View Full Version : String recs for a vintage martin style 1

07-21-2011, 08:55 PM
As mentioned in my previous thread, I just got a tuner-less vintage Martin Style 1.


I'm gonna have a local luthier friend of mine patch up two small cracks but before then, I'm very curious as to what strings I should get on them. The previous owner had gut strings that sounded great - very rounded tone - but I'm curious as to what you guys put on yours.

My natural inclination is worths with standard tension. Thanks!!

A gallery of photos of the ukes are here:


07-21-2011, 09:38 PM
I have Worth Browns on my Martin 3m and they are the dogs bollocks. Nice bright and well rounded tone, not too much tension to hose my baby- perfect all around

07-21-2011, 09:41 PM
My vintage-style Ohana SK-38 came with Aquilas and sounded a bit lacking, but really livened up with some Worth Clears. The Aquilas were all bark, little tone, but the clears rounded out the sound very nicely. I could see the browns working out quite well too depending on the instrument.

One thing that someone mentioned in another thread was to use CLs instead of CMs on it. I haven't tried that yet, but they're due to go on next.

07-21-2011, 10:35 PM
Try some Aquila gut strings, that's what the instrument was made for! :)

mm stan
07-22-2011, 12:37 AM
I love the Martin fleurocarbons..M600 on my style 2 and style O sopranos.. way to go...

07-22-2011, 02:23 AM
I have on my pre-war Martin O, and have read of others with similar experiences, Aquila Nylguts. May vary from instrument to instrument, but some old Martins just love those Nylguts and sound amazing. As zac987 said, gut strings is what they were set up for! Try one, if you aren't crazy about it, try another.

07-22-2011, 02:49 AM
My 40's 1M had aquila's on it when I bought it and I've switched to Fremont black line mediums - now it sings but as everyone has said you need to try a variety of strings which is kind of a drag. There have been multiple threads on how folks don't like nyguts and others who say Martin 600's are great for vintage ukes. I've put Fremont's on vintage Gretschs and my Martin and I do like those strings but it's not as if I tried a bunch of others. Mostly it was just the fact that I didn't like the strings that the instrument came with. I'm about to do the same with a new vintage Gretsch from the 20's -- I'll try the Martins, but also have some Fremonts on hand if I don't like the sound. I've also heard good things about Ko'olau and Orcas so I'm buying sets of those too. This is getting kind of expensive if you have more than one vintage uke, but I would definitely try the Freemont blacks in medium. Good playing, g2

07-22-2011, 03:16 AM
I have 3 vintage Martins. I've tried a variety of strings and would recommend that you string your Martin with some kind of fluorocarbon string: Worth medium tension in either clear or brown, the clears are brighter and the browns warmer; Martin 600; Fremont; Orca. There are slight variations in the sounds produced, but in general, they sound similar. For example, right now I waver between Worth CM and Martin strings on mine. To my ears, the Worths sound more bell-like, and the Martins are a little snappier. All of this said, I'm not sure that were I to do a blindfold test, I'd be able to discern many differences among the fluorocarbons. As g2 says, you really have to try a few sets - so much depends on the individual instrument.

07-22-2011, 02:05 PM
thanks a bunch guys!!

07-22-2011, 02:19 PM
Worth CMs!

07-22-2011, 02:23 PM
Another vote for the Martin Flurocarbons. I didn't like Aquila on mine....just too harsh and plunky but the Martin's are bright, loud, and balanced!

Chris Tarman
07-23-2011, 11:48 AM
I've used both Martin M600s and Worth CMs on my two vintage Martins. Both sets sound very nice on both ukes (late '20s/early '30s Style 2 and a '40s or '50s Style 1). The
Martin strings have the advantage of being widely available. I can buy them semi-locally. I had to order the Worths online.

07-23-2011, 04:40 PM
I'm leaning towards the worths but the Martins are cheaper! Are they close enough as not to make a difference?

07-23-2011, 04:47 PM
I also love the Savarez alliance strings (541rs)...would those be too much tension for a soprano?

07-24-2011, 01:33 AM
I tried many strings on my Martin Style O from the thirties, but the Worth clears really sound the best on my old lady!

07-24-2011, 01:51 AM
I'm leaning towards the worths but the Martins are cheaper! Are they close enough as not to make a difference?

Worths are sold in double sets. The soprano/concert strings are 46" long; in other words, it is intended that each string be cut in half.

07-24-2011, 04:05 AM
I have a 1920s Martin with Aquillas on it and it sounds great, especially when tuned in D6 (a-D-F#-B). I have a friend with a Martin that sounds great with Martin Fluorcarbons. The difference is that mine barks in D6, but sounds a bit dull & dry in C6. The friend's uke has a "sparkly" tone with the Martin flurocarbons. When I get around to it I'll change the Aquillas to something else, Fremonts, Worths or Martins. I betcha your Martin will sound great with nearly any string.