current Koa laminate ukuleles.

Based on the wood being used, I'm guessing it would be closer, sound-wise to the student models.

For my money, if I were to buy a Famous as my next ukulele the FS-1/1G (mahogany body), or the FS-220 (koa laminate body, solid spruce top) are what are on my list.

That being said.....I can never make up my mind anyway. I'm likely to change my mind constantly. 😀
 

Ukecaster

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I was just checking their site again.
The FS-220 has 14 frets to the body instead of 12 that the FS-5/5G has.

I'm guessing their use of "hybrid" means both the solid top as well as a concert neck, rather than just calling it a long neck soprano....

Just because it has 14 frets to the body, doesn't mean it's a concert scale (15") longneck soprano. It could still be 13"+ soprano scale, with 14 frets to the body, like some of the Takumi sopranos. Notice how the bridge is higher up towards the soundhole than most sops? Just a thought, I could be wrong, as I'm also not sure what they mean by hybrid, prob the solid top/ lam B&S combo, as you mentioned. Also, on Kiwaya/Famous ukes, I notice that they usually include an "L" in the longneck soprano model names.
 
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RPAtech

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Just because it has 14 frets to the body, doesn't mean it's a concert scale (15") longneck soprano. It could still be 13"+ soprano scale, with 14 frets to the body, like some of the Takumi sopranos. Notice how the bridge is higher up towards the soundhole than most sops? Just a thought, I could be wrong, as I'm also not sure what they mean by hybrid. Also, on Kiwaya/Famous ukes, I notice that they usually include an "L" in the longneck soprano model names.
I've often wondered about what makes a Soprano vs concert, considering the long neck variations.

It's an ongoing point of confusion for me.
It's not helped when there are other ukuleles out there that mention they have a Soprano body, concert neck, with a tenor scale, such as the Jake Shimabakuro laminated model that are described this way.

Thanks for mentioning the neck length.
Ill keep that in mind; 13" for Soprano, and 15" for concert.

** I didn't notice the position of the bridge until you pointed that out.

Now I'm more confused. I wonder what they mean by "hybrid".
 
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