Martin 0XK Concert - REVIEW

bbkobabe

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I haven't played this concert size uke yet, but I've played my friend's soprano several times and I completely agree with your assessment: Good sounding, projects well, lots of resonance, cheap a-- tuners.

It appears the case has been upgraded as well... my friend's soprano features one of those flat TKL gun case type bags... Martin branded... but I just don't like the style. My Fluke tenor has a similar TKL made case, and I live in fear that someone will mistake it for a gun and break into my car to steal it. (And wouldn't that thief be disappointed... I keep it in the trunk... or in the boot and you would say across the pond... to avoid this) This probably isn't much of an issue in England, where guns are rare, but here in America where we own an average of two each so it's a concern! :censored:

That is a bit of a deception regarding the "koa" on the top: "select koa" indeed... selected once, photographed or scanned, and reprinted. Intentionally vague is about the most generous thing one could say about that. The top of that soprano appears to have been cut from the exact same tree...

Fun Fact: Formica is called that because it was originally made using formic acid as part of the binder... Formic acid is also produced by ants, and is what creates that strange smell when you squish a bunch of them. When I was a cabinet maker, we frequently had to cut down Formica(tm) counter tops... the smell cannot be forgotten. But it is cool that they are moving to a sustainable product. Kudos to Martin for that!

Thanks for the great review... and for hanging tough during the current ULTP "brew ha-ha"... I'll send you a beer for that... you deserve it!
 
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Dohle

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I cannot for the life of me understand why Martin has decided to cheap out on the fretboard material. There's lot's of decent options for fretboard material. Sustainable woods, even synthetic, and in all honesty it's not hard to make fretboards of scrap pieces of ebony or rosewood or similar. I bet Martin has loads just lying around. In addition, the fretboards I've seen on modern Martins have always been chunky and sharp on the edges, not rolled off at all. Hate them. One of the major reasons I've steered away from Martin...
 

badhabits

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I cannot for the life of me understand why Martin has decided to cheap out on the fretboard material. There's lot's of decent options for fretboard material. Sustainable woods, even synthetic, and in all honesty it's not hard to make fretboards of scrap pieces of ebony or rosewood or similar. I bet Martin has loads just lying around. In addition, the fretboards I've seen on modern Martins have always been chunky and sharp on the edges, not rolled off at all. Hate them. One of the major reasons I've steered away from Martin...
I think a richlite fretboard and bridge would look great on these.
 

bazmaz

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I think a richlite fretboard and bridge would look great on these.
I agree with you - or anything darker - the morado they used to use on the soprano looked much better.
 

man0a

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fyi - these cost $299 in the USA. The soprano Martin 0XK was also $299, when that was available. UK prices for USA products are often kind of wacky.
 

mingus

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I have one of the Martin 0XK concerts. I really like it, even the Sipo fingerboard is nice on mine. I did replace the tuners with Gotoh UPT tuners. It is a great uke!
 

bazmaz

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fyi - these cost $299 in the USA. The soprano Martin 0XK was also $299, when that was available. UK prices for USA products are often kind of wacky.
Indeed - the UK RRP on the soprano 0XK was £375.
 

M3Ukulele

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Good review. Sounds great. I have not had opportunity to play this ukulele yet but did play the Enya HPL and it was very quiet. I liked the sounds, volume and sustain of this ukulele. Price was also a good move. I’d like to see a tenor. Seems like A Really robust, great ukulele. No, it’s not sounding like a well build all solid ukulele but the trade off are worth it IMHO. I gets lots of use out of my Fluke tenor and no it doesn’t sound as good as my Custom all solid ukulele I had build but…..I do play My Fluke a lot. It’s the grab and go at end of the couch. I think I’d to same with an HPL! I do appreciate the design and robustness. I think this concert Martin also fits that bill. I agree the Koa print looks really nice. I looked some up models on line and it appears they have different prints or pictures of their Koa for the HPL concert
 

M3Ukulele

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I wonder if a tenor is in the works? Martins site isn’t really conducive to taking direct email on new models. That would be cool. I’ve never owned a concert but, it I get opportunity to play one maybe I will. I would prefer a tenor. Martin has been doing HPL X series body guitars with a solid spruce top for a long time. A tenor HPL would seem like a easy thing to do. I also, don’t care which factory or country a ukulele comes from. I’ve owned three Made in Mexico Fender Strat/Tele and they are great guitars and super to mod and tweak. So a HPL tenor from Martin with a nice print of Koa would be welcomed, especially at a good price. The more I feed and water my expensive solid wood ukuleles the more I appreciate the more robust leave out in the elements ukuleles. It’s all a compromise!
 

WebParrot (s2)

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Another uke announced in Jan 2021 but took 1.5 years to appear in the UK...

Nice review. I've looked back at your ENYA HPL concert review ( EUC-X1M ), which caused me to buy one back then! Quite honestly, I'd rather stick with the Enya (blasphemy) than go to the Martin at a much inflated price, given the substandard tuners and a few other esthetics. I just can't see paying 3-4 times the price for what seems to be a brand name and some pretty printed surface. My opinion, mileages and biases will vary.

BTW, sent you a few beers in gratitude for your high-road approach to the ULTP "brew"- hah hah. Thanks for keeping it civil.
s2
 

bazmaz

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Nice review. I've looked back at your ENYA HPL concert review ( EUC-X1M ), which caused me to buy one back then! Quite honestly, I'd rather stick with the Enya (blasphemy) than go to the Martin at a much inflated price, given the substandard tuners and a few other esthetics. I just can't see paying 3-4 times the price for what seems to be a brand name and some pretty printed surface. My opinion, mileages and biases will vary.

BTW, sent you a few beers in gratitude for your high-road approach to the ULTP "brew"- hah hah. Thanks for keeping it civil.
s2
Thanks - appreciated - re the Enya comparison - yes, big price difference, but... the volume is on a different page with the Martin
 

EDW

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Thanks - appreciated - re the Enya comparison - yes, big price difference, but... the volume is on a different page with the Martin
Having had one of the HPL sopranos, the fit and finish on the Martin is excellent
 

man0a

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Nice review. I've looked back at your ENYA HPL concert review ( EUC-X1M ), which caused me to buy one back then! Quite honestly, I'd rather stick with the Enya (blasphemy) than go to the Martin at a much inflated price, given the substandard tuners and a few other esthetics. I just can't see paying 3-4 times the price for what seems to be a brand name and some pretty printed surface. My opinion, mileages and biases will vary.

BTW, sent you a few beers in gratitude for your high-road approach to the ULTP "brew"- hah hah. Thanks for keeping it civil.
s2
I have one of the Enya sopranos as well as the Martin 0XK soprano. I never play the Enya now days and plan to give it to away soon. The sound is so quiet that no one can hear me when I play in a group. The Enya is also very heavy and uncomfortable for me to play. The Martin is a lot lighter weight and has a lot more volume and sound quality. I think it holds its own with other ukuleles in the price range.
 

badhabits

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I have one of the Enya sopranos as well as the Martin 0XK soprano. I never play the Enya now days and plan to give it to away soon. The sound is so quiet that no one can hear me when I play in a group. The Enya is also very heavy and uncomfortable for me to play. The Martin is a lot lighter weight and has a lot more volume and sound quality. I think it holds its own with other ukuleles in the price range.
I had the same experience with the X1M HPL Enya concert... i.e., very heavy (650 gm! although this Martin isn't particularly light either) and annoyingly quiet
 
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WebParrot (s2)

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I have one of the Enya sopranos as well as the Martin 0XK soprano. I never play the Enya now days and plan to give it to away soon. The sound is so quiet that no one can hear me when I play in a group. The Enya is also very heavy and uncomfortable for me to play. The Martin is a lot lighter weight and has a lot more volume and sound quality. I think it holds its own with other ukuleles in the price range.
As I said, your mileage will vary. I don't have a Martin OXie to compare with, on a volume to volume basis, nor to compare the weights. Plus mine is a concert. And since I mostly play it at home, a booming, chiming sound is of no interest! I also installed a set of Martin strings which gave a little more volume. (Baz also suggests that different strings might improve volume)

I make these comments for others who may be looking at different starter instruments. Dollar for dollar, when comparing two instruments that are HPL bodied, I think I was just as well off going off-brand.
 
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Nickie

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I cannot for the life of me understand why Martin has decided to cheap out on the fretboard material. There's lot's of decent options for fretboard material. Sustainable woods, even synthetic, and in all honesty it's not hard to make fretboards of scrap pieces of ebony or rosewood or similar. I bet Martin has loads just lying around. In addition, the fretboards I've seen on modern Martins have always been chunky and sharp on the edges, not rolled off at all. Hate them. One of the major reasons I've steered away from Martin...
That's a dirty shame. I toured Martin in the mid 70s, and the craftsmanship that I witnessed was just short of incredible. Why iconic companies like Martin want to cheap out is beyond me. There are enough Chinese makers for that. I think I'd look elsewhere before buying a new Martin.