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

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    1,288

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ukecaster View Post
    The only differences are the decals and the price.
    There are a lot of differences between the 1 and the 5, and the price difference is valid. Just scratching the surface, the 1 is laminate mahogany, the 5 is koa. I've had both and far prefer the 5. The build is better on the 5. I know I've very good player who likes his 5 above all others.

    Not being argumentative, John, I think you may have been answering a different question--like whether it's the same as a KS-5. Yes, it is.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,505

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziret View Post
    There are a lot of differences between the 1 and the 5, and the price difference is valid. Just scratching the surface, the 1 is laminate mahogany, the 5 is koa. I've had both and far prefer the 5. The build is better on the 5. I know I've very good player who likes his 5 above all others.

    Not being argumentative, John, I think you may have been answering a different question--like whether it's the same as a KS-5. Yes, it is.
    Yes, I meant that Kiwaya KS-5 = Famous FS-5, and Kiwaya KS-1 = Famous FS-1. Sorry if I wasn't clear.
    John

  3. #13

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    Kiwaya has great customer service! They explain things very well.


    This is their email reply:
    The string on the Famous FS-5 is called "Famous Aranjuez Marron String". It is a thin nylon string. This string is sold only in Japan right now.

    Famous ukulele (the model name with "FS") is a domestic product. For export, we ship out as KIWAYA's "KS" series. (FS-5 will be KS-5 with KIWAYA's head logo)

    For the KIWAYA ukulele (proper route) we put an serial number so we can find out when (year and month) and where it was sent. But for domestic (Famous ukulele) ukulele, we do not have those serial numbers to identify the manufacture date. Only the manufacture year can be identified, and for this year (2020) the first letter "F" of the brand name "Famous", on the inner label should be black color.

    2019 was brown
    2018 was light blue
    2017 was red,
    2016 was green

    If it is not any of these, then the ukulele should be made before 2015.


    I hope this information helps you.
    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. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    the we(s)t coast, Canada
    Posts
    630

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    KS-1 = Laminate mahogany
    KS-5 = Laminate koa

    KTS models are solid wood (and KMS)
    Glenn

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Finland
    Posts
    164

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    I feel I need to join in on this NUD as I acquired a Kiwaya KS-5 today myself. I was lucky enough to spot this one on a clearance sale at a fairly large music store, and since I wanted a quality laminate uke as a potential travel uke, I decided to snatch it. Cost me around 220€ (roughly $240) with shipping and tax, so I'd say this one was a bargain.

    I have to agree with some previous comments about how light this thing is. It's like a feather but still very tactile and it doesn't feel fragile. And the volume... just wow. I think this might be the loudest soprano I have, even louder than my KTS-7. It's astonishing how well this thing is crafted. I think the strings it came with are the Aranjuez nylon strings which felt ok but didn't sound that good to me. Worth clears seem to be much better suited for this. Curiously enough, I believe this is a slightly older model as it has friction tuners instead of the Gotoh planetary tuners Kiwaya use nowadays. It must've been gathering dust at the music store for a while.

    The only downside I found is that the action at the 12th is quite high which is surprising for a Kiwaya instrument. It's quite obvious that no setup was done for this uke which is to be expected from a larger (mostly online) music store. Might have to sand down the saddle a bit, but otherwise I absolutely love this one.

    20200226_200726.jpg

    edit.

    Actually never mind, I don't think the Kiwaya Eco series have ever had planetary tuners. I just read "Gotoh tuners" from a couple of different sites and just thought they were the planetary tuners rather than regular Gotoh friction tuners. Silly me...
    Last edited by Dohle; 02-26-2020 at 09:24 AM.

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dohle View Post
    I feel I need to join in on this NUD as I acquired a Kiwaya KS-5 today myself. I was lucky enough to spot this one on a clearance sale at a fairly large music store, and since I wanted a quality laminate uke as a potential travel uke, I decided to snatch it. Cost me around 220€ (roughly $240) with shipping and tax, so I'd say this one was a bargain.

    I have to agree with some previous comments about how light this thing is. It's like a feather but still very tactile and it doesn't feel fragile. And the volume... just wow. I think this might be the loudest soprano I have, even louder than my KTS-7. It's astonishing how well this thing is crafted. I think the strings it came with are the Aranjuez nylon strings which felt ok but didn't sound that good to me. Worth clears seem to be much better suited for this. Curiously enough, I believe this is a slightly older model as it has friction tuners instead of the Gotoh planetary tuners Kiwaya use nowadays. It must've been gathering dust at the music store for a while.

    The only downside I found is that the action at the 12th is quite high which is surprising for a Kiwaya instrument. It's quite obvious that no setup was done for this uke which is to be expected from a larger (mostly online) music store. Might have to sand down the saddle a bit, but otherwise I absolutely love this one.

    20200226_200726.jpg

    edit.

    Actually never mind, I don't think the Kiwaya Eco series have ever had planetary tuners. I just read "Gotoh tuners" from a couple of different sites and just thought they were the planetary tuners rather than regular Gotoh friction tuners. Silly me...
    Fun fact. I changed the string to worth Brown but I didn’t like it. I changed it back to the factory default and enjoyed it much better.
    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)

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Finland
    Posts
    164

    Default

    The factory strings were alright but I much prefer fluorocarbon over nylon. Worth clears seem to do the job for me with this one.

    A small update: What I thought was high action at the 12th fret was probably mostly because of low string tension. I felt I was tangling on the strings but it has more to do with my rubbish restring ability. I restrung the uke again - properly this time - and the playability felt much better. The action is still a tad higher than my KTS-7, for instance, but not by much. Goes to show that Kiwayas really are very playable straight from the factory.

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