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View Full Version : good price for a martin soprano "0" ?



dismount
02-02-2013, 12:52 PM
I'm looking at a 50's martin with almost no scratches and no dents a fellow has for sale. Is 500.00 a decent price, I know its hard without seeing it but it is sweet looking>Phil

pdxuke
02-02-2013, 12:55 PM
I think it is. If it sounds sweet and all things being equal I think 500 clams is about right.

dismount
02-02-2013, 12:57 PM
Thanks, pdxuke, I was hoping you would see this. You've got me fired up on these!! Phil

mm stan
02-02-2013, 01:00 PM
Play it first if you can....It's a pretty good price for a unrestored martin in good condition...

coolkayaker1
02-02-2013, 01:07 PM
Just for comparison, dis, I bought a 1940s Martin O sop that was beat to sh-- for 299 doll hairs.

The buyer wouldn't deal in clams.

dismount
02-02-2013, 01:56 PM
Ok that is a good comparison, Think I'll pull the trigger on it.

BlueLatitude
02-02-2013, 02:07 PM
Restored would make it worth less or more? I'm assuming people prefer the original finish?

pdxuke
02-02-2013, 02:13 PM
Restored would make it worth less or more? I'm assuming people prefer the original finish?

Well, I do. Restored is kind of a tricky thing-- if a great shop--Gryphon Strings, for example--has done a repair, it's one thing. If some guy in his garage had at it, it's quite another.

I prefer no crack clean, clean instruments. Martin made enough of them. They're around.

coolkayaker1
02-02-2013, 02:20 PM
If some guy in his garage had at it, it's quite another.


(Raises hand)

pdxuke
02-02-2013, 02:22 PM
(Raises hand)

Haha. Steve, you're allowed.

rpfrogner
02-02-2013, 03:19 PM
I'm looking at a 50's martin with almost no scratches and no dents a fellow has for sale. Is 500.00 a decent price, I know its hard without seeing it but it is sweet looking>Phil

Nice find! Original owner?

dismount
02-02-2013, 04:12 PM
No I don't think so, I'll ask him.

dismount
02-02-2013, 05:05 PM
NUTS! waited too late sold can't seem to nail one down!

pdxuke
02-02-2013, 05:19 PM
http://www.gryphonstrings.com/instpix/40082/index.php

$100 more, but really nice, and probably set up and a good player.

collarbone
02-02-2013, 07:51 PM
I bought one from Gryphon a little while ago. It was older than that one ^ but it is hands down my favourite uke and was well worth the money. They were a great shop to deal with. I think buying from a quality store like that can take away some of the play before you pay fears. You may pay a little more than you would from craigslist or ebay, but you are going to get a good player with no surprises.

pdxuke
02-02-2013, 08:07 PM
I bought one from Gryphon a little while ago. It was older than that one ^ but it is hands down my favourite uke and was well worth the money. They were a great shop to deal with. I think buying from a quality store like that can take away some of the play before you pay fears. You may pay a little more than you would from craigslist or ebay, but you are going to get a good player with no surprises.

I agree. My first Martin vintage (http://www.gryphonstrings.com/instpix/33126/Extra.php) was from Gryphon. A positive experience from start to finish

coolkayaker1
02-03-2013, 03:05 AM
I agree. I've had sme unpleasant surprises from eBay. Sellers love to say one tiny crack, and when I got the thing it had at least three.

I think you found a lovely lifelong instrument there at Gryphon for dismount, pdx. Great service, set up, retun policy, and if future sale, say you bought it from Gryphon and buyers will continue to pay a premium because they know its good... gryphon doesn't sell rubbish. So, you'll get your hundred smackeroulians back anyhow.

Buy buy buy dismount. We get off on spending your money. Lol. We've already managed to tap brother pdx plum clean.

rpfrogner
02-03-2013, 03:26 AM
No I don't think so, I'll ask him.

The reason I brought it up is I am wondering how it was determined it is a 50's Martin ukulele?

rpfrogner
02-03-2013, 03:27 AM
It may be older or newer.....not that it made a huge difference, just curious.

coolkayaker1
02-03-2013, 03:38 AM
Rpfrogner...I love your Martin YouTube videos. They are quintessential viewing for Martin fans. Thanks for making them. You seem to know quite a lot about Martins.

HBolte
02-03-2013, 04:27 AM
I recently paid $600 for a '50's O. It is in excellent original condition, no repairs or cracks, just normal wear. Check Elderly and Gruhn's for comparison too.

dismount
02-03-2013, 05:14 AM
I recently paid $600 for a '50's O. It is in excellent original condition, no repairs or cracks, just normal wear. Check Elderly and Gruhn's for comparison too.

Elderly never seem to have o's

garyg
02-03-2013, 05:44 AM
I don't think that there's a definitive way to date a Martin after the introduction of T frets hmmm '34 or '38 (too lazy to look it up) up to '62 when "Made in USA" was added to the body stamp. Wooden tuners were used for several years during WWII and Kluson tuners were used apparently, but not IMO exclusively, in the late 40's-early 50's. The problem with "tuner dating" (besides whether they're 18 or younger) is that tuners can easily be replaced and there really isn't any dating "key" for them. I've owned several pre-32 Martins and they all have different types of metal friction tuners and I have seen each one of those types on other pre-32 tuners so I assume they're original but surprised that they're so variable. In comparison, it appears that Favilla used a single type of tuner on their 20-early 40's sopranos (a cheap black friction tuner). After the late 30's Martins seem to have less variation in tuners (oval white or Klusons) and those few years of resurrected wooden tuners because of metal shortages in WWII. Some folks claim that 20's ukes sound much better than 50's ukes but I'm sure that we're all at least slightly awed by the magic of a pre-22 Martin. Thom's sound tests show that modern Martins can sound pretty darn good and that it can be difficult to pick out the vintage instrument. I know the 1M he used in that test and it is one of the better Martins that I've played so I know it's a good example of a vintage Martin and frankly it shocked the he11 out of me that the modern ukes performed so well. Which brings me to my main and perhaps slightly overwrought point - if you're going to play a Martin rather than "collect" it, then the only thing that counts is how it sounds to your ear. I've bought several Martins off ebay and only been semi-disappointed once when the seller listed 1 crack and there were 8 -- OTOH they were visible in the photos (this was a pre-32 1M) so I should of known better too. But the uke cost me $387 and it cost me $175 to have a luthier buddy stabilize and cleat the cracks and it plays with only slightly less resonance and sustain than my other Martins from this period. So sometimes a beat up uke that sounds good can be a great bargain (someone else mentioned that they got a beater Martin for a good price). Is $500 a good price for a post-32 - pre-62 Martin, well it depends on condition and sound. If it's crack-free and has great sound, I think it's a bargain. If it has 3 cracks and average sound then it's not, even if you can get them fixed cheaply. Really old Martins (1916-1938) Martins are difficult to find in pristine condition and some sound great even with a minor crack or two. Buying from a dealer is great but more expensive so it depends on how much of a gambler you are. You certainly should question any ebay seller to ascertain their level of uke knowledge and it's appropriate to ask for a sound sample. Unfortunately, without a "control uke" for comparison it can be difficult to assess sound quality because recordings can be manipulated easily. Wow, never thought that I'd write this much but I do so love vintage Martins! cheers, g2

pdxuke
02-03-2013, 06:24 AM
You and me both, Gary! (I owe you a letter.)

If I can jump in on Gary's thought: if you want a vintage Martin because it's a vintage, and a Martin, as opposed to a new Martin, then you need to decide what condition threshold you care about. Do you care about body cracks, appearance, or just sound? Personally, I just don't want any vintage instrument that's not really clean. Sure, some scrapes and a scratch or two--but I won't buy an instrument with cracks. I've done it before and it just doesn't make me happy--I always wind up selling it.

If you want a Martin for the Martin sound, then you may not need a vintage at all. For $1000 you can buy a new style 2M, and I'm here to tell you it's an awesome instrument. And the Mexican made S1 is really nice as well.

But, some vintage ukes do sound better. So, that brings us back to the circular argument.

The one at Gryphon strings is $600. That's a shop that is stand up right. Ask for a sound sample. You also have a return period. I'm gun shy on expensive ukes from ebay, although others have done really well.

garyg
02-03-2013, 06:37 AM
One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that you can always make a shop an offer and see if they bite. This is particularly useful if the uke has been sitting there for awhile. But be polite and reasonable, especially if you want to buy from them again. I always just ask "Are you firm on that price?" to see if there is a possibility. Thom I'm off to write two letters now <g>. cheers, g2

Tigeralum2001
02-03-2013, 07:17 AM
Just curious, as a vintage Martin lover myself, can those who are more expert refer people to a video or sound clip of a good vintage Martin and a bad one? :)

garyg
02-03-2013, 07:21 AM
Tiger, I don't know about bad ones but Rick Pfrogner has a bunch of great videos on youtube with Martins and I've put up some videos myself, not any sort of comparison videos, just some songs that I wanted to share with some traditional music fans here. Chris Tarman might have some videos up to and maybe Thom (pdx)??? I'm sure others are up that I've somehow missed.

pdxuke
02-03-2013, 07:25 AM
Tiger, I don't know about bad ones but Rick Pfrogner has a bunch of great videos on youtube with Martins and I've put up some videos myself, not any sort of comparison videos, just some songs that I wanted to share with some traditional music fans here. Chris Tarman might have some videos up to and maybe Thom (pdx)??? I'm sure others are up that I've somehow missed.

I don't do videos (:-) but I have sound checks.

BTW, people talk about "bad" vintage Martins. I've played many, many of them (everytime I go into a shop that has one, including guitar center) and I've never played a bad one. I admit my sample size is small, but bad may be in the ears of the be-listener. :o

garyg
02-03-2013, 07:34 AM
I would second Thom's comment, I've played maybe 15 and I've never seen a bad one but some are definitely better than others, and my pre-'22 ukes have a different, richer, more complex sound than my older ukes, even other pre-32 Martins. Maybe it's the boxwood nut and saddle or maybe it's just older/different wood. cheers, g2

dismount
02-03-2013, 08:08 AM
Thanks for all the input everone, all great and sage advice. Really every uke should be judged on an individual basis. Oh well maybe order an sk-38 or brueko to help me get over the martin uas. Phil

pdxuke
02-03-2013, 08:14 AM
Thanks for all the input everone, all great and sage advice. Really every uke should be judged on an individual basis. Oh well maybe order an sk-38 or brueko to help me get over the martin uas. Phil

Order an S1! They are terrific instruments. And if you don't mind a laminate, I'm loving my OXK.

collarbone
02-03-2013, 08:16 AM
I love the sound of my Martin but the other reason I really like it is for it's feel. I was wondering if Martin has changed the feel of their ukes over time (neck profile, wieght, etc) or are the new ones pretty consistent with the older ones. I was also wondering if anyone has any experience with the good Martin copies like Kiwaya as far as sound and feel go. I don;t have much experience with ukes beyond my own humble collection.

I also have a couple of videos of my own on my you tube below. The audio quality is certainly lacking but it might give you some feel for what I think is a pretty good old Martin.

dismount
02-03-2013, 08:20 AM
pdxuke, I bought nuprins s-1 Yes its is fantastic. the tone on mine is hard to explain, just very focused and clear. But I still want a vintage whaaaaa Whining !!!!!!!!!

pdxuke
02-03-2013, 08:24 AM
The new M2feels the same to me as the vintage Martins I have. The s1 also feels about the same. The OXK is a bit heavier.

The Kiwaya ukes like the KTS4 are superb. But they are--ahem--Kiwayas. And at the end of the day, I asked myself, "I have a vintage Martin, and I can buy modern Martins, what do I need the Kiwaya for?"

But that's my crazy question. Others don't have this unnatural obsession with all things named MARTIN. So, if you can find and play one--try one. They really are perfectly built--like my Martins.

pdxuke
02-03-2013, 08:29 AM
Order an S1! They are terrific instruments. And if you don't mind a laminate, I'm loving my OXK.

http://elderly.com/new_instruments/names/martin-oxk-soprano-uke-and-gigbag--OXKUKE.htm

soupking
02-03-2013, 08:41 AM
I have an O I've been thinking about offloading. I'll probably need a day or two to mull it over. I just don't really play sopranos much. I paid $580, and would let it go for, I guess, $530, factoring in shipping and Paypal fees. It's rather clean, if you ask me. Great action, playability, and intonation. PM me if you have any interest. Here it is:

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?71359-FS-Vintage-Martin-Soprano

dismount
02-03-2013, 09:27 AM
pm sent thanks

coolkayaker1
02-03-2013, 10:10 AM
These are so well thought out, the replies, that it's insanely helpful. Love them all, and garyg and pdx have many great notions.

On the other side of the coin-- and I'm sure they'd agree with this, too--is me. I have plenty of high end, expensive non-Martin ukes. They're great. I have two new 2012 Martin sopranos, they're great, too.

But you know what... call me crazy, but there's something special about buying an old Martin with cracks and strum marks, slopping some Super Glue in there and playing the heck out of it. My Martin O looks just like the one brother soup has in his Marketplace link, but mine had two small less than 2 inch) cracks in the back, plus some soundboard wear (you know how they get punked up along the edge, especially when unbound like an 0 model). I got it for $299 on eBay.

Well, a tube of low viscosity Super Glue later on the cracks, a good freboard cleaning with lemon oil, a Qtip with Tru Oil over the edge dings, and new Southcoast Extra Lights tuned to A D F# B, and this just might be my new favorite Martin sop! I adore this little rascal. It sounds better than (I think) my new Martin sops (although I'd be the first to tell you that I couldn't ID any of them on a Soundcloud test).

As I see it, for my purposes, I saved $300 off the other ones (like Gryphon's beaut), but have a uke I can play and love and take outside to a picnic and slobber mustard on. lol And, if I sell it, I'd get my money back...I improved it, I really did.

Anyhow, all that said, I have a Martin concert that is minty (one teensy crack, which I need garyg, pdx and rfrogners advice about fixing it or leaving it alone) and I anted up for it, so I can burn both ends of the candle.

Try a beater. Put lipstick on it and kiss it. It's still a Martin!

PS I just bought a 1950 something Williams banjo ukulele from eBay. Now I'm gonna get reamed.

pdxuke
02-03-2013, 10:24 AM
These are so well thought out, the replies, that it's insanely helpful. Love them all, and garyg and pdx have many great notions.

On the other side of the coin-- and I'm sure they'd agree with this, too--is me. I have plenty of high end, expensive non-Martin ukes. They're great. I have two new 2012 Martin sopranos, they're great, too.

But you know what... call me crazy, but there's something special about buying an old Martin with cracks and strum marks, slopping some Super Glue in there and playing the heck out of it. My Martin O looks just like the one brother soup has in his Marketplace link, but mine had two small less than 2 inch) cracks in the back, plus some soundboard wear (you know how they get punked up along the edge, especially when unbound like an 0 model). I got it for $299 on eBay.

Well, a tube of low viscosity Super Glue later on the cracks, a good freboard cleaning with lemon oil, a Qtip with Tru Oil over the edge dings, and new Southcoast Extra Lights tuned to A D F# B, and this just might be my new favorite Martin sop! I adore this little rascal. It sounds better than (I think) my new Martin sops (although I'd be the first to tell you that I couldn't ID any of them on a Soundcloud test).

As I see it, for my purposes, I saved $300 off the other ones (like Gryphon's beaut), but have a uke I can play and love and take outside to a picnic and slobber mustard on. lol And, if I sell it, I'd get my money back...I improved it, I really did.

Anyhow, all that said, I have a Martin concert that is minty (one teensy crack, which I need garyg, pdx and rfrogners advice about fixing it or leaving it alone) and I anted up for it, so I can burn both ends of the candle.

Try a beater. Put lipstick on it and kiss it. It's still a Martin!

PS I just bought a 1950 something Williams banjo ukulele from eBay. Now I'm gonna get reamed.

Yes, there is something to be said for all of that. And I love that you're doing it. The only thing I would caution about is self repairs. If things are stable I might just leave it alone. Because repairs to these great old instruments are probably best done by luthiers. But, on the other hand, if a repair is temporary and a luthier can reverse it (like my plumber when he has to come and reinstall the toilet I tried to install) then no harm done.

Lots of resources on how to do glue jobs that do no harm. Maybe Elmer's is better than superglue :-) I'm not sure, cause I know NOTHING ABOUT IT, haha.

That's just my opinion. Ultimately you gotta do what makes sense for you. Martin 0s especially, are not rare, so have at it. :-)

And there is something fab about a BEATER vintage Martin. That would be fun.

coolkayaker1
02-03-2013, 10:29 AM
Yes, there is something to be said for all of that. And I love that you're doing it. The only thing I would caution about is self repairs. If things are stable I might just leave it alone. Because repairs to these great old instruments are probably best done by luthiers. But, on the other hand, if a repair is temporary and a luthier can reverse it (like my plumber when he has to come and reinstall the toilet I tried to install) then no harm done.

Lots of resources on how to do glue jobs that do no harm.

That's just my opinion. Ultimately you gotta do what makes sense for you. Martin 0s especially, are not rare, so have at it. :-)

Okay, mom.

And I won't run with scissors, either.

(LOL--j/k)

pdxuke
02-03-2013, 10:32 AM
Okay, mom.

And I won't run with scissors, either.

(LOL--j/k)

No, no, I don't mean to sound like your mom!

But I'd do a little research on the best glue to use. Maybe plain old elmer's glue? I dunno.

The local shop here once had an 0 that was so worn there was another hole on the treble side where the guy had strummed right through it. It had a letter saying how it was played by a vaudeville guy. I shoulda bought it.

coolkayaker1
02-03-2013, 10:40 AM
I'm kidding you. j/k just kidding

You have great advice, pdx. And, of course, you skooled us all with your now classic Soundcloud quizzes. lol

pdxuke
02-03-2013, 10:45 AM
I'm kidding you. j/k just kidding

You have great advice, pdx. And, of course, you skooled us all with your now classic Soundcloud quizzes. lol

This thread
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?69454-preferred-glue&highlight=glue+list

list Thin Superglue (whatever that is) as something Luthiers use to make quick repairs. So maybe that's the right glue after all, Steve.

Now I'm really curious. I'd go ask in the luthier's forum, "what glue should I use that's easy to work with to repair a cracked uke" butI'm afraid someone would throw something at me.

pdxuke
02-03-2013, 10:53 AM
This thread
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?69454-preferred-glue&highlight=glue+list

list Thin Superglue (whatever that is) as something Luthiers use to make quick repairs. So maybe that's the right glue after all, Steve.

Now I'm really curious. I'd go ask in the luthier's forum, "what glue should I use that's easy to work with to repair a cracked uke" butI'm afraid someone would throw something at me.

And now, because I'm obsessed:
http://www.lmii.com/CartTwo/thirdproducts.asp?NameProdHeader=Instrument+makers +glue

mm stan
02-03-2013, 11:01 AM
I just use a couple drops of Ca (super glue) one drop on each side...so it is easy to tap off with a block from the fretboard side if there is any reason in the future to.. hope it helps..Good Luck

coolkayaker1
02-03-2013, 11:04 AM
Thanks for the links, pdx/

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002BEN8M/ref=oh_details_o02_s01_i01

I got some of this and, without activator, it's invisible. But it will stick out if overdone (i.e. dry in a heap), but 0000 steel wool and it looks great again.

You love ukes, you really ought to buy a cracker "picnic uke" Favilla or Martin (favilla sop on eBay now for $115 bucks needs a clean up and glue; they go, repaired, for $300+) and fiddle with this stuff. It's not rocket science (now I'll get tomatoes thrown at me, too).
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-FAVILLA-Wooden-Ukulele-/400401725496?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5d39cd7838

pdxuke
02-03-2013, 11:12 AM
Thanks for the links, pdx/

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002BEN8M/ref=oh_details_o02_s01_i01

I got some of this and, without activator, it's invisible. But it will stick out if overdone (i.e. dry in a heap), but 0000 steel wool and it looks great again.

You love ukes, you really ought to buy a cracker "picnic uke" Favilla or Martin (favilla sop on eBay now for $115 bucks needs a clean up and glue; they go, repaired, for $300+) and fiddle with this stuff. It's not rocket science (now I'll get tomatoes thrown at me, too).
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-FAVILLA-Wooden-Ukulele-/400401725496?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5d39cd7838

I just may do that :-0

dismount
02-03-2013, 01:15 PM
Soupking, guess your inbox is full cant pm you

soupking
02-03-2013, 01:23 PM
My bad, it's good to go now...

coolkayaker1
02-04-2013, 01:41 AM
The eBay vintage Favilla is being given away...

Someone buy it, give it a bath, and drizzle some thin CA in that crack and kiss it.