View Full Version : Martin S-1 colour variation?

John A
07-27-2015, 03:29 PM
Hi Guys

I've been corresponding with John Curtis via YouTube, concerning the colour of his Martin S-1... it sounds superficial and unimportant but, my eye was attracted to the dark, almost chocolate brown, very matt finish of his S-1. All of the S-1s that I have ever seen have been more of a tan colour. I asked him about this and he puts it down to lighting, which I'm not so sure about... and then there's the matt finish. Also, maybe it's a bad photo but his doesn't seem to have any fret markings. He told me that his S-1 is 7 years old... can anyone tell me if they were darker then or is this colour difference is really down to just lighting?

Below is a photo of John playing his on YouTube, and a photo of how they normally look..



07-27-2015, 04:01 PM
The ukulele in the video appears to be a Martin S-0, not an S-1. The S-0 was discontinued some year back. It had a shorter fret board and no position markers.

The difference in the color likely has to do with the stain, grain fill actually. It is my understanding that Martin uses a dark grain filler. I've redone a few ukuleles using it and it can be darker or lighter depending on how much you wipe it off.

Patrick Madsen
07-27-2015, 06:22 PM
A dark Mahogany reminds me of Martin as they should be. Lighter not so much.

John A
07-27-2015, 07:26 PM
Thanks guys... I'm glad that it's not just to do with lighting! On the other hand, it's a shame that Martin has discontinued the S - 0, it looks like a nice uke. I'll have to look around for a used one! Thanks again for your help... cheers, John

07-28-2015, 03:53 AM
I think that's an S-0...don't know the history, but it was probably replaced with the S-1.


Pukulele Pete
07-28-2015, 04:10 AM
I have two Martin SO's and neither is as dark as the one in the picture , it may be the photography that makes it look dark. Of the two I have one is a little darker than the other.
One has a darker fretboard than the other. Then again there is the rare Martin HSO which is a dark color and may be the one in the picture.
The Martin SO in my opinion is a great uke and you can get them fairly cheap sometimes. I have 4 vintage Martins but I play the SO the most , I like the way they sound.

John A
07-28-2015, 05:00 AM
Thanks Uker & Puku... sounds as if colour variations are relatively normal! I've been checking out all the usual sites for a used S - O but haven't found one yet... cheers, John

07-28-2015, 12:34 PM

07-28-2015, 01:19 PM
Play any vintage Martin soprano next to an S0 and you'll realize why it was discontinued. Can't say what is pictured. A peek inside the sound hole would tell.

John A
07-28-2015, 04:51 PM
Thanks for the link hmgberg, unfortunately the seller has stated that he doesn't ship to Australia for some strange reason... and thanks for the advice sponge, I guess that, even though it's a Martin, you still only get what you pay for!

07-28-2015, 05:21 PM
Play any vintage Martin soprano next to an S0 and you'll realize why it was discontinued. Can't say what is pictured. A peek inside the sound hole would tell.

play any vintage Martin and you'll wonder why anyone makes any more sopranos...:shaka:

07-28-2015, 05:35 PM
My S-1 is darker and for sale if interested.

John A
07-28-2015, 11:13 PM
PM sent to you d-mace

Pukulele Pete
07-28-2015, 11:54 PM
If you do a search on this site for " name that Martin " there is an interesting test on the different Martin sounds.http://http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?75039-Name-that-martin!&highlight=martin+test (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?75039-Name-that-martin!&highlight=martin+test)

John A
07-29-2015, 01:48 AM
Thanks Puk for that link... very interesting experiment! I liked number 5 the best but they all sounded great. That's good news for me as I ponder and consider buying my first Martin, which may turn out to be d-mace's S - 1 if the price is right. Thanks again for letting me know about the test... cheers, John

07-29-2015, 02:32 AM
A good way to compare colors in different pictures is to include a reference color like a photographer's "grey card" in each shot.

John A
07-31-2015, 10:42 PM
Hi David... I sent you a PM today (August 1st) in answer to yours, but I can't see it in my sent folder so I'm not sure if it was sent or not... please let me know if nothing comes in today and I'll try again, cheers, John

Pukulele Pete
08-01-2015, 04:27 AM
In the immortal words of someone here ( Hippie Dribble ? I cant remember ) , .....They all sound like ukuleles .

08-02-2015, 03:25 AM
Had a few S-O's and they were all dark stained Matt finished

John A
08-03-2015, 12:16 AM
I've never seen one ukegirl, except for the one that I posted at the beginning of this thread...!

10-24-2017, 02:33 PM
They do seem to vary in color...here are 2 S-1 ukes