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Thread: c.1920 Martin Style 1 Uke

  1. #1
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    Default c.1920 Martin Style 1 Uke



    Finished work on this one the other day. This is a customer's style 1 uke -- and a nice sounding, great playing instrument. Gotta love that rosewood binding!





    More pics & a writeup available at my blog post (click here)!

  2. #2
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    You can't beat those old Martins. I absolutely love how light they are.

  3. #3
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    Beautiful, Jake, just beautiful. I love the rosewood on these earlier style 1s; the tortoise shell on the later models is still nice, but not as lovely as this. Bet it sounds fantastic.

  4. #4
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    Feather light and yes, rosewood is mucho sweet.

    I like the wood pegs, too. If they're fitted correctly and given some peg dope, they work just as well as regular 1:1 friction pegs at 1/8-1/4 of the weight.

  5. #5
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    Jul 2011
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    That looks like Aquila Nylguts on there,...... i might try them on my '20's Style 2. Right now i have a Martin M600 set on it, but i've never liked the flimsey feel of those strings. A beat weaker than nylguts would be also.

    The Martins from that time period just seem so light,....didn't want to warp the neck or anything else.

    ....love the rosewood bindings on that one also. Classy look......

    BTW, since you work on a lot of older Martin ukes,......did any of the early 20's sopranos have a one piece bridge/saddle? Still trying to figure out if that is the case with my Style 2.
    Last edited by joejeweler; 09-09-2011 at 04:45 PM.

  6. #6
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    I've never seen a one piece bridge/saddle but that doesn't mean there weren't any. For every rule there's a zillion exceptions, especially with old instruments. Nylguts are perfectly fine on these ukes. Everyone should keep in mind that most vintage ukes from the time were intended really for ADF#B tuning, and some "stinker" ukes for GCEA tuning come super alive and nice tuned up to ADF#B. I find that the case with most '20s to '30s Oscar Schmidt and also the Weymann ukes I've encountered.

    RE the necks on Martins -- quartersawn mahogany is very tough and you'd be amazed how thin some other makes of period uke are compared to a Martin neck, also doing just fine with the nylguts. The beauty of the uke is that despite its very fragile-feeling nature, the build is almost always overkill for the relatively low tension gut/nylon/etc. strings put out.

  7. #7
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    Wow that is pretty, took me a sec to notice the binding it's done with such a delicate touch! Looks immaculate, too.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Wildwood View Post
    I've never seen a one piece bridge/saddle but that doesn't mean there weren't any. For every rule there's a zillion exceptions, especially with old instruments. Nylguts are perfectly fine on these ukes. Everyone should keep in mind that most vintage ukes from the time were intended really for ADF#B tuning, and some "stinker" ukes for GCEA tuning come super alive and nice tuned up to ADF#B. I find that the case with most '20s to '30s Oscar Schmidt and also the Weymann ukes I've encountered.

    RE the necks on Martins -- quartersawn mahogany is very tough and you'd be amazed how thin some other makes of period uke are compared to a Martin neck, also doing just fine with the nylguts. The beauty of the uke is that despite its very fragile-feeling nature, the build is almost always overkill for the relatively low tension gut/nylon/etc. strings put out.
    Thanks for the info,.....i'm going to leave the saddle as is until i check in with Martin directly,.....maybe they did a few with one piece bridge/saddle. I't hate to convert it only to find a few were made that way, and it's a rare prototype!

    ....although i'll probably add some dark mahogany stain to the top of the saddle like it was before i was going to trim a bit more off.

    I also took off the Martin M600 strings last night after i read your response, and put on a set of the new Aquila nylguts.
    NOW we're talking! (or singing!!) Those fatter strings sure do sound mighty fine on such an airweight built old timer.

    ......can't wait until the finally stop stretching and "zing" into that nylgut tone zone. Not sure if others notice it, but there is a point after several days of stretching where they seem to "pop" into an ultra dimention of tone production. Maybe the ultra stiffening that happens as they fully stretch? I know when i change out an old set of nylguts the old ones are a LOT stiffer than the new ones going on!
    Last edited by joejeweler; 09-10-2011 at 05:44 AM.

  9. #9
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    I put a set of Fremont Blacklines on my 40's 1M and it just sings. That bell-like tone from old mahogany is just unmatchable. cheers, g2
    My youTube channel (uke music) http://www.youtube.com/user/garydg29
    "Don't look back, they might be gaining on ya" Satchel Paige
    "Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is." Francis Bacon

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