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pdxuke
12-18-2012, 05:41 PM
Ok, I've read everything I can on the S1. I've seen Petey's vids. I've talked to people I respect.

And I happen to like the Mexican Martin S1.

I didn't find it heavy, clunky, or sub par. I spent a great deal of time with one tonight at my local GC, and I liked it. I checked the intonation all the way up--great. The finish, I thought, was actually superb. The sound was pleasing. Not like "Wow--that sounds like a Vintage Martin!" but a nice Mahogany sound. It's got the Martin plink. And of course, the smell. Also--good action, nicely set up. Frets are dressed, no sharp edges like you find with some China made ukes.

I've played and owned a lot of Mahogany sopranos. This ranks up there with the Kiwaya KTS4, which is a beautiful instrument. But this is cheaper in cost--but not in build. There is nothing about this Martin that is cheap to me; not the tuners, not the finish--not even the decal on the headstock.

My only beef is that this price Martin should supply a hardcase. But that's a little gripe.

Maybe folks (me included) have reacted to the Mexican thing. But I think they did a nice job on this instrument. It's a nicer build, by far, than my Ohanas, even though I love them. Of course it's twice as much + as an Ohana, so that is not a fair comparison.

So, the salesman has offered to knock off 50 clams from the sticker price, bringing it down to $329. Which means I could spend $50 on a hard case.

Thus, I may begin my climb up the New Martin Uke ladder from the bottom. I see myself eventually with an S2 and a cherry model. Heck, I may even wind up with the S1 and the cherry model right now. I haven't bought a new uke in 2 years and have the funds.

So, chime in Martin lovers. Tell me everything...

coolkayaker1
12-18-2012, 05:59 PM
There once was a man from Nantucket,
Who had a uke so long he could pluck it.
But when he re-strung,
his tuners, they sprung,
and then onto eBay he stuck it.

Creative thread bump lol I don;t know about S1s, my friend pdx, but I'm looking forward to learning through your thread. Thanks!

pdxuke
12-18-2012, 06:21 PM
Last edited by coolkayaker1; Today at 09:05 PM. Reason: to rub my eyes and see if pdx really said his Mexican Martin is as good as a Kiwaya kts4. He did.

Yes, I did say that--although it's not my Mexican uke--yet.

It's also possible that I'm playing a very good S1. I've been told they vary. It's also possible that I've been infected with holiday cheer and I want it to be as good, haha. Thing is, I have no desire to buy another KTS4, as good as it is (I sold mine.) But I am really considering this Martin to add to my playing stable.

coolkayaker1
12-18-2012, 06:26 PM
I see. But remember this (one way to look at it)...you buy the S1, and you'll still want the cherry3, just as you mention in your thread. You buy the cherry3 first, and you won't ever think about the S1 again.

pdxuke
12-18-2012, 06:32 PM
I see. But remember this (one way to look at it)...you buy the S1, and you'll still want the cherry3, just as you mention in your thread. You buy the cherry3 first, and you won't ever think about the S1 again.

That may be possible, but with me, unlikely. If I buy it I'll play it. I have a Martin 1948-0 and a Kamaka--and I still play the heck out of my Dolphins and Ohanas :-). I play em all...

Bill Mc
12-18-2012, 07:08 PM
Pxuke, I've got two of the Martin S1's picked up at Musicians Friend very inexpensively. One was damaged and I put a sound hole in the upper side bout to eliminate the hole somebody made in the ukulele. The S1 has a very comfortable fretboard for me. I like the way it feels and the smoothness of playability. The "jangly" sound (thnxs Petey Houdini) with a bit of bark is quite pleasing to me. I like how it sounds. I don't give a rats ass if it does not sound like a "vintage'" ukulele nor how it smells. But I would not part with either instrument because they are both wonderful ukuleles and add a unique sound to my collection. Seems to me the Mexican people at the Martin factory are pretty good ukulele makers. So if you like the S1 get it. Most definitely it will grow on you with even more time spent playing. I've got other wonderful mahogany sopranos and like them just as much for their own uniqueness - but that is totally beside my point.

Paul December
12-18-2012, 07:26 PM
I've got one and really like it. The fit-and-finish on mine is perfect...
...much better than a comparable Ohana or Mainland. Plays nicely and feels great in your hands.
Recently I got a Koaloha soprano (coincidentally from someone in this thead :) ) and that uke sounds clearly better finger-picked. That being said, I think I like the Martin better strummed, it has a better percussive sound while the Koaloha resonates better with clearly defined notes.
I really think people go over-board bashing the S1, because I think it is quite a nice uke.

BIGDB
12-18-2012, 09:23 PM
ill have my S1 for 1 year this christmas and ive loved it so far... for the past about 5 years ive been a guitar player so i know if a guitar/ukulele plays well and i think the martin plays great ive played some very highend kanileas and they are alot better but the ones i played were about 2g so cant really compare but every other uke ive played in the price range i still like the s1 the most. i also had a misi acoustic trio put in and it sounds really nice so if you end up getting one and you want to but a pick up in i would highly recommend it cause it didnt effect the weight to much and still sound good no on a amp.

have fun with whatever you do

whepper
12-19-2012, 08:27 AM
I love my S1. It's currently my favourite uke and it plays so easy / fantastic. The jangly / barky sound is great for strumming. When fingerpicking the sound is a little rough. It's ideal for 20's song or folk music. The K-brand sound is totally different.

The build quality is awesome. It feels great. The grain is so nice. It looks as a solid quality piece of antique looking furniture (in the most positive way). I wonder how it will sound when it ages. The fredboard almost has the same color than the mahogany body which looks so nice. It's build in Mexico, but still by Martin and still in the Americas.

And the price? It's awesome for a real Martin and the quality you get. Best buying advise: listen to some online video's (like Petey's one) and you get it. It's not very different compared to the real life experience. Something that you can't say of lot's of other uke movies online.

ScooterD35
12-19-2012, 09:52 AM
Go for it! The S1 is an excellent uke.

I don't for the life of me understand people that dis Martin's Mexican made instruments but loudly sing the praises of ukes made in China under questionable conditions.

In case you're interested, here's a piece on Martin's Mexico facility.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaFfyHPKupo


Scooter

ukeeku
12-19-2012, 10:04 AM
Here is my review
http://ukeeku.com/2011/06/17/martin-s1-full-review/
I really loved the sound and how it was built. the S1 was the first step to martin taking consumer grade ukes seriously. They had been doing great custom work, but now they are making good ukes for normal people
and it smelled good.

PedalFreak
12-19-2012, 10:16 AM
I know you are talking about the S1, but my suggestion would be to look for a vintage Martin Soprano. You could get one for around or a little more than what you are looking to spend. I almost bought a S1, then I found my early 30's Martin Soprano. Paid $325 for it. The S1 isn't even in the same league as the vintage models, not even close.

Here are a couple on ebay right now:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-1960s-Martin-Ukulele-/281039528666?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item416f42e2da

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1950s-MARTIN-STYLE-0-SOPRANO-UKULELE-UKE-Very-nice-/360541213714?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item53f1ee5412

pdxuke
12-19-2012, 10:46 AM
I know you are talking about the S1, but my suggestion would be to look for a vintage Martin Soprano. You could get one for around or a little more than what you are looking to spend. I almost bought a S1, then I found my early 30's Martin Soprano. Paid $325 for it. The S1 isn't even in the same league as the vintage models, not even close.

Here are a couple on ebay right now:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-1960s-Martin-Ukulele-/281039528666?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item416f42e2da

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1950s-MARTIN-STYLE-0-SOPRANO-UKULELE-UKE-Very-nice-/360541213714?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item53f1ee5412

Thanks. I have a vintage Martin 0--and I love it. I could have bought a style 2 from 1950s with cracks, difficult tuning pegs and as ugly as something is ugly, but I couldn't bring myself to do it for the hundreds of bucks being asked for it. Yes, they sound great, I know that. The question is--how do the new ones sound? I'm discovering they sound very good.

ChrisRCovington
12-19-2012, 10:59 AM
I find it interesting that KoAloha sets up a factory in Thailand and people praise the efforts. Martin sets up a factory in Mexico and somehow those efforts are inferior. I know the first ukulele the S0 wasn't the best instrument but it is hardly fair to judge the S1 or the new koa instruments to the S0. I applaud both companies for making high quality entry level instruments. Being a bit of a nationalist (or continentalist?) it makes me happy to see ukuleles made in North America. I love my S1 and love playing it.

dismount
12-19-2012, 11:40 AM
My S1 has a sweet clear ring picked or strummed. Build is perfect, premum Mhg. amd one peice neck. I agree you can snag a vintage for the same price or less, but I feel I can take this one out and about with me without worring about it getting broke. When I'm playing alone that is my go to Uke and so is my Mainland cedar soprano., 2 different sounds. I think that is why we all try to accumulate so many ukes, They all have a different sound. Part of the fun in Ukes!!! Good addition to your arsenal. dis

Bill Mc
12-19-2012, 11:54 AM
My S1 has a sweet clear ring picked or strummed. Build is perfect, premum Mhg. amd one peice neck. I agree you can snag a vintage for the same price or less, but I feel I can take this one out and about with me without worring about it getting broke. When I'm playing alone that is my go to Uke and so is my Mainland cedar soprano., 2 different sounds. I think that is why we all try to accumulate so many ukes, They all have a different sound. Part of the fun in Ukes!!! Good addition to your arsenal. dis

You hit the nail on the head, dismount. As long as the ukulele has a sound you like and enjoy keep it in your collection. It is totally beside the point that it does not replicate another instrument - in fact that to me would defeat the purpose of keeping a particular ukulele in my collection, i.e., it sounds exactly like my vintage so and so. Variety is part of the fun with this great little instrument - so many unique sounds, looks, and feels for not too much money.

PedalFreak
12-19-2012, 12:04 PM
The question is--how do the new ones sound? I'm discovering they sound very good.

They sound good for a new uke :) But not like the original ones. I haven't done a bunch of looking to see the differences. Maybe I'll do my own study this week on the differences between the 2 :)

pdxuke
12-19-2012, 12:47 PM
They sound good for a new uke :) But not like the original ones. I haven't done a bunch of looking to see the differences. Maybe I'll do my own study this week on the differences between the 2 :)

You will get no argument from me. A vintage Martin does not sound like a new Martin. Nether does a Kamaka sound like a Martin. They are different beasts. The vintage wood--well, they just don' have some of that wood variety available.

But I don't WANT another vintage uke! That's my point. I love the vintage I have, but I don't want a collection of vintage ukes. I want new ukes that I don't have to worry so much about, because they aren't one of a kind.

So, I'm looking at the new Martins. I'm not comparing them to vintage ukes. Different planet.:)

pdxuke
12-19-2012, 12:49 PM
Variety is part of the fun with this great little instrument - so many unique sounds, looks, and feels for not too much money.

Yes, exactly--that IS part of the fun! :D

coolkayaker1
12-19-2012, 01:57 PM
I find it interesting that KoAloha sets up a factory in Thailand and people praise the efforts. Martin sets up a factory in Mexico and somehow those efforts are inferior.
This is an astute observation.

Plainsong
12-19-2012, 02:06 PM
That was a good vid, thanks Scooter for posting it. It's good to see a little about international operations. It's why Koaloha got such praise. Their Koalana factory isn't exactly hidden and never discussed. And it's true, Martin deserves credit here too. Plus they're the one good uke brand locally that you can actually test drive. Lets not forget the new concerts and tenors are excellent bang for buck too.

pdxuke
12-19-2012, 06:14 PM
Thanks to all who chimed in on this thread. I bought the S1 and I have no buyers remorse. Got a good price, and it already fits nicely and compliments my other ukes. It has its own sound, and it is pleasant. No, if I'm not careful I'll be moving my way up the food chain like Petey!

But for now, a uketastic Christmas!

Pukulele Pete
12-20-2012, 12:52 AM
Here is my review
http://ukeeku.com/2011/06/17/martin-s1-full-review/
I really loved the sound and how it was built. the S1 was the first step to martin taking consumer grade ukes seriously. They had been doing great custom work, but now they are making good ukes for normal people
and it smelled good.
Nice review but I was suprised at the SO bashing. As a reviewer I was wondering how many SO's you have seen and played and what the problems were.I have an SO and it is a great uke. I just dont understand the bad comments on the SO. I played a S1 and thought it sounded just like my SO. SO ,...........?

whepper
12-20-2012, 08:03 AM
A thread full of happy S1 owners! :shaka: It makes me :D!

pdxuke
12-20-2012, 10:22 AM
Never played the SO. Is it my imagination, or are the dimensions different than the S1?

Raygf
12-20-2012, 10:39 AM
Never played the SO. Is it my imagination, or are the dimensions different than the S1?

The SO has a 12 fret neck and the S1 has 19, a different saddle, a nicer gig bag and fret markers on the fingerboard.

coolkayaker1
12-29-2012, 07:47 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=WdxunV9NObo&feature=endscreen

Did you see this video, pdx?

pdxuke
12-29-2012, 09:13 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=WdxunV9NObo&feature=endscreen

Did you see this video, pdx?

I have now! Thanks!

The Aquila strings really make that thing bright! I prefer the Martin strings, but I like the look of black tuners! Maybe I'll change mine out.

ukeeku
12-30-2012, 03:27 AM
Nice review but I was suprised at the SO bashing. As a reviewer I was wondering how many SO's you have seen and played and what the problems were.I have an SO and it is a great uke. I just dont understand the bad comments on the SO. I played a S1 and thought it sounded just like my SO. SO ,...........?

over the years I have played about 20 SO, had one at my house for about 2 months, and talked with many who also shared my SO bashing.
The big difference is the bracing and other build changes. For me it was a return to actually caring about the consumer side of ukuleles (Over the custom or high end ukes that sound great)
Hope that explains it. As a side note Chris Martin read my review and agreed with my assessment.

Pukulele Pete
12-30-2012, 03:40 AM
over the years I have played about 20 SO, had one at my house for about 2 months, and talked with many who also shared my SO bashing.
The big difference is the bracing and other build changes. For me it was a return to actually caring about the consumer side of ukuleles (Over the custom or high end ukes that sound great)
Hope that explains it. As a side note Chris Martin read my review and agreed with my assessment.
The SO is a good uke, but I agree it is not what Martin should be building. The new S1 seems to be on par with the SO, I really dislike the extended fretboard. I really wish Martin would build a uke like the style O , Kiwaya can do it why cant Martin? The new S1 sounded to me just like my SO, I really hoped it would be different but it seems looks and soundwise to be the same uke.

Paul December
12-30-2012, 07:03 AM
The SO is a good uke, but I agree it is not what Martin should be building. The new S1 seems to be on par with the SO, I really dislike the extended fretboard. I really wish Martin would build a uke like the style O , Kiwaya can do it why cant Martin? The new S1 sounded to me just like my SO, I really hoped it would be different but it seems looks and soundwise to be the same uke.
Sounds like you're in the minority with that view.

pdxuke
12-30-2012, 07:11 AM
I've never played the new SO so I can't compare it to the S1. But I have played and owned a KTS4 Kiwaya, and the Martin S-1 holds it's own with that instrument, both in build and sound. I think it's very, very good.

I've also spent agreat deal of time this week evaluating and playing (in a local shop) the Martin OXK. Now, I've owned a Kiwaya KS1, and it's a wonderful instrument. And while the Martin OXK is not as light as the Kiwaya, in my opinion it has a much fuller and richer sound. It sounds to me like an all wood instrument. I could not be more impressed.

Pukulele Pete
12-30-2012, 07:12 AM
Sounds like you're in the minority with that view.
I'm not saying the S1 sounds bad, I think it sounds like an SO and I think the SO sounds good. It would be nice if someone could compare the two sounds, the S1 and the SO.

whepper
12-30-2012, 09:15 AM
I'm not saying the S1 sounds bad, I think it sounds like an SO and I think the SO sounds good. It would be nice if someone could compare the two sounds, the S1 and the SO.

The only comparison that seems to exist is Petey's YouTube video (the one where he compares the 5 new Martin soprano's). If you listen to him playing a SO and a S1 you can clearly hear that they sounds different (assessing the sound quality of each of the ukes is difficult on YouTube).