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Thread: Kiwaya KSU-1L Long Neck Soprano - REVIEW

  1. #21
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    Not to hijack Baz's review thread, but I ordered the KCU-1 concert version of this last Wed. from Rakuten Global while away on vacation, and was totally amazed when I went to the post office today (Monday) to pick up my mail, because it was already there waiting for me!

    I'll do a NUD later, but agree with everything Baz said about the soprano version: a few finish imperfections, but a very sweet & loud uke. Like all Kiwayas, plays like a dream, with 36.2 mm nut width. This one has notched kerfing inside, but very tidy in there, no excess glue drips. Yeah, it was $119.00, and shipping was $67.00 to MA, but to get a concert uke of such quality/sound/playability for under $200.00 is great IMO. I expect it will sound even better when I put on a set of Martin M600 strings, not sure what they ship with, but they seem just OK. nothing special.

    One thing that surprised me was that nowhere on the uke does it mention Made in China, or any other info about origin; it only says Produced by Kiwaya on the inside label.

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    Last edited by Ukecaster; 08-06-2018 at 10:32 AM.

  2. #22
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    Wow, that was fast. And it's a very nice looking uke! It's getting difficult for me to resist buying one.
    Tiny Tenor spruce/mahogany
    Kiwaya KTC-2 mahogany concert
    Flight Travel soprano

  3. #23
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    Yeah, if it only had friction tuners!

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDW View Post
    Yeah, if it only had friction tuners!
    Agreed, frictions look way better on sop or concert. These are the geared tuners you see on many cheap ukes: they are unbranded, look like Grover open geared (but aren't), and don't perform as well as Grovers. In fact, when I removed the strings to install Martins, you could easily wiggle the tuner button arms quite a bit in the gears, unlike Grovers, which are much more solid. If I really like this one, I'll probably install UPTs, which are my favorite. I know, some may consider it overkill on a $119.00 uke, but I'm all about utility on keeper ukes, and UPTs are the best. We'll see.

    Strings seem wimpy/cheap too. Gauges are .42 .63 .53 .38. Way thinner than the Martins being installed now, which are .56 .86 .64 .49 An easily solved problem there.
    Last edited by Ukecaster; 08-06-2018 at 06:11 PM.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ukecaster View Post

    One thing that surprised me was that nowhere on the uke does it mention Made in China, or any other info about origin; it only says Produced by Kiwaya on the inside label.
    They are made in China though - the Kiwaya distributor to the UK told me himself. They are still building in Japan too as well.
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  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ukecaster View Post
    Not to hijack Baz's review thread, but I ordered the KCU-1 concert version of this last Wed. from Rakuten Global while away on vacation, and was totally amazed when I went to the post office today (Monday) to pick up my mail, because it was already there waiting for me!

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    back.jpg

    headstock.jpg
    Ukecastor,
    Fun that you got the concert!
    Was there a customs charge on top of purchase and shipping fee? (Not knowing has kept me contained.)
    Where is "upper US"?
    Tracie

    Island Koa Instruments, prototype soprano, Peter Howlett #153
    Weymann soprano, 20's or 30's?
    Martin O, 1960's
    Kiwaya KTS-7
    Lanikai SPS-S spruce top
    Kanile'a K1 Concert
    Kamaka 1969 Tiki Concert
    Kala Elite 1MHG Concert
    Larrivee UT40MHO spruce/hog Tenor
    Guild Bari

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by ukeinfused View Post
    Ukecastor,
    Fun that you got the concert!
    Was there a customs charge on top of purchase and shipping fee? (Not knowing has kept me contained.)
    Where is "upper US"?
    No customs charge, just the shipping from Japan. Upper US was a joke, something a bawdy high school teacher "taught" me back in the 70s.

    BTW, it ended up that there was a buzz on the first 2 frets of the C string. My tech said there is probably a high fret further up the neck, and is fixing now, hopefully he can tap it down, and it won't need more expensive filing. So, based on that, and a few finish imperfections, I'd say that this MIC Kiwaya has lesser quality than the MIJ Kiwayas and Famous ukes I've played.
    John

  8. #28
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    Without a doubt the QC is not as good on these as the Japanese versions (everyone of which I have seen of which has been flawless).. but.... they are a small fraction of the price and have a tone that far exceeds that low price. In my opinion anyway!
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  9. #29
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    Smile Kiwaya Student model

    Quote Originally Posted by steveholt View Post
    Was this sold out on world of ukes prior to your review??
    If not, it implies your reviews carry a certain weight.

    I wouldn't have a KM uke without your review tbf Baz.
    I should comment that the "Student" range of Chinese-made Kiwaya ukuleles are all new models. We imported our first Kiwaya shipment into the UK earlier this summer, and included a small quantity of these to evaluate them. As is often the case, demand outstripped supply and we have to wait for our next shipment (imminent) to be able to supply all the back-orders. This range of ukes will never become ubiquitous, like Kala or others - even our second shipment has presented a challenge to Kiwaya because we've ordered many more than last time. My advice if to buy one when you get the opportunity, preferably from a dealer in the UK, where we offer full warranty and backup support .

  10. #30
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    Thanks Mark - and I may well need to grab one!
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