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View Full Version : Rich sound like a Martin Style 0?



superhappyalex
07-02-2018, 04:10 PM
I found an old, beat-up Martin Style 0 at a local music shop. It was cracked, repaired, and well worn (and over $600!), but nothing else that I've seen before sounded like it. The ukulele had this warm, rich, complex tone to it. I can't stop thinking about it.

I also tried a Martin S1, 0X, and C1K. The C1K was the closest, but none was the same.

What other ukuleles might sound similar to the Style 0? Is there anything from other manufacturers that might capture the same sound? Kiwaya, maybe?

spongeuke
07-02-2018, 08:13 PM
In todays market, that is top dollar for a "well worn" vintage Martin 0. Yes there are ones more expensive on eBay, but they aren't selling. If you are patient I'll have one out of the recovery unit in a couple of months.

ukulelekarcsi
07-02-2018, 09:41 PM
Nothing really sounds like a played-in, dried-out mahogany Martin. The cracks (and repairs) only add to the sound.

The closest replicas are made by Kiwaya, Kenn Timms, Mike DaSilva, Tim Laughlin and of course the higher end Martins themselves. They are NOT cheaper.

DownUpDave
07-02-2018, 11:47 PM
Nothing really sounds like a played-in, dried-out mahogany Martin. The cracks (and repairs) only add to the sound.

The closest replicas are made by Kiwaya, Kenn Timms, Mike DaSilva, Tim Laughlin and of course the higher end Martins themselves. They are NOT cheaper.

There is a reason old beat up Martins and other top quality ukes are still pricey, they sound great because of their age. A new Martin D18 guitar sells for $2500, one made in the 1950's goes for $5,000-$10,000. Most high quality ukuleles and guitars open up as they aged and are played in and sound better then new, hence the high price.

superhappyalex
07-03-2018, 01:27 AM
Thanks for the help. I didn't realize that time and age could quite make this sound.

DownUpDave
07-03-2018, 01:32 AM
Thanks for the help. I didn't realize that time and age could quite make this sound.

Those old Martin sopranos were built lightly and with good quality mahogany. That is why I said "top quality ukes and guitars", playing a lot over decades helps immensely as well.

RichM
07-03-2018, 01:43 AM
I'm not sure what your budget is, but if you really loved that old Martin sound, you should consider getting one. The pricing you saw in that shop was top dollar for a uke in that condition. Over $600 should buy you a vintage Style 0 in pretty nice condition; my 1930 Style 0 is very clean and didn't cost that much. I'm not much for mystique, but I have to admit that vintage Martins have a tone that I don't hear in modern instruments. The good news is that tone-wise, the basic Style 0 sounds every bit as good as the higher end models, so if it's tone you want, look no further than a Style 0.

The closest I have found in a modern uke is Ken Timms. Wonderful instruments, but if cost is an issue for you, they are not cheaper, and much harder to find. Martin produced thousands of Style 0s in their heyday, so they are very easy to find. Many of them have endured cracks, but a well-repaired crack should have little bearing on the tone.

Vintage Martins retain their value well, so think of it as a bank account rather than a cost. You can almost always turn a vintage Martin back into cash if you really need to (but you won't want to!). If you aren't in a position to part with that much money, consider other brands from that era. I bought a refurbished 1920's Oscar Schmidt soprano from Jake Wildwood, and it has a lot of that same vintage tone to it-- and cost a lot less.

Ukecaster
07-03-2018, 02:06 AM
You should easily be able to find a used vintage Martin Style 0 for around $400.00, on eBay, Reverb or adHuntr.
Might take a couple of months, but well worth the wait. The closest thing, for $200-250 is a vintage Favilla U2, very close tonally.

UkerDanno
07-03-2018, 03:38 AM
$600 for a cracked, repaired, and well worn style 0 is pretty high, but since I have one, encouraging! But, in reality, if you look around, you should be able to find one for under $400.00...

They're worth having though, mine plays and sounds amazing...
110205

superhappyalex
07-03-2018, 11:22 AM
Thanks for the advice. $600 seemed high to me, too, based on the little research that I did. I found the ukulele in a music store that's really more like a local version of Guitar Center — mass market appeal, aimed more towards local music students.

I think that I'd be happy to buy one for $400, but I'd really like to play it before putting the money down. I guess I'd have to pay a premium for that...

Do any of you have Kiwaya ukuleles? The KTS-4 and KS-5 look like interesting instruments. They sound great in HMS' recordings.

ukulelekarcsi
07-03-2018, 11:26 AM
Could you talk to the manager and make him a lower bid? It wouldn't hurt trying...

SandChannel
07-03-2018, 11:26 AM
They sound great in HMS' recordings.

Everything sounds great in HMS recordings, but I'm guessing that top players on quality instruments being recorded with professional mics and preamps will that! :p

janeray1940
07-03-2018, 01:03 PM
Do any of you have Kiwaya ukuleles? The KTS-4 and KS-5 look like interesting instruments.

I have a couple Kiwayas. They're quite nice but to be honest I'd call them Martin-like in terms of lightness and tone, but definitely not Martin-identical. The craftsmanship is impeccable and I do think they are great instruments.

Grizzly Adams
07-03-2018, 01:41 PM
$600 will buy you a nice vintage Martin Style O. Take your time, they are out there.

Mr. Sweetie
07-04-2018, 11:02 AM
Interesting thread. :)

Martin fans mention Kenn Timms a lot in conversation. Favilla comes up a lot too... I let one here in the market place get away and I regret that. Good luck in your quest for tone. :D