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aquadan
12-22-2015, 01:29 PM
I just snagged a uke in a local auction, and everything about it screams 1927 Style 1 Martin. Except.... there is no branding and no serial number anywhere on it.

Tuners are correct, back radius feels right, shape, binding, fretboard and dots, tie block, everything I can compare against the Martin book seems right.

The heel of the neck seems a little chunkier compared to a 50's Martin, and the bookhas no good heel photos, but some look like they could match this as well.

There are a couple of hairline cracks, but other than that and a bunch of scratches and a few dings it's in excellent condition. And it has the Martin bark, so no matter what it is, it's a keeper.

The lighting here is bad, so the pictures aren't great, but I can try again in the daylight if I need better ones.

8672086721867228672386724

aquadan
12-22-2015, 01:30 PM
I suppose one of the top would help too... duh.
86725

BlackBearUkes
12-22-2015, 02:27 PM
While some things look correct, the bridge is wrong and to my knowledge, Martin always identified their ukes with a Martin name on the back of the headstock. the front of the headstock or a name inside the uke. They did not use serial numbers or paper labels. Until something can be proved otherwise, it is not a Martin uke.

PhilUSAFRet
12-22-2015, 02:39 PM
Send the pics to Martin! koolkayaker1 may be able to help

aquadan
12-22-2015, 02:42 PM
The bridge looks right to me, what's wrong with it?

The lack of a stamp or decal is what bothers me about it, but I wasn't sure if any of the models they made for other companies would be missing it.

tbeltrans
12-22-2015, 02:45 PM
I just looked at my 1925 Martin 2K and see that on the back of the headstock is stamped the Martin identification, along with the same thing seen through the soundhole inside the ukulele. There is no paper label. One other thing about my ukulele is that it is incredibly light - feels like it has almost no weight at all. The newer Martin ukuleles seem a lot heavier by comparison. Also it is LOUD. Some describe the sound as "that Martin bark". So there is a lot about these old Martin ukuleles that is quite distinctive. I would think the difference between a 1925 and a 1927 Martin ukulele should be minimal, if even detectable.

I am not an expert on these things, but I did purchase from a nationally known and reputable/knowledge dealer of vintage instruments, who is fortunately in my back yard, s to speak so I could try before I bought. They cited a Martin book on ukuleles that allows you to identify the age of a ukulele based on certain identifying aspects of the instruments such as the style of the tuners, the location and style of the labels, and things such as that. I don't recall the name of the book, but it is mentioned frequently in this forum whenever the discussion comes up about vintage Martins.

I am not a collector and really don't know much about vintage Martins. The only reason I have one is because it was the only soprano ukulele that I really liked the sound of. Had I found THAT sound in a newer, less expensive ukulele, I would probably have gone for that, but it is "kinda cool" to have a piece of history. I feel a sort of responsibility to try to make sure this one doesn't get any cracks and is well taken care of in a way that I probably wouldn't feel so strongly about with a new (non-vintage) model.

Tony

aquadan
12-22-2015, 02:45 PM
Send the pics to Martin! koolkayaker1 may be able to help

I already PM'd Steve but didn't have pics then. He wondered that if everything checked out that it might be an employee's personal uke. I am in PA, so that's possible I suppose.

BlackBearUkes
12-22-2015, 02:48 PM
Maybe its your photo, but the Martin bridges are rounded off on the sides and back edges. The bridge in the photo looks flat on top, never saw a Martin bridge that is total flat. Maybe a different photo from the side? As far as I know Martin only made ukes for the Wurlitzer company and the shape of that uke is different.


The bridge looks right to me, what's wrong with it?

The lack of a stamp or decal is what bothers me about it, but I wasn't sure if any of the models they made for other companies would be missing it.

aquadan
12-22-2015, 02:59 PM
It's the picture, the bridge is rounded on the sides and back.

The martin book listed several companies that they made instruments for. It doesn't look like a ditson or wurlitzer, but there aren't good pics of the other ones to compare against.


Maybe its your photo, but the Martin bridges are rounded off on the sides and back edges. The bridge in the photo looks flat on top, never saw a Martin bridge that is total flat. Maybe a different photo from the side? As far as I know Martin only made ukes for the Wurlitzer company and the shape of that uke is different.

UkerDanno
12-22-2015, 04:50 PM
Looks a lot like my 1930's Martin, your heel is a little chunkier, the tuners are different. I thought 20's Martins had peg tuners.

aquadan
12-22-2015, 04:57 PM
This style Grover started in 1927 on the style 1.

The heel is the other part that doesn't seem quite right to me, but I haven't seen anything older than a 50s Martin to be able to compare.


Looks a lot like my 1930's Martin, your heel is a little chunkier, the tuners are different. I thought 20's Martins had peg tuners.

soupking
12-22-2015, 05:05 PM
Steve wouldn't know anything more than is already in the Martin book. So since you already have the book, I'd suggest heading over to The Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum or Flea Market Music Bulletin Board. If you search back far enough through the posts of yore, you'll find a wealth of knowledge from real experts who are incidentally even thanked in "the book." My hobby when UU used to be down and offline was to read all the backlogs of the real experts out there, so if you want some names, shoot me a pm and I'll try to help you locate some people who really know what they're talking about. -- Matt

jgarber
12-22-2015, 05:05 PM
My guess would be possibly a Martin employee uke. I do believe that even the ukes that Martin made for other companies would have had some sort of stamp either on the back of the peghead and/or on the inside.

soupking
12-22-2015, 05:14 PM
PS for what it's worth, and I could be wrong- as I'm no expert- but my understanding of Martin is that the employees were prohibited from taking an instrument out of the factory without the "stamp," or some sort of indication that the instrument was a Martin...

jgarber
12-22-2015, 05:36 PM
PS for what it's worth, and I could be wrong- as I'm no expert- but my understanding of Martin is that the employees were prohibited from taking an instrument out of the factory without the "stamp," or some sort of indication that the instrument was a Martin...
I think that it is just the opposite. Martin let employees build their own instruments but we're not allowed to put any marks on it to indicate that it was a Martin or to resell it as such.

some discussion here (http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=146505) and here (http://theunofficialmartinguitarforum.yuku.com/reply/1561084/Guitars-made-by-employees-as-their-personal-instruments).

coolkayaker1
12-22-2015, 05:44 PM
Hey, Dan.

Thanks for the photos and PMs.

I don't think that's a Martin, but don't know for sure. Having owned many Martins (and bought and resold just as many) over the past few years, I've never come across one without any stamp at all, inside or out. Even the ones made for other companies have a stamp. I have three Ditsons, made by Martin, all with a Ditson stamp. Wurlitzers, a Wurlitzer stamp, etc.

The bridge is, as Duane mentioned, definitely not Martin. That is the bridge used by Regal, Stewart, and other Chicago-based ukulele makers. I have had a few, and they are great ukes just the same. I have since sold mine or else I'd take a photo to show you.

The tuners, as someone mentioned, look unfamiliar to me. You mention finding then in the Martin book, Dan, so I believe you. I still own many ukes from the 20s and don't have any with those tuners. They look similar to some of the 1950s style Martin tuners, but not exactly those either. Very interesting.

Let me turn on some of my online Martin buddies Ryan and Rick and Terry to this thread for more input. Let's see. They're a world of knowledge, also based on ownership and seeing many ukes pass through their hands and before their eyes.

Mmstan has a wealth of knowledge and may chime in, too. Great uke, Dan! Great!

aquadan
12-22-2015, 05:56 PM
I think the bridge is the correct shape and it's just a bad picture. It is identical to the bridge on my 50s martin. Macmuse agrees with me on the bridge and says hi. (She's still loving the Bruko and Martin concert we got from you!).

The tuners appear to be the Grover #92 on page 128 of the book.

I've been doing some searching on employee instruments and found this thread http://theunofficialmartinguitarforum.yuku.com/topic/144709/Guitars-made-by-employees-as-their-personal-instruments

If it's not a Martin, that's fine, I'm still real happy with it, but it sure would be nice to figure out what it is.


Hey, Dan.

Thanks for the photos and PMs.

I don't think that's a Martin, but don't know for sure. Having owned many Martins (and bought and resold just as many) over the past few years, I've never come across one without any stamp at all, inside or out. Even the ones made for other companies have a stamp. I have three Ditsons, made by Martin, all with a Ditson stamp. Wurlitzers, a Wurlitzer stamp, etc.

The bridge is, as Duane mentioned, definitely not Martin. That is the bridge used by Regal and other Chicago based ukulele makers. I have had a few, and they are great ukes just the same. I have since sold mine or else I'd take a photo to show you.

The tuners, as someone mentioned, look unfamiliar to me. You mention finding then in the Martin book, Dan, so I believe you. I still own many ukes from the 20s and don't have any with those tuners. They look similar to some of the 1950s style Martin tuners, but not exactly those either. Very interesting.

Let me turn on one of my online Martin buddies Ryan and Rick and Terry to this thread for more input. Let's see.

Mmstan has a wealth of knowledge and may chime in, too. Great uke, Dan! Great!

coolkayaker1
12-22-2015, 06:19 PM
Hi, sister of the uke MacMuse. Glad that you're enjoying those ukes, Bruko and Martin concert. I'm so glad that you like them. (Still a hole on my wall where the concert Martin once lived, but I smile to know that you play and enjoy it!)

Dan, you sure have hit on something! I see the No. 92 tuners that you reference, and they sure do look like them (too bad there's no photos from the front of the headstock in the book); yes, they do look alike. Of all the Martins I've owned and played, I've not owned those tuners...isn't that odd?

The bridge, I don't know. Maybe. Hard to tell from the photos. My gut says no, but I want to believe. LOL Admittedly, Regal and such usually don't have a two-piece bridge, and yours does. Maybe it is the photo that makes it look square, hard to tell.

The link you have about Martin employee models is great! Interesting reading. So, Martin forbid the logo on employee ukes (for the most part--debatable, as can be seen from the thread). And you are from near-abouts the Martin factory region. You may be onto something. Wow, beguiling!

I sent out a couple of feelers, lets' see how others chime in on this thread.

PS Dan, any other photos you could take--of the whole instrument, just the back, the butt end, etc. Go wild, please!--might help...it all has to do with proportions and such.

chefuke
12-22-2015, 08:08 PM
Congratulations on your find!
scoring a style 1 Martin staff uke is one of my fantasies!!!

hmgberg
12-22-2015, 11:24 PM
Some of the earlier (like very early) Martins had squarish bridges. My 1916-17 Ditson (no position markers) does as does a Style 1 (position markers at 5, 7, 9) I have. on both of these the saddle is boxwood (light colored wood, like maple). There is also some discussion about it on this page:

http://theunofficialmartinguitarforum.yuku.com/topic/138521/Rare-Martin-Ditson-ukulele#.Vnpxy4t5_ds

jgarber is correct; employees were not allowed to use the Martin logos on instruments they made.

mm stan
12-22-2015, 11:39 PM
Yes Howard you are right, but they were square but was i believe they had a bit rounded edges. This seems like an crudely early replacement maybe.

hmgberg
12-22-2015, 11:53 PM
Aloha, Stan!!! Hope you are well, my friend!

Yes, the corners are softened slightly. I can't really see whether or not they are in the pics aquadan posted.

rpfrogner
12-23-2015, 12:46 AM
Did not Martin make some unlabelled Style 1 ukulele's for H.A. Weymann in 1925? Weymann likely would have put a label on the back of the head stock which could have long ago been removed. (There is also the possibility it is a Weymann made uke. They are very very close to the Martins).

mm stan
12-23-2015, 12:46 AM
Aloha, Stan!!! Hope you are well, my friend!

Yes, the corners are softened slightly. I can't really see whether or not they are in the pics aquadan posted.
Seasons Greetings my friend, yes i agree we may need better photos to access it better :)

Macmuse
12-23-2015, 01:06 AM
Yes Howard you are right, but they were square but was i believe they had a bit rounded edges. This seems like an crudely early replacement maybe.


Aloha, Stan!!! Hope you are well, my friend!

Yes, the corners are softened slightly. I can't really see whether or not they are in the pics aquadan posted.

The picture definitely doesn't show it well (and I have a strong hunch that the mystery of this is going to drive aquadan to get some more pics posted today ;).

The bottom edge is rounded, the sides are definitely rounded slightly - not as rounded as the bottom. The string slots are spaced just about as identically to our labeled Martin soprano as they could get. It's a mahogany uke (tho the auction listed it as a rosewood uke, lol), and the bridge is as well, with ebony saddle, like the nut.

The bridge is the same width as our Martin, but it's got a bit more wood from saddle to top edge of the bridge (not a significant amount for hand cut vs. a much later version though). Finish is as one would expect - no truly sharp, unsanded/finished edges.

I've been burned on "almosts" before in various walks of collecting, so I tend toward truly cautious if 100% of the proper identifying features aren't in place.

Darned if this one doesn't match up insanely proper for the fret markers, type of frets, fingerboard shape/position, headstock shape, body weight, binding, rosette, early tuners (correct as ones they used on the style 1 in 1927, replacing wooden pegs)... It's just plain eerie how right it all looks, feels, AND sounds I might add, in the face of no brand marking on it.

If not somehow a Martin, someone out there did a stellar job on this little guy, it sounds great, appears to have some legit age, and is in really decent shape despite the age. As aquadan mentioned, it's a keeper, but it would be really cool to solve the "what is it really?" mystery.

I'm trying to justify finding time after the new year to take a drive east again and visit the factory. Danger there is that I'll want to shop. Not for instruments, mind you, but for the wood and parts they sell at the old factory. :)

Stagehand
12-23-2015, 01:57 AM
I have the same tuners on my 32-34 style 0 export model. It has a headstock decal and bar frets. The back of the headstock is stamped "MADE IN U.S.A."

hmgberg
12-23-2015, 02:33 AM
The picture definitely doesn't show it well (and I have a strong hunch that the mystery of this is going to drive aquadan to get some more pics posted today ;).

The bottom edge is rounded, the sides are definitely rounded slightly - not as rounded as the bottom. The string slots are spaced just about as identically to our labeled Martin soprano as they could get. It's a mahogany uke (tho the auction listed it as a rosewood uke, lol), and the bridge is as well, with ebony saddle, like the nut.

The bridge is the same width as our Martin, but it's got a bit more wood from saddle to top edge of the bridge (not a significant amount for hand cut vs. a much later version though). Finish is as one would expect - no truly sharp, unsanded/finished edges.

I've been burned on "almosts" before in various walks of collecting, so I tend toward truly cautious if 100% of the proper identifying features aren't in place.

Darned if this one doesn't match up insanely proper for the fret markers, type of frets, fingerboard shape/position, headstock shape, body weight, binding, rosette, early tuners (correct as ones they used on the style 1 in 1927, replacing wooden pegs)... It's just plain eerie how right it all looks, feels, AND sounds I might add, in the face of no brand marking on it.

If not somehow a Martin, someone out there did a stellar job on this little guy, it sounds great, appears to have some legit age, and is in really decent shape despite the age. As aquadan mentioned, it's a keeper, but it would be really cool to solve the "what is it really?" mystery.

I'm trying to justify finding time after the new year to take a drive east again and visit the factory. Danger there is that I'll want to shop. Not for instruments, mind you, but for the wood and parts they sell at the old factory. :)

My sad story relative to the Martin factory is that I grew up, in fact spent about 40 years, approximately 15 minutes from it. This was before I played ukulele. Then, my good friend and former colleague's secretary was Dick Boak's wife. I was invited over for dinner and blah, blah, blah...again...unfortunately, before the ukulele entered my life. That occurred only after I had moved about 9 hours away. So, we talked about art (my field) and discussed Dick's pen-and-ink drawings. Alas, had I known then what I know now, I would have spoken with him about instruments.

Dan Uke
12-23-2015, 05:24 AM
Hey Matt

Steve has a passion for vintage soprano Martins, corresponds with many and owns and owned many so he knows more than the book. I know you're the self proclaimed bs police and self deprecating but just lay off the juice before making your comments.


Steve wouldn't know anything more than is already in the Martin book. So since you already have the book, I'd suggest heading over to The Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum or Flea Market Music Bulletin Board. If you search back far enough through the posts of yore, you'll find a wealth of knowledge from real experts who are incidentally even thanked in "the book." My hobby when UU used to be down and offline was to read all the backlogs of the real experts out there, so if you want some names, shoot me a pm and I'll try to help you locate some people who really know what they're talking about. -- Matt

Back to the original thread, it's a cool thread and I hope you're right and it's a Martin. It would be cool if you visit Martin. Regardless, it's a keeper!!

soupking
12-23-2015, 05:52 AM
Hey Matt

Steve has a passion for vintage soprano Martins, corresponds with many and owns and owned many so he knows more than the book. I know you're the self proclaimed bs police and self deprecating but just lay off the juice before making your comments.

Hey, Daniel, I was just busting balls and enjoy going back and forth with Steve as we've done so many times. I like Steve a lot, despite what you seem to think, and I know he's knowledgable and owns many, and just so you know: I'll make whatever comments I damn well please, so until you wear a mod cap, do not tell me what to do again. Good day, sir.




Back to the original thread, it's a cool thread and I hope you're right and it's a Martin. It would be cool if you visit Martin. Regardless, it's a keeper!!

Agreed, it's getting interested. I knew there was something about the employee instruments and if Howard says they weren't allowed to mark them, I'm inclined to agree. -- Matt

jgarber
12-23-2015, 06:21 AM
Luthiers have always copied the best of the best and it is definitely a well-made copy of a Martin probably from decades ago. Years ago i found a mahogany soprano at an antique store that resembled a Martin. It did have a name on it tho. In fact, i just found an inquiry iposted on FleaMarketMusic back in 1998:

Just wondering if anybody has info on this uke. Stamped on the back of the peghead: The Tycho, K.C. MO. It resembles a Martin Style 2M. Martin books only list a company called Jenkins in Kansas City, MO. Please contact if you have any other info. Thanks, Jim

I ended up selling it to a well-known collector down under. It resembled a Martin tho IIRC about the same as a Favilla resembled one.

Macmuse
12-23-2015, 08:23 AM
Luthiers have always copied the best of the best and it is definitely a well-made copy of a Martin probably from decades ago. Years ago i found a mahogany soprano at an antique store that resembled a Martin. It did have a name on it tho. In fact, i just found an inquiry iposted on FleaMarketMusic back in 1998:


I ended up selling it to a well-known collector down under. It resembled a Martin tho IIRC about the same as a Favilla resembled one.

While it's absolutely possible that a luthier copied the best of the best here, and pictures are a hard way to determine very specific details vs. direct eyeballing, with all due respect to Timbuck and his attention to Martin detail, this is one hell of a copy - really, really period correct for Martin and anything we've located for those made around '27. (That said, we love our Timms style O - it's a thing of beauty to see and hear).

This is like they walked into the factory and picked up pieces ready for build, built it, but neglected to stamp or decal it. I'm leaning more and more toward a roadtrip east to walk through the museum, compare it and find someone to chat with about it in person. The combination of correct elements is uncanny and utterly intriguing. Will make for a great 2016 mystery solving project. :)

aquadan
12-23-2015, 08:26 AM
Here are some better pictures of the bridge. Excuse the wonky angles, the iPad upload is helpfully rotating these for me.

867438674486745

aquadan
12-23-2015, 08:28 AM
And some other better daytime photos.
867468674786748

Tigershark
12-23-2015, 08:46 AM
It could be a Martin but it's been refinished. You can sand the stamp off the back of the headstock. I have never seen such long checks on a Martin ukulele. Not EVER. So it looks like a thick lacquer refin to me.

The interior stamp is easy to remove with a wet rag.

hmgberg
12-23-2015, 10:14 AM
It could be a Martin but it's been refinished. You can sand the stamp off the back of the headstock. I have never seen such long checks on a Martin ukulele. Not EVER. So it looks like a thick lacquer refin to me.

The interior stamp is easy to remove with a wet rag.

I was thinking it might have been refinished, but I was uncertain as to whether what I perceived as finish checking were the "scratches" to which the OP referred. It was hard to discern from the pics. I don't know why anyone would want to get rid of the interior Martin stamp, though.

It certainly is a fine looking uke. It looks like a Martin, and if it quacks...er, barks like one, it's a great one regardless of who made it.

aquadan
12-23-2015, 10:43 AM
I originally thought it was scratches until I removed a few layers of grime and could see the finish better. Still a few more layers to go before its fully cleaned up though. The finish may have been redone, but it is by no means thick.

I can't see any reason why anyone would go to the trouble of removing any stamps inside or out either.

I would love to find out it's an employees personal instrument, it would give it some interesting history, but may never know. And it plays great so that's all that really matters. I'll probably get some restoration work done to make sure the cracks are stable, but even with that, it will have cost me far less than buying a comparable "real" Martin.


I was thinking it might have been refinished, but I was uncertain as to whether what I perceived as finish checking were the "scratches" to which the OP referred. It was hard to discern from the pics. I don't know why anyone would want to get rid of the interior Martin stamp, though.

It certainly is a fine looking uke. It looks like a Martin, and if it quacks...er, barks like one, it's a great one regardless of who made it.

jwieties
12-23-2015, 12:04 PM
Not sure if this was mentioned, but get a mirror and light to throughly check out the inside. There maybe some clues written/stamped somewhere not visible.

tbeltrans
12-23-2015, 01:52 PM
Not sure if this was mentioned, but get a mirror and light to throughly check out the inside. There maybe some clues written/stamped somewhere not visible.

I wonder if anybody has found any vintage money (bills) stuffed up in one of these old ukuleles. :)

Tony

chefuke
12-23-2015, 07:27 PM
It could be a Martin but it's been refinished. You can sand the stamp off the back of the headstock. I have never seen such long checks on a Martin ukulele. Not EVER. So it looks like a thick lacquer refin to me.

The interior stamp is easy to remove with a wet rag.

Using a wet rag would not remove the imprint from the hot stamp and leave the name visible -

buddhuu
12-23-2015, 10:25 PM
Temporarily locked for review. Please check back in a few minutes.

buddhuu
12-23-2015, 10:46 PM
...And we're back in the room. Thanks for your patience.

Fascinating thread and a nice uke.

Play nicely, kids. Pack your egos away for the holidays.

Best wishes to all.

Vintageukes
12-25-2015, 06:57 PM
I am not an expert on Martin, but I think all the points made here are excellent. My first thought was that this ukulele may have been refinished many years ago (as previously stated). The years different tuners were used is relative as tuners are easily replaced so it is no guarantee a ukulele dates to the same time as its tuners.

My only other thought that I did not see mentioned here is that the mahogany looks different as compared to the mahogany I've seen on most Martin ukuleles. Is anyone saying this is koa? I really haven't seen Martin use mahogany with a bunch of figure to it, as this ukulele has. Again, I am no expert on this but usually Martin mahogany ukuleles used amazingly consistent mahogany with very little figure. Could the top and bottom have been replaced, and the whole uke refinished? Likely not given the binding but that could explain the absence of a hot stamp inside.

One thing I have learned in regards to vintage ukes with no label or identifying mark is that you will virtually never know more about that instrument than you do now. Some ukes defy all attempts to attribute them to a particular builder (I have several like this). What you do know is that it is a fine instrument and you should use it to make a lot of great
music.

-Vintage Ryan

uketeecee
12-25-2015, 11:30 PM
There were companies in the 1920's making Martin copies, including Stadlmair of New York. Most of these Martin copies are easy to spot as their attention to detail is lacking. This uke not so.

As others have said, it might well be an employee model and this is probably the most likely explanation and might also explain the bridge.

While none of us can be 100% sure, my feeling is that this was made at the Martin factory.

Buc-a-Roo
12-26-2015, 04:57 AM
I am not an expert on Martin......... Is anyone saying this is koi?-Vintage Ryan

Yep. Most certainly looks like koa to my eye......doesn't look like mahogany at all. The bridge does look very much like the one on my '22-23 Martin-made Wurlitzer 2K, but the binding does look funny: is it b-w-b as it appears in the photos? Not seen a Martin with this binding arrangement, but I haven't seen everything.

aquadan
12-26-2015, 04:59 AM
I'm away for the holidays, but am going to pick up an inspection mirror when I get back to see if I can find anything identifying inside the uke.

I'm glad it's providing a mystery for everyone here. Having an easy answer would be satisfying, but not nearly as much fun.

Captain Simian
12-26-2015, 06:42 AM
Have you considered contacting Martin directly? They would know better than anyone else. Maybe take a day to go up to the factory and have them look at it.

aquadan
12-26-2015, 07:27 AM
We haven't been there in a few years, so we're thinking that will make a good trip regardless. So we'll see if we can set up a meeting with someone there to see what we can learn.


Have you considered contacting Martin directly? They would know better than anyone else. Maybe take a day to go up to the factory and have them look at it.

Macmuse
12-26-2015, 08:03 AM
<snip>
My only other thought that I did not see mentioned here is that the mahogany looks different as compared to the mahogany I've seen on most Martin ukuleles. Is anyone saying this is koa? ...

... What you do know is that it is a fine instrument and you should use it to make a lot of great
music.

-Vintage Ryan


Yep. Most certainly looks like koa to my eye......doesn't look like mahogany at all. The bridge does look very much like the one on my '22-23 Martin-made Wurlitzer 2K, but the binding does look funny: is it b-w-b as it appears in the photos? Not seen a Martin with this binding arrangement, but I haven't seen everything.

The auction listed it as rosewood and we were just a little focused on "hmm, wonder if this here is any possibility at all this could be a Martin" so just automatically jumped to mahogany and moved on the inspecting the other details.

While a refinish is certainly a possibility, top and back replacement seems unlikely. This binding/purfling combination does show up in the Martin book we keep referencing and I've seen it in a couple other pictures of the early ones.

We did indeed find a great instrument that will be well cared for and played... Ongoing sleuthing and a road trip to Martin in the near future are bonuses. ;)

pahu
01-18-2016, 11:26 AM
Im a little late to the Party, but to my eye the top and back appear to be Birch-not mahogany(definitely not Koa) Heel is different from any other Martin I've seen.
None of this matters if you like the sound!!!

aquadan
01-18-2016, 12:16 PM
I've had a few other people look at it and their consensus is that it is a Martin 1K of some sort, likely employee built. It has all of the features of one made between 1927 and 1934.

It's off having its cracks checked and getting a closer going over so I hope to know more in the next few weeks when it works its way up the repair queue.

coolkayaker1
03-21-2016, 05:57 AM
Have you been able to get Dick Boak's or some other Martin reps impressions, Dan?

aquadan
03-22-2016, 03:51 AM
Have you been able to get Dick Boak's or some other Martin reps impressions, Dan?

We had to delay the trip to the factory, but are planning to get there sometime before the summer.

I did send it to Jake Wildwood to have the cracks repaired and get his impressions. He wrote about it here:
http://antebelluminstruments.blogspot.com/2016/02/1920s-martin-unlabeled-1k-soprano.html

I also sent him this one at the same time as it had a crack running down the entire back of the uke. It's currently my favorite to play - I love how beat up it is.
http://antebelluminstruments.blogspot.com/2016/02/1950s-martin-style-1-soprano-uke.html

uuuuu
03-22-2016, 05:29 AM
this is a beauty, for what its worth, being from Hawai`i, this looks like koa to me

coolkayaker1
03-22-2016, 01:11 PM
Lovely, Dan. Please do ressurect this thread whenever you get to Martin. Fascinating. 😀