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c.b.fiddler
05-27-2008, 08:27 AM
This was given to me by my father for my birthday. I am a professional violinist in Atlanta and an apprenticing violin-maker - I know nothing of Ukuleles! This is a beautiful Uke that I do not want to sell (it belonged to my Great Grandfather.) I have done some research and think it is a C.F Martin 3K uke. Do you guys know more about the history and collectability of such an instrument?

I am an 8 yr member of Maestronet.com - a forum for the violin family. There is so much expertise over there I though a Ukulele forum may be able to shed some more light on this.

Thank you in advance!
Chris

http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa23/burndrettc/Martin%20Uke/IMG_3132.jpg
http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa23/burndrettc/Martin%20Uke/IMG_3141.jpg
http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa23/burndrettc/Martin%20Uke/IMG_3137.jpg
http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa23/burndrettc/Martin%20Uke/IMG_3144.jpg

cheeseburger
05-27-2008, 08:29 AM
That is sooooo pretty!

uber_goober
05-27-2008, 08:40 AM
Hey Chris,

I'm no expert, but the older Martin's are generally very desirable. Especially the fancier ones (like the 3k). I can't say for sure that's the model (I'm sure others can chime in). But I can say that you've got a great instrument to keep and play (read that, "do not, under any circumstances, sell that ukulele"). :)

-John

uber_goober
05-27-2008, 08:42 AM
Oh, one more thing...you probably want to stick with lower tension strings, like Martin's or D'Addario's. Higher tension strings like Worth's may be dangerous given the (probably) light bracing on the Martin. When your instrument was built, there was only one kind of string...low tension.

-John

c.b.fiddler
05-27-2008, 08:45 AM
Thank you!

The research I did at the Geocites website claims that the 3K with diamond inlays is a fancier older model that was first available in 1918. There is no serial number to trace anywhere on/in the uke that I can see - just the Martin stamp on the back of the headstock and inside looking directly into the soundhole.

Couple more pics:
http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa23/burndrettc/Martin%20Uke/IMG_3134.jpg
http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa23/burndrettc/Martin%20Uke/IMG_3135.jpg

GX9901
05-27-2008, 08:53 AM
Holy smokes! A Martin 3K! It's worth a bazillion dollars.

Check out this site for some info on Martin ukes:

http://www.geocities.com/~ukulele/martin2.html

I think the price info are outdated on that site, but it gives you a ballpark idea.

[Edit]Here's a 3K for sale at Gryphon Stringed Instruments:

http://www.gryphonstrings.com/instpix/27534/27534.html

To me, the style 3 is the best looking of all Martin ukes.

deach
05-27-2008, 09:31 AM
hmmmm It's pretty but it looks like a cheapie knock-off. You'd better send that to me. I have a nice blue Mahalo to trade you. I even have the receipt. ;)

UKISOCIETY
05-27-2008, 09:39 AM
Yeah, well I got a violin from my dad that says Stradavarius on the inside!


....Werner Stradavarius.:(

tad
05-27-2008, 09:40 AM
You just came over here to show off, didn't you?

That is a BEAUTIFUL (and yes, very collectible and pricey) ukulele!

c.b.fiddler
05-27-2008, 09:40 AM
Hi GX9901,

I just noticed your edit - Wow. I thought $5000 was a high estimate. This uke doesn't have any cracks or repairs.

Deach,

Sure thing - I don't think I want this ratty old shrunken guitar anyway.:D Send yours first and then mine will follow shortly.:rock:

I promise I didn't come over here to show off - I use to play with this uke when I was kid. I, nor my dad, had no idea that it was a Martin until this weekend when he gave it to me and I started taking a closer look at it.

If you have a real strad - I might consider a trade :P

deach
05-27-2008, 09:43 AM
The only thing I got from my dad was bad skin and hypertension. :(

h-drix
05-27-2008, 10:19 AM
if all else fails email the company, they are still around, and im sure they would appreciate that one of their 80+ year old ukes is still alive and kicking.

c.b.fiddler
05-27-2008, 10:48 AM
Great Advice H-drix,

I just got off the phone with Martin and they were able to place this uke between 1923 and 1932 due to the tuning pegs and diamond shape inlays. It seems there is no way to narrow it further due to the lack of serial numbers at this early date. Still - it puts me closer to a production date than before I read your suggestion.

Thanks!
Chris

Howlin Hobbit
05-27-2008, 11:00 AM
You got a great uke there. For goodness sake don't just put it on display as an "heirloom," play the heck out of it!

Oh yeah, and remember what Krusty the Clown sez: "The ukulele is the thinking man's violin." :rolleyes:


The only thing I got from my dad was bad skin and hypertension. :(

I feel ya bro. My dad gave me a gene that says "Dead at 51 from a heart attack." I'm less than three weeks from my 50th birthday. :(

c.b.fiddler
05-27-2008, 11:25 AM
Instruments were meant to be played. I am going to use the wonderful resources you guys have posted her to learn the uke. I play guitar as well as violin, so hopefully I'll pick it up quickly.

pohaku
05-27-2008, 03:48 PM
A beautiful uke and in wonderful shape! Martin made both a koa and mahogany line of ukes in varying levels of ornamentation with the 5K (koa) being the most ornate (at least for a Martin - they have always been pretty restrained in that regard). The koa ukes are worth more than the mahogany ukes and your instrument is very collectable. Treat it like the fine instrument that it is, but play it! Congratulations!

Plainsong
05-27-2008, 05:00 PM
Why can't I get something cool like this from my family? Yup, you got the strad of the ukulele world there, now play that thang! :rock:

UkuleleAddiction
05-27-2008, 06:35 PM
If you're wanting some more information on the history or specifics of your 3K, then you may want to ask about it over the the Flea Market Music forum:

http://www.fleamarketmusic.com/bulletin/default.asp

There are several people on that board who are into vintage ukes.

The Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum (UMGF) also has several vintage experts, but registration to post may take a few days. They have a sub-forum that deals with ukes and other 4-string instruments:

http://theunofficialmartinguitarforum.yuku.com/forums/8

Kaneohe til the end
05-27-2008, 11:16 PM
Sure thing - I don't think I want this ratty old shrunken guitar anyway.

BLASPHEMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lanark
05-28-2008, 08:16 AM
Like many have said before. just wow.

Cream of the crop type stuff. learn how to play it and appreciate it. It's just freakin' too gorgeous to sit in the back of a closet in a case.

thejumpingflea
05-28-2008, 11:47 AM
Very cool. I spent all day yesterday playing a 1950's Martin uku and loved every minute of it. They are wonderful instruments. Congratulations! :nana:

c.b.fiddler
05-28-2008, 12:27 PM
Again,

Thanks to all of you. I promise that it will be appreciated and played (at least I'm not a non-musician looking to put it in a shadow box, or pawn it out of stupidity!)

You guys have been a ton of help. If you're in Atlanta and want to stop by and play, let me know!:bowdown:

Chris

northern uke
05-28-2008, 03:37 PM
She's a real beauty. The original condition is remarkable . She's pre 32 for sure. I don't think they used the rear head stamp on the style 3 beyond that, and some later models were without the heel cap. Go see Chuck Faynes at Uke Yak, www.fleamarketmusic.com Alot of Martin knowledge visits there.

c.b.fiddler
05-29-2008, 06:27 AM
Thanks again!

Do you guys know where I can order a hard case for this 3K? I am having a hard time finding one locally, and I have heard that they can be hard to fit. I figure after 80 yrs of sitting in a soft case, it deserves an upgrade. Any suggestions?

Thanks!
Chris

GX9901
05-29-2008, 06:46 AM
If you're willing to spend the money on the best case, maybe you should consider an Ameritage soprano case (http://www.themusicmotel.com/store/product.asp?pid=2581&catid=477&vid=635).

Here's a site (http://www.finecases.com/browse/ameritage/ameritage-3304.html)with information on the case dimensions. Unfortunately Finecases.com just went out of business so you can't get the case from them anymore.

c.b.fiddler
05-29-2008, 07:01 AM
Ouch! I love my Martin, but that's a little steep for me. Any other less expensive options?

deach
05-29-2008, 07:03 AM
DaSilva sell nice cases. linky link link (http://www.ukemaker.com/DaSilva-InstrumentsForSale.html)

c.b.fiddler
05-29-2008, 07:45 AM
I found this case at Musician's Friend. It had good reviews. whatcha think?

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Lanikai-Standard-Ukulele-Hardshell-Case?sku=541600

GX9901
05-29-2008, 08:10 AM
I found this case at Musician's Friend. It had good reviews. whatcha think?

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Lanikai-Standard-Ukulele-Hardshell-Case?sku=541600

The Lanikai case is pretty decent. They are probably the most common ukulele cases in use today. Light weight and has a lot of room. But it isn't made to last. I would personally invest in a better case to protect a $5k instrument, but the Lanikai case should be just fine for a several years assuming you don't take it everywhere you go.

Have you checked Elderly Instrument's (http://elderly.com/accessories/cats/CSUK.htm) selection of ukulele cases? They have a decent range of cases, including the Lanikai one.

By the way I had written some reviews on the cases I have on my blog, take a look:

Part 1 (http://gx9901ukes.blogspot.com/2008/03/case-study-part-1.html)
Part 2 (http://gx9901ukes.blogspot.com/2008/03/case-study-part-2.html)
Part 3 (http://gx9901ukes.blogspot.com/2008/03/case-study-part-3.html)

c.b.fiddler
05-29-2008, 08:24 AM
Thanks GX9901,

I don't anticipate having to carry this around much. I will learn and play at home - but I have two young children, so I wanted something that would protect it better than the old canvas soft "case" (it's fabric with snaps at the bottom and a handle.)

Gracias!
CB

Lanark
05-29-2008, 08:28 AM
Yeah, I have to agree with GX9901.

You've got a valuable instrument there. It's worth the extra money to get a really nice sturdy case. It's only going to accrue in value. You're protecting an investment.

h-drix
05-29-2008, 09:47 AM
hit up MGM, im sure he has a case in is back pocket specifially for a 3K =P, since you dont live on the islands hes not local, but he might be able to give a deal.

c.b.fiddler
05-29-2008, 09:48 AM
I do appreciate and have experience with fine instruments. I currently have two $15k+ violins, and three +200 year old violin bows worth quite a bit as well (and a 80's 1961 Gibson SG Reissue.) I do not intend to travel with this uke, but I do recognize that it needs to be protected. I don't recommend foam-based cases for travel, but for my needs, I think it will work well. They protect very well from temperature and humidity changes and a little better for minor shock/impact (than wooden hardshell cases.) Later on, I will buy a nicer case for it, but for right now, I just want the piece of mind that it is not sitting in a canvas bag! I have to have my violin case sent to Cremona for a restoration (that'll be $300) and my poor wife's violin case is in dire need of replacement (another $400 - 700.)

Thank you for the advice - it's the same advice I would give to those asking me what case to get for a good fiddle, but I have to work within my means right now!

Thanks again!
CB

pohaku
05-29-2008, 05:06 PM
I have a Pro Tec case for my Gibson T-1 and another for my Martin 3M. I think they are a pretty good compromise between a high quality case offering good protection and a price that won't break the bank.

hawaiianmusiclover06
05-30-2008, 10:06 AM
That is such a pretty 'ukulele. You should keep it rather than selling it.

northern uke
05-31-2008, 07:18 AM
Did you try UKE YAK over at Flea Market? I'd be interested in what Chuck would have to say.

Minamin
05-31-2008, 08:31 AM
Empire Music sells a foam case that seems to be the same as the Lanikai, and for only $18.98. They offer free shipping for orders over $20, so throw in a kazoo or some castanets and you're set.

Link (http://www.empire-music.com/US/English/Catalogue.cfm?ProductID=SMC%2D21)

I have one for my vintage 1950s Harmony, valued at over $100 (wow!), and it works fine for me.

c.b.fiddler
05-31-2008, 03:56 PM
Did you try UKE YAK over at Flea Market? I'd be interested in what Chuck would have to say.

I did try it - but recieved no reply. I'm not sure if I should try again.

Thanks for the case suggestion - The Lanikai is already on the way from Musician's friend.

You guys are great,
Chris

MGM
05-31-2008, 05:34 PM
Koolau cases fit martins perfectly> around 80.00

c.b.fiddler
06-03-2008, 04:57 AM
Stupid question time. I bought a set of Martin strings for a soprano uke. The tuning guide on the back of the box reads B, F#, A, D. I thought this little guy was supposed to be tuned G, C, E, A. Am I missing something?

deach
06-03-2008, 11:45 AM
Stupid question time. I bought a set of Martin strings for a soprano uke. The tuning guide on the back of the box reads B, F#, A, D. I thought this little guy was supposed to be tuned G, C, E, A. Am I missing something?

Tuning up a full step would put you on those notes, not in that order though. Kinda weird that is in in that order.

GX9901
06-03-2008, 12:21 PM
Stupid question time. I bought a set of Martin strings for a soprano uke. The tuning guide on the back of the box reads B, F#, A, D. I thought this little guy was supposed to be tuned G, C, E, A. Am I missing something?

Do yourself a favor and get a set of Worth or Aquila soprano strings. The Martin ukulele strings are pretty much universally panned by uke players.

The tuning should have read A, D, F# B. They must have had a mis-print (another reason to avoid the Martin strings) on the packaging. GCEA tuning is more common now, but decades ago ADF#B was the dominant tuning. I believe it's also the dominant tuning in Canada right now (James Hill uses ADF#B).

northern uke
06-03-2008, 03:38 PM
I always say tune GCEA (C6) simply because the majority of music is in that tuning. But the ADF#B can be just right for some ukes, and as a violinist you'll have no confusion learning chord formations in various tunings. The low D is simply a step up from the C with the same chord forms. Low D also tightens the string tension wich effects the action and playability, this might feel better to you than a slacker tension. Give it a try, and see how much tone you can milk out of that vintage beauty! Keep us updated!:love:

c.b.fiddler
06-04-2008, 04:16 AM
Thanks, fellas.

I have a set of Worth CM's on the way. I have to say that the Martins still sound a hell of alot better than the 20 year old multi colored strings that were on it - not that this should be a surprise!

How often do you change your strings?

deach
06-04-2008, 07:09 AM
...
How often do you change your strings?

That depends on how you play and how often you play.

c.b.fiddler
06-04-2008, 07:46 AM
With the violin, there is a point where played, or unplayed, the strings will go false. While in college, I changed strings every 4 months. Just wondering what kind of replacement interval you guys have, personally.

Thanks!
CB

c.b.fiddler
06-04-2008, 08:04 AM
Did you try UKE YAK over at Flea Market? I'd be interested in what Chuck would have to say.

I checked back at Uke Yak and Chuck did have a wonderful reply for me. Here it is:

"Answer: It is Martin's second from the top in ukuleles. IT=t5 is very desirable and the one you have is stunning. It is probably from around the 1930's as the older ones had different dot arrangements on the fingerboard. Martin made about 5 incarnations of the style 3 ...you have the third one. If I had this uke, and I wish I did, I would insure it for 5000.00 at the very least. If I were you I would attempt to find an original hardshell case for it...you might advertise on the marketplace on this site...if not, I would still invest in a hardshell case to protect it. Birthdays have improved through the years. I got a shirt. The instrument is one of the worlds best and most sought after. Do it a favor...play it...that's what it is really for. enjoy,...chuck
- Friday, May 30, 2008"

c.b.fiddler
06-07-2008, 06:04 PM
Wow. I strung up the uke with Martins and it sounded better. Then I tuned it to D as the package suggests and it sounded goo to. But I ordered a set of Worths, tuned it back down to C and now the uke is a beast! It sounds wonderful. I am having trouble with strumming - constantly find myself wanting a pick (does anyone use picks with ukes?) but I am enjoying every minute of it.

If anyone is interested, I will post some more pics ofthe 3K after a little more professional cleaning (the first pics were just after wiping it down a little.)

I am enjoying plaing this uke and appreciate all of the advice and guidance you guys have offered.

Thanks!
CB

deach
06-07-2008, 06:07 PM
... I am having trouble with strumming - constantly find myself wanting a pick (does anyone use picks with ukes?)

...

I've seen people using felt picks.

Plainsong
06-07-2008, 06:10 PM
My little brother-in-law uses a light pick to good effect. I told him the uke police would get him for that, but he's too good a musician for it to matter. He can "do it wrong" and it sounds great.

I never thought that I'd get how to strum, maybe I still don't, but I think about it much less now...until trying to do cool uke tricks.

c.b.fiddler
06-07-2008, 06:23 PM
The soft case had an OLD green felt pick in it that belonged to great grandad as well. There's is very little volume with it though.

seeso
06-07-2008, 06:38 PM
Julia Nunes uses a pick, too. Don't be afraid to do whatever you want, man.

northern uke
06-08-2008, 02:41 AM
Seeso's got it. No limitations. James Hill's first CD was recorded with a pick. Super Mario, One note Samba, all with a pick. Temaine Gardner hangs one on her tuner and switches back and forth. Do what feels fun!

Howlin Hobbit
06-08-2008, 04:40 AM
I think you might find that you prefer fingers after a bit. Lots of fancy bits that are just way easier with fingers.

But if you don't, no biggie. If it sounds good to you you're doing it right.

On my site (on the ukulele page) is instructions for DIY felt picks. Check it out.

deach
06-08-2008, 10:07 AM
Julia Nunes uses a pick, too. Don't be afraid to do whatever you want, man.

Yup. Doesn't Tom Morello use a truss rod wrench to play guitar in one of his songs? Just have fun with it....

Lanark
06-08-2008, 11:42 AM
I think you might find that you prefer fingers after a bit. Lots of fancy bits that are just way easier with fingers.

But if you don't, no biggie. If it sounds good to you you're doing it right.


I can agree with this.

Start with the pick and see where the instrument takes you.

D.C.
07-02-2008, 04:26 PM
with a pick, just keep in mind it's very easy to bang it into the top of the uke while playing and damage the finish.

c.b.fiddler
07-03-2008, 05:56 AM
I am now officially "pickless." It took a little adjustment, but I do like it better.

lovemissheather
07-03-2008, 06:09 AM
how gorgeous is this thing!

hotnanas
07-03-2008, 06:11 AM
Yup. Doesn't Tom Morello use a truss rod wrench to play guitar in one of his songs? Just have fun with it....

am I smelling bow on uke? lol.

btw, that is one gorgeous uke.

c.b.fiddler
07-03-2008, 08:20 AM
Heather and Hotnanas,

Thanks! I can't tell you how much I appreciate this uke. I finished up "Moon River" this week and I'm lookin for a new song to tackle. Any suggestions?

redsedge
07-03-2008, 09:14 PM
I am now officially "pickless." It took a little adjustment, but I do like it better.

I too have one of these old green felt picks (came with my la foley). You can't get them anymore, they're as antique as the ukulele you have (according to the UK luthier Pete Howlett). I just love the sound they make and have been distraught since my mate's dog chewed mine up. I now have half a pick. Do you still want yours or is there any chance you might pass it on/sell?

I'm currently experimenting with HH's diy pick ideas (thanks, HH) but haven't come anywhere near the soft and mellow sound of the old green felt pick.

If I were you, I'd want to keep it as part of the uke's history, so I understand if you don't want to let it go. On the other hand, it would be used with another piece of uke history :D

c.b.fiddler
07-04-2008, 04:40 AM
Hi Redsege,

The felt pick is as old as the 3K, so it really is pretty floppy. Elderly instruments sells a very similar (though white) egg-shaped felt pick that I assume is much more mellow than the HH picks.

http://elderly.com/accessories/items/PK18.htm

I think I will keep the old green pick as part of the whole vintage package - I appreciate your asking!

deach
07-04-2008, 04:53 AM
....
The felt pick is as old as the 3K, so it really is pretty floppy.....

My wife isn't happy with my old floppy pick. :(

Kekani
07-04-2008, 10:07 AM
There are many players that use picks, and probably many more that don't. I've seen Bryan T. use a thumb pick (when he played my Tiple), and if I'm not mistaken, depending on the song, he uses on his nylons as well.

I've never seen Ledward play anything seriously without a pick, actually, two of them. I think he carries them with him everywhere - thumb pick, and index finger pick.

Here's the kicker - there are no marks left on the instrument (from either of them).

As for whether to use them or not, depends on what you're playing. I think Bryan switches, depending on the song. As you already know, you'll get different sounds from thumbing, nailing, and picking.

BTW, beautiful instrument - and I'm not really a Standard fan. Eventually, I would take MGM's advice, and get a Ko'olau hardshell case. If you keep playing, you'll need it.
I'm waiting for MGM to bring in more O`ahu cases, which are an offshoot of the Ko`olau case.

c.b.fiddler
10-13-2008, 04:52 AM
Sure enough, that cheap case has never left my house or traveled further than from the closet to the living room - and the screws holding the handle in has already stripped out of the shell. That's ridicuous that it would already start falling apart on me when all I needed it to do was keep the 3k safe.

You all warned me, I did it anyway - Now to buy that good case you guys have been suggesting :)