View Full Version : Two old ukes blew me away!

05-21-2009, 02:03 PM
Well, I finally had the opportunity to meet another uke player last night....actually, two other uke players! This gave me the chance to see/hear/play two amazing old ukuleles.

The first is an old (1920's) Martin soprano. This uke was once badly broken, and the current owner traded an old dinghy for it (really!). This guy then repaired the uke himself, having no previous experience. He had to completely replace the back of the body and some internal bracing, and repair one side and a large split in the top. Sound like it was too far gone? The thing looks fantastic! The color is a bit off on the back, but otherwise it would be hard to tell this uke was repaired. And the sound! He strung it with Aquila strings, and it sounds wonderful. The action is low, and the uke plays effortlessly. Seriously nice uke!

The other guy has a Kamaka soprano gold label uke that he bought new in a department store in Hawaii in the 60's. It has a set of 30-year-old Kamaka strings on it, and has developed a 5-6 inch open crack in its back. You would not believe how this uke sounds! The volume! The tone! I can't say enough about it. I can't imagine what it would sound like with the crack repaired and a new set of strings. I'm relatively new to ukuleles, but this uke was the sweetest sounding thing I think I've ever heard....

The more I learn about ukuleles, the more I'm amazed.... ;)

05-21-2009, 08:39 PM
Nice. Hard to believe those 30 year old strings are still going strong!

05-21-2009, 11:04 PM
I have one of those '20s Martin sopranos myself and I really like it. Sure it has lots of cracks, scratches, chips and dents but the parts are all still original and it sounds wonderful. It was restored by a good luthier though :)

Like you said the action is very low and it's by far the most playable uke I have. I especially love it for fast strumming. I also have some aquila's on it right now but I will probably change them to d'addario pro arte's.

I'm not usually the kind of guy who swears by vintage instruments but this is truly a jewel.