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View Full Version : Why do Martin Ukes cost so much????



FormbyFanatic95
01-07-2014, 09:28 AM
As much as I love them (my favourite type of wooden uke), they are quite costly. Here is an example, nowadays a 1930's Style 0 costs around 600 in the UK, and it is the plainest looking one of the lot. To be honest I think they are quite overpriced, especially the 5K, which personally I think it is not worth the 5000 asking price. What are your views?

neurorolex
01-07-2014, 09:45 AM
You get what you pay for." Caveat Emptor"

RichM
01-07-2014, 10:32 AM
They are clearly much more expensive in the UK! I would expect to pay $500-600 for an average Style 0 and perhaps $700-800 for a particularly pristine one. I think the Style 0s are still a great deal; just about the best soprano you can buy for the money, as far as I'm concerned

The 5K is completely out control, but that's what collectability will do for you. I love the Martin sound but the Style 3s and Style 5s sound pretty much the same as the Style 0s and Style 1s. Unfortunately, collectors have made some models nearly unaffordable. Try buying a 1924 Gibson F5 Lloyd Loar mandolin (hint: around $200K).

Our own Ken Timms provides an excellent replica of a Martin soprano at a price quite a few quid less than it sounds like a vintage Martin goes for in the UK, if you're looking for an alternative.

Worth mentioning I sold my Ludwig Wendell Hall here, all original and in nearly pristine condition, for $1500. I saw one in Europe that was beat to heck selling for 1800 euro (about $2600). Things are definitely different depending on where you live...

mm stan
01-07-2014, 10:43 AM
Yes your ukes do cost more in other countries...like england, australia etc .....maybe of the taxes and shipping them in too... Yes you get what you pay for...the 5K you mention
the holy grail of ukes, is one of the nicest looking and sounding ukes made at the time pre 1930...eighty something years and in pristine condition make them cost that much.
as for the other vintage martins...tthe actually started going up about ten years ago...I did pay 200 for my style 2 with a cracked back and had it professionally fixed for 260
more than I paid for it....so total of 460 is still a super deal ten years ago...I also think that the availability in your country and also the demand plays a big role on the price.

strumsilly
01-07-2014, 12:36 PM
As much as I love them (my favourite type of wooden uke), they are quite costly. Here is an example, nowadays a 1930's Style 0 costs around 600 in the UK, and it is the plainest looking one of the lot. To be honest I think they are quite overpriced, especially the 5K, which personally I think it is not worth the 5000 asking price. What are your views?

The vintage Martins cost so much because :
1. They are fine , easy playing [I love their fast, narrow neck] instruments
2. They sound great.
3. Their workmanship was impeccable.
4. They are Martin's, see 1-3
5. Iz Tiny Tim , and George played one.
6. Many styles are no longer made, and some consider vintage superior to the new ones.

They can be had here in the US for less than some of new Martin and new copies, and I don't mean copy in a negative way, Kiwaya makes a very nice copy, and so do some UU member luthiers.

UkerDanno
01-07-2014, 12:48 PM
cuz they're awesome!

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
01-07-2014, 02:04 PM
Value is relative. Suppose you made about 5,000,000 last year---would a Martin 5K be worth 5,000 to you? For comparison, many people in the States who make about $75,000 per year (a solid middle class salary) will gladly pay $500 for a Martin 0. Each used ukulele is worth exactly what someone is willing to pay for it, but it's difficult to imagine that a person making $75,000 per year would spend $8,200 or so (equivalent to 5,000) on a ukulele---that's more than a tenth of her or his annual earnings. For the vast majority of ukulele players, all Martin ukes are too expensive to consider, anyway, and the question is academic.

I'm lucky to be a middle class guy, and I absolutely love old Martin ukes. But it still took me a few years to convince myself that a vintage Martin 0 is worth $500 to me. I'm glad that I did---I bought one a couple months ago and I'm looking forward to years of enjoyment.

Peterjens
01-07-2014, 02:29 PM
What are your views?

Supply and demand @ work for a touchstone 'ukulele.

BigMamaJ40
01-07-2014, 03:06 PM
Martin actually stopped making the 1930s models on 1 January 1940

LOL!

Compared to vintage Martin guitars, vintage Martin ukes are a steal. I hope to steal, oops, I mean, BUY one next year. They may cost a lot, but, in my eyes (and to my ears), they are worth it. Ain't nothin' like the real thing, baby!

uketeecee
01-07-2014, 03:53 PM
Not only does the vintage Martin 5K ukulele look good, it sounds good too. Worth every penny.


http://youtu.be/Aplpy1t0Dks

soupking
01-07-2014, 04:12 PM
[QUOTE=uketeecee;1458446]Not only does the vintage Martin 5K ukulele look good, it sounds good too. Worth every penny.

You can say that again, Terry! Or any vintage Martin… what's not to love???


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gozfn8HZwus&feature=share&list=FLZlkfI1WHe0_h32oUktNJyw&index=1

hmgberg
01-07-2014, 04:52 PM
Check out Benny Chong, A.J. Leonard, Sam Lemann, and Terry playing Terry's Martin/Ditson Style 3 on Terry's YouTube channel (BeareTube), and you will have your answer. If other soprano ukes sounded like this one, Martins wouldn't be so expensive...probably.

David Newton
01-07-2014, 05:17 PM
30's American Ukes are expensive in the UK.
30's British motorcycles are expensive in the US.

I'll swap you even, a 30's Martin 3M for a '36 HRD.

vonbiber
01-07-2014, 09:43 PM
and it is the plainest looking one of the lot.
I actually like that.

The reason they are so costly, I think, is due to
1. They are hand-made
2. When they are made in the US, they cost more (than say in Mexico) because of the cost of the labor
3. Of course, the material they use (wood, etc.) is first rate ...

The number 2 reason explains why most of the (decent sounding) cheaper ukes are made in China, for example (where they must have skilled labor, but paid cheaply)

Skrik
01-07-2014, 09:48 PM
They sell for so much simply because people buy them for so much.

If no one bought them, they wouldn't sell. Then what would Martin do?

fernandogardinali
01-08-2014, 01:28 AM
I think the prices of the vintage Martins and the prices of newer models of comparable quality (for example the Kiwaya KTS-4 or the Ken Timms) are "anchored". For example, the Kiwaya and the Timms retails for US$520. I think their prices are based on the price determined by the market for the "real thing" (Timms can chime in if I'm wrong). If the demand for vintage Martins would decrease, thus decreasing the price of a vintage Martin, probably the prices of the replicas models would have to decrease as well (or stop producing, if the price was lower than the production costs).

On the other hand, I think the prices of replicas affects the prices of the vintage Martin ukes too. On a first glance, we may assume that if they didn't existed, probably the price of vintage Martins would be higher, because one part of the demand for Martin-style ukes today is fulfilled by these ukes. On the other hand, maybe the prices of the replicas serves too as a "compass" to the price of a vintage Martin (In 1922 a Martin Style 0's price was $10. Bringing that to 2012 (I'm too lazy to calculate it for 2014) would cost $135.44, considering there's no depreciation, but that's obviously not the way to look at it). It's hard to determine a causality. With the right data it'd be possible with econometrics to suggest something more accurate, but I don't think it can be found.

cigarfan
01-08-2014, 02:19 AM
I purchased my first "vintage" Martin (Style 3) in Oct 2013 and I am glad I did. Very nice uke with excellent tone and playability. I was a doubter. That has changed. I paid too much but I'm very glad to have this sweet little vintage Martin in my hands.

Winin' Boy
01-08-2014, 02:20 AM
With the right data it'd be possible with econometrics to suggest something more accurate, but I don't think it can be found.

Perhaps this might give a more accurate idea of inflation and worth/price of the style 0?
Quoted from the measuringworth.com site:

"If you want to compare the value of a $10.00 Commodity in 1922 there are four choices. In 2012 the relative:
real price of that commodity is $137.00
real value of that commodity is $302.00
labor value of that commodity is $498.00(using the unskilled wage) or $611.00(using production worker compensation)
income value of that commodity is $767.00"

Same excercise for a style 5K:

"If you want to compare the value of a $50.00 Commodity in 1922 there are four choices. In 2012 the relative:
real price of that commodity is $685.00
real value of that commodity is $1,510.00
labor value of that commodity is $2,490.00(using the unskilled wage) or $3,060.00(using production worker compensation)
income value of that commodity is $3,840.00"

fromthee2me
01-08-2014, 05:42 AM
Owning a Ferrari, does not make you a racing driver, although the car will sound nice when you floor it...... holds the road very well, goes like the clappers and has a very good re-sale value. I am not sure if this analogy works for 5k Martins or any other expensive instrument in that it makes you a good player? If you were blindfolded, and had a good musician play a variety of good ukes, you would not be able to distuinguish which instrument was used, as succefully proved by the late MGM.

cigarfan
01-08-2014, 05:58 AM
When I play my ukes the sound hole is closest to my ear. If I like what I hear I'm willing to shell out the dough accordingly. If I like to think I can tell the difference between good quality ukes and am willing to cough up the money, good for me. Shouldn't make a difference to you. Just my dos centavos.

Pukulele Pete
01-09-2014, 12:35 AM
When I play my ukes the sound hole is closest to my ear.

Wow , I'd like to see how you do that .http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/images/smilies/wink.png

cigarfan
01-09-2014, 12:59 AM
Wow , I'd like to see how you do that .http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/images/smilies/wink.png

Had to take special classes. :rolleyes:

Should have said closer to my ear than anyone else's.