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omlove
02-02-2018, 09:13 AM
Since my recent rediscovery of my modern Martin S1 - bought new in 2013, played all the time but never really thought about Uke as a serious instrument (My apologies!) - and discovery of the Uke community and UU, I became very interested and quickly got myself into the learning process.

Aside from buying a variety of strings, I also got a 50s style 1 and 50s style 0. Returned the style 0 because the previous owner(s) had shaved the saddle down in order to achieve low action but too low for me (2mm), while the style 1 is perfect in any way (2.6mm action in comparison). I did do research and the price was reasonable.

It all started with a random trip to Hawaii and played a sweet sounding vintage Martin at a random guitar shop... (which got me to look at my S1 through colored and biased glasses)

But the two recently came through my hands really echoed my experience. They are really nice sounding - much much more complicated, maybe a technical description is more overtone and harmonics. I always judge classical guitar by their performance on e, b string in higher positions. Nylon string guitars are harder to get the brilliance and complexity in the treble is my understanding.

All equipped with Martin M600 - after all the experiment, went back to the very string that came from the factory - S1 just sounds plain. I don't think the difference can be picked up in Youtube videos, but in person it's huge.

And a reasonably priced old Martin is not too much away from a MAP S1 - $419 in US currently. Compared to other things in life - root canal, dental implant, high end restaurant, or other things in music life - any US made guitar, US made amp, etc. I think they are truly wonderful despite their price point (fairly priced not the overly zealous sellers).

Amen!

D28
02-02-2018, 11:40 AM
I agree that these old martins are great, I have never tried anything relatively new because I feel like I'm not missing out on anything. I believe their formula sets the bar; not that it's the greatest ever but for consistency in how good they are(original) across the board. A perfect balance of build.
I've owned(currently)about 7 old martins over time and have never been disappointed. I've also owned many other makes from the pre 40s - and considering playability in conjunction with sound there is no question what my go to is.
Although I do have a new hypothesis of another build being just as well currently, I'll wait to see how it's concluded.

Of course money and price justification is everything when spending anything, it's how you see it, and why it would make sense.
To each their own, the journey is just as important as the destination. My opinion means nothing except to me :)

rpfrogner
02-02-2018, 03:39 PM
I have had a few older Martin ukuleles pass through my hands and have found they are my choice. Also have a 0XK that is great sounding. It is important to match strings with any uke and everyone has their own idea of what sounds best to them.......they do make a difference! Vintage Martins were quality built by skilled craftsmen.

omlove
02-02-2018, 07:04 PM
Of course money and price justification is everything when spending anything, it's how you see it, and why it would make sense.
To each their own, the journey is just as important as the destination. My opinion means nothing except to me :)

The journey sure brought me lots of joy and learning new things and gaining new knowledge always brings genuine happiness to me.

How I see money and price justification regard this topic is I can get 4 or 5 very nice old Martin ukes with the same amount of money spent on a brand new D-28. As well as considering all big Ks are in the thousand dollars ballpark and Martin ukes made in Nazareth too. Total bargain it seems to me!

hmgberg
02-03-2018, 12:21 AM
My favorite soprano ukuleles by far! They are consistently good, particularly pre-60s (made in USA stamp inside), which is to say you can't really go wrong buying them. This book is fantastic, too. It's certainly comprehensive, so you can extend that joyful learning experience you wrote about so enthusiastically.

https://www.amazon.com/Martin-Ukulele-Little-Instrument-Helped/dp/1476868794

omlove
02-03-2018, 05:12 AM
My favorite soprano ukuleles by far! They are consistently good, particularly pre-60s (made in USA stamp inside), which is to say you can't really go wrong buying them. This book is fantastic, too. It's certainly comprehensive, so you can extend that joyful learning experience you wrote about so enthusiastically.

https://www.amazon.com/Martin-Ukulele-Little-Instrument-Helped/dp/1476868794

How would I miss that?:) Bought it and read it two weeks ago. Thanks a lot for the advice though

spongeuke
02-04-2018, 07:07 PM
My favorite soprano ukuleles by far! They are consistently good, particularly pre-60s (made in USA stamp inside), which is to say you can't really go wrong buying them. This book is fantastic, too. It's certainly comprehensive, so you can extend that joyful learning experience you wrote about so enthusiastically.

https://www.amazon.com/Martin-Ukulele-Little-Instrument-Helped/dp/1476868794
I'm also a fan of the Vintage Martin Sopranos. I've had to self limit my collection to WWII made, recognized by steel frets and wooden pegs with the decal on the head.
I've filled it with Styles 0, 1, 2, & 3 all Mahogany. See me at Palm Springs in a couple of weeks with a 1930s Style 2M and a 1950 Style 3M

gustophersmob
03-21-2018, 09:15 AM
Just giving this a little bump to chime in with my agreement.

I'm relatively new to ukulele, having picked it up in 2015, but not new to instruments. I certainly haven't played what could even be considered a small sampling of the available ukes out there, but so far my 50's style 1 concert has far and away surpassed anything else I've tried. I think it may have something to do with the vintage Martin's relatively light built. Thin wood, thin braces. Even decent new ukes in the $500-$1000 category just seem somewhat overbuilt in comparison.

I've got a Gibson Uke-3 from the 20's on the way, so that will give me a different brand vintage comparison point soon.

EDW
03-21-2018, 09:50 AM
I've got a Gibson Uke-3 from the 20's on the way, so that will give me a different brand vintage comparison point soon.

It will be great to hear your assessment of the two.