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View Full Version : Why So Little Interest in the Martin Iz Uke



katysax
06-15-2014, 05:33 AM
There are very few reviews on the web, and very little discussion in this forum about the Martin IZ uke. As far I can tell one person on UU has one.

Is it because a Style 2 is available for less money? Is it because you can buy a Collings Mahogany for the same price? Is it because there is limited enthusiasm for modern American made Martins? Is it because you can get a custom for the same price? Is it because you can get a good Vintage Style 1 for the same price? Is it because the use of IZs name so many years after his death seems kind of craven? On this forum is it because Pete Forrest doesn't care for his style 2 Mahogany that much?

I find that I am somewhat intrigued by the IZ tenor. My opinion of the modern Martins is very mixed. I have a Collings Mahogany, and it is probably a better value for the money. But I wish there were more reviews of the IZ tenor. I wish I could try one locally.

iamesperambient
06-15-2014, 05:43 AM
There are very few reviews on the web, and very little discussion in this forum about the Martin IZ uke. As far I can tell one person on UU has one.

Is it because a Style 2 is available for less money? Is it because you can buy a Collings Mahogany for the same price? Is it because there is limited enthusiasm for modern American made Martins? Is it because you can get a custom for the same price? Is it because you can get a good Vintage Style 1 for the same price? Is it because the use of IZs name so many years after his death seems kind of craven? On this forum is it because Pete Forrest doesn't care for his style 2 Mahogany that much?

I find that I am somewhat intrigued by the IZ tenor. My opinion of the modern Martins is very mixed. I have a Collings Mahogany, and it is probably a better value for the money. But I wish there were more reviews of the IZ tenor. I wish I could try one locally.


i want one but its just very expensive but believe me i have a big interest in it.
Honestly i have no idea why theres no reviews or anything on it you'd think they would be.
But i do feel a lot of players are interested in owning one.

iamesperambient
06-15-2014, 05:44 AM
There are very few reviews on the web, and very little discussion in this forum about the Martin IZ uke. As far I can tell one person on UU has one.

Is it because a Style 2 is available for less money? Is it because you can buy a Collings Mahogany for the same price? Is it because there is limited enthusiasm for modern American made Martins? Is it because you can get a custom for the same price? Is it because you can get a good Vintage Style 1 for the same price? Is it because the use of IZs name so many years after his death seems kind of craven? On this forum is it because Pete Forrest doesn't care for his style 2 Mahogany that much?

I find that I am somewhat intrigued by the IZ tenor. My opinion of the modern Martins is very mixed. I have a Collings Mahogany, and it is probably a better value for the money. But I wish there were more reviews of the IZ tenor. I wish I could try one locally.

btw i had a modern martin soprano and its still the best instrument i ever owned.

The Big Kahuna
06-15-2014, 06:00 AM
It's probably because it is only a "tribute" uke, rather than a signature/replica uke. Meaning anyone could take a standard Martin tenor and glue a picture of a flower to it for a lot less than the factory version costs.

Add to that, three well known, but rarely voiced facts:

Iz wasn't a "ukulele player", he was a singer that accompanied himself on a uke.

If you take every album he produced, and discarded the junk that isn't even good enough to play in an elevator, the remaining tracks that are worth listening to might just fill a single CD.

There really is one born every minute, so why wouldn't Martin decide to cash in on it, albeit 17 years late? If they really gave a shit about Iz, you'd have thought they'd have gotten around to it sooner. Maybe they were just waiting for the right market conditions.

katysax
06-15-2014, 06:10 AM
I agree with about 50% of what you have to say about IZ, the thing about this uke I find least interesting is that it is an IZ tribute. That's my point about why the IZ tribute is a bit craven.

However, what I find interesting about the uke is that it appears to be a good quality handmade mahogany uke from a legendary manufacturer, made in America, with Pegheds. The fact that it is a tribute edition might, possibly, contribute to its long-term (not short-term) resale value. It kind of looks to me like a style 2 with pegheds and an inlay. That's probably why I think a lot of people who look at the IZ end up buying the style 2.

gtomatt
06-15-2014, 07:24 AM
I believe that Cigarfan owns one, so he could probably give you an honest assessment.

I was also very interested in one, but for the cash outlay, I'd definitely want to try it first. I think the only Martin dealer around here is Guitar Center, and they want no part of getting one unless you're willing to give up your credit card first.

I only own one "signature model" (Ace Frehley Les Paul - not a uke). It's actually a version made which uses the original as a template as opposed to a current model which has been simply "tarted up."

Matt

The Big Kahuna
06-15-2014, 07:38 AM
I only own one "signature model" (Ace Frehley Les Paul - not a uke). It's actually a version made which uses the original as a template as opposed to a current model which has been simply "tarted up."

Matt

Was that the 3 pickup Budokan LP? Superb guitar if it was/is.

ukemunga
06-15-2014, 07:43 AM
A friend who has one confided to me his mahogany Kala is every bit as good if not better. FWIW.

gtomatt
06-15-2014, 07:49 AM
Was that the 3 pickup Budokan LP? Superb guitar if it was/is.

Hi Big K,

Yes it's the Budokan LP. Complete with case candy, including signed certificate of authenticity from Ace...

Sounds killer through either my Supro Corsica or Sunn tube amps

Matt

The Big Kahuna
06-15-2014, 07:58 AM
You got the Cherry Sunburst or sparkly blue? Those are the only 2 colours I remember from back in the day.

The Big Kahuna
06-15-2014, 08:06 AM
"Tribute" instruments are both pointless and cynical moneymaking exercises.

True "signature" models, such as those instruments from Gibson, Fender, PRS and Ibanez, are designed with considerable input from the artist, down to details such as unvarnished necks, different fretwire and many other easy to miss details.

Slapping someone's name on a factory instrument, 17 years after their death, is cynical in the extreme. Getting his widow to sign a bit of paper is both tasteless and valueless. They didn't even have the decency to wait until one of the commonly accepted "commemorative anniversaries" such as 20 or 25 years.

FrankB
06-15-2014, 08:24 AM
If the Iz model was any better than the standard mahogany, I might be tempted. The pic of Iz would be covered over with a pic of Sophie Madeleine, but that's another story...LOL!

The people I play uke in front of have no idea who Iz was, and after hearing "Who's that in the pic?" a zillion times, I'd have to smash the instrument to bits. They'd have done better with a Tiny Tim model, but everyone under the age of 50 would ask, "Why is Russell Brand's pic inside your ukulele?"

Ukejenny
06-15-2014, 08:29 AM
Was Iz really cremated with his 1950's Martin tenor? I wonder why Martin waited so long to come out with an Iz ukulele.

OldePhart
06-15-2014, 08:38 AM
Is it because....

Probably a bit of all of the above.

Myself, I just have no interest in "signature" instruments of any sort. What I've said many times about guitars applies equally well to ukes: "if I'm going to pay a premium for having somebody's name on my uke, it's going to be my name!"

I remember looking at a limited edition G&L electric guitar in a local store years ago. It was like 50% more than the regular model because it was a limited edition run signed by George or Leo (don't recall which, anymore). I liked the way the guitar felt and everything, but it wasn't that great and I wasn't going to pay for a signature. They didn't have the equivalent regular model in stock. The owner kept going on and on about how wonderful it was that it was signed (I'd bought enough stuff in there that he should have known me better). Anyway, when I tried to negotiate on price he just kept saying, "but it's signed by..." I finally looked at him and said something like, "fine, scrape the (*&(^ signature off and knock $500 off the price and I'll give you the cash right now). He was not amused. LOL

Frankly, I think most signature models are aimed at collectors more than they are at musicians. I've never known a professional musician (as in, actually makes a living, or even a noticeable part of a living) who was much interested in having an instrument with someone else's name on it.

John

janeray1940
06-15-2014, 08:45 AM
Myself, I just have no interest in "signature" instruments of any sort. What I've said many times about guitars applies equally well to ukes: "if I'm going to pay a premium for having somebody's name on my uke, it's going to be my name!"


Replace the word "uke" with the word "butt" and there you have what I've always said about designer jeans! :)

My views on this uke are pretty much in line with my views on all things that are branded and licensed - it would never cross my mind to spend extra just because it's a BMW or a Rolex or endorsed by (insert celebrity name here) or inspired by (likewise). I've never once purchased anything as an investment - when I spend money, I want it to be put to good use right here, right now.

katysax
06-15-2014, 10:42 AM
The thing that most has me interested in the IZ uke is that it is a Martin with Peghed tuners. I'm starting to disfavor the side tuning pegs on any uke. It's just silly and superficial, but there you have it. My feelings about modern Martins are very mixed, and that includes some very strong bad impressions as well as some favorable ones. Also I think I prefer my tenors to have a radius fretboard. When I switch back to a flat fretboard it feels scooped instead of flat. So I really don't know why I've gotten an interest in the IZ uke. It seems kind of pricey for what it is. There are some really great ukes available at that price or cheaper.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
06-15-2014, 11:32 AM
I'm not that put off by signature models. As long as a signature uke/guitar/banjo/whatever compares well to other instruments in the same price range, a signature model is as good an instrument to consider as any other. If, for a particular uke shopper that can afford an expensive uke, Martin's Iz model compares favorably to, say, a Mya Moe or a Collings uke, then that Iz uke might be the one for that shopper.

Heck, I'm not even cynical about Martin's use of Iz's name and likeness---which were both carefully discussed with Iz's family. Without Iz's music, there likely wouldn't be any Martin ukes in production today, so the Iz signature uke feels more like a tribute than a cash-in, at least to me.

PeteyHoudini
06-15-2014, 11:43 AM
There are very few reviews on the web, and very little discussion in this forum about the Martin IZ uke. As far I can tell one person on UU has one. On this forum is it because Pete Forrest doesn't care for his style 2 Mahogany that much? I find that I am somewhat intrigued by the IZ tenor. My opinion of the modern Martins is very mixed. I have a Collings Mahogany, and it is probably a better value for the money. But I wish there were more reviews of the IZ tenor. I wish I could try one locally.

Iíve already bought up my quota of the new Martin ukes for a lifetime and I felt that IZ tenor might be too much like the style 2 that I found too booming for my tastes. It was not a good fit for my style of playing. The instrument was very well made, no defects, great intonation, etc, but the timbre of the sound was different than I was expecting for my own compositions. If I had the IZ tenor in my hands, I would be able to tell you how different it is from a style 2 in a few minutes. I've never seen one locally where I live. I would certainly try it out if it was in a nearby store.

Coincidentally, Iíve been playing the new 2k tenor in preparation for my Martin 3 tenors review coming up shortly. It will focus mostly on the 2k tenor but it will bring in the style 2 and T1K in similar playing examples spliced together in the same song. The 2k is a real keeper. Not just because itís a uke made of koa wood. The kind of wood or name on the uke convinces me of nothing if itís going to be good. My style 2 soprano in mahogany is better than my 2k koa soprano (to my ears). But the 2k tenor is better than the style 2 tenor. Thatís ironic but I like that type of irony. I certainly never expected I would be the one doing many review of the new Martin ukes. I just got fed up not seeing any reviews so I did some myself.

I donít know why no one has done a review of one or how many theyíve sold. Maybe only ďcollectorsĒ have bought them so they would not be making review videos since only a ukulele player would want to do that.
Cheers!

Petey

bborzell
06-15-2014, 12:43 PM
Reminds me of the Eddie Bauer Ford Bronco I thought I wanted a thousand years ago. There's a lot of love and lamenting what could have been associated with the memory of IZ; I'm not sure that Eddie Bauer was a real person, but the point is that, other than the names and a certain amount of outdoorsy stitching on the bucket seats, both the Bronco and the uke are not substantially different from the versions with nobody's name plastered on them.

I considered buying a Martin IZ for an hour or so. The truth is that I found myself in a space of wanting to help out his widow and daughter. Then, I started to do the math and figured that a nearly old 20 year loss isn't the same as reading about a family who has just had their livelihood pulled out from under them. Then I started looking at the instrument and realized that it was a regular Martin tenor with a bit of tuck and roll upholstery and the moment simply passed.

blue_knight_usa
06-15-2014, 01:05 PM
Was Iz really cremated with his 1950's Martin tenor? I wonder why Martin waited so long to come out with an Iz ukulele.

Market got hot, Martin said "We can make more money on another opportunity", IZ is hot around the uke world with everyone wanting to play Wonderful World (I personally love many of the lyrics of the songs from many of the Makaha Sons....many don't realize it was not just IZ but IZ and the others in the band), and clearly anyone with a signature instrument is trying to capitalize on a name (Think Jeff Beck strat). That's just good old American capitalism and folks trying to make some money. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion. It's too bad they didn't do something out of the ballpark, special hand selected wood that was a limited quantity and did it in a limited edition and then never to be made again. That gets me more interested than a name/photo on an instrument and definitely creates value if the whole package is done right. Funny enough it was the only one left out at NAMM 2014 booth when I was there. I asked them where the IZ tenor was at as I saw the 5k and others on the wall and they said they didn't have one there which was surprising to me.

coolkayaker1
06-15-2014, 01:07 PM
I'm starting to disfavor the side tuning pegs on any uke. It's just silly and superficial, but there you have it. My feelings about modern Martins are very mixed, and that includes some very strong bad impressions as well as some favorable ones. Also I think I prefer my tenors to have a radius fretboard. When I switch back to a flat fretboard it feels scooped instead of flat. So I really don't know why I've gotten an interest in the IZ uke. It seems kind of pricey for what it is. There are some really great ukes available at that price or cheaper.

Katysax and I agree on most things based on her posts on UU. Her comments here--all of them, but particularly about geared "ear" tuners (I'd never get a uke with them either)--hits right at home plate for me. Yes.

Besides, she's the only UUer cool enough not to have any avatar. Now that's bold!

Doc_J
06-15-2014, 01:40 PM
Owners in this older thread (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?88194-Martin-Iz-tenor/page7&highlight=Martin+tenor) seem to like the Martin IZ model, a lot. It's got some nice upgrades to the standard Martin tenor ( quilted mahogany, Pegheds, tortoise binding, black TUSQ saddle, cool inlay, ... ) that are worth the price difference. Considered an IZ Model, but went the vintage route with a vintage 40s/50s Martin tenor instead. A vintage Martin is around the same price as an IZ model. However, vintage ukes are a sound gamble, I got lucky.

soupking
06-15-2014, 01:43 PM
For me personally, I don't like the inlay on the headstock or the tie bridge. If it had a pin bridge like the vintage Martin tenors, that would definitely pique my interest a lot more. For the money I'd go Collings one hundred times out of one hundred… just my opinion...

UkerDanno
06-15-2014, 02:33 PM
If I had the money, I would definitely add an IZ to my stable, since I have a modern Martin concert and vintage soprano, it would be a great addition. Besides, IZ is who got my interest in the uke. I don't understand the ire against this uke, is it people love to hate Martin or IZ?!?!?! This subject has created the most hate of any subject on this whole entire forum!

I was just thinking yesterday how much joy and happiness this forum brings me, that so many people from so many different cultures around the world can be brought together in peace on the subject of ukuleles. There is very little negativity around here, unless you bring up the Iz tribute uke. I don't like what many people on here like, and I'm sure not everyone likes what I like, but it's all interesting. (sorry, everybody is entitled to their opinion) :shaka:

CeeJay
06-15-2014, 02:42 PM
If I had the money, I would definitely add an IZ to my stable, since I have a modern Martin concert and vintage soprano, it would be a great addition. Besides, IZ is who got my interest in the uke. I don't understand the ire against this uke, is it people love to hate Martin or IZ?!?!?! This subject has created the most hate of any subject on this whole entire forum!

I was just thinking yesterday how much joy and happiness this forum brings me, that so many people from so many different cultures around the world can be brought together in peace on the subject of ukuleles. There is very little negativity around here, unless you bring up the Iz tribute uke. I don't like what many people on here like, and I'm sure not everyone likes what I like, but it's all interesting. I think the haters should just STFU! :shaka:

Why is it that on this forum if somebody takes an opposite view to the original poster then they seem to become branded as "haters" ?

And then why should those with an opposite or different point of view be told to shut the F*** up .....What, are you a Ukulele Facist Danno ?...they were a pretty hateful breed as well....come on mate lighten up a little....Free Speech and The Ammerricun Way and all that old Bean...:biglaugh:




I just looked at one on t'interweb. F*** ing HOW MUCH ?....bloody hell !!

Well those of you whom can afford, or would pay that , good luck..........

jeeeez ...

Ukuleleblues
06-15-2014, 02:59 PM
....Frankly, I think most signature models are aimed at collectors more than they are at musicians.....
John

Yes, Yes, Yes most people are just unaware shills of consumerism. I think if a "limited edition, numbered" rubber crank was sold some folks would proudly buy them.

ukemunga
06-15-2014, 04:33 PM
Danno, having read the entire thread from go to whoa the only hateful stuff I have read has come from your post. This forum has only one golden rule: don't be a jerk. The forum is about the exchange of opinions. A question was asked and people have responded with honesty and without aggro. Labelling other members as haters and telling them to shut the ***k up ain't cool man. Chill.


Here, here.

peewee
06-15-2014, 08:25 PM
I've never known a professional musician (as in, actually makes a living, or even a noticeable part of a living) who was much interested in having an instrument with someone else's name on it.


Even "Les Paul"?

Yukon Cornelius
06-15-2014, 08:54 PM
It's the cost. Well that's my opinion.

Tigeralum2001
06-15-2014, 09:02 PM
As an older thread on this topic said- they didn't spec it like Iz's uke. Those vintage Martin's were pretty sweet, give me a 14 fret-to-body, pin bridge, mahogany uke built to the original specs and I would be much more interested. Instead they tried to be cute and slap a few cosmetic changes on the modern uke.

Skrik
06-15-2014, 11:30 PM
I think the haters should just STFU! :shaka:

Hey, man, stop hating the haters!

OldePhart
06-16-2014, 02:10 AM
Even "Les Paul"?

Hah, hah! Touche! I think you know what I meant, though.

John

OldePhart
06-16-2014, 02:13 AM
...There is very little negativity around here, unless you bring up the Iz tribute uke. I don't like what many people on here like, and I'm sure not everyone likes what I like, but it's all interesting. I think the haters should just STFU! :shaka:

Wow, I guess you've had a pretty sheltered life if anything on this thread (aside from your own "contribution") rises to the level of hate on your pain'o'meter! LOL

John

coolkayaker1
06-16-2014, 02:14 AM
As an older thread on this topic said- they didn't spec it like Iz's uke. Those vintage Martin's were pretty sweet, give me a 14 fret-to-body, pin bridge, mahogany uke built to the original specs and I would be much more interested. Instead they tried to be cute and slap a few cosmetic changes on the modern uke.
I agree with what CJ posted here.

UkerDanno
06-16-2014, 02:38 AM
Danno, having read the entire thread from go to whoa the only hateful stuff I have read has come from your post.

sorry, you're right, everybody has their own opinion...

katysax
06-16-2014, 05:52 AM
As an older thread on this topic said- they didn't spec it like Iz's uke. Those vintage Martin's were pretty sweet, give me a 14 fret-to-body, pin bridge, mahogany uke built to the original specs and I would be much more interested. Instead they tried to be cute and slap a few cosmetic changes on the modern uke.

This probably nails it. They call this uke the "IZ" uke but it's only the cosmetics that make it an IZ uke. If Martin made a true replica of its older ukes, the replica would sell. They've done this with their guitars. I've got a 1940s Martin and I don't particularly like the neck. However, I could see where someone would absolutely love the neck. It's just different from what I'm used to. A true replica of Iz's uke (as close as they can figure out) would probably be a big seller. However, for me I want the modern neck, tie bridge and pegheds. I'd also like a radiuses fretboard. Oh, wait . . . that's a Collings. (I have closely compared a 1940's Martin side by side to a mahogany Collings UT1. It's amazing how similar they are.)

RichM
06-16-2014, 06:15 AM
This probably nails it. They call this uke the "IZ" uke but it's only the cosmetics that make it an IZ uke. If Martin made a true replica of its older ukes, the replica would sell. They've done this with their guitars. I've got a 1940s Martin and I don't particularly like the neck. However, I could see where someone would absolutely love the neck. It's just different from what I'm used to. A true replica of Iz's uke (as close as they can figure out) would probably be a big seller. However, for me I want the modern neck, tie bridge and pegheds. I'd also like a radiuses fretboard. Oh, wait . . . that's a Collings. (I have closely compared a 1940's Martin side by side to a mahogany Collings UT1. It's amazing how similar they are.)

If they made a Style 3K concert to the original specs, I'd probably buy that from them, instead of having one made for me by another builder. I suspect that as attractive as the vintage reproductions would be, they probably wouldn't stir enough interest to make the investment worth it for Martin.

Wicked
06-16-2014, 09:51 AM
Iz wasn't a "ukulele player", he was a singer that accompanied himself on a uke.




I would like to explore this little nugget, if you don't mind, BK. Aren't you splitting hairs? You just told 90% of the world's instrument playing public that they don't really play their instrument of choice.

Not looking for an argument, I just think that this could be an interesting conversation to have.

janeray1940
06-16-2014, 09:54 AM
I would like to explore this little nugget, if you don't mind, BK. Aren't you splitting hairs? You just told 90% of the world's instrument playing public that they don't really play their instrument of choice.

Not looking for an argument, I just think that this could be an interesting conversation to have.

I do think it has potential for an interesting conversation! Anybody want to start a new thread?

The Big Kahuna
06-16-2014, 11:08 AM
When 99% of musicians are granted a "signature" instrument, or an instrument is created as a tribute, it's because they are a guitarist/bassist/drummer/whatever, and they are almost wholly associated with that instrument.

Look at all the signature/tribute guitars made by Gibson/Fender/Ibanez/PRS/Yamaha/ESP etc. They are created because that musician is, first and foremost, a guitarist. That is the entire reasoning behind this kind of marketing strategy. The customer wants to feel that a little of that artists style and skill will rub off on them because they are playing something which is, at least as far as external appearances go, the same instrument their idol played.

Iz was a fat bloke with a nice voice who occasionally turned out a decent tune.

Dan Uke
06-16-2014, 11:13 AM
When 99% of musicians are granted a "signature" instrument, or an instrument is created as a tribute, it's because they are a guitarist/bassist/drummer/whatever, and they are almost wholly associated with that instrument.

Look at all the signature/tribute guitars made by Gibson/Fender/Ibanez/PRS/Yamaha/ESP etc. They are created because that musician is, first and foremost, a guitarist. That is the entire reasoning behind this kind of marketing strategy. The customer wants to feel that a little of that artists style and skill will rub off on them because they are playing something which is, at least as far as external appearances go, the same instrument their idol played.

Iz was a fat bloke with a nice voice who occasionally turned out a decent tune.

Yeah but his name is synonymous with a ukulele. It's people like George Fromby that turn me off...isn't he playing a banjo? :p

The Big Kahuna
06-16-2014, 11:18 AM
George Formby makes my teeth itch, but at least he didn't record Gilligan's Island.

The ukulele is barely recognisable on most of Iz's tracks. It's certainly not out front in the mix. On the odd occasion when I do think of Iz, I think of him as someone who was, rightly, passionate about Hawaiian affairs, and was at his best when singing about such things. Sadly, these tracks sometimes get lost amongst the twee and mawkish drivel that he insisted on padding his albums out with.

bborzell
06-16-2014, 11:23 AM
I heard that the Martin folks narrowed it down to IZ and Taylor Swift and ended up flipping a coin.

The Big Kahuna
06-16-2014, 11:25 AM
If there was a buck in it, they'd have named one after Justin Bieber.

stringy
06-16-2014, 11:29 AM
IZ is not the best ukulele player by far, and there were others in his band. SO WHAT!?! WHO CARES!?!

His simple four chord songs played unpretentiously (like a Hawaiian ukulele was meant to be played (IMO), accompanied by his beautiful voice...is magic.

IZ was and still is an inspiration. I would rather listen to him than showboats with their psychedelic nonsense.

The Big Kahuna
06-16-2014, 11:34 AM
...and is totally not the point I was making.

Might want to read my post again.

Ukuleleblues
06-16-2014, 12:07 PM
Even "Les Paul"?
In his latter years Les said he would introduce himself to younger folks and some would say "hey, you are named after the guitar"

stringy
06-16-2014, 12:20 PM
I guess the bottom line for me is....I would not buy a signature model ukulele. No matter who's name is on it. It always comes off as gimmicky to me.

pixiepurls
06-16-2014, 12:32 PM
I would like to explore this little nugget, if you don't mind, BK. Aren't you splitting hairs? You just told 90% of the world's instrument playing public that they don't really play their instrument of choice.

Not looking for an argument, I just think that this could be an interesting conversation to have.

Certainly an interesting argument. I don't think thats a fair statement about IZ though and I am no die hard fan at all, just a passerby. My owning a martin has zero influence from IZ but because of Johnny Cash, Elvis, willie nelson and Bob Dylan. Because its time tested and proven to be of some worth to more then one, its pretty and I liked how it sounded. Just stating I am not rabid fan. I've only ever heard one song by him and even I think thats just not a fair statement. Of course though, as with all things it all depends on where you are coming from. (I meant to quote The Big Kahuna, sorry).

To reply to the original thread, I personally would only buy a signature instrument, if it was amazing and something I loved. Same as any other instrument. I was interested in the Taylor Swift Taylor Guitar because its smaller then normal size and uses satin wood and had some nice reviews online about that satin wood. I don't own one song by Taylor Swift, but I would be interested in playing that guitar one day and if I loved it and could afford it I would buy it. Simple as that. It's either worth it or its not. Now if it was an artist I disliked for some reason, then I would never pick it up but thats a different thing entirely. Why say something if you can't say something nice, kwim? Why would I even pick it up if I had any sort of issue with the performer? seems odd.

OldePhart
06-16-2014, 12:46 PM
In his latter years Les said he would introduce himself to younger folks and some would say "hey, you are named after the guitar"

Heh, heh. This is no joke. Years ago I worked with a young lady who was a big fan of classic rock, even though most of it was recorded before she was born. She knew more about classic rock bands and songs then I did, and I lived through much of it! Anyway, when she had her first son she named him Gibson Marshall (no her last name wasn't Marshall, those were his first and middle names). Of course, it could have been worse, at least the poor kid avoided getting named Dweezil or Moon Unit...

John

ScooterD35
06-16-2014, 01:11 PM
It's probably because it is only a "tribute" uke, rather than a signature/replica uke. Meaning anyone could take a standard Martin tenor and glue a picture of a flower to it for a lot less than the factory version costs.

Add to that, three well known, but rarely voiced facts:

Iz wasn't a "ukulele player", he was a singer that accompanied himself on a uke.

If you take every album he produced, and discarded the junk that isn't even good enough to play in an elevator, the remaining tracks that are worth listening to might just fill a single CD.

There really is one born every minute, so why wouldn't Martin decide to cash in on it, albeit 17 years late? If they really gave a shit about Iz, you'd have thought they'd have gotten around to it sooner. Maybe they were just waiting for the right market conditions.


Clearly, the people of Hawaii disagree with you...


From Wikipedia:


Music career

The Makaha Sons of Niʻihau recorded No Kristo in 1976 and released four more albums, including Kahea O Keale, Keala, Makaha Sons Of Niʻihau and Mahalo Ke Akua. In 1982, Kamakawiwoʻole's brother, Skippy, died at age 28 of a heart attack related to obesity. In that same year, Kamakawiwoʻole married his childhood sweetheart Marlene. Soon after, they had a daughter whom they named Ceslie-Ann "Wehi".

The group became Hawaii's most popular modern traditional group with breakout albums 1984's Puana Hou Me Ke Aloha and its follow-up, 1986's Hoʻola. Kamakawiwoʻole's last recorded album with the group was 1991's Hoʻoluana. It remains the group's top-selling CD.

In 1990, Kamakawiwoʻole released his first solo album Ka ʻAnoʻi, which won awards for Contemporary Album of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year from the Hawaiʻi Academy of Recording Arts (HARA).

Facing Future was released in 1993 by The Mountain Apple Company. It featured his most popular song, the medley "Somewhere over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World", along with "Hawaiʻi 78", "White Sandy Beach of Hawaiʻi", "Maui Hawaiian Sup'pa Man", and "Kaulana Kawaihae".

The decision to record a cover of Somewhere Over the Rainbow was said to be a last minute decision by his producer Jon de Mello and him. Facing Future debuted at #25 on Billboard magazine's Top Pop Catalogue chart.

On October 26, 2005, Facing Future became Hawaii's first certified platinum album, selling more than a million CDs in the United States, according to figures furnished by the Recording Industry Association of America.

On July 21, 2006, BBC Radio 1 announced that "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World(True Dreams)" would be released as a single in America.

In 1994, Kamakawiwoʻole was voted favorite entertainer of the year by the Hawaiʻi Academy of Recording Arts (HARA).

E Ala E (1995) featured the political title song "ʻE Ala ʻE" and "Kaleohano", and N Dis Life (1996) featured "In This Life" and "Starting All Over Again".

In 1997, Kamakawiwoʻole was again honored by HARA at the Annual Nā Hōkū Hanohano awards for Male Vocalist of the Year, Favorite Entertainer of the Year, Album of the Year, and Island Contemporary Album of the Year. He watched the awards ceremony from a hospital room.

Alone in Iz World (2001) debuted at #1 on Billboard's World Chart and #135 on Billboard's Top 200, #13 on the Top Independent Albums Chart, and #15 on the Top Internet Album Sales charts.

Kamakawiwo'ole has become the best selling Hawaiian musician of all time.



Death

Throughout his life, Kamakawiwoʻole suffered from severe obesity and at one point weighed 757 pounds (343 kg; 54.1 st) standing 6-foot-2-inch (1.88 m) tall. He endured several hospitalizations because of health problems caused by his obesity.

Beset with respiratory, heart and other medical problems, he died at the age of 38 in Queen's Medical Center at 12:18 a.m. on June 26, 1997. Kamakawiwoʻole is survived by his widow, Marlene Kamakawiwoʻole, and their daughter, Ceslie-Ann "Wehi".

The Hawaii state flag flew at half-staff on July 10, 1997, the day of Kamakawiwoʻole's funeral. His koa wood coffin lay in state at the state capitol building in Honolulu. He was the third person in Hawaiian history to be awarded this honor, and the only one who was not a government official. Approximately ten thousand people attended the funeral.

Thousands of fans gathered as his ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean at Mākua Beach on July 12, 1997. The funeral and the scattering of Kamakawiwoʻole's ashes were featured in the official music videos of "Over the Rainbow" released posthumously by Apple Company; as of July 2013, the videos as featured on YouTube have garnered 85,993,842 views.

On September 20, 2003, hundreds paid tribute to Kamakawiwoʻole as a bronze bust of the revered singer was unveiled at the Waianae Neighborhood Community Center on Oʻahu. The singer's widow, Marlene Kamakawiwoʻole, and sculptor Jan-Michelle Sawyer were present for the dedication ceremony.


Iz takes a short solo at around 1:50


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkKOSV1xaVg



On top of all this, he took two of the most beloved songs in American music and made them his own, creating perhaps the most instantly recognizable ukulele tune ever played. All on a Martin tenor Style 1, his instrument of choice.


I can't imagine another musician more deserving of a commemorative Martin Ukulele. His wife was enthusiastically involved in the design and some of the proceeds go to a charity of her choosing in Iz's name.




Scooter

CeeJay
06-16-2014, 01:17 PM
Yeah but his name is synonymous with a ukulele. It's people like George Fromby that turn me off...isn't he playing a banjo? :p

It's FORMBY....whether you like him or not ...come on a little respect ...hmmmm ?....Mahalo...Ahalo spirit ...yes ? No -one is dissing the Iz....

He played a ukulele and a Banjo-ukulele and yes he also played the Soft Tw*t to perfection..like IZ he was (and I'm not trying to be funny ) of his time ....

He was also loaded with talent of a particular kind and similarly feted by some* in the UK as the Iz is in Hawaii ......

To those not of Hawaiian descent Iz may be seen as a one hit wonder.....Hell of a hit, and I do actually like the song .....I only heard it when it was used on a soundtrack to a film that I forget the name of....the song did not register on my radar in '93 or any other time until the film I watched (help me out here someone what was the film...movie ?)

So to answer the question ...perhaps the Iz Martin has a limited appeal because the association with him is mostly from Hawaiian players then Americans who may be more aware of him and then a diminishing number of Iz aware others farther afield.

I would not pay $2000 for a Ukulele ......not even if I could make my bread and butter off of it...and I do not care whose name was on it .......it's marketing bollocks . This in no way impugns the person being utilised , exploited or whatever in a cynical marketing ploy.....you know what is the best way to commemorate Iz ? If you want to do so. Learn his songs and bloody well play them on any tinpot or custom or whatever ukulele you have.....and maybe send the royalties to the surviving family......Martin Guitar Company ? ...they got enough money.......



Thanks

Chris


* some get itchy teeth ....and that I can understand ...I hate his films ...

CanuckUkeMaui
06-16-2014, 02:23 PM
Scooter
Good info. Re IZ....I totally agree. let's discuss the IZ ukulele and not debate the contributions of IZ to music
..IZ was great and is one of my favourite musicians...a great tenor voice and a big boy with a little ukulele who had much Aloha. The pure simplicity of his renditions of Hawaiian ...and some other songs...is wonderful. E.g., White Sandy Beach...
Aloha
Terry

CeeJay
06-16-2014, 02:39 PM
Scooter
Good info. Re IZ....I totally agree. let's discuss the IZ ukulele and not debate the contributions of IZ to music
..IZ was great and is one of my favourite musicians...a great tenor voice and a big boy with a little ukulele who had much Aloha. The pure simplicity of his renditions of Hawaiian ...and some other songs...is wonderful. E.g., White Sandy Beach...
Aloha
Terry

Hang on ....how does that work then ?

Line 1: "Good info. Re IZ....I totally agree. let's discuss the IZ ukulele and not debate the contributions of IZ to music"

Line 2: "..IZ was great and is one of my favourite musicians " etc.

Hello ;)

Chris.

Nickie
06-16-2014, 02:59 PM
It's a tenor. I do not play tenors. Nuff said.

PeteyHoudini
06-16-2014, 03:37 PM
Almost every well known brand of ukulele made in the secret factories of Asia has ripped off the Hawaiian language to name their brand, how come people still buy them and complain about Martin using another Hawaiian name on a uke?

Indeed, a point worthy of discussion! I think Steve Jobs touted "The only way to do great work is to love what you do..." Though, your freedom to be able to "love what you do" might be based on others enabling you to do that, and they are NOT doing what they love to do.

Petey

CeeJay
06-16-2014, 03:56 PM
Indeed, a point worthy of discussion! I think Steve Jobs touted "The only way to do great work is to love what you do..." Though, your freedom to be able to "love what you do" might be based on others enabling you to do that, and they are NOT doing what they love to do.

Petey

Sorry Petey ....I'm being a little bit thicker than usual ...please could you clarify. Who is not doing what they love to do ?


Chris J

tbeltrans
06-16-2014, 04:11 PM
Though I really like Martin and Collings guitars (and did own a Collings 12 fret 000 for many years - traded it for my Ko'olau ukulele), I was surprised when comparing Martin and Collings ukuleles to the Hawaiian Kamaka and Ko'olau ukuleles. I much preferred the tone of the Hawaiian makers. The Martin and Collings were very nicely built with nice looking woods, but the sound coming out of them didn't seem as rich to me. There just seemed to be something missing from the sound. This is purely a matter of preference, but it would explain why I might not be particularly interested in Martin ukuleles.

I have played guitar for many years, some of them professionally, so I am used to hearing instruments and have a sense of what I like. I am new to ukuleles, and it was the sound of a decent Hawaiian (Ko'olau) ukulele that caught my ears and made me take the instrument seriously. Many of the ukuleles I have heard seem really mid-rangey and (to me) overly bright. It was the Hawaiian brands I mentioned that did not seem to exhibit that tendency to the degree that other ukuleles seem to. Begin as small as they are, I expect a similar sound among ukuleles in general, but the Hawaiian models seemed much more pleasing to my ears than other models I have tried and/or listened to.

Tony

PeteyHoudini
06-16-2014, 04:24 PM
Sorry Petey ....I'm being a little bit thicker than usual ...please could you clarify. Who is not doing what they love to do ?
Chris J

Not a problem. Please just go watch the film "12 Years as a Slave" and that should give you the basic idea.

Petey

katysax
06-16-2014, 04:41 PM
I have played guitar for many years, some of them professionally, so I am used to hearing instruments and have a sense of what I like. I am new to ukuleles, and it was the sound of a decent Hawaiian (Ko'olau) ukulele that caught my ears and made me take the instrument seriously. Many of the ukuleles I have heard seem really mid-rangey and (to me) overly bright. It was the Hawaiian brands I mentioned that did not seem to exhibit that tendency to the degree that other ukuleles seem to. Begin as small as they are, I expect a similar sound among ukuleles in general, but the Hawaiian models seemed much more pleasing to my ears than other models I have tried and/or listened to.

Tony

There are differences between Mainland ukes and Hawaiian ukes. However, I like both. But, the excellent book about the Martin Ukulele makes clear that Martin ukes are as fundamental a part of traditional ukes as the Hawaiian ukes. Martin ukes raised the bar for Hawaiian ukes because they set a higher standard for quality. That pushed the Hawaiian makes to make better ukes. Many traditional Hawaiian players have favored Martin ukes. Like them or not, like them more or less than Hawaiian ukes, Martin ukes are a key part of ukulele history. What I like in a uke is always changing and evolving. We live in a great time for a uke player because there are a number of fantastic builders in Hawaii, on the Mainland and around the world. There are also a lot of mediocre ukes, and plenty of mediocre ones from Hawaiian builders and Martin too.

tbeltrans
06-16-2014, 05:23 PM
There are differences between Mainland ukes and Hawaiian ukes. However, I like both. But, the excellent book about the Martin Ukulele makes clear that Martin ukes are as fundamental a part of traditional ukes as the Hawaiian ukes. Martin ukes raised the bar for Hawaiian ukes because they set a higher standard for quality. That pushed the Hawaiian makes to make better ukes. Many traditional Hawaiian players have favored Martin ukes. Like them or not, like them more or less than Hawaiian ukes, Martin ukes are a key part of ukulele history. What I like in a uke is always changing and evolving. We live in a great time for a uke player because there are a number of fantastic builders in Hawaii, on the Mainland and around the world. There are also a lot of mediocre ukes, and plenty of mediocre ones from Hawaiian builders and Martin too.

I hope I did not leave the impression that I thought Martin or Collings ukuleles were in any way mediocre. The part of my post that you did not quote dealt with that, trying to make clear that I was reacting to the sounds I heard from the various ukuleles I have encountered, and that the quality of the ukuleles I talked about were all very good. I am well aware that Martin has been making ukuleles for a very long time. If Martin forced Hawaiian makers to raise their quality in response to what Martin is/was building, then the market is operating as it should. Competition can be good for all concerned if done in fairness. Some American acoustic guitar makers had a general down turn in quality during the 70s and the Japanese imports served to force them to raise their quality level. Not all American makers had this problem, but both Gibson and Martin did.

Gibson has been making quality guitars for a very long time (as has Martin), yet I have always preferred a more "Martin-like" sound, and really, a more modern sound than either maker. My preferences are in no way a reflection on the quality of a Gibson guitar. I own a McPherson acoustic, and it sounds like neither a Martin nor a Gibson. Several people in the acoustic guitar forums have said they don't care for the sound of a McPherson, preferring instead a more "traditional" sound. I have no idea what a "traditional" ukulele sound might be, but I do know what I like to hear in an instrument in terms of overtones and overall sound. At the level of Collings, Martin, Kamaka, Ko'olau, etc., intonation and playability would probably be a non-issue (at least among all the ukuleles in those general prices ranges that I tried). What I hear in an instrument is not whether the maker has been around a long time, but instead the sound, and that is personal preference rather than a statement about the quality of the instrument. I think that having been a musician for some time, focusing on stringed instruments, I have a pretty good idea of what I want to hear in the sound of an instrument. I chose the models I found it in, and both happened to be Hawaiian made. I have a decent ear, having spent many years learning stuff off of recordings by ear as well as knowing theory and being able to read and write standard notation. So I had no qualms about buying higher end ukuleles right away. I had incentive to do it this way too because I am retiring in two weeks and wanted to have that kind of expenditure finished and paid for while still earning a decent salary.

Many professional musicians in interviews and in person, will express a preference for very specific sounds they want to hear in an instrument. That is not at all unusual. If it seems closed-minded, so be it. I am in good company in that regard. Among guitar players, I have talked to Pierre Bensusan, Leo Kottke, Alex DeGrassi, and even Michael Hedges when he was alive. All have/had very specific preferences for what they want to hear in an instrument, and so will many other players as their ears develop over the years. When I purchased my ukuleles, I had a sales person who was quite accomplished with the ukulele play a a variety of ukuleles for me. Even though I have played guitar for many years, I will ask another person to play the instrument so I can hear it out front, so doing that with ukuleles just seems natural to me. The ones that really grabbed my ear were the brands I mentioned. They simply stood out in terms of what I wanted to hear from a ukulele.

Though it sounds as if I had a preconceived notion that Hawaiian ukulele makers were somehow more desirable or better, I had heard of Martin ukuleles and none of the Hawaiian makers at the time of purchase. I really did go purely by sound. When you spend as much as these ukuleles cost, I can't imagine doing otherwise.

I listened to various ukuleles from the standpoint of whether I would want to live with the sound of the instrument(s) for a long time. What I choose and want to hear may well be very different from what somebody else might want to hear. We are all different and will find different instruments appealing to what we want to hear. Of the instruments locally available to me (Lanakai, Riptide, Collings, Martin, Ko'olau, and Kamaka - at least that I have discovered so far, there may well be more locally that I have not yet encountered since the Twin Cities are rich for the arts), I like the Ko'olau and Kamaka the best, of what has so far been available for me to hear, for their sound. I am very grateful to be able to try before I buy. I am well aware that another person might make completely different choices than I did. I simply think it is great that we have so many choices. It would seem to me that any musical taste can be served up by one maker or another. It seems we do agree on many points.

Thanks,

Tony

The Big Kahuna
06-16-2014, 06:55 PM
If you like it, buy it.

If you don't, don't.

The Big Kahuna
06-16-2014, 06:59 PM
Dweezil or Moon Unit...

John

I always wanted to be called "Big Muff Cry Baby"

The Big Kahuna
06-16-2014, 07:16 PM
(help me out here someone what was the film...movie ?)

Meet Joe Black?

tbeltrans
06-17-2014, 01:03 AM
If you like it, buy it.

If you don't, don't.

Yes, my entire post does come down to this, very simply.

Thanks,

Tony

CeeJay
06-17-2014, 01:09 AM
Not a problem. Please just go watch the film "12 Years as a Slave" and that should give you the basic idea.

Petey

Ah yes *click* goes the light bulb in the head and awareness blossoms.......You are right .......

Chris

(it was about 2AM in the morning Whiskey time )