Isn't Martin S1 soprano a good value?

Bernstein

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I heard some people saying Martin S1 is quite expensive for what it is

For hours, I've searched on the internet looking for a soprano that has better value for money than Martin S1, but I couldn't find one

These are the features of Martin S1
- made of all solid mahogany
- has the best soprano neck
- has a slotted bridge
- has friction tuners
- has the classic soprano look

Martin S1 is the only ukulele that contains all these classic soprano features below $400

And the Martin name is a bonus

There are practically no competitors to Martin S1 unless you're in Japan
(In Japan, KS-1 is like 100 bucks...)

I think it actually is a pretty good value for the money($399)

What do you guys think about Martin S1?
 

man0a

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I think the Martin S1 is fine for the price.

In Japan, the Kiwaya KS-1 (made in Japan high-quality laminate) costs more like US$200. The Kiwaya KSU-1 (made in China) is less than US$100, but is a lower quality model (but still a great value). The Kiwaya KTS-4 is the model that is often compared to Martin, but these cost more like US$600.
 

richntacoma

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Brad Donaldson charges $350 for his base, Hog Martin Copy. So, Luthier made by someone with 30 years experience or factory made for a bit more fifty bucks more....Not seeing the value in the S1.
 

Dohle

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As some have mentioned, the S1 is a decent uke for its price. However, there are some issues with it, at least in my opinion. The major one is the sound. While it definitely has that classic soprano twang, I'd say the sound is way too bright and shrill, even for a soprano. A solid mahogany soprano should still have quite a bit of warmth in its tone but the S1 is overpowered by it's brightness. Not a fan. The other issue is the materials used for it, outside the mahogany body. Martin have moved to using some really obscure woods for the fingerboard and bridge for their ukes. Granted, I don't know if that's the actual reason for the next issue I have, but the fingerboard in particular is extremely chunky on the S1. For me, it's simply more uncomfortable to play compared to the competition.

Speaking of, there are some brands that have long since made better mahogany sopranos. Kiwaya is the obvious one, as mentioned previously. Their cheapest solid mahogany soprano, the KTS-4, is a couple of hundred more than the S1 but definitely worth the added cost in my opinion. Finishing, materials and parts (like the tuners) are just superior to the S1, not to mention the tone. The KS-1 is cheaper than the S1 but still superior in my opinion. Yes, it's laminate but it's still better finished and I prefer the tone to the S1. Another really nice alternative is the Sigma SUM-2S which is cheaper than the S1 but sounds more like a mahogany soprano should than the Martin. Unfortunately, they are not available in the States at all.

There are still some cheaper alternatives that I haven't yet tried like the Ohana-made Martin copies or the Flight MUS2 but I can't speak for those myself. I will, however, mention the Millar PS-210MN which is probably the best solid mahogany soprano for the money on the market right now, in my opinion. Similar amount of money to the S1 but better tone, better finishing, better tuners. It's exclusive to World of Ukes but they ship world wide as far as I know.
 

hendulele

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The Martin has a wider nut than the Ohana. That’s the major difference, other than price. I find both necks comfortable. You can find an Ohana mahogany soprano with more bling than the Martin if that’s your preference. Mim carries both brands. I suggest contacting her.
 
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I’ve played 3 individual S1s. One was ok sounding, the other sounded great, and the most recent was borderline horrible. They were all the older rosewood fretboard models, so I can’t say for the newer sipo fretboard ones. Honestly, I love Martins and mahogany is my favorite tone wood for ukes, but I think there are better options. I think Ohana sk38s are pretty great for a solid wood Martin-like soprano. Oh and the S1s aren’t even close to a vintage Martin, those really are some of the best sopranos ever made…and they can still be had for decent prices if you’re patient enough.
 

ScooterD35

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You can get a well set up Mainland all solid Mahogany soprano with your choice of finish and tuners and a hard shell case for $299 plus shipping.


Scooter
 

EDW

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I don't think the new ones affect the price of the vintage much if at all. They are different instruments and aimed at different markets. It is like the new car vs vintage car market. The S1 is not a bad instrument, but does have a bit of competition in the marketplace. As mentioned the Kiwaya instruments are great builds with a good eye to detail and sound.
 
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I also should add, that I wouldn’t talk anyone out of getting an S1. Like I said they can be great, but you are paying for the Martin name to some extent.
 

Pukulele Pete

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Why get "Martin like" when you can get a real Martin. I've got new and old Martins , I play the newer ones ( SO ) the most.
I leave one of my Martin SO's on the coffee table all year round.
Martins are great ukes , new and old , I really like the nut width .
The Kiwaya KTS-4 is a beautiful more refined? version of a Martin.
I've got one , great uke but the action is a little lower than the Martin
and I prefer the higher action .
 
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PeteyHoudini

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I used to have an S1 with a mahogany fretboard. It was a great uke. I gave it to a friend after I bought an S2. New Martin ukes are their own sound. They