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DazW
07-13-2014, 06:45 AM
Hi, just wanted to ask a quick question about some of the old Martin soprano ukes. In the video below, he compares a few models.
The 50's style 0's sound almost identical to me, very minimal difference in tone, however when he switches to the style 2's the sound seems immediately thinner and brighter.
It looks like they have different strings but I just wondered if there are other reasons why the sound is so different? As far as I'm aware they are all solid mahogany and same shape, only immediately noticeable difference being the binding. I wondered if the thickness or grade of mahogany changed over the years which changes the sound?


www.youtube.com/watch?v=mV0uiOrOFqc

hmgberg
07-13-2014, 07:27 AM
The ones from the teens and twenties are a bit lighter than the later ones, in my personal experience and according to what I have read. They do sound different over the years. The most audible differences in the video have to do with the strings. It appears to me that the 0s are wearing Aquilas, and the others are wearing fluorocarbon strings of some sort, probably Martins. I find that the binding alone has no discernible effect on the tone and volume, however, the higher models (3+5) have extended fingerboards. I think this cuts some of the bark, the banjo-like sound, that particularly the older Martins seem to have. Still, they typically sound full and balanced, really great. If you are considering buying one, the 0s are so common that they are quite affordable. They sound as good as any Martin.

DazW
07-13-2014, 07:39 AM
The ones from the teens and twenties are a bit lighter than the later ones, in my personal experience and according to what I have read. They do sound different over the years. The most audible differences in the video have to do with the strings. It appears to me that the 0s are wearing Aquilas, and the others are wearing fluorocarbon strings of some sort, probably Martins. I find that the binding alone has no discernible effect on the tone and volume, however, the higher models (3+5) have extended fingerboards. I think this cuts some of the bark, the banjo-like sound, that particularly the older Martins seem to have. Still, they typically sound full and balanced, really great. If you are considering buying one, the 0s are so common that they are quite affordable. They sound as good as any Martin.

Thanks for that. Yes I did think they were Aquila's on the style O's and a although I prefer fluorocarbon strings, I do find them to be a little thin sounding on some sopranos.
That makes a lot of sense if there is a weight difference, I suppose the binding may add some weight even if it is a tiny amount.
I like the sound of the Ditson style 2 at the end, that seems to have a nice tone somewhere between the style O's and the other style 2's.
I dream of having a nice Martin collection someday, for the time being I have an Ohana sopranino that sounds a lot like the 30's style 2, I have also recently commissioned a couple of sopranos from a local builder, one based on a 20's style 2 and the other based on a 20's style O.
As you rightly say there are some style O's out there for great prices and I would love to get one at some point. I would love a Ken Timms soprano also.

hmgberg
07-13-2014, 07:56 AM
Good luck with your search. I hope you enjoy your custom ukes.

DazW
07-13-2014, 08:00 AM
Good luck with your search. I hope you enjoy your custom ukes.

Thank you and thanks for the advice