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View Full Version : Need help identifying my "new" Vintage Martin, family heirloom



phanzo
01-28-2010, 07:00 AM
Hey folks,
I had started a thread a few weeks back about my Aunt sending me her mother's old uke. It had been sitting in her closet since she had passed and had no use for it, so she sent it to me since she knew I would love to play it.

Well, I got it in the mail today and it turns out, it's a Martin! I have no idea what model it is, I just know it's a soprano, and I THINK it's mahogany. Here's a link to that thread (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?24510-new-uke-day-is-coming-sometime-I-hope) (skip to the bottom of page 2 and the top of page 3 for the pics) where I have some pictures of it. The lighting of the pics is kinda bad since it was on my phone and my room was a bit dark. I'm heading to work now, so I can post some better ones at a later date, but I'm hoping someone here will be able to identify it. It's 21 inches long and inside the soundhole is just a stamp that says "C.F. Martin & Co. Nazareth, PA Made in the USA."

Please help!!

UKISOCIETY
01-28-2010, 07:16 AM
It looks a lot like mine, a Style 0 (mahogany) from the 1950's or 1960's. Yours could be earlier I guess. Congrats on a real great instrument! If you sold it, it'd get $600, I'd bet. Not that you would.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSfKEVz8b1s

phanzo
01-28-2010, 12:39 PM
So yea, I'm thinkin' it's a style 0 from the early-mid 50s. I'm gonna ask my aunt if she knows when it is from but I doubt she will.

Question: do you think it's a bad idea for me to change the strings on it? I'm sure the ones on there now are the originals. Will it decrease the overall value? I know my aunt cares more about me having fun and playing it vs. it's resale value but I am just wondering.

Also, the tuners are VERY tight on it and they jump a half-step when they are barely moved. Can I grease them up a bit without hurting the wood? HELP!!

Nu Uke
01-28-2010, 01:14 PM
Phanzo,
I read somewhere, just recently, that said they didn't start adding the "made in u.s.a." until 1963, if I remember correctly. Could be wrong...

phanzo
01-28-2010, 01:15 PM
Phanzo,
I read somewhere, just recently, that said they didn't start adding the "made in u.s.a." until 1963, if I remember correctly. Could be wrong...

oh interesting...I'm gonna look into that.

EDIT: I just looked it up. "Made in the USA" was added in '62.

Nu Uke
01-28-2010, 01:18 PM
So yea, I'm thinkin' it's a style 0 from the early-mid 50s. I'm gonna ask my aunt if she knows when it is from but I doubt she will.

Question: do you think it's a bad idea for me to change the strings on it? I'm sure the ones on there now are the originals. Will it decrease the overall value? I know my aunt cares more about me having fun and playing it vs. it's resale value but I am just wondering.

Also, the tuners are VERY tight on it and they jump a half-step when they are barely moved. Can I grease them up a bit without hurting the wood? HELP!!

You could disassemble the tuners a bit, clean and VERY lightly grease wear/friction spots, but you should be able to keep the lube away from the wood.

UKISOCIETY
01-28-2010, 01:52 PM
I've cleaned a lot of old peg tuners. Here's how I do it: soak the parts in warm water with soap. Scrup all the parts with a toothbrush. Dry off all the parts with a towl. Spray the metal parts with WD-40 and let sit for a while. Then wipe the oil off the metal and reassemble the tuners into the uke. Should work well!

phanzo
01-28-2010, 03:21 PM
I've cleaned a lot of old peg tuners. Here's how I do it: soak the parts in warm water with soap. Scrup all the parts with a toothbrush. Dry off all the parts with a towl. Spray the metal parts with WD-40 and let sit for a while. Then wipe the oil off the metal and reassemble the tuners into the uke. Should work well!

That sounds great!!....except I dont know how to take tuners off, nor do I trust myself, messin' with these ones :D

Kanaka916
01-28-2010, 03:32 PM
You can also check the Vintage Q & A (http://www.ukulele.org/?Vintage_Ukulele_Q_%26amp%3B_A) at the UHFM.

UKISOCIETY
01-28-2010, 04:48 PM
That sounds great!!....except I dont know how to take tuners off, nor do I trust myself, messin' with these ones :D

It's easy - unscrew the screws all the way. The knobs can then be removed and the rest of the tuner comes off. Don't be afraid to push the peg out with your thumb. Maybe I'll do a tutorial on this some day!

heymelbs
01-28-2010, 05:29 PM
My dream has always been to have some relative hand me an old beater guitar, and it turns out to be a vintage Martin. Enjoy that beauty!!

phanzo
01-30-2010, 07:15 AM
It's easy - unscrew the screws all the way. The knobs can then be removed and the rest of the tuner comes off. Don't be afraid to push the peg out with your thumb. Maybe I'll do a tutorial on this some day!

I'm going to be tackling this today. Gonna stop and pick up some WD-40 on my way home from work and give it a shot. This baby needs to be playable and I can't wait any longer!!

scottie
01-30-2010, 07:42 AM
I've cleaned a lot of old peg tuners. Here's how I do it: soak the parts in warm water with soap. Scrup all the parts with a toothbrush. Dry off all the parts with a towl. Spray the metal parts with WD-40 and let sit for a while. Then wipe the oil off the metal and reassemble the tuners into the uke. Should work well!

WD 40 is not a lubricant and is not intended as a lubricant in the same way as lubricants like oil and synthetic lubricants are intended. The WD stands for Water Displacer. Use a lube suitable for cycling chains, some of that high tech synthetic lube will work just fine, be very sparing with it. If you're not into synthetic lube just use light machine oil.

RevWill
01-30-2010, 07:59 AM
Seriously!

Clean those tuners, change those strings, polish her up and enjoy yourself one fabulous uke with an astounding family history. There's good mojo in that.

I have never heard of an instrument losing value due to proper maintenance such as changing strings. In fact, I have seen old Martin guitars on Antiques Roadshow that weren't devalued by having proper repairs done at the Martin factory.

UKISOCIETY
01-30-2010, 08:09 AM
WD 40 is not a lubricant and is not intended as a lubricant in the same way as lubricants like oil and synthetic lubricants are intended. The WD stands for Water Displacer. Use a lube suitable for cycling chains, some of that high tech synthetic lube will work just fine, be very sparing with it. If you're not into synthetic lube just use light machine oil.

This is good to know. Thanks! The WD-40 works fine for the tuners,so I wouldn't sweat it.

phanzo
01-30-2010, 09:12 AM
This is good to know. Thanks! The WD-40 works fine for the tuners,so I wouldn't sweat it.

yea I dont know where I would go to get "machine oil" or synthetic. I can just get some WD on my way home from work at a gas station. If Uki says it works, then I'm down with that. I DO appreciate your insight though. I had no idea!

kenikas
01-30-2010, 09:20 AM
WD does stand for water displacer, but the main ingredient in it is fish oil and it should work just fine on the tuners, but as everyone has said "sparingly". Congratulations by the way!

phanzo
01-30-2010, 09:23 AM
WD does stand for water displacer, but the main ingredient in it is fish oil and it should work just fine on the tuners, but as everyone has said "sparingly". Congratulations by the way!

how much is "sparingly"?? I'm sure I will just use a tiny bit. I can always add more if need be. JW, so I dont use too much. And I should wait a bit and wipe the WD off before puting the tuners back in right?

Uke Republic
01-30-2010, 09:37 AM
Phanzo, you don't want an old ukulele. Send it to me so I can give you a new one.:) That is awesome you got that piece of family and ukulele history. All my aunt ever gave me was an old kazoo.:(

GreatGazukes
01-30-2010, 09:41 AM
As an aside, when replacing the screws, rotate them with light pressure counterclockwise till they "bump down", then gently rotate clockwise so they follow the thread that is already in the wood, this prevents forming new threads in the wood which makes for loose screws.

kenikas
01-30-2010, 06:06 PM
how much is "sparingly"?? I'm sure I will just use a tiny bit. I can always add more if need be. JW, so I dont use too much. And I should wait a bit and wipe the WD off before puting the tuners back in right?
I think that would work fine.