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Chris Tarman
07-14-2010, 02:33 PM
Today I got a friend request on Facebook from a drummer I have played with a few times in the distant past. Seconds after I accepted it, he posted a comment on my ukulele photo album and said "I have an old Martin uke, I think from the '50s, that I found in an attic a while back". So I started chatting with him online to attempt to ascertain if he was willing to sell it. He doesn't play uke (drums, percussion and a little mandolin), and he said "At this point, I would sell my girlfriend!". That led me to believe he might be in need of cash, lol. Soooooo...... we'll see what happens! Unfortunately, I mentioned this to my wife a few minutes ago and I got a BIG groan out of her. Not a good sign. I should know by now to just do these things secretly! I do, after all, have my own "allowance" (or as we call it, "Treat Money"). She'd have honestly never known the difference if I had not mentioned it. Oh well... better to be up front, I suppose.
I'll have to have a look at it, although he said it doesn't seem to have any cracks or anything.
Keep your fingers crossed!

uke552
07-14-2010, 02:53 PM
Wow, good luck on this! I keep waiting for my "lucky find Martin day".....keep us posted!

oldrookie
07-14-2010, 04:04 PM
Friend of mine was telling me that he bought a Martin uke about 10 years ago for $5.00 at a garage sale. Had it above his fireplace for most of those years. Decided to get it appraised recently and was told it was worth $800. He doesn't play.

Haven't seen it yet.

Good luck with your possible find.

RyanMFT
07-14-2010, 05:56 PM
I bet your wife would be even more upset if you made an offer on the girlfriend!

Seriously, good luck on the Martin!

Chris Tarman
07-14-2010, 06:09 PM
OMG!!!! I just checked Facebook and he sent me a picture of it. It is a STYLE 3!!!! Ok, I officially can't afford it. I know him semi-well, but well enough not to totally rip him off on this. Plus, he IS a musician, so he's probably smart enough to research it. Well... maybe not. He IS a drummer, after all! (j/k) Wow. I don't even know if I can make him an offer. At least I know it will probably be around if I ever can afford it. At least I HOPE. I hope he doesn't get too curious and list it on eBay. Man... I was hoping it would be a Style 0 or Style 1 and I could reasonably offer him a few hundred. Dang! Crappity Crap Crap!!!!

Chris Tarman
07-14-2010, 06:17 PM
It's a LATER Style 3. It has "Martin etc" on the front of the headstock, but it still has the little white inlaid doohickey on the butt and the stripes down the fingerboard. The position markers are just plain dots, but they're doubled (one on each side of the stripe). So not so late as the really (relatively) plain ones from the '60s. Bloody hell, I nearly had a stroke when I saw the photo. It's in good shape, at least on the front side. It's hanging on his freaking WALL!!!! It might be time to put a few pipes on eBay!

mm stan
07-14-2010, 07:05 PM
Aloha Chris,
Long time no talk, oppertunity waits for no one....I'd be Facebooking him back without a thought...
Well maybe alert the Mrs first....Style 3 don't come along very often and they are getting rarer
and jumping in price...Let's see, you could tell her it's an investment...LOL!!!!it's not going to
depreciate for sure!!! I've always wanted one, but couldn't affort it. Is it a 3K or 3M???
Like you I have a 2M, but a 3K would be awesome. My 2M I got for $200.00 and had to
repair a crack in the back that cost more than I paid for it but everyone who picks it up
goes oh WOW!!! If you're not intrested, ask him what he wants for it..LOL!! I wouldn't
rush until you hear how it sounds...Nice find Buddy!!! Let us know of the outcome..
BTW- Has it got that inlay on the headstock too??Now you've got me excited too!!!

Chris Tarman
07-14-2010, 07:13 PM
Friend of mine was telling me that he bought a Martin uke about 10 years ago for $5.00 at a garage sale. Had it above his fireplace for most of those years. Decided to get it appraised recently and was told it was worth $800. He doesn't play.

Haven't seen it yet.

Good luck with your possible find.

That would be worth making him an offer on, especially if he doesn't play! Kind of the same boat I am in. Except a Style 3 is worth a couple of thousand, probably.

Chris Tarman
07-14-2010, 07:18 PM
Aloha Chris,
Long time no talk, oppertunity waits for no one....I'd be Facebooking him back without a thought...
Well maybe alert the Mrs first....Style 3 don't come along very often and they are getting rarer
and jumping in price...Let's see, you could tell her it's an investment...LOL!!!!it's not going to
depreciate for sure!!! I've always wanted one, but couldn't affort it. Is it a 3K or 3M???
Like you I have a 2M, but a 3K would be awesome. My 2M I got for $200.00 and had to
repair a crack in the back that cost more than I paid for it but everyone who picks it up
goes oh WOW!!! If you're not intrested, ask him what he wants for it..LOL!! I wouldn't
rush until you hear how it sounds...Nice find Buddy!!! Let us know of the outcome..
BTW- Has it got that inlay on the headstock too??Now you've got me excited too!!!

It looks to be a 3M. No inlay on the headstock, just the Martin logo in the gold script. White friction tuners of some kind. He didn't send a pic of the back. But he only lives about 5 minutes across town. I am SERIOUSLY plotting. I showed my wife the picture and she just kind of "hmmmph"ed and made it clear that I had better not buy it without selling something first. I could probably put some of my pipe collection on eBay and get $1000 pretty easily (that's how I got my Style 2... 6 pipes paid for that!). Trouble is, the pipes that are worth decent money are the ones I don't want to sell! The ones I'd be willing to sell wouldn't get me that much. Well, I'll have to play this cool.... lol. At least I doubt that it is going anywhere... unless he does some research and decides to list it on eBay or elsewhere. I am NEVER going to be able to sleep tonight!

Chris Tarman
07-14-2010, 07:32 PM
Here's the picture he sent me on Facebook. Elderly Instruments has a couple of '30s 3Ms listed for just under $3000. I don't suppose the fact that it's probably '40s or '50s knocks like $2500 off the value, does it?
Oh, he also sent pictures of a kind of weird-looking banjo uke that he has tuned like a mandolin. I am REALLY glad he hasn't done that to the Martin!
Sorry I can't get the picture to show up any larger. IF I end up with it, I will certainly post better photos. LOTS and LOTS of them!

Chris Tarman
07-14-2010, 07:35 PM
Let me try again.
Okay... that didn't work either. Shoot!

Chris Tarman
07-14-2010, 07:48 PM
I just re-read his original message. "Chris, I have an old Martin Uke. Maybe 50's? Found it in an attic, still in the case". So that answers one of my questions about it -"Does it have a case?". It would be nice if it's one of those cool old Martin hardshell cases!

mm stan
07-14-2010, 07:51 PM
Aloha Chris,
Try and check out: intermountain guitar and banjo and click ukuleles
they have several 3M martins and more even 5K's too
Kinda steep prices and thanks for sharing the photo with us...
MM Stan...
I it's 50's it would have that thick round leather handle..I think..

RevWill
07-14-2010, 07:58 PM
It's a real dilemma. Let your conscience be your guide.

I am in no position to advise you but I can tell you what I would do. I would simply tell him the truth just like you've told us. I'd let him know what the market value of the uke is, that I would really like to have it, and that I wish I could afford to pay him that much. I would love to own that uke, I would love and cherish it but I honestly only have this much that I can spend.

He may decide to put it on eBay and get the money. He may decide to keep it. By telling him the truth I've been a real friend, which is more valuable than wood and strings. He may decide to sell it to me for what can afford because I'm a friend and he knows how deeply I would appreciate it. That way whatever happens my conscience is clean. If he sells it to me for what I can pay, I hope and pray for an opportunity to return his kindness in the future. If not, then what have I really lost?

That looks like one truly fabulous instrument. I hope you end up with it and post plenty of pics and videos. That would be awesome.

RyanMFT
07-14-2010, 08:18 PM
What a beautiful instrument! However it works out, I hope it ends up in your hands....good luck, let us know what happens!

Chris Tarman
07-14-2010, 08:21 PM
It's a real dilemma. Let your conscience be your guide.

I am in no position to advise you but I can tell you what I would do. I would simply tell him the truth just like you've told us. I'd let him know what the market value of the uke is, that I would really like to have it, and that I wish I could afford to pay him that much. I would love to own that uke, I would love and cherish it but I honestly only have this much that I can spend.

He may decide to put it on eBay and get the money. He may decide to keep it. By telling him the truth I've been a real friend, which is more valuable than wood and strings. He may decide to sell it to me for what can afford because I'm a friend and he knows how deeply I would appreciate it. That way whatever happens my conscience is clean. If he sells it to me for what I can pay, I hope and pray for an opportunity to return his kindness in the future. If not, then what have I really lost?

That looks like one truly fabulous instrument. I hope you end up with it and post plenty of pics and videos. That would be awesome.

RevWill,
That is EXACTLY what I am thinking of doing. I was thinking along the lines of "This is how much it MIGHT go for, but I can offer you $____ in cash right now." AFTER I told him how much I would love to have it and would play and cherish it, etc etc (all of which is of course totally true!). My father is a Methodist minister like you, and at one point in my life I had thought about that as well. So, yeah, I would have a hard time living with myself if I wasn't up front with him. On the other hand, if it was at a yard sale or thrift shop for $100, I wouldn't think twice or feel at ALL bad about it!
I get the impression that he has little (if anything) invested in it, and, being a musician, he might well like to sell it to someone he knows and who he knows will cherish and play it. At least I hope so. I think I could make him an offer that would be at least semi-attractive when I included the argument about me loving it, etc, and saving him the hassle of selling it on eBay and having to ship it safely someplace. THEN all I would have to do would be to smooth it over with my wife. Which might be difficult, but hopefully not IMPOSSIBLE. I honestly could sell enough pipes on eBay to get as much as I am able to offer him, but it might take a month or so.

Chris Tarman
07-14-2010, 08:23 PM
Aloha Chris,
Try and check out: intermountain guitar and banjo and click ukuleles
they have several 3M martins and more even 5K's too
Kinda steep prices and thanks for sharing the photo with us...
MM Stan...
I it's 50's it would have that thick round leather handle..I think..

I've actually been in that store, but it was years before I ever even THOUGHT about ukuleles (at least I am pretty sure it was that store... SOME vintage instrument shop in that general vicinity in S.L.C.).

RevWill
07-14-2010, 08:27 PM
RevWill,
So, yeah, I would have a hard time living with myself if I wasn't up front with him. On the other hand, if it was at a yard sale or thrift shop for $100, I wouldn't think twice or feel at ALL bad about it!


I agree 100%.

Good luck, Chris.

RevWill
07-16-2010, 01:55 AM
Keep us updated.

NatalieS
07-16-2010, 04:36 AM
Yeah, keep us updated! This is an interesting story, and those style 3's are so beautiful. I've always had my eye out for one (yeah, right!).

Chris Tarman
07-16-2010, 12:57 PM
Yeah, keep us updated! This is an interesting story, and those style 3's are so beautiful. I've always had my eye out for one (yeah, right!).

"Yeah right!" is what I always used to think too! I will definitely keep you updated. Nothing new to report yet. I've been too busy since Wednesday to even try to get in touch with him to set up a time to go look at it. I had a sleepless night that first night, though, let me tell you!

Chris Tarman
07-21-2010, 01:25 PM
Update: I went out and looked at it today. He said he found it buried under the insulation in the attic of a rental house he lived in in Boulder Colorado a long time ago. It's playable, and sounds pretty nice (apart from needing new strings), and is in remarkably good condition for having spent who knows how long in an alternately HOT and COLD attic. It does have a long tight back crack, but remarkably, only the ONE crack. The fingerboard is pretty dry looking and there seems to be some gapping along the length of the white stripes inlaid down the center of the board.
I told him what I thought it was probably worth, factoring in the condition. He said he wasn't sure he wanted to sell it just yet, but assured me he wasn't planning on putting it on eBay or selling it to a dealer. If he DOES decide to sell it, I get first crack. I did make him a pretty generous "On-the-spot" cash offer which he said was tempting, but no bite just yet. Grrrrrr....

Uncle-Taco
07-21-2010, 02:31 PM
I've actually been in that store, but it was years before I ever even THOUGHT about ukuleles (at least I am pretty sure it was that store... SOME vintage instrument shop in that general vicinity in S.L.C.).

I could just about spit out my window right now and hit Intermountain Guitar and Banjo. Actually, I'd almost like to.
Went there right after I moved back here and I don't think I have ever been treated so rudely in my life.
I was greeted (eventually) with a remarkably snotty, "Well, what are YOU looking for?"
I told him. (A 3M I was told about, and to inquire about a possible repair on a Martin guitar.)
I got a brief and surprisingly rude lecture on how vintage Martin ukes are expensive and rare (like my guitar wasn't?) and maybe I should go visit Accoustic Music (also spitting distance from my house), as they carry cheaper stuff. He sat down and started flipping through a box of strings or something. I waited for some response, but he didn't look up at me again or say a thing.
I don't know what did it. I was in nice business attire, had bathed, and am quit sure I was completely polite and deferential, and I'd never seen the guy before.
I left. I pass the place all the time but never see anybody in there. (surprise.) I guess he is now only open by appointment, but the place is still there, so I guess somebody gets treated better than I was. (And at his scheduled convenience.)

I'm not saying not to deal there (they supposedly have an impressive inventory), but if there is a secret to getting them to work with you, I don't know what it is.
We all have bad days and maybe that's all his problem was, but Uncle Taco will drive hours or pay postage rather than walk a few steps to go to Inermountain.

cletus
07-21-2010, 03:28 PM
Uncle Taco, I would have to stop in and visit the store,if only just to annoy the snotty guy.

Chris Tarman
07-21-2010, 06:19 PM
I got a similar response at a Pro-Sound in Denver in 1982. I had been told to go to a store called Bobby's Music and see a guy called Ralph when I was shopping for my first good bass. But my mom and I were staying with some friends (we had driven down from Casper Wyoming), and Pro-Sound was fairly close. So we swung by there. I can't even remember what bass I was asking about, but I asked the generic wanna-be rock-dude at Pro-Sound "are such and such basses any good?", and he said "Yes, yes they are". "Can I try one out?", I asked. "No, not unless you're in the market", I was told. I looked at my mom (I was 17 at the time), and said "Well, D*%#head, I have $1000 in my pocket, but screw you." We drove to Bobby's and I asked for Ralph. He asked what I was looking for, and I told him I'd really like a Rickenbacker. He said "We have a really nice blue one", handed it to me and asked what amp I wanted to play through. He plugged me into a big Ampeg SVT (Pretty cool for a kid from Wyoming!), and left me alone. He made small talk with my mom while I played, and 15 minutes later, I had a new Rickenbacker 4003 bass.
Some store clerks just don't get it....