Review: Martin OXK Concert

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Jul 25, 2021
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Greetings! This is my first review so please let me know what you think! I guess I'll start with the specs...

Martin OXK Concert 2021
Made in: Mexico
Body: All Martin HPL with Koa print mine at least had a very ugly koa print. It reminded me of the fake laminate wood material from a computer desk from the 90's
SCALE LENGTH:
15"
BRACE SHAPE:
Non-Scalloped
FINGERBOARD WIDTH AT NUT:
1 13/32'' (36mm) - this felt very roomy and comfortable for a concert!
stock strings:
Ukulele Soprano/Concert M600 I think a better choice for this uke in general would be any other fluorocarbon string but especially worth brown or fremont blackline, more on this later...
BRIDGE STRING SPACING:
1 41/64'' (42mm)
SADDLE:
Compensated White Tusq
NECK MATERIAL:
Brown Birch Laminate I was amazed at how beautiful and comfortable I found the neck to be. The neck tapers fairly thin at the headstock and is surprisingly flat, making for easy play
NUMBER OF FRETS TOTAL:
17
NECK JOINS BODY AT:
12th Fret
SIDE DOTS:
White
FINGERBOARD MATERIAL:
Sipo
FINGERBOARD WIDTH AT 12TH FRET:
1 13/16'' (46mm)
HEADPLATE LOGO STYLE:
Script Ink I see a lot of talk about the raised logo on the T1K/C1K and people recommending the sticker, but I thought this was particularly ugly on the HPL material
TUNING MACHINES:
Nickel Uke Peg (Grover 2 friction) This was my first time using friction pegs, but I enjoyed them and adjusted to them easily. However, these particular tuners are very sticky and can be quite annoying. The best way to tune with them is tune sharp and then slowly tune down.


Perhaps the cheapest Martin uke ever at $299.00, this ukulele is...not a looker. But I personally don't care much about that. However, if you want a pretty uke and if that helps you pick it up everyday, this uke probably isn't for you. That being said, it does feel sturdy and seems to be sold as a travel uke, though for me it was my first big upgrade from my entry level Makala Dolphin.


The nut width is 36mm which felt fine. The frets on this model felt very low, thin, and sleek in profile, which I LOVED. No sharp fret ends, which I would expect from this tier of instrument.

The birch laminate neck is the highlight of the instrument in terms of looks. With a smooth satin finish the layers of laminate look absolutely gorgeous in natural light! The profile on the neck is also great. The whole instrument is well balanced at the 12th fret.

Though this is a concert size uke, it sounds much bigger and warmer than it looks. In fact, the C string is quite boomy with the stock Martin strings, which is why I would recommend really any other fluorocarbon string as I find the Martin strings quite muddy and it definitely makes it boom-ier. Otherwise this is great for finger picking or strumming, though given it is not a cutaway and only has 12 frets to the body I find it better for strumming in general as things can get crowded pretty quickly around fret 10 (it is a concert after all). But really, these uke sounds very sweet and have excellent volume and sustain. Intonation was good... at first...bum bum bummmm

It came setup very nicely requiring no adjustment other than the string change. I also did, however, find the nut to have very sharp edges. These get annoying very quickly and I would recommend filing these a bit smoother, though it would be nice if they just came in a non-sadistic way.

Speaking of sadistic, this fretboard sometimes feels almost concave in it's extreme flatness and abrupt edge. I am guessing it is a traditional Martin style or something and perhaps curves are just too extreme? I dunno, someone enlighten me.


Overall, I loved this instrument.... until I noted the bridge was starting to sink in the front and tilt forward, throwing off the intonation. This was within 30 days of getting the instrument, so I was able to return it and upgraded instead to the Martin T1K! Honestly, I had almost completely sworn off Martins, but I really have been enjoying the T1K so far as well and no complaints yet other than some sharp fret ends IMO.

So overall? Buyer beware, check out the bridge when you get it and hope these all aren't warped after a few months I guess. But enjoy the lovely sound while you have it! For the money, I'd probably buy an enya nova instead and pocket the rest of my next instrument upgrade instead given we don't know how long these instruments will last. But if money isn't an issue, these certainly sound sweet!
 

badhabits

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Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
457
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28
Nice review. Agree that like the C1K, this one looks rather meh (the soprano that baz reviewed looked nicer than others I've seen in photos tho, with darker fretboard and bridge). I'd be tempted, but have also experienced the dipping top, coincidentally (?) on HPL ukes (both enya).