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Thread: NUD: Famous FS-5 / Kiwaya KS-5

  1. #1

    Cool NUD: Famous FS-5 / Kiwaya KS-5

    Got this babe off eBay. The seller shipped directly from Japan.
    It came in the original box with no case, only foam fillers inside.
    First impression: very light, almost feels cheap and like a toy. However I have come to known that lightweight does not equal to bad quality.

    The gloss is flawless with pretty wood patterns. The tuners were plastic, And they were loosen during the transit. I had to use a screw driver to tighten them otherwise it wont hold tunes.

    The action is extremely low, which I prefer. I dont think the seller is specialized in Ukulele; they sell all kinds of items on eBay so I dont think the uke was set up professionally. That means out of the box, its already playable. The factory did a good job.

    The nut is very wide. Im used to the narrow nuts because I have small hands. However it is very comfortable for me to play. The neck profile is flat the flattest I have seen, almost like someone shaved it completely flat. ( that being said I hate Ponos round and thick neck profile).

    The strings are just ok. Not the best but not bad. Feels a little cheap as well.
    I have been playing it for 2 hours straight, quite enjoying the tone. Its loud, bright, very well balanced.

    Overall its a really nice uke. So far I would give it 85/100. It costs me about $320 including shipping and sales tax ( we have 10% tax rate otherwise I could have gotten it for little less than $300). Its a little pricey in my opinion for a laminate uke, although it sounds better than a lot of the solid wood ones. I would say $230-250 is more reasonable. I did like playing it, but the FEEL of it is where the minus from. I am not saying all high quality ukes need to be heavy built but this one just too toy like for me ( although doesnt sound like one)
    CD923F6B-9C7C-4300-9D29-E02BC45BB6B6.jpg0AC0514E-6E26-4D50-B352-BE35528472EA.jpg
    36E925D0-77A1-4F5A-86CD-F359ECBA9081.jpgD1730D58-50F0-4C7A-BBB8-4BF2A9F7451E.jpg
    DB0AC489-C264-4B23-AF4E-AC3AE6571B3A.jpg
    My Ukes collection:
    Rebel Mango Sublime Soprano (Creme brle)
    Mainland Mango Pineapple
    KoAloha Opio Acacia Soprano KSO-10
    Ohana CK-39
    Pono MCD - Mahogany concert deluxe
    Famous FS-5
    Ohana SK-21m
    Cocobolo Super Soprano

    Looking to sell:
    KoAloha Opio Acacia Soprano KSO-10
    Ohana Ck-39
    (let me know if you are interested)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    2,150

    Default

    My Famous is incredible. The light build is a plus, not a minus. (The 1920s mahogany Gibson I just bought is light as a feather and it's been around for nearly a century.) The materials and bracing of the Famous are stronger than many contemporary solid-wood instruments yet won't compromise durability. It won't sound like a solid wood instrument, but it'll hold its own. Hope you enjoy.
    SOPRANOS: 1920s Gibson UKE-1 1930s Martin 2M Ohana SK-28 Nunes Flea koa Ohana SK-35G solid mahogany Famous FS-1
    CONCERTS: Martin C1K Enya Nova U (blue) Ohana CK-50WG (solid cedar top) Firefly maple banjolele Makala MK-CE
    OBJETS D'ART: Vintage 'Mauna Loa' c. 1925 soprano Kahuna "Felix the Cat" soprano Woodrow "Steelers" soprano

    Raleigh Uke Jam:

    My YouTube page

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hendulele View Post
    My Famous is incredible. The light build is a plus, not a minus. (The 1920s mahogany Gibson I just bought is light as a feather and it's been around for nearly a century.) The materials and bracing of the Famous are stronger than many contemporary solid-wood instruments yet won't compromise durability. It won't sound like a solid wood instrument, but it'll hold its own. Hope you enjoy.
    Glad to know there are some satisfied FS owners out there
    My Ukes collection:
    Rebel Mango Sublime Soprano (Creme brle)
    Mainland Mango Pineapple
    KoAloha Opio Acacia Soprano KSO-10
    Ohana CK-39
    Pono MCD - Mahogany concert deluxe
    Famous FS-5
    Ohana SK-21m
    Cocobolo Super Soprano

    Looking to sell:
    KoAloha Opio Acacia Soprano KSO-10
    Ohana Ck-39
    (let me know if you are interested)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Posts
    8,519

    Default

    I've held ukes so light they felt like they'd explode if dropped. They sounded wonderful!
    "Those who bring sunshine and laughter to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".

    Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday living.

  5. #5

    Default

    I am also wondering is there a huge difference between FS-1 and FS-5? It’s about $100 price difference but being both laminated make them sound similar?
    My Ukes collection:
    Rebel Mango Sublime Soprano (Creme brle)
    Mainland Mango Pineapple
    KoAloha Opio Acacia Soprano KSO-10
    Ohana CK-39
    Pono MCD - Mahogany concert deluxe
    Famous FS-5
    Ohana SK-21m
    Cocobolo Super Soprano

    Looking to sell:
    KoAloha Opio Acacia Soprano KSO-10
    Ohana Ck-39
    (let me know if you are interested)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,503

    Default

    The only differences are the decals and the price.
    John

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Mississauga, Canada
    Posts
    80

    Default

    I have the same one!!! and I agree its super light esp. compared to some solid wood ones I have tried so it kind of took some getting used to. I think I was even holding it differently at first because I was used to having to "hug" heavier ukes a little more.

    Do you know when yours was made? Mine has a black saddle and nut but is also an FS-5 model and I've seen black and white out there so I'm not sure if they changed it at some point.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,503

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by YUNI View Post
    I have the same one!!! and I agree its super light esp. compared to some solid wood ones I have tried so it kind of took some getting used to. I think I was even holding it differently at first because I was used to having to "hug" heavier ukes a little more.

    Do you know when yours was made? Mine has a black saddle and nut but is also an FS-5 model and I've seen black and white out there so I'm not sure if they changed it at some point.
    The ones with black saddle and nut were earlier models, some of which also had a shorter fingerboard with only 12 frets, more like a vintage soprano. Personally, I like not having the fretboard overhang with extra frets, which I sometimes bump into while strumming in the sweet spot . See pic comparing new vs old FS-1 ukes. Old one also has a soundhole rosette.

    FS-1 comparison.JPG
    John

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Mississauga, Canada
    Posts
    80

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ukecaster View Post
    The ones with black saddle and nut were earlier models, some of which also had a shorter fingerboard with only 12 frets, more like a vintage soprano. Personally, I like not having the fretboard overhang with extra frets, which I sometimes bump into while strumming in the sweet spot . See pic comparing new vs old FS-1 ukes. Old one also has a soundhole rosette.

    FS-1 comparison.JPG
    IMG_0586.jpg

    I just pulled mine out to take a picture! It has 15 frets still but the fret marker placement looks a little different

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by YUNI View Post
    I have the same one!!! and I agree its super light esp. compared to some solid wood ones I have tried so it kind of took some getting used to. I think I was even holding it differently at first because I was used to having to "hug" heavier ukes a little more.

    Do you know when yours was made? Mine has a black saddle and nut but is also an FS-5 model and I've seen black and white out there so I'm not sure if they changed it at some point.
    I couldn’t find any info on the date so I sent an email to Kiwaya. Hope they will reply.
    My Ukes collection:
    Rebel Mango Sublime Soprano (Creme brle)
    Mainland Mango Pineapple
    KoAloha Opio Acacia Soprano KSO-10
    Ohana CK-39
    Pono MCD - Mahogany concert deluxe
    Famous FS-5
    Ohana SK-21m
    Cocobolo Super Soprano

    Looking to sell:
    KoAloha Opio Acacia Soprano KSO-10
    Ohana Ck-39
    (let me know if you are interested)

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