Kiwaya KTS-4 vs Ohana SK-38

khairijamian

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Hello :)

I don't have any of these instruments, so I don't have any idea which one would sounds better. Both got good reps among UUers, and I'm considering another soprano to be added in the current UAS streak. The KTS-4 had it listed $526.00 and SK-38 for $219.99, both on Uke Republic. Yeah, the Kiwaya doubled the price of Ohana, but, is it worth it? How do you compare these ukes? Also to be taken into consideration, is the new Martin S1 (not the vintage ones). Hope there'll be tons of opinion on this thread!

Thank you! :)
 

Doc_J

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Both are good choices for a Martin-style soprano sound. The KTS-4 is a nicer instrument, finely finished. The sk-38 is a very good instrument, it has an "antiqued" finish so it may look a bit worn. I think the KTS-4 has a slight edge in the sound too, but is 2.5x the price of an sk-38. The sk-38 is modeled after a Style 1, while the KTS-4 is modeled loosely after a style O.

If money is tight the sk-38 is fine choice.

I've owned an sk-38 and a KTS-6K (koa) at the same time and preferred the Kiwaya.

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byjimini

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If you're after a Martin sound, keep an eye on eBay for Ken Timm's soprano ukes.
 

Pippin

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I really like the SK-38 and think that it is a great value.
 

Plainsong

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I was really stunned by the sound of the sk38. For the price, I wasn't expecting much, and I got something that made other more expensive soprano ukes I had feel a bit pointless to keep around. I think they priced these too low. ;)
 

EDW

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The Kiwayas are great players and have a compensated saddle to aid intonation. They are flawlessly finished with great attention to detail and are feather light. I do think they are well worth the money. I have played custom luthier instruments that don't play as well.
 

khairijamian

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Both are good choices for a Martin-style soprano sound. The KTS-4 is a nicer instrument, finely finished. The sk-38 is a very good instrument, it has an "antiqued" finish so it may look a bit worn. I think the KTS-4 has a slight edge in the sound too, but is 2.5x the price of an sk-38. The sk-38 is modeled after a Style 1, while the KTS-4 is modeled loosely after a style O.

If money is tight the sk-38 is fine choice.

I've owned an sk-38 and a KTS-6K (koa) at the same time and preferred the Kiwaya.

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What do you mean by 'nicer instrument'? Does the KTS-4 qualifies more just in term of looks, finish? In your opinion, which one sounds better?
 

khairijamian

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I was really stunned by the sound of the sk38. For the price, I wasn't expecting much, and I got something that made other more expensive soprano ukes I had feel a bit pointless to keep around. I think they priced these too low. ;)

How much is the actual price of SK-38, if you were the one to decide? :D
 

khairijamian

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also, is it just myself or the neck of all Ohana soprano ukes are a bit thinner compared to the others?
 

Doc_J

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What do you mean by 'nicer instrument'? Does the KTS-4 qualifies more just in term of looks, finish? In your opinion, which one sounds better?

Kiwaya has a better finish and sound, IMHO. Even the tuners are better quality on the Kiwaya. For 2.5x the price it should nicer.
You might not like the weathered finish on the sk-38. I think it is cool looking but could have done without it.
Don't get me wrong, the sk-38 is the better value of the two. But the Kiwaya is a better instrument. Is it worth the extra $$? Only you can decide that.
 
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khairijamian

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Kiwaya has a better finish and sound, IMHO. Even the tuners are better quality on the Kiwaya. For 2.5x the price it should nicer.
You might not like the weathered finish on the sk-38. I think it is cool looking but could have done without it.
Don't get me wrong, the sk-38 is the better value of the two. But the Kiwaya is a better instrument. Is it worth the extra $$? Only you can decide that.

The KTS-4 got satin or gloss finish? Looks go second with me, but will also be taken into account. At 2.5x expensive than the SK-38, I expect a large margin in the term of sound between both of them. How about their necks? Don't you think that Ohanas got slightly thinner necks? My fingers, err they're big.
 

Ken Middleton

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also, is it just myself or the neck of all Ohana soprano ukes are a bit thinner compared to the others?

No, Ohana do not have thinner necks than most other sopranos. But certainly the Kiwaya has a wider neck (almost the same as a tenor), and consequently, some may find that easier to play. Whether the neck is normal or wider masks no difference to me, there is so little difference.
 

khairijamian

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No, Ohana do not have thinner necks than most other sopranos. But certainly the Kiwaya has a wider neck (almost the same as a tenor), and consequently, some may find that easier to play. Whether the neck is normal or wider masks no difference to me, there is so little difference.

Ah, I see. So, Ohana ukuleles got normal sized necks? Its just that the other brands went a bit oversized? Anyway, thanks Ken!
 

Mouthy1

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Ohana sounds better to me. Louder, more plinky martin like. I love the pre antiqued finish and think it is well done. I have plenty of experience with both.
 

khairijamian

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Ohana sounds better to me. Louder, more plinky martin like. I love the pre antiqued finish and think it is well done. I have plenty of experience with both.

A great uke at decent price? How do you rate the Ohana? :D
 

Ken Middleton

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Here's a video I did with Philippe Krouk in Paris. It's just an unrehearsed improvisation, but you can hear the two instruments quite clearly.

One of us is playing a vintage 1920's Martin 2M and the other is playing the prototype Ohana SK-38.




Kiwaya, on the other hand, do not really sound the same as a Martin. I think that the KTS-4 has a really wonderful sound, but you should not consider it to be just a copy of an old Martin. Kiwayas have a sound all of their own. After all, they have been making instruments for over 90 years. They make fabulous instruments.

Interestingly, Nobu Ochi of Kiwaya, came over to our booth several times at last year's NAMM to try out the SK-38. He really liked it and was amazed that we were selling it at such a low cost.
 

khairijamian

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Here's a video I did with Philippe Krouk in Paris. It's just an unrehearsed improvisation, but you can hear the two instruments quite clearly.

One of us is playing a vintage 1920's Martin 2M and the other is playing the prototype Ohana SK-38.




Kiwaya, on the other hand, do not really sound the same as a Martin. I think that the KTS-4 has a really wonderful sound, but you should not consider it to be just a copy of an old Martin. Kiwayas have a sound all of their own. After all, they have been making instruments for over 90 years. They make fabulous instruments.

Interestingly, Nobu Ochi of Kiwaya, came over to our booth several times at last year's NAMM to try out the SK-38. He really liked it and was amazed that we were selling it at such a low cost.

Great playings for of you! At 1st I can't differentiate which one is the Martin. Sounds quite similar! But why it is hard to find SK-38 these days?
 

Ken Middleton

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... But why it is hard to find SK-38 these days?

Because everyone wants one and many stores sold out within a few days. Remember also that we choose our dealers very carefully and only sell through a small number of outlets.

I am very pleased with the response from players.