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daboss
09-29-2010, 03:55 PM
Aloha Folks-

Just curious about this whole history dating thing for Martins; in my family there is a very old ukulele that has a stamp on the inside that says "CF Martin & Co. New York." There is no imprint on the back of the peg board or decals. We have always considered it a Martin. It looks like the rest of the sopranos in the family. But when we try to get info about it, it is a little difficult because most sites say the first ukes were 1916 and would have a stamp out of PA instead of NY. So, again, just curious about this and who might be able to help out our family with its history.

Mahalo

TCK
09-29-2010, 05:08 PM
I have learned in my short time here that Mike DaSilva is a Martin ace- might try him.
I too have an old Martin and they are indeed hard to date- pictures would be great. In any event, now that I have mine coming alive for the first time in 25 years... congratulations on having it around- it is true what they say about them.

Chris Tarman
09-29-2010, 06:55 PM
I'm by no means an expert, but I would love to see pictures of this uke. I just did a quick google search and it seems that the "CF Martin & Co, New York" label was used from 1867 to 1898. I have read that Martin made a very few ukuleles prior to 1916, but that they were not well-recieved, as the bracing was too heavy. I don't know WHEN exactly they made these. I would REALLY like to see photos! It could be that you have one of the very earliest Martin ukes. You're POSITIVE it is a uke, and not a tenor guitar? What are the measurements? More info please!

daboss
09-29-2010, 08:38 PM
Aloha TCK & Chris-

Thank you very much for your replies. I will try to get some photos up. The ukulele measures a little over 21 inches. It looks just like other family member's soprano Martin ukulele in terms of the shape and how the bridge and fret board mate with the body. So, when I saw the CF Martin & Co New York stamp on the inside through the sound hole it was really amazing. The "CF Martin & Co" is shaped like an arch and the word "New York" is underneath it in basically a straight line. Thanks again for all your help.

Mahalo


I'm by no means an expert, but I would love to see pictures of this uke. I just did a quick google search and it seems that the "CF Martin & Co, New York" label was used from 1867 to 1898. I have read that Martin made a very few ukuleles prior to 1916, but that they were not well-recieved, as the bracing was too heavy. I don't know WHEN exactly they made these. I would REALLY like to see photos! It could be that you have one of the very earliest Martin ukes. You're POSITIVE it is a uke, and not a tenor guitar? What are the measurements? More info please!

mm stan
09-29-2010, 09:19 PM
Howzit Da Boss,
Sounds like an Soprano so far and it also sounds like an real earlier model if it says New york instead of Nazarath PA. on the
inside stamp under it's name. It is before 1930 because it has no decal and they started to build ukuleles I think in 1915.
....any more details..Take some pic's of the headstock and the tuners...would help
BTW-Ive even seen a 1916 ukulele with the nazarath stamp, your must be before then..

Chris Tarman
09-30-2010, 02:04 AM
I know they made SOME ukuleles before the start of the uke craze in 1915, but I can't remember when or for how long. I think they experimented with them for a while and then discontinued them, then started again in '15 or '16. I want to say it was around 1907, but even that would be too late for a New York label, unless there's something I don't know (which there most CERTAINLY is!).

mm stan
09-30-2010, 04:28 AM
Yup Chris,
They only stayed in New York for 6 years between 1833-1839
Im not sure when they discontinued using the NY logo stamp,
as I said before a 1915 model already had the Nazarath stamp.
I don't remember seeing or hearing any ukes by them before the teens..

joeybug
09-30-2010, 04:30 AM
From reading the discussion it sounds like you have a rare beauty there! A real vintage! How does she sound?

daboss
09-30-2010, 04:55 AM
Aloha Folks-
I will try to get some photos of it. If I remember correctly I think the tuners were replaced by later ones that also look like Martin's. One of the family members years ago strung it up with newer strings and from what I know, it still sounds sweet. Like Grandma's later vintage Martin's.
Mahalo



From reading the discussion it sounds like you have a rare beauty there! A real vintage! How does she sound?

Jim T.
09-30-2010, 06:17 AM
Martin sold "six Hawaiian Ukeleles made to sample as a trial lot" to Bergstrom Music Co. of Honolulu in December 1907, but because no company correspondence from that period survives it's impossible to know why Martin made the six ukes for Bergstrom or why the firm apparently never followed up. Martin didn't go into production with 'ukuleles until 1915; the first two were sold to a customer in Trenton, N.J. in October of that year.

WhenDogsSing
09-30-2010, 06:40 AM
Taken from the Mike Longworth History of the Martin Guitar Company:

"The Martin brand originally read "C.F. Martin, New York" from the 1830s until 1867. When C.F. Martin, Jr. and C.F. Hartman became partners, the brand on the inside of the back was changed to read "C.F. Martin & Co., New York". Only this stamp in the back can be used as a key to dating because the earlier version was often retained in the other two positions. In 1898 the stamped brand was changed to "C.F. Martin and Co., Nazareth, Pa."

With that information, the instrument under discussion would have been made prior to 1898. However, the book goes on to state that 1907 was the first time that F.H. Martin experimented with ukuleles. These were built much like a guitar with too much bracing and with spruce tops and were not well received.

There appears to be a conundrum here that I cannot address without pictures of the instrument.

I hope this information is helpful.

daboss
09-30-2010, 08:02 PM
Aloha Folks-

Well, I was able to get some photos of the Martin soprano. I hope these can confirm it is a Martin and an ukulele for our family.

Mahalo

http://thumb1.webshots.net/t/82/182/0/85/95/2745085950106368361CsOxMT_th.jpg

http://thumb1.webshots.net/t/82/182/1/87/36/2326187360106368361WVtQuD_th.jpg

http://thumb1.webshots.net/t/71/171/3/2/12/2961302120106368361atoTRe_th.jpg

PS: Sorry. the photos seem small but I hope you can make something out with them. The stamp on the inside does say "CF Martin & Co. New York"



Taken from the Mike Longworth History of the Martin Guitar Company:

"The Martin brand originally read "C.F. Martin, New York" from the 1830s until 1867. When C.F. Martin, Jr. and C.F. Hartman became partners, the brand on the inside of the back was changed to read "C.F. Martin & Co., New York". Only this stamp in the back can be used as a key to dating because the earlier version was often retained in the other two positions. In 1898 the stamped brand was changed to "C.F. Martin and Co., Nazareth, Pa."

With that information, the instrument under discussion would have been made prior to 1898. However, the book goes on to state that 1907 was the first time that F.H. Martin experimented with ukuleles. These were built much like a guitar with too much bracing and with spruce tops and were not well received.

There appears to be a conundrum here that I cannot address without pictures of the instrument.

I hope this information is helpful.

mm stan
10-01-2010, 12:06 AM
Thanks for the pictures, I've never seen a sunburst finish on any martin before or is it the lighting??/
Wonder if it was originally a employee's personal made ukulele???Do you have any close up photo of the
headstock front and back and the tuners??? and aclose up of the body and stamp....Stan..

daboss
10-01-2010, 05:22 AM
Aloha Stan-
I am not sure if it is a sunburst finish or just a patina from its age and use? Not sure what was used way back in the day to protect the wood or how Martin would have finished these earlier instruments? The tuners I think are not the original ones but were replaced with Martin ones from say the 1940's or 1950's. Will try to get some more photos. I think I was able to get the one with the CF Martin & Co. New York posted with a larger image for your viewing. So hopefully I can get some others too.
Mahalo

http://inlinethumb56.webshots.com/26551/2745085950106368361S425x425Q85.jpg (http://entertainment.webshots.com/photo/2745085950106368361CsOxMT)



Thanks for the pictures, I've never seen a sunburst finish on any martin before or is it the lighting??/
Wonder if it was originally a employee's personal made ukulele???Do you have any close up photo of the
headstock front and back and the tuners??? and aclose up of the body and stamp....Stan..

mm stan
10-01-2010, 06:08 AM
Aloha Stan-
I am not sure if it is a sunburst finish or just a patina from its age and use? Not sure what was used way back in the day to protect the wood or how Martin would have finished these earlier instruments? The tuners I think are not the original ones but were replaced with Martin ones from say the 1940's or 1950's. Will try to get some more photos. I think I was able to get the one with the CF Martin & Co. New York posted with a larger image for your viewing. So hopefully I can get some others too.
Mahalo

http://inlinethumb56.webshots.com/26551/2745085950106368361S425x425Q85.jpg (http://entertainment.webshots.com/photo/2745085950106368361CsOxMT)

Aloha Da Boss,
First time seeing a stamp on the neck block......WoW and I've seen alot of Martins too...this well be the holy grail of uke for you...it sure looks really rare and may well be one of a few
to exsist today...You one lucky buggah!!! Now look like we talking really big bucks...far rarer than a 5K MM Stan...
like sell?? Nah keep um in the family heirloom.....for the generations ahead to enjoy!!!
I'd try and contact the Martin museum....

RyanMFT
10-01-2010, 06:25 AM
Very interesting indeed.....I also would like to see bigger pictures. Perhaps if you can upload them to photobucket and than post them again?

I remember reading that the original six Martin ukulele's from 1907 were made with Spruce tops, much like a guitar. This looks Mahogany to me, but I am FAR from an expert! At first glance, the uke doesn't look turn of the century, but who knows what Martin built......for your sake Boss, I hope it is one of those early Martin uke's!

Please contact Tom Walsh at www.ukulele.org who has EXTENSIVE knowledge and experience with Martin ukulele's and can give you much more information and insight about this uke. Then, you have to let us know what he has to say! You can send info. and pictures through that website. I have been in touch with him recently and he is very generous with his time and expertise!

WhenDogsSing
10-01-2010, 08:45 AM
Can we get some better pictures of the headstock, fingerboard, bridge, and soundhole, inside and out? The headstock shape of this instrument does not appear to be that of a Martin. The instrument appears to have a bound soundhole which doesn't meet Martin specifications. What is that above the stamp inside on the neck block? Is the stamp an ink stamp or is it stamped into the wood? What type of fingerboard markers does it have?

WhenDogsSing
10-01-2010, 08:49 AM
One more thing, what binding, if any, does it have on the body top and back?

daboss
10-01-2010, 10:47 AM
Aloha Stan & Ryan-

Yes, our family thought this was always a cool piece. I have played it and enjoyed the sound. I always thought it was just another Martin but an older one. I do not see any type of binding on it at all.

Here are a few more photos I received:


http://inlinethumb30.webshots.com/25885/2445408570106368361S425x425Q85.jpg (http://entertainment.webshots.com/photo/2445408570106368361UlHEtj)

http://inlinethumb11.webshots.com/44490/2490925820106368361S425x425Q85.jpg (http://entertainment.webshots.com/photo/2490925820106368361fYjLjy)


Thank you for all your help. I will try to contact that other gentleman and also try to get some more photos.
Mahalo


Very interesting indeed.....I also would like to see bigger pictures. Perhaps if you can upload them to photobucket and than post them again?

I remember reading that the original six Martin ukulele's from 1907 were made with Spruce tops, much like a guitar. This looks Mahogany to me, but I am FAR from an expert! At first glance, the uke doesn't look turn of the century, but who knows what Martin built......for your sake Boss, I hope it is one of those early Martin uke's!

Please contact Tom Walsh at www.ukulele.org who has EXTENSIVE knowledge and experience with Martin ukulele's and can give you much more information and insight about this uke. Then, you have to let us know what he has to say! You can send info. and pictures through that website. I have been in touch with him recently and he is very generous with his time and expertise!

RyanMFT
10-01-2010, 11:34 AM
As I look at and consider this uke more, for some reason I keep thinking that it is a more modern uke 1950's or 1960's. How long has your family had it? The shape of the body looks more like a Regal and the shape of the headstock doesn't point to Martin for me. However, the kerfed lining is similar to my Martin. Also, those position markers are pretty big, quite unlike what Martin used.
The CF Martin and Co. New York stamp looks a little different from the ones that I searched for on the web.....also, it looks a little sloppily, which Martin is not known for. No matter what, you like to play it and that is what matters most to me! I'll be interested to hear any more you find out.

daboss
10-01-2010, 11:49 AM
Aloha Ryan-
thank you for your reply. It is definitely older than my grandmother and grandfathers Martin sopranos that are from the 1940's to early 1950's. Again, we are sure that some work was done on it years ago, like the tuning pegs, which we are fairly confident was replaced with later pegs. The area/piece that is where the frets are may have been been repaired also at some point but the neck and body and head are all original. When I look at my family's other older Martin's the construction of this one seems older knowing some of the types of techniques used during a certain period; especially when you look inside the sound hole and see the block and bracing used. I hope to hear from the gentleman you referred me to and will definitely let you know his thoughts as well.
Mahalo

PS: Yes, when I look at the Martin Stamp on our other ukulele's be it on the back of the head or on the inside of the sound hole/body area, they do look a little "nicer" then this one. Not sure if like you said it is an old employee's one or if that is what they had way back when. It will be interesting to find out. Also curious about the peghead where the neck meets the body. I know Martin's older guitars had certain styles that could identify a time period.

PPS: I know I was asked earlier about binding and could not really find any expect I forgot about the area around the sound hole. We think it is ivory. Also curious about the peghead. If I am to understand correctly at least with Martin guitars different styles of pegheads (connections between the neck and body) could identify certain era's. Maybe this could be true for their ukuleles too?


As I look at and consider this uke more, for some reason I keep thinking that it is a more modern uke 1950's or 1960's. How long has your family had it? The shape of the body looks more like a Regal and the shape of the headstock doesn't point to Martin for me. However, the kerfed lining is similar to my Martin. Also, those position markers are pretty big, quite unlike what Martin used.
The CF Martin and Co. New York stamp looks a little different from the ones that I searched for on the web.....also, it looks a little sloppily, which Martin is not known for. No matter what, you like to play it and that is what matters most to me! I'll be interested to hear any more you find out.

mm stan
10-01-2010, 12:50 PM
Aloha Da Boss,
The headstock is like one found on older Hawaiian ukes of the 1900's and not of Martin ..and the neck looks thicker too..
Just wonder if this is an early proto type or an employee's personal made one...either way it rare and worth a bunch ...MM Stan..

bassfiddlesteve
10-01-2010, 02:07 PM
I don't want to burst anyone's bubble but I don't think that's a Martin iunstrument. Even employee instruments conform to the basic body, neck and headstock styles. From what I can make out in the photos this looks like a Harmony, Regal one of the other Chicago brands.

- Steve

daboss
10-01-2010, 08:42 PM
Aloha Steve-

No offense taken. I am just as curious as the next person too. Why would there be a stamp on the inside of the instrument that states CF Martin? Also, some of the inside construction looks like other Martin's in the family. Who knows? Will just enjoy it.

Mahalo



I don't want to burst anyone's bubble but I don't think that's a Martin iunstrument. Even employee instruments conform to the basic body, neck and headstock styles. From what I can make out in the photos this looks like a Harmony, Regal one of the other Chicago brands.

- Steve