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View Full Version : My Thoughts on Martin's Konter Replica



Ragtop232
04-06-2019, 07:09 AM
I wanted to start a conversation about the Replica Martin Konter 1K ukulele. Iíve had mine a few months now and I want to say up front, this is my favorite ukulele. Iíve got quite a few post-2011 Martins, including Style 3ís, Style 2ís and an S1. These are all newer Martins mostly from the custom shop, but all great examples of their vintage styles nonetheless. While I do prefer the sound of vintage Martins, I donít necessarily want some of the problems associated with owning a vintage instrument. Thatís why Iíve chosen to have the custom shop build most of my collection and I must admit, they all sound great.

My decision to purchase this particular Martin Konter was based on online photos and the nice curly Koa used in itís construction. When I received the ukulele and took it out of its case, it didnít disappoint in the looks department. But, WOW, when I tuned it up and that first strum, I couldnít believe just how open and vintage this ukulele sounded. Itís light as a feather and has sustain that lasts for what seems like minutes. This ukulele responds to the lightest of touches but also doesnít ďoverdriveĒ with a heavier hand when strumming. Iíve specíed all my Martin customs with PegHead geared tuners. However, these are standard with the Martin Konter. Also, a nice custom TKL hardshell case comes standard and a very nice fitting case it is with great protection inside and out.

Iíve been really giving some thought as to what makes this ukulele sound this good right out of the gate. The only thing I can immediately see different is the 12 fret fingerboard that doesnít extend all the way to the sound hole. The vintage Style 0ís, Style 1ís and Style 2ís are all constructed this way. However, the Style 3ís all have great tone and volume and their fingerboards extend to the sound hole and glued to the ukulele top, so that might throw a curve ball in my logic as to why the Konter sounds so vintage.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the Replica Martin Konter ukulele. Itís my most played ukulele and the one that has the tone so reminiscent of the vintage Martins Iíve played in the past. Itís one of those instruments that just has a great feel and responds so nicely to the player.

I would love to hear your thoughts. If you have a Martin Konter, what are your experiences with the ukulele?

Jim

M3Ukulele
04-06-2019, 07:18 AM
I would love to see a picture of you Uke!

Ragtop232
04-06-2019, 08:05 AM
I would love to see a picture of you Uke!

Here you go:

https://photos.smugmug.com/Music/Martin-Konter-Replica/i-gBV4Wrf/0/b42c7df4/O/DSCF0830.jpg

https://photos.smugmug.com/Music/Martin-Konter-Replica/i-WRq65qD/0/df351846/O/DSCF0831.jpg

https://photos.smugmug.com/Music/Martin-Konter-Replica/i-G8ScL5q/0/15089ee8/O/DSCF0820.jpg

https://photos.smugmug.com/Music/Martin-Konter-Replica/i-wfJMP5m/0/16e63af7/O/DSCF0828.jpg

-- more --

Ragtop232
04-06-2019, 08:09 AM
-- last page of photos --

https://photos.smugmug.com/Music/Martin-Konter-Replica/i-vF8k4p7/0/0a2ebb5e/O/DSCF0823.jpg

https://photos.smugmug.com/Music/Martin-Konter-Replica/i-t3C6nn3/0/05fd4fcd/O/DSCF0824.jpg

https://photos.smugmug.com/Music/Martin-Konter-Replica/i-Nq2jgVv/0/cb149698/O/DSCF0829.jpg

https://photos.smugmug.com/Music/Martin-Konter-Replica/i-JfmXnjr/0/97a8bebb/O/DSCF0825.jpg

jimavery
04-06-2019, 08:28 AM
I really like what Martin have done with this uke. I love the look, will probably never afford a good genuine vintage ukulele, but this would suit me down to the ground. I hope I will get to play one, or a similar vintage replica sometime.

Ziret
04-06-2019, 08:34 AM
And when you have it with you, you always have something to read! It's really cool-looking. Plus, I like the intersection of Byrd and ukuleles.

PetalumaRescuke
04-06-2019, 08:14 PM
I'm curious about how the signatures are applied. I'm thinking silk screen. Then there is the potential wear factor when playing a lot. I have a friend that has an autographed ukulele by famous and known players. She can't play it now because it might smudge or even loose the the autographs.
Glad to hear that CFMartin & Co produce a worthy successor to the iconic vintage ones.

EDW
04-07-2019, 01:27 AM
According to Martin, the names are laser etched into the wood.

hendulele
04-07-2019, 02:16 AM
The question is, if I had $2,000 to spend on a ukulele, would I buy this?

I don't know. I'd consider it. It's gorgeous and I love the history. And I really like Martins. It's much more than a gimmicky thing. So I'd give it a very serious look, and that's saying something!

Ragtop232
04-07-2019, 02:45 AM
According to Martin, the names are laser etched into the wood.

That's correct. You can actually feel the etching in the wood when rubbing over the signatures on the ukulele. I don't want to give the impression it's engraved with huge craters in the wood, but it's just enough you can feel it when slightly touching the area where the signatures are etched.

Ukecaster
04-07-2019, 02:56 AM
I wonder if the original Konter uke is a basketcase of cracks, due to low humidity at the Pole, or perhaps, even back then, they knew enough to humidity?

Ziret
04-07-2019, 04:06 AM
Also, was the original made of koa? And what did Mr. Konter use for signing the autographs? They held up well, I wonder if he actually played it, or just dragged it around everywhere he went.

glennerd
04-07-2019, 04:55 AM
I wonder if the original Konter uke is a basketcase of cracks, due to low humidity at the Pole, or perhaps, even back then, they knew enough to humidity?

The whole flight to and from the pole was just under 16 hours, so any humidity damage would likely be from other episodes in its life.

Apparently it took some effort to read the signatures:

https://www.si.edu/MCIImagingStudio/KonterUke

Joyful Uke
04-07-2019, 05:41 AM
That's an interesting bit of history. And even better, it's a ukulele that you sound like you're really enjoying. Very cool.

Kenn2018
04-07-2019, 11:00 AM
Glennerd, thanks for the link to the article. Fascinating.

I'm afraid I would probably spend $45 for the book and use the remaining $1955 to buy a different ukulele. While it's interesting, and yes it may increase in value in 50 years, it's just too gimmicky for me. Sort of like buying a commemorative baseball with the printed signatures on it of the players in the game.

Plus, I think I would be less likely to play it for fear of somehow damaging it. Speaking of which, I wonder how it sounds?

I'm not criticizing anyone who buys one. To each their own. It's just not for me.

uketanzon
04-07-2019, 11:22 AM
Its cool and interesting...if there was a cheaper mexican made version and the price of an mexican s1 plus 200 bucks I would buy one. How they came up with 2 grand beyond me. I got a beautiful martin ceo 7 oo adirondac top guitar for that.

Ragtop232
04-07-2019, 11:42 AM
Now come on Kenn2018 and uketanzon, we can't take it with us so we might as well enjoy it while we can. :o

Seriously, this isn't for everyone obviously. However, I'll attest it is really more than a novelty. The look with all the signatures would also only appeal to certain people. However, Martin got a lot right with this ukulele. It harkens back to the vintage Style 0, Style 1 and Style 2's with a 12 fret fingerboard and what I believe attributes positively to the sound. I'll go on record and state this is the ukulele in my collection that sounds most vintage and has such a nice response. Of my Martin soprano's, this one is my favorite and sounds best to me.

Also, if you shop around, you can find these from reputable dealers at 40% off MSRP. But, to each their own and that's why they make so many ukuleles in different styles, different makers, different woods and also at different price points.

Jim

Ukecaster
04-07-2019, 12:01 PM
I'd like to hear it stacked up against a vintage Style 0 of the same era; that would be a cool comparison.

uketanzon
04-07-2019, 04:40 PM
Now come on Kenn2018 and uketanzon, we can't take it with us so we might as well enjoy it while we can. :o

Seriously, this isn't for everyone obviously. However, I'll attest it is really more than a novelty. The look with all the signatures would also only appeal to certain people. However, Martin got a lot right with this ukulele. It harkens back to the vintage Style 0, Style 1 and Style 2's with a 12 fret fingerboard and what I believe attributes positively to the sound. I'll go on record and state this is the ukulele in my collection that sounds most vintage and has such a nice response. Of my Martin soprano's, this one is my favorite and sounds best to me.

Also, if you shop around, you can find these from reputable dealers at 40% off MSRP. But, to each their own and that's why they make so many ukuleles in different styles, woods and also at different price points.

Jim

I guess your right, no challenge...I have read about every book on kindle about the great turn of the century artic explorations, north and south, american , british, and others that met with mostly disaster and some with success...a topic that just always interested me, so yea, I would love to have one, and if I was married to Steve Bezos and got a 36 billion dollar divorce settlement, I would buy one for every member of the forum! It always awed me, you take a few pieces of wood, some metal tuners, some luthier expertise and you can produce a kala soprano for $50 bucks or you can opt for a martin 5 k for $5000. Wearing my two hearing aids now, I probaly would not hear a big difference anymore...,ha

Kenn2018
04-07-2019, 05:07 PM
...I'll attest it is really more than a novelty. The look with all the signatures would also only appeal to certain people. However, Martin got a lot right with this ukulele. It harkens back to the vintage Style 0, Style 1 and Style 2's with a 12 fret fingerboard and what I believe attributes positively to the sound. I'll go on record and state this is the ukulele in my collection that sounds most vintage and has such a nice response. Of my Martin soprano's, this one is my favorite and sounds best to me.

Jim, I am honestly glad to hear that the ukulele plays and sounds great. That the sound is very similar to a vintage soprano Martin.

If it pleases you, then it is a deal. 'Nuf said.

glennerd
04-07-2019, 05:53 PM
Its cool and interesting...if there was a cheaper mexican made version and the price of an mexican s1 plus 200 bucks I would buy one. How they came up with 2 grand beyond me. I got a beautiful martin ceo 7 oo adirondac top guitar for that.

Yeah, if it was near an S1 price point, I'd be tempted. I usually like fairly plain ukuleles, but this one appeals to me for the historical reference. The S1 is already around the top of my price range though so I'll have to admire it from afar.