View Full Version : Old Martin Ukulele

05-05-2014, 12:11 PM

I hope someone can help me to figure out which Martin Ukulele this is and maybe the value. It's been in my family for years and finally I have a little time to try and solve this riddle.


05-05-2014, 12:24 PM
That appears to be a Martin style 2 soprano uke, and an early one, based on the tuners....

05-05-2014, 12:34 PM
Since it looks like it has a stamp on the back of the headstock; that makes it '32 or older.

Is the binding wood or celluloid tortoise shell?

05-05-2014, 12:36 PM
Here's some reference data....


05-05-2014, 03:49 PM
that is awesome! put some Martin M600 strings on that thing and fire it up! ;-D

Have an experienced luthier clean it up and,
If there's no cracks and it plays well, at least $1000.00.

05-05-2014, 04:03 PM
I agree with my compatriots: Martin Style 2. The narrow banding front and back (I assume back; hard to see), as opposed to later Martins with wider bands, is one give-away. As MM says, an early one. I think Martin used mechanical friction tuners pretty early on for styles 2 and 3 ukes (which are higher end than 0 and 1 style ukes).

Okay, I had to grab Walsh/King. Those fret markers at 5-7-10 place it 1921-1945 (but pre-1932 for label reason as Hodge said).

Here it is, all: Grover patent )mechanical) tuners introduced to Style 2 specifically in 1922! (thanks, Walsh and King book!)

So, drumroll please: that is a 1921 or perhaps early 1922 (before the new tuners) Martin style 2.

in 1921 Martin made 262 of them, in 1922 they made 389. So, that's an uncommon uke!

With all this said, I do agree with UkerDanno: it's worth around $1000; sometimes might get $1200 if cleaned up nicely and all cracks are small. Don't change out those tuners, powger, those are valuable (esp. if you have all four--most of the time, they get lost).

Cheers. (P.S. Not a Martin expert, just able to read, lol.) Others chime in if other dating advice.

05-05-2014, 04:13 PM
It is lovely!

Tim Mullins
05-05-2014, 04:27 PM
I believe coolkayaker1 has the dating right, but if it has rosewood or tortoise binding it is a Style 1. The Style 2 has white binding.

05-05-2014, 06:04 PM
I agree, Tim and Hodge. I was assuming it was not rosewood or tortoise. We see no side or back photos, so no way to purely tell from the photos provided. If style 2, the cream colored binding would be more evident in side photo, both front and back. With my Style 2s of that vintage, it's very obvious on side view as to styling, and from front, bc the cream is so thin, it's hard to tell. So, yes, great questions Tim and Hodge.

If it is a Style 1, more produced, lesser value. Do let us know, original poster (or give more photos).

05-05-2014, 07:47 PM
Great uke!
it‘s likely a Style 1 from 22~26. judging from the dot position, binding style, round-shape wood pegs (none-slotted woodpeg). would you please upload some more detailed photos especially on the binding? any cracks? refinished? thanks for sharing ~

05-06-2014, 10:15 AM
Hey guys,

I appreciate the info. There is a crack on the back, see pics below. I can't tell about the binding so here are some pics.


05-06-2014, 11:43 AM
Based on the latest photos, I now think this is an early style 1....

05-06-2014, 12:59 PM
Based on the latest photos, I now think this is an early style 1....


The binding on those early Style 1s is often like this..the rosewood/tortoiseshell is sometimes very thin and not obvious.

05-07-2014, 06:18 AM
Yes, I agree with the latest consensus...'tis the ubiquitous Style 1.

Just kidding, powgor. It's still a lovely ukulele. And valued. The date range is much wider since it is a style 1, as Martin used wooden pegs on them for a wider span of time; until 1927, to be specific. But, as jimhuang and mattyukeaholic note, still 1920s and still super sweet. The crack should be repaired, and a luthier could clean it up and do a nice job for you. I'm guessing, what, $150--crack fix, set-up, clean-up? I'm asking others here, I don;t know.

I yanked out "the book", and 1920-1927 Martin Style 1s: total production (not including Ditsons, Wurlitzers, blah blah; just Martin branded style 1s):

I'm always amazed, when I look at these charts, how many style 0 and 1 ukes Martin made, relative to Style 2s and esp 3s. Interesting.

Anyhow, it's almost 100 years old, powgor. And with 100 years of house fires, floods, ex-husbands and fans of The Who, it's a mystery how many of those still exist. It's a keeper! Thanks for sharing.