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View Full Version : Date a Martin Style 1



Skinny Money McGee
03-24-2014, 02:52 PM
I took a chance and bought this Style 1 from an ebay auction. I actually thought it was a style 0 at first because of the crappy cell phone pictures he posted. I told myself I would never buy anything from bad pictures, but took the chance anyway and spent 435 dollars.

As it was being shipped to me, I studied the pictures a little more and realized this was probably a style 1 which it turned out to be.

The uke is in excellent shape. There might be a very slight hairline crack between the bridge and the sound hole, but looks like it could be a finish check also. The back and sides are clean, and the neck is nice and straight. Fretboard is in excellent shape.

The original plastic tuners are crap, and one is broken. I'm going to have a tech at Elderly install Grover 4b's on it, and look at the possible crack.

I just wanted a vintage player, but looks like I might have done ok here.

Anyone have an idea what year this is? 50's ?

Skinny Money McGee
03-24-2014, 02:54 PM
couple more picts.

coolkayaker1
03-24-2014, 04:48 PM
Skinny, that's awesome! They all have tiny cracks, no worry, and if yu want, Old Brown Glue (a hide glue brand).

Some people use Ping tuners, which are $15 on Amazon, saying they fit Martins perfectly. I have never tried one.

Tips I've learned in past couple years:

See those finger-use marks on the fretboard? 0000 steel wool on frets and wood of fretboard itself. It'll look like new. Yep, just sand that fretboard with it. No worry (I then Tru-Oil mine, but that's optional)

See the dings and scratches. Copic brand alcohol marker ($7 each, Hobby Lobby, sometimes Michaels), Sepia, #037. Touch each of those babies up with the fine tip, bada bing, look like no ding or scratch at all. You gotta try it!

I can't tell date because I don't have my Martin book where I am now (Walsh/King), so someone please chime in with the year range those Klusner tuners were used.

Nice score. And an M1, too. Wicked good stuff, brother Skinny.

Skinny Money McGee
03-24-2014, 05:38 PM
Thanks for the tips Steve, I really appreciate it. Do you lightly rub "cross grain" with the 0000 steel wool? There is a Michaels nearby I'll check out.

Chris Tarman
03-24-2014, 07:08 PM
According to Walsh and King, Kluson tuners were only used on Style 1s and 2s from 1946 to 1948. On Style 0s they were used from '46-'56. So that narrows it down nicely!

BTW, Skinny, I LOVE LOVE LOVE your avatar! That's my favorite movie of all time.

Chris Tarman
03-24-2014, 07:14 PM
Oh yeah! I forgot to say "Congratulations!". That is a great looking ukulele. The grain on the back of the neck is really cool-looking. Too bad the Klusons were in bad condition. They aren't my favorite-looking Martin tuners, but I don't think they're normally "crap" (although I've never had them on anything). They don't look as nice as the Grovers that were on earlier Martins, and I can't decide if I like the shape or not, but at least they were made by a known company.

UkerDanno
03-24-2014, 07:33 PM
sooo...how's it sound??? you haven't strung it up yet?

Skinny Money McGee
03-25-2014, 03:02 AM
According to Walsh and King, Kluson tuners were only used on Style 1s and 2s from 1946 to 1948. On Style 0s they were used from '46-'56. So that narrows it down nicely!

BTW, Skinny, I LOVE LOVE LOVE your avatar! That's my favorite movie of all time.

Thanks for looking this up Chris.
46 to 48, Wow, that does narrow it down. Martin has a long history with Grover as well, and I really want a tuner that works great since I plan on keeping this and playing it. The Grover Sta-tite 4's are perhaps the smoothest friction tuners made, and is what Martin uses today. Shouldn't be to sacrilege !! Black buttons will go good with the dark stain on this uke.

Heading down to Elderly and picking up a Martin hard shell case for it, and have them check the possible hairline. Get it all cleaned up, take care of it, and it'll be good for another 65 years !


sooo...how's it sound??? you haven't strung it up yet?

Hi Danno, haven't strung it up yet, but I'm chomping at the bit wanting to play it !! but first things first !

jimhuang
03-25-2014, 04:11 AM
Congrats! actually i have a Style 1 with Kluson tuner pegs just the same as yours. Chris is right, the Kluson tuner pegs narrow it down to 46~48, and the T frets introduced in sometime 1947 according to the Walsh book. Martin M600 String recommended ;-)

UkerDanno
03-25-2014, 04:54 AM
Congrats! actually i have a Style 1 with Kluson tuner pegs just the same as yours. Chris is right, the Kluson tuner pegs narrow it down to 46~48, and the T frets introduced in sometime 1947 according to the Walsh book. Martin M600 String recommended ;-)

This site says t-frets were used after 1935.
http://www.geocities.com/~ukulele/martin.html
I would recommend M600's also.

Skinny Money McGee
03-25-2014, 06:06 AM
M600's it is ! Picked up one of those Copic sepia markers Steve recommended, and he's right. It really covered up those scratches very well. Going to try some of that Petros finish restorer to get some of dirt off the sound board. I tried some naphtha and it didn't pick up anything. The 0000 steel wool with some naphtha as lubricant cleaned up the finger marks on the fretboard nicely.

Are these "T" frets?

coolkayaker1
03-25-2014, 06:39 AM
Glad that worked out for you, the Copic and the fretboard 0000.

Wow, thanks all for educating me about the years; 1946-1948, specific. Is there no way, brother SMM, that you can salvage those Klusons? I see that they're sort of busted up (one of them anyhow), but they really are the signature piece that dates this instrument. Even if you add and play with other tuners, Pings or Grovers, wouldn't it be nice to be able to throw on the Klusons for show or re-sale.

Looking forward to photos when you have it all repaired and strung up.

And look at the bright side, since the dating is so specific, you can still look for Martin style 1s from, what, 1917 or so through 1945, and 1949 to 1960 to round out the model years. Sort of like collecting nickels in one of those dark blue cardboard coin binders as a kid. lol.

PS Love Elderly, but don;t overpay for a stable crack repair when you can do it yourself with $10 of Old Brown Hide glue. (see videos in link) Since your crack is to the sound hole, you might be able to simply apply it yourself to the inside with your finger. You can decide, of course, whichever works best for you: self-repair versus Elderly. Exciting!
http://www.oldbrownglue.com/

Here's a test of Old Brown Glue: they say it's as good as Tite Bond Hide Glue but I have never tried TiteBond Hide Glue for ukes. Anyone know if the readily available Tite Bond HIDE (not regular) glue is any good?
http://www.popularwoodworking.com/article/hide-glue-in-liquid-form

UkerDanno
03-25-2014, 06:40 AM
M600's it is ! Picked up one of those Copic sepia markers Steve recommended, and he's right. It really covered up those scratches very well. Going to try some of that Petros finish restorer to get some of dirt off the sound board. I tried some naphtha and it didn't pick up anything. The 0000 steel wool with some naphtha as lubricant cleaned up the finger marks on the fretboard nicely.

Are these "T" frets?

yes, those are T-frets...

coolkayaker1
03-25-2014, 06:47 AM
M600's it is ! Picked up one of those Copic sepia markers Steve recommended, and he's right. It really covered up those scratches very well. Going to try some of that Petros finish restorer to get some of dirt off the sound board. I tried some naphtha and it didn't pick up anything. The 0000 steel wool with some naphtha as lubricant cleaned up the finger marks on the fretboard nicely.

Are these "T" frets?

I actually scrub hard enough with the 0000 steel wool to take off a layer of wood, not much, just a tad, and no marks at all after that. YMMV.

Skinny Money McGee
03-25-2014, 06:50 AM
Glad that worked out for you, the Copic and the fretboard 0000.

Wow, thanks all for educating me about the years; 1946-1948, specific. Is there no way, brother SMM, that you can salvage those Klusons? I see that they're sort of busted up (one of them anyhow), but they really are the signature piece that dates this instrument. Even if you add and play with other tuners, Pings or Grovers, wouldn't it be nice to be able to throw on the Klusons for show or re-sale.

Looking forward to photos when you have it all repaired and strung up.

And look at the bright side, since the dating is so specific, you can still look for Martin style 1s from, what, 1917 or so through 1960 to round out the model. Sort of like collecting nickels in one of those dark blue cardboard coin binders as a kid. lol.

Lol, I had those dark blue coin holders !! Forgot all about them! Wish I still had the quarters and dimes, they were probably all silver.

I will definitely keep the Kluson's, and look for a replacement for the broken one, and they will stay with the uke for ever. The next steward of the uke can decide if they want to re-install them or not.

Skinny Money McGee
03-25-2014, 08:43 AM
Glad that worked out for you, the Copic and the fretboard 0000.


PS Love Elderly, but don;t overpay for a stable crack repair when you can do it yourself with $10 of Old Brown Hide glue. (see videos in link) Since your crack is to the sound hole, you might be able to simply apply it yourself to the inside with your finger. You can decide, of course, whichever works best for you: self-repair versus Elderly. Exciting!
http://www.oldbrownglue.com/


Actually, the crack/finish check is not to the sound hole. It's about 3/4 inch long, halfway between the bridge and sound hole. It really looks like an area where the finish has lifted slightly to me. If it is a crack, then it is a hairline at best, and I'll get a bottle of Old Brown Hide and pat some on the area and wipe off the excess. (or just not worry about it).

Edgeguy
03-25-2014, 09:37 AM
Looks like you have a very nice ukulele. It's nice to be able to ask questions about a uke and get some very knowledgeable replies. With a vintage Martin and my KoAloha I would never need another uke again, and I mean it.

blue_knight_usa
03-26-2014, 09:19 AM
Skinny, that's awesome! They all have tiny cracks, no worry, and if yu want, Old Brown Glue (a hide glue brand).

Some people use Ping tuners, which are $15 on Amazon, saying they fit Martins perfectly. I have never tried one.

Tips I've learned in past couple years:

See those finger-use marks on the fretboard? 0000 steel wool on frets and wood of fretboard itself. It'll look like new. Yep, just sand that fretboard with it. No worry (I then Tru-Oil mine, but that's optional)

See the dings and scratches. Copic brand alcohol marker ($7 each, Hobby Lobby, sometimes Michaels), Sepia, #037. Touch each of those babies up with the fine tip, bada bing, look like no ding or scratch at all. You gotta try it!

I can't tell date because I don't have my Martin book where I am now (Walsh/King), so someone please chime in with the year range those Klusner tuners were used.

Nice score. And an M1, too. Wicked good stuff, brother Skinny.

I have Pings on my 32 style 2. RyanMFT put them on for me and they are awesome. Smooth as silk to tune and they drop right in!

bborzell
03-26-2014, 10:37 AM
Wow! 18 posts to a thread on dating a uke and not one response suggesting therapy for forming intimate relationships with inanimate objects might be in order.:rolleyes:

Chris Tarman
03-26-2014, 01:24 PM
Wow! 18 posts to a thread on dating a uke and not one response suggesting therapy for forming intimate relationships with inanimate objects might be in order.:rolleyes:

Hey! Ukuleles aren't inanimate objects!

coolkayaker1
03-26-2014, 02:23 PM
I have Pings on my 32 style 2. RyanMFT put them on for me and they are awesome. Smooth as silk to tune and they drop right in!

Thanks for the info, Jay. I remember you and Ryan talking about this in the past, and I, actually, bought a fresh pack of Pings (they're, like, $15) in my string drawer, ready to roll whenever I get a Martin uke with unusable tuners. So far, they're still in pack. lol But this is great to hear how well they work, and might be a solution for brother SMM.

PS Ping P2698 Ukulele Tuning Machines is what they are listed under on Amazon, I think. Check with Jay, SMM, to be sure, though. Grovers good, too (if they fit, which I do not know)

Macmuse
03-26-2014, 02:25 PM
I can't help it... Every time I read the thread title I want to reply with "Marry a Martin Style 0". :)

coolkayaker1
03-26-2014, 02:27 PM
I can't help it... Every time I read the thread title I want to reply with "Marry a Martin Style 0". :)

True. Oysters on the half shell and a little Barry White doesn't hurt, either.

Skinny Money McGee
03-26-2014, 02:29 PM
I can't help it... Every time I read the thread title I want to reply with "Marry a Martin Style 0". :)

I almost put, "trying to date a Martin style 1".. lol. Oh my sweet love, your a little short but you have nice curves !!

Macmuse
03-26-2014, 02:52 PM
Wow! 18 posts to a thread on dating a uke and not one response suggesting therapy for forming intimate relationships with inanimate objects might be in order.:rolleyes:

I didn't read page 2 until after I commented... And went the total opposite of this reaction. Hahaha

Skinny Money McGee
03-27-2014, 01:01 PM
Got it cleaned up, touched up, new Grover tuners, new 600A strings, and I gotta say this sounds quite nice. Intonation is excellent, and the action is exactly how I like it. Sounds just like a Vintage Martin !! Going to have a lot of fun with this one for sure.

Thanks everybody for your help and suggestions !

Maiden Uke
03-27-2014, 01:26 PM
Nice! Huge difference from where you started with this Uke to where you finished! Way to go!

ukantor
03-27-2014, 02:23 PM
Well, your new date sure scrubbed up nicely. Those tuners suit it very well. I think this could be the start of a very harmonious and long lasting relationship. Congratulations!

(I should get mine out and fondle it more often.)

coolkayaker1
03-27-2014, 04:03 PM
Wow! A 1940s Martin 1 for the price of a Martin 0~ Looks great, SMM. Great!

sonomajazz
03-28-2014, 06:41 AM
Got it cleaned up, touched up, new Grover tuners, new 600A strings, and I gotta say this sounds quite nice. Intonation is excellent, and the action is exactly how I like it. Sounds just like a Vintage Martin !! Going to have a lot of fun with this one for sure.

Thanks everybody for your help and suggestions !

Wow, Skinny, quite a transformation! Can you detail how you "cleaned" it up? Might be a good subject for a "How To" vid.

Chris Tarman
03-28-2014, 10:44 AM
Turned out nice (again). Had to throw that "again" in there to make it a George Formby quote!

Skinny Money McGee
03-29-2014, 05:09 AM
Wow, Skinny, quite a transformation! Can you detail how you "cleaned" it up? Might be a good subject for a "How To" vid.

To clean it up, I took the advise from People in this thread.

Dipped 0000 steel wool in a little Naphtha and cleaned the fretboard. Filled in the scratches with a Copic sketch marker (sepia color), and used Petros Finish restorer which cleaned most of the dirt off the body.

(The finish restorer looks and feels like a fine grit automotive polishing compound to me)

zac987
03-29-2014, 09:59 AM
It looks great! I'd like to hear how it sounds now.

Skinny Money McGee
03-30-2014, 04:19 AM
It looks great! I'd like to hear how it sounds now.

Thanks, one of these days I'll buy some decent recording equipment like one of those zoom recorders

OldePhart
03-30-2014, 10:50 AM
Wow! 18 posts to a thread on dating a uke and not one response suggesting therapy for forming intimate relationships with inanimate objects might be in order.:rolleyes:

Thank you for restoring my faith in UU! I was beginning to get worried after having read almost two pages of posts about "dating a Martin" without a single humorous post. I was afraid that I was going to have to step up to the plate to rectify the situation... :)

John