PDA

View Full Version : New Martins vs Old Martins



delray48209
08-12-2012, 01:34 PM
I have a question. About a week ago, I purchased a new Martin S1 which I like a lot! It plays and sounds awesome to me. Can anyone tell me if there is a significant difference in the build structure between a vintage Martin O and the new Martin S1 being built in Mexico? Different bracing pattern, dimensions, etc?

I was just wondering what a 1920's Martin sounded like when it was new. So, I was thinking, if the early Martins have the same build pattern, it would seem logical that my new S1 will develop the same vintage, complex sound as found in today's vintage Martin ukes. What do you think?

Thanks
Frank

BlackBearUkes
08-12-2012, 01:45 PM
I have a question. About a week ago, I purchased a new Martin S1 which I like a lot! It plays and sounds awesome to me. Can anyone tell me if there is a significant difference in the build structure between a vintage Martin O and the new Martin S1 being built in Mexico? Different bracing pattern, dimensions, etc?

I was just wondering what a 1920's Martin sounded like when it was new. So, I was thinking, if the early Martins have the same build pattern, it would seem logical that my new S1 will develop the same vintage, complex sound as found in today's vintage Martin ukes. What do you think?

Thanks
Frank

The only way the new Martins are going to sound as good as the vintage Martins is if the new ones are built with the same excellent woods; they are not. They may look the same to you but in my opinion they are completely separate in build and sound. Perhaps the new ones will sound good in 50 years or more (that is how old the vintage ukes are now), but I sincerely doubt they are going to be in the same ball park as the older Martins.

Paul December
08-12-2012, 01:59 PM
The only way the new Martins are going to sound as good as the vintage Martins is if the new ones are built with the same excellent woods; they are not. They may look the same to you but in my opinion they are completely separate in build and sound. Perhaps the new ones will sound good in 50 years or more (that is how old the vintage ukes are now), but I sincerely doubt they are going to be in the same ball park as the older Martins.

How do they differ in build?
How does the wood differ?

ChrisRCovington
08-12-2012, 03:02 PM
The thing I noticed between the S1 and 0 is that the newer S1s (and I assume many of the PA built ukes too) is that the wood is thicker and you get a heavier ukulele. Many of the old Martin ukuleles were almost as thin as the old Hawaiian built ukes. It isn't uncommon to see an old Martin with cracks in it. I have a feeling this thicker wood is used to make a longer lasting instrument that sacrifices some tone and volume (I'm also pretty sure this is for warranty issues as well). As for wood quaility I'm sure the mahogany they are using today is not the same as the old mahogany they used back in the day (might not even be the same mahogany species). The fretboard also extends all the way to the sound hole on the S1 and only extended just past the 12th fret on the style 0. I'm sure this can have some affect too.

I am very happy wth my S1 for exactly what it is and it is one of my two go to ukuleles (I love my Bruko No. 6 too!). I went to the guitar center where I bought mine and after nearly a year they got a replacement in and it didn't look anywhere near as good and sounded poorer. Better than most Chinese stuff but nowhere near as good as mine. The fit and finish and all was spot on but the wood just didn't look as good. I have noticed some opening up on my S1 and I'm sure after 50 years it'll really open up more but then the style 0 will have an even longer head start (75 years maybe) so will always sound better if they survive. Well that's my 2 cents anyway :)

mm stan
08-12-2012, 03:03 PM
I too think the vintage ones I have sounds way better than the new ones I tried at the shop...maybe the strings were new...but a big difference, cannot even compare
yes better materials, craftsmanship and design.. I think the vintage ones are a lot lighter build which I prefer....very different building design ideaology then and now..

Nuprin
08-12-2012, 03:17 PM
I have never played an old Martin but I believe the general consensus is that they are hands down better sounding than the new Martins. That being said, I have an S1 and a C1K and I have a T1K on order. I think, for the money, they're great ukes.

delray48209
08-12-2012, 03:35 PM
OK - thus far I understand the differences to be thinner and better wood, and a smaller fret board.

Doc_J
08-12-2012, 04:52 PM
OK - thus far I understand the differences to be thinner and better wood, and a smaller fret board.

The wood on the old ones also has had 50 years to open up.

I've only had one 1950s Martin style O, but I much preferred playing a new Ken Timms' Martin style O.

Chris Tarman
08-12-2012, 06:36 PM
I have a Martin S-0 which was made several years ago. It's not a bad ukulele as far as it goes, although it was maybe a bit overpriced for what you get. I haven't played one of the newer models, but there's a guy in the (still VERY small) uke club I started in our area who has an S-1, and is happy with it. I thought the S-0 was a perfectly good uke until I bought my first OLD Martin (a Style 2 from around 1930). There is absolutely no comparison. New Martin = ok ukulele, but you can do better for the money. Old Martin = the gold standard of soprano ukuleles. That's just my take on it. The old ones are lighter, WAY louder and more complex in tone, and just all around much better made. If the new ones cost less, I think they would be pretty decent, certainly in the same ballpark as some of Kala's and Lanikai's models.

ichadwick
08-13-2012, 06:48 AM
Last year, I had a chance to play both new and vintage Martin sopranos at the Twelfth Fret, in Toronto. Not sure which model, but it was from the 50s, I believe. The vintage uke was wonderful. Sounded great, felt great (even for a soprano...) just had a sweet feel. The new one - well, I honestly couldn't tell the difference between it and several Kalas hanging on the wall, at least not in sound. To my ears and hands, it seemed overpriced.

gnordenstam
08-13-2012, 07:10 AM
When people talk about old Martins versus new Martins, the comparisons always seem to be regarding the very early Martins - from the 20's-30's. What about Martins from the 50's? Do you consider them in the same class as the "old" Martins and how do they compare to the new Martins?
--G

Gmoney
08-13-2012, 07:17 AM
When people talk about old Martins versus new Martins, the comparisons always seem to be regarding the very early Martins - from the 20's-30's. What about Martins from the 50's? Do you consider them in the same class as the "old" Martins and how do they compare to the new Martins?
--G

After owning a 30's & a 50's Martin O, and playing a few S-1's & several of the modern ones, I'd still always want one of the older Martins. For all of the reasons mentioned, primarily the age of the wood & lightness of the build, they are just superior instruments IMO. I think that the modern ones are more similar to typical "factory" ukes as Chris mentioned (which I own several as well) than they are to the earlier ancestors. We're still talking about 50+ year old instruments & when you find one that is well taken care of or even moderately so, its just spectacular sounding & plays like butter.

Chris Tarman
08-13-2012, 07:36 AM
I agree with Gmoney. I also have a '50s (I think... Might even be early '60s) Style 1. It's every bit as nice to play as my two '30s Martins.

RyanMFT
08-13-2012, 08:42 AM
I have a 40's Martin O that is light, easy to play, and the sound is full and rich. I have played several modern martin ukuleles and there is a big difference between old and new. As stated above, new Martin ukuleles are not bad, just not the finely crafted, high end instruments that the vintage ones are. If I could put it in one word, I would say the new ones are "clunky" as compared to the vintage.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
08-13-2012, 09:18 AM
New Martin ukes sound nice. Old Martin ukes, however, sound magical.

Paul December
08-13-2012, 02:43 PM
I've played half a dozen vintage Martins and they were all various-degrees-of-terrible. In fairness they were all in pretty bad shape, but that is an important part left out in vintage Martin praise...
...the good ones sound great (and of course have prices that reflect that). As for the new ones sounding like a low-end Kala or "clunky", you guys must have played bad examples because of the 4 I've played, they were anything but.

OldePhart
08-13-2012, 03:12 PM
I've never played a vintage one :( - when I was in the NYC area a couple of years ago I wanted to try some out at Mandolin Brothers - even had looked at one online that I wanted to try in person. Unfortunately, I never made it down to Staten Island.

Of the new ones I've only played one but was very underwhelmed by it. It wasn't a bad uke by any means but no way it was worth the $400 they were asking for it. In fact, both of my Mainland sopranos kicked its backside in both volume and tone quality (at less than half the price, no less). Was it the strings? No way to say for sure but my Mainlands are hands-down better than that Marin was with anything I've had on them and with Seaguar leaders in the gages of a Worth CH set the Mainlands are so much better that the Martin wasn't even in the same city, let alone the same ballpark.

It's a shame, really, because I'd expected to be wowed by the Martin and was really excited to see it in the store. Maybe it was just a bad sample of the Martin; it is the only one I've played, after all. On the other hand, at $400 there shouldn't be any bad ones...

John

Paul December
08-13-2012, 03:36 PM
I've never played a vintage one :( - when I was in the NYC area a couple of years ago I wanted to try some out at Mandolin Brothers - even had looked at one online that I wanted to try in person. Unfortunately, I never made it down to Staten Island.

Of the new ones I've only played one but was very underwhelmed by it. It wasn't a bad uke by any means but no way it was worth the $400 they were asking for it. In fact, both of my Mainland sopranos kicked its backside in both volume and tone quality (at less than half the price, no less). Was it the strings? No way to say for sure but my Mainlands are hands-down better than that Marin was with anything I've had on them and with Seaguar leaders in the gages of a Worth CH set the Mainlands are so much better that the Martin wasn't even in the same city, let alone the same ballpark.

It's a shame, really, because I'd expected to be wowed by the Martin and was really excited to see it in the store. Maybe it was just a bad sample of the Martin; it is the only one I've played, after all. On the other hand, at $400 there shouldn't be any bad ones...

John

I got my Martin S1 new for $320 shipped, and the Mainland goes for around $220 shipped so the Martin is actually closer to 50% more not twice the price.
When I got my last Mainland I had to blow an additions $75 to take care of QC issues so really they ended up costing about the same.

Dan Uke
08-13-2012, 05:15 PM
I got my Martin S1 new for $320 shipped, and the Mainland goes for around $220 shipped so the Martin is actually closer to 50% more not twice the price.
When I got my last Mainland I had to blow an additions $75 to take care of QC issues so really they ended up costing about the same.

You got a good price for your Martin S1. I believe it's closer to $400 when you visit your big retail store. I've never heard of $75 for QC so that's not the norm for a Mainland uke. It really doesn't matter as long as you like your Martin S1 and I don't think the general public will change their mind.

But going back to the question, I've only played a HS0, which is made in Mexico but set up in PA and it didn't sound like anything special so I didn't buy it. It was a great price at $320 from a private party.

ChrisRCovington
08-13-2012, 05:31 PM
You got a good price for your Martin S1. I believe it's closer to $400 when you visit your big retail store.

On ebay I've seen some with an opeing price of $299 and a few with a buy it now price of $310. I know GC has a price sticker of $379 on the ones they have but they will meet or beat internet prices if you ask the associate. Mine had a tiny nick/dent on the back and they gave me a great discount and I had to buy it. Glad I did. I love my S1. Better than any Kala, Lanikai, OS, etc. I've played yet.

Paul December
08-13-2012, 05:32 PM
You got a good price for your Martin S1. I believe it's closer to $400 when you visit your big retail store. I've never heard of $75 for QC so that's not the norm for a Mainland uke. It really doesn't matter as long as you like your Martin S1 and I don't think the general public will change their mind.

But going back to the question, I've only played a HS0, which is made in Mexico but set up in PA and it didn't sound like anything special so I didn't buy it. It was a great price at $320 from a private party.

QC = very high action, sharp frets, couple bad strings, and intonation

`general public` perception is actually good

I didn't say it was a private party purchase

garyg
08-14-2012, 03:39 AM
The trouble with vintage Martins is that the sample size we base our opinions on is usually fairly small. I've owned an SO and have six vintage Martins of varying models, five from the teens to late 20's/pre-32 and one from the 40's. My S0 was a decent uke but like most other folks have said, not anything special so I sold it. My early Martins include three 1M's , one 1K, one 2M, and one 0M. They were bought from both private parties and ebay. They all have great sound, even the beater that had 8 cracks, although it is a little soft on projection and sustain. Paul I'm surprised that you've had such bad luck with early Martins, I have heard they're variable, although I haven't gotten a bad one yet, but I think it's pretty unusual to get four bad ones in a row unless you're just looking at damaged instruments. Among the Martin models there is variation too in that my 20's 0 seems heavier and with a slightly different sound than my 1's and 2's. It's rounder and slightly less bell like. Seems like the weight is from slightly thicker wood. My 2M is probably my best sounding instrument although my 1M's and 1K have beautiful sound too. Love that bell-like ring that old Martins have. Haven't really heard it duplicated on any modern uke. I did watch a youtube video by a French-Canadian in which he compared all the modern Martins including the new koa models and I was surprised at how good the koa ukes sounded. Unfortunately he didn't have any vintage ukes to play them against. You can probably find the video by searching "Martin ukulele comparison". cheers, g2

RyanMFT
08-14-2012, 08:27 AM
As for the new ones sounding like a low-end Kala or "clunky", you guys must have played bad examples because of the 4 I've played, they were anything but.

Just to clarify my comment, the new Martin ukuleles I have tried didn't sound clunky, they just felt heavier, thicker, and were not built with the fine attention to detail and finish I have experienced on several vintage Martin's. The new Martin's I played sound fine, but not as full and rich as the vintage Martin ukuleles.

SailingUke
08-14-2012, 09:02 AM
Very interesting discussion.
I have a few vintage instruments with awesome voices.
One might also need to consider the number of instruments that have been destroyed since the 1920's.
Many of the survivors could have just been some of the best.
I truly believe technology today gives builders the ability to build as good or better instruments than in the old days.
I would love to hear my DaSilva 50 years from now, but most likely I won't last that long.

Paul December
08-14-2012, 10:27 AM
The trouble with vintage Martins is that the sample size we base our opinions on is usually fairly small. I've owned an SO and have six vintage Martins of varying models, five from the teens to late 20's/pre-32 and one from the 40's. My S0 was a decent uke but like most other folks have said, not anything special so I sold it. My early Martins include three 1M's , one 1K, one 2M, and one 0M. They were bought from both private parties and ebay. They all have great sound, even the beater that had 8 cracks, although it is a little soft on projection and sustain. Paul I'm surprised that you've had such bad luck with early Martins, I have heard they're variable, although I haven't gotten a bad one yet, but I think it's pretty unusual to get four bad ones in a row unless you're just looking at damaged instruments. Among the Martin models there is variation too in that my 20's 0 seems heavier and with a slightly different sound than my 1's and 2's. It's rounder and slightly less bell like. Seems like the weight is from slightly thicker wood. My 2M is probably my best sounding instrument although my 1M's and 1K have beautiful sound too. Love that bell-like ring that old Martins have. Haven't really heard it duplicated on any modern uke. I did watch a youtube video by a French-Canadian in which he compared all the modern Martins including the new koa models and I was surprised at how good the koa ukes sounded. Unfortunately he didn't have any vintage ukes to play them against. You can probably find the video by searching "Martin ukulele comparison". cheers, g2

Sadly I've never had the chance to play a good, vintage Martin. All were in "Antique Shops" and were in shabby condition.

Jnobianchi
08-14-2012, 10:28 AM
I have two vintage Martin sopranos, a Style 0 from the 60s and a Style 2 from the 20s. I've had a fortune to be able to play a Style 3 from the 30s pretty extensively and a Style 0 from the 20s for awhile.

Over the last few weeks, I've played all the recent and new Martins, from the S1 to the new Nazereth-made style 2 and 2K sopranos, concerts and tenors. I've also played the Mexican-made Style T1K Tenor.

Here's my critique.

The Mexican made S1 was poor; not up to Martin standards. It was thick and overbuilt, and though it was cheap compared to the new Martins, it just wasn't as good as an Ohana-made uke that cost half the price. Get an SK-35 or even a CK-70 to get a better sounding uke at 2/3rds to half the price.

The new Nazereth-made S2 ukes are very, very good. I think they are comparable to Kamakas in sound and feel. They're also comparably priced. In short - they're great ukes, especially the koa ukes. They're lightly built, resonate well, have great intonation all the way up the neck and they feel great. I recommend them, if you have that kind of $.

The Mexican-made style T1K is less than $500. It's worth every penny. It's the best uke in the $400-$600 range I've played. If I ever feel the need for a tenor, I wouldn't hesitate to pick one up.

Do they compare with vintage Martins? No. Vintage Martins have a construction style and lightness that even the best of the new ones don't have. No one makes them like Martin used to make them. Also, no wood is going to 'open up' enough to approach the same sound. They're different animals and if you want the sound of an old one, go buy an old one. You can get a style 0 or a style 1 for $600-800.

But, that said, new Martins are really something great now. They got the formula right and are producing excellent instruments, and despite all the chatter about how "they're failures they're too expensive, they aren't worth it," I will wager a lot of that talk is from people who "heard" they weren't as good as the old ones and who probably haven't actually played one yet, or only played an S1 from Mexico. You really have to try a new one and judge for yourself. A friend tried out a couple - he had a different opinion than I did. He felt they were great, but too costly. He isn't wrong, but I felt if you had the money for a Kamaka, these were a viable option.

I especially recommend the Mexican-made T1. It's a really really good uke and excellent value for the $.

Dan Uke
08-14-2012, 10:53 AM
Jnobianchi,

Checked out your youtube page, nice playing on your Martins

Pippin
08-14-2012, 01:08 PM
New Martin ukes sound nice. Old Martin ukes, however, sound magical.

Yes, In a nutshell, the man has it.

delray48209
08-14-2012, 01:20 PM
The Mexican made S1 was poor; not up to Martin standards. It was thick and overbuilt, and though it was cheap compared to the new Martins, it just wasn't as good as an Ohana-made uke that cost half the price. Get an SK-35 or even a CK-70 to get a better sounding uke at 2/3rds to half the price.


I guess I must of picked up a diamond in the rough. My Mexican made S1 that I just purchased a week ago, blows the doors off my Ohana SK35 and CK - 70. As a matter of fact, yesterday I had a chance to play a vintage Martin Stle 1 and I'd say my S1 plays and sounds better than the vintage Martin soprano. I have however, played other Mexican made S1's that totally sucked in sound.

It would be interesting to weigh a vintage Martin and new Mexican made martin to see what the difference in weight would be. I would guess it's not very much. The build quality on my Martin S1 is outstanding. In my opinion, the additional money for the Martin S1 was worth it when compared to my less costly Ohanas.

hmgberg
08-14-2012, 02:45 PM
I've only played one S1, and like some others who have posted, was underwhelmed. I've played and own a number of vintage Martins, and I've never been disappointed in them. I have played 8 or 9 Ohana sk35s. Some were just okay, one was outstanding. Sometimes, you just get a great piece of wood.

Paul December
08-14-2012, 03:16 PM
I guess I must of picked up a diamond in the rough. My Mexican made S1 that I just purchased a week ago, blows the doors off my Ohana SK35 and CK - 70. As a matter of fact, yesterday I had a chance to play a vintage Martin Stle 1 and I'd say my S1 plays and sounds better than the vintage Martin soprano. I have however, played other Mexican made S1's that totally sucked in sound.

It would be interesting to weigh a vintage Martin and new Mexican made martin to see what the difference in weight would be. I would guess it's not very much. The build quality on my Martin S1 is outstanding. In my opinion, the additional money for the Martin S1 was worth it when compared to my less costly Ohanas.

+1
The fit-&-finish of the S1s I've seen are a big step above the Ohanas & Mainlands.

Pippin
08-14-2012, 05:19 PM
Depending on the vintage instrument and the conditions in which it was stored, it is possible to have one that is a genuine dog rather than a gem. That is why, I'd prefer to never buy one sight unseen, if possible. Pictures can lie and I have never bought anything on Ebay because of that. I have bought vintage guitars that I played before buying and one Martin I had even had a bad neck that I could fix, so, I did. I am still looking for another vintage Martin to add to my collection-- one of these days.

delray48209
08-14-2012, 06:39 PM
Although many buy sight unseen, other than pictures, which don't necessarily portray the actual instrument, I can't see myself buying something that I can't touch, see and hear. Buying blindly is like a crap shoot. Sometimes your a winner, but most of the time, probably a loser.

Some say the vintage Martin's weigh less. I'm not a scientist but I think it may be due to the wood drying out over a course of time. The difference in weight between a new S1 and a vintage Uke would probably be measured in grams. Some say the wood is thinner creating more sound and vibration. Perhaps that is why most vintage instruments have become victim to cracks. Again, I'm not a scientist, nor a luthier, I'm just speculating.

Based upon my purchases of the Martin S1, the Ohana S35 and Ohana CP-70, the Martin is virtually flawless, whereas the Ohana's do have some very small quality control issues.

garyg
08-15-2012, 04:01 AM
Ebay is like driving a car, if you learn how to use it, it's a great utility but if you don't you can get hurt.

Gmoney
08-15-2012, 04:04 AM
Ebay is like driving a car, if you learn how to use it, it's a great utility but if you don't you can get hurt.

Indeed - none of the Martin's I've bought off of eBay have been stinkers. In fact, the only ukes that I have bought w/defects were well described or pictured by the seller (like the bunch of Lanikai BLEMs I've recently bought to teach myself saddle, nut, & fret repair/setup)

Pukulele Pete
08-15-2012, 04:06 AM
Ebay is like driving a car, if you learn how to use it, it's a great utility but if you don't you can get hurt.

Yes, I've been rear ended a couple times .

hmgberg
08-15-2012, 06:36 AM
Although many buy sight unseen, other than pictures, which don't necessarily portray the actual instrument, I can't see myself buying something that I can't touch, see and hear. Buying blindly is like a crap shoot. Sometimes your a winner, but most of the time, probably a loser.

Some say the vintage Martin's weigh less. I'm not a scientist but I think it may be due to the wood drying out over a course of time. The difference in weight between a new S1 and a vintage Uke would probably be measured in grams. Some say the wood is thinner creating more sound and vibration. Perhaps that is why most vintage instruments have become victim to cracks. Again, I'm not a scientist, nor a luthier, I'm just speculating.

Based upon my purchases of the Martin S1, the Ohana S35 and Ohana CP-70, the Martin is virtually flawless, whereas the Ohana's do have some very small quality control issues.

I believe your speculations are correct on both counts regarding the wood on vintage Martins. You should be a scientist :o

bazmaz
08-15-2012, 06:52 AM
Well I will shortly be the owner of a T1K Martin, so will be giving you my perspective on that one very soon!

Baskervils
08-15-2012, 06:57 AM
One of the main differences between old and new Martins is the way the neck is attached to the fretboard. The older ones are wonderfully rounded and seem to flow from fretboard to neck. The newer fretboards seem less rounded, more machined and right angled. I love the feel of the old necks.

Speaking of eBay problems, buying a Martin baritone ukulele is so perilous from a seller who isn't an expert. The neck is long, thin and does not have a truss rod. Just a little warping makes a tremendous difference with intonation. I recently played a Favilla baritone uke. It sounded great, but the neck was like a trunk compared to the Martin.

RyanMFT
08-15-2012, 07:11 AM
Some say the vintage Martin's weigh less. I'm not a scientist but I think it may be due to the wood drying out over a course of time. The difference in weight between a new S1 and a vintage Uke would probably be measured in grams. Some say the wood is thinner creating more sound and vibration. Perhaps that is why most vintage instruments have become victim to cracks. Again, I'm not a scientist, nor a luthier, I'm just speculating.

I'm no scientist either but does wood really dry out any more after many years as compared to when it was built into an instrument (given that the wood was properly cured)? As we all agree, humidity varies, which impacts the moisture content of the wood. I seem to remember reading that Rick Turner said the structure of the wood changes over many years, or that some believe that the wood structure changes over years along with the finish changing significantly over time.

This is a subjective thing, and influenced by much more than build, thickness, and age. I think it is deeply influenced by feelings and personal taste. I have a friend who LOVES the sound of fancy, glossy-finished new ukuleles, because he loves fancy, glossy ukuleles. A new AAAAAAAA curly, quilted, inlaid gloss monster doesn't appeal to me as I prefer simple, different, and understated. I think my Favilla Teardrop sounds better than any of my other vintage sopranos, including my Martin but I love things that are just a little different from what everyone else seems to like.

The old and new are different instruments to be sure, and will appeal to different people. Reminds me of MGM's blind sound test of laminate and solid ukuleles. Honestly, I was lost (and the results showed that most others were too) listening to the sound samples. Some sounded better to me than others, but I couldn't tell what I liked best just from the sound....but it is easy for me to decide what I like when I combine all of it....size, sound, look, shape, age, color, wood, and my personal preference for all of them.

bazmaz
08-15-2012, 10:01 AM
On a very old Martin, isn't that soft fretboard edge the result of years of play? Can't believe they were rolling fretboard edges that many years ago? I could of course be wrong.

delray48209
08-15-2012, 10:04 AM
Great observation Ryan. MGM's blind sound tests enforces the very subjective nature of preferences. I believe "Gems" can be found in any brand of uke. I also read somewhere that over a period of time, the molecular structure of the wood changes from vibration and climate effects. Thus, will most likely sound better over time.

Baskervils
08-15-2012, 10:11 AM
On a very old Martin, isn't that soft fretboard edge the result of years of play? Can't believe they were rolling fretboard edges that many years ago? I could of course be wrong.

My 50s soprano and 60s baritone both have rolled / rounded fretboard edges. It was clear that this was done at the factory, because the rounded edges extend to the base of the fretboard.

bazmaz
08-15-2012, 11:26 AM
Fair enough - cool that they were doing that. My Kanile'a has slightly rolled edges.

Only other instrument I have with rolled edges is a USA deluxe Strat. Man - that is a nice addition to a fingerboard!

Bill Mc
08-15-2012, 12:55 PM
Fair enough - cool that they were doing that. My Kanile'a has slightly rolled edges.

Only other instrument I have with rolled edges is a USA deluxe Strat. Man - that is a nice addition to a fingerboard!

When you receive your Martin T1K you will be pleased by the comfort of the rounded soundboard edges.

Baskervils
08-15-2012, 02:48 PM
When you receive your Martin T1K you will be pleased by the comfort of the rounded soundboard edges.

You certainly can't beat the price of the new tenors.

Winin' Boy
08-16-2012, 12:32 AM
I too had the chance to play all the new Martins recently.
Whereas you can still see/feel/hear the pedigree in a Martin uke that was made as late as the 1990's, these new ukes seem to come from a different maker altogether?!
I wonder what happened at Martin??
I much prefer the old ones.

Paul December
08-16-2012, 04:29 AM
Of course there are bad examples of any uke, but I get the feeling that some people just don't want to like them.

bazmaz
08-16-2012, 07:28 AM
Paul - that is what I am getting from a host of entries all over the web. Thats one of the reasons I bought one. Will let you know.

I am sure there are vintage Martins that may sound better, but that is subjective, and the wood has had 50 years to age. For me - I just have zero interest in buying a vintage one and the hassle that entails. Therefore for me the new ones are the ONLY choice. Plus, I picked mine up, solid Koa Tenor, lovely looking finish for 380 - a good price I think for that level of craftsmanship and solid Koa. Sure, it isnt a $1000 dollar vintage, but as I say, I know that and dont want a vintage.

ichadwick
08-16-2012, 09:31 AM
Of course there are bad examples of any uke, but I get the feeling that some people just don't want to like them.
I owned a Martin D35 guitar and loved it. Simply stunning build, sound and action. It was almost too good for my roustabout ways where instruments got banged about. I have the highest respect for Martin instruments. I simply felt the sound of their ukuleles didn't live up to the reputation their guitars have made for the company.

hmgberg
08-16-2012, 11:50 AM
I too had the chance to play all the new Martins recently.
Whereas you can still see/feel/hear the pedigree in a Martin uke that was made as late as the 1990's, these new ukes seem to come from a different maker altogether?!
I wonder what happened at Martin??
I much prefer the old ones.

Maybe they ought to try making the D-shape again. :drool:

Pukulele Pete
08-16-2012, 12:13 PM
I've been following this thread and finally got out my Martins to check them out. I have 3 , a 1930's style 1 , a 50's style O and a 1990's
SO . Each sounds different but they all sound great. The SO has Aquila's on it and the other two have M600's but the SO sounds really good, I don't understand why some people don't like them. It is well built, sounds great and it feels a little heavier built so I don't mind really wailing on it ,it's a sturdy uke. I doesnt look as nice as the vintage ukes but it is a great uke and it sounds great. It's a really loud uke when you want it to be .

gnordenstam
08-16-2012, 05:18 PM
Now that I'm the lucky owner of a 1950's Style 1 (as of this morning), I thought I'd weigh in, instead of just following along. The uke is stunning. Not just in fit and finish, but the sound is magical. It's hard to describe, it's deep and it rings clear. It really is a joy to play. The rounded fretboard is very comfortable and smooth as butter. I have not played the new Martins, so I can't compare it, but right now I have to say it's without comparison.

Pukulele Pete
08-17-2012, 02:45 AM
I've been following this thread and finally got out my Martins to check them out. I have 3 , a 1930's style 1 , a 50's style O and a 1990's
SO . Each sounds different but they all sound great. The SO has Aquila's on it and the other two have M600's but the SO sounds really good, I don't understand why some people don't like them. It is well built, sounds great and it feels a little heavier built so I don't mind really wailing on it ,it's a sturdy uke. I doesnt look as nice as the vintage ukes but it is a great uke and it sounds great. It's a really loud uke when you want it to be .
I forgot to add that I played a new S1 and I thought it sounded alot like my SO but I dont like the extended fretboard , I like 12 frets.