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View Full Version : ok, now i get the vintage martin thing



Fisherman
11-30-2012, 12:41 PM
well after thinking it was all hype and market forces that make vintage martin ukes popular, i finally had the chance to play a 30s soprano... and y'know, now i get it! this uke weighed nothing, was a bit beat up, and plain as can be.... but boy did it pack a punch! wonder if they're all as good?

jinsk90
11-30-2012, 12:53 PM
I've only played on 1920 Martin Soprano that I baught off Ebay. Not sure if I got lucky, but it is what you describe. Weights NOTHING and sounds AMAZING. It also has this smell where you can just feel the history... its amazing when you think about how old it is..

mm stan
11-30-2012, 01:10 PM
I got one bad outta 8 vitage martins..but they all genrally sound nice....try a tenor and baritone and it will get you hooked to buy one...for sure

jinsk90
11-30-2012, 01:21 PM
Mr Stan,
how do the vintage Martin tenors sound compared to the recent Kamaka tenors?

mm stan
11-30-2012, 01:40 PM
Mr Stan,
how do the vintage Martin tenors sound compared to the recent Kamaka tenors?
Totally different sound....it depends on your preferences....koa is much brighter and mahaogany is such warmer ...
Certain vintage mahogany martins have such a sweet warm tone with great resonation and substain....from the maturity of the wood.
Not all are great, and you need to try before you buy them....because they can cost a bit of money...have had friends come over and say wow
and some have some great customs too and still was amazed ....

cahaya
11-30-2012, 03:26 PM
I've only played on 1920 Martin Soprano that I baught off Ebay. Not sure if I got lucky, but it is what you describe. Weights NOTHING and sounds AMAZING. It also has this smell where you can just feel the history... its amazing when you think about how old it is..

Congratulation on that purchase :) Could you tell us which model did you get please?


Totally different sound....it depends on your preferences....koa is much brighter and mahaogany is such warmer ...
Certain vintage mahogany martins have such a sweet warm tone with great resonation and substain....from the maturity of the wood.
Not all are great, and you need to try before you buy them....because they can cost a bit of money...have had friends come over and say wow
and some have some great customs too and still was amazed ....

This is why I could not bring myself to click the "purchase" icon. I have heard some Martin uke sound sample online and yes, they do give that WOW effect. I can only imagine it is even more beautiful when listen to it in real life. But my concern is, as mm stan suggested, not all great. Just hope I would be lucky enough to bump into one.

bynapkinart
11-30-2012, 06:24 PM
Mr Stan,
how do the vintage Martin tenors sound compared to the recent Kamaka tenors?

Just my two cents:

Like Stan said, they are entirely different. My Pono sounds almost exactly like like every Kamaka tenor I've played, and even though my 20's Johnny Marvin is a different size, the Marvin is much warmer. Honestly, I pick one up and play it and think it's absolutely the best instrument I've ever played, then I pick up the other and think that it's absolutely the best instrument I've ever played. They're so different, but they're both so great. I honestly think that everyone should experience owning an all-Koa ukulele and an all-Mahogany ukulele.

If you love your Kamaka, you'll still love your Kamaka. If you're looking for an "upgrade", then you probably should look at something different because, for what it's worth, I wasn't very happy owning just the vintage Mahogany ukulele and I think Koa is just such a distinctive sound that you just can't go without it. I think that the best option is owning something new and Koa for the contemporary uke sound (ala Jake and Eddie and Aldrine) and owning something very old and Mahogany for the classic, warm and rich ukulele sound (ala Johnny Marvin and Cliff Edwards).

Patrick Madsen
11-30-2012, 07:22 PM
Just my two cents:

Like Stan said, they are entirely different. My Pono sounds almost exactly like like every Kamaka tenor I've played, and even though my 20's Johnny Marvin is a different size, the Marvin is much warmer. Honestly, I pick one up and play it and think it's absolutely the best instrument I've ever played, then I pick up the other and think that it's absolutely the best instrument I've ever played. They're so different, but they're both so great. I honestly think that everyone should experience owning an all-Koa ukulele and an all-Mahogany ukulele.

If you love your Kamaka, you'll still love your Kamaka. If you're looking for an "upgrade", then you probably should look at something different because, for what it's worth, I wasn't very happy owning just the vintage Mahogany ukulele and I think Koa is just such a distinctive sound that you just can't go without it. I think that the best option is owning something new and Koa for the contemporary uke sound (ala Jake and Eddie and Aldrine) and owning something very old and Mahogany for the classic, warm and rich ukulele sound (ala Johnny Marvin and Cliff Edwards).


I feel the same way Ben. Especially after talking with Stan when I was looking for a baritone. He kept saying it was worth waiting for a good vintage Mahogany Martin. He was so right. I have a couple of tenors, one is black walnut B/S' and the othe Koa B/S's. Man what a difference in sound with the koa being so much brighter.

My old Martin though is sooo light and the mahogany sounds so deep and mellow. I can't imagine making it anything other than a DGBE linear.

You really made it clear about a hog vintage martin vs. something newer. THanks.