Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 25

Thread: Martin C1K Review - Quality Control Problems

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    How R' Ya
    Posts
    304

    Default Martin C1K Review - Quality Control Problems

    Hello,

    Sorry to those that read this review before, I was like a Kid in a Candy Store all excited and I really didn't take the time to look the Uke over and really make sure things were good, so I apologize to you that read this, because I really over looked mistakes I later found.

    I want to make this very clear from the beginning, so people do not misunderstand me or the purpose of this review, which is not to tear anyone, or any company down, but to only share the facts with my experience of two C1K purchases, one week a part from each other.

    I purchased two Martin C1K online from SamAsh, they seem to be a very nice company that really goes out of their way to help you and offers deals, so this is the reason I picked them.

    It would be great, for the benefit of the other members that have never owned a C1K, that if anyone has recently made a purchase to please share your experience. I truly hope that I have just had the bad misfortune that others will not experience, that this is just a rare occasion, and others are getting nice instruments for their money.

    Below are the points I have noticed between my two Ukes.

    1. Martin has a good Koa wood supplier I found out about, but at times isn't working with the wood good, doing good finish work, sometimes rougher feeling bodies, and sometimes bad lacquer finishes with little to no sheen in the wood. My dark wood Uke had no sheen to the wood, and the texture was rougher to the feel, really dry looking. My lighter colored Uke had a nice satin feel and nice sheen to the body, this is exactly the way it should be, not like my dark Uke, no sheen, dry and rough textured.

    2.The weight of the Ukes is not consistent, the darker Koa Uke is heavier, with more weight along the neck and head.

    3. Both Ukes frets were not properly dressed, frets are sharp on both sides of the necks, not fun to play on either neck.

    4. Small cosmetic flaw, one Uke had Sipo placed as the headstock Plate instead of Koa. Koa is what Martin lists as the wood to be used for the headstock.

    5. Fretboard on one Uke was a bad cut of wood, the very spotted look that Sipo can have, instead of a nice cut with nice grains as it should of been, that was also very dry, and without any nice finish to it. I've seen better looking fretboards on $100 Chinese made Ukes.

    6. Not saying this is a good or bad thing, I just didn't find the necks on the C1K comfortable. The C1K were actually the first Ukes I've ever played that had a thin radius to them. All the Ukes I've ever played had a thicker more comfortable radius to the hand. Maybe this is common among Martin, I'm not sure, since this is the first time I've tried the C1K.

    I have seen a lot of Ukes made by Ohana and Kala at half the price of the C1K finished better.

    We all understand mistakes are made, but are these types of mistakes acceptable, and it makes me wonder, maybe Martin needs to be held to a higher standard, because when I get two Ukes in a row with problems, which is suppose to be superior quality, I'm sorry, I'm not seeing this Martin quality. I don't expect to see these types of mistakes from Martin at this price, I expect to see this on lower priced Chinese made Ukes, By the way superior quality is what Martin says on their website about these Ukes, these are not my words.

    The pictures below...

    The first two pictures are the darker wood, it's not bad wood, but it was not finished good, so there is no sheen to the body and the wood is very dry and rough feeling to the touch.

    The last two are of course the lighter wood, it was finished better, with a more satin finish, the wood was smoothed out better and a nicer sheen finish. When you look at these pictures the lighter areas of the wood you notice are appearing this way in the pictures, because this is the sheen of the nicer finish and how it brings out the wood. The front side of the picture doesn't really show the sheen as much as you can see it in person, but it is a big difference over the darker Uke. On the backside there is a lot of sheen to the Koa, a nice look of Koa I would expect to see on all these Ukes from Martin, which is nothing like the first Uke.

    But with the lighter colored Uke, there is something here, that maybe many people will over look and not consider, and that is the inconsistent wood on the top and bottom. Notice the top how straight grain and plain, more of what I've seen is the typical Martin Ukulele look of wood, and the back is more curly. The point is, most Ukes you see, if the top is straight, the back is too, both like book matched, especially in this price range of an Uke. This is the first time in a price range of an Uke like this, that the styles of wood from top to bottom were very inconsistent, that I've seen.

    These pictures are not about the contrast between Koa, when you compare five different Ukes as an example, because depending on the Koa stock, they might all end up very different from one another, which is neither bad or good, if properly worked with wood, it's only going to amount to a Tonal difference. This review is really about the quality of wood, sometimes good sometimes not so good, and the matching of wood to the Uke, sometimes not matched, as I pointed out with the lighter Uke, having a big difference in top and bottom wood, and also how the wood was worked with. In the darker wood, whoever had the job of the finish work, did a poor job, not making the wood smoother and giving it a better lacquer finish. I'm not sure how others will feel about the look of the back on the darker wood, again it's not bad Koa wood, it's just that it was not finished properly, so it looks really poor.


    Read the comments below, then scroll down the forum to the #4th reply for more images.


    1. First image nice grains, second image, spotted looking wood, which can be found in Sipo. I'm not sure why anyone would pick this spotted look of grains for a fretboard look if you can have nicer grains like the first image. Also the spotted grained fretboard was a lot dryer in texture, which didn't feel good to play on. The spotted grain fretboard also looks really cheap.

    Click the images to blow them up, make sure the image appears in your browser, so you get the largest size, then you'll see the more spotted look of the fretboard and how bad this appears...

    I really find this pinkish/clay look of the Sipo fretboards mixed with a Koa body in bad taste. Of course tone is the most important thing we want, and some might not care about looks, and I understand this. To me an instrument is a piece of art and I appreciate it for it's beauty and craftsmenship, like anyone else, I'm assuming. With these thoughts in mind, it seems as though whoever thought of this look, doesn't quite understand fashion and mixing things together, for a more proper look. To me this Sipo look is not the look I want in a traditional Koa Uke, I also think it adds a cheap look to the Uke, I don't see it enhancing the beauty of the instrument, I find it diminishing the look and quality. Maybe everyone is getting nice looking Sipo necks and fretboards, well even the nice grained one I received, the color just looks so out of place, that the instrument looks really cheap.

    Would you seriously wear brown pants, or a dress for the ladies, with a pink top, or shirt? Get my point? Maybe with the right mix of browns and pinks, a good hue/contrast, of course I can see it working that way, but Martin doesn't even show this understanding with hues and contrasts, because that darker Uke looks like choclate with a pink candy fretboard, talk about bad taste. In the pictures below, where you can see part of the necks in both images, it doesn't really show up as pink, as the images in my other reply below, where you can really see the pink of the wood.

    I understand companies now have to deal with the Rosewood shortage, and work with other woods, but honestly, this is the best Martin can do, give us a pink/clay color neck and fretboard? Martin truly needs to find a different type of wood to use here, and there are a lot of them out there. With their Koa wood supplier, they should even be able to make the fretboard from Koa and stick with mahogany for the neck, I don't understand why I am seeing a Sipo neck instead of mahogany...

    2. Next is the Sipo head plate, notice the spotty look of the wood in the first image? That's Sipo, and the second image is the Koa head plate. Now this is just cosmetics, and maybe some people might like the Sipo look, but Martin lists on their website that it has a Koa head stock, so I would think they could get this right and not make mistakes like this. I personally like the look of the Koa and everyone who knows these woods knows Koa is the winner here in cosmetics. Look at the Koa head stock image, it is a much nicer sheen too, but it's not that noticeable in the picture.

    Scroll down to the #4th reply for more images.

    I sent both of these Ukes back, I do not recommend anyone buy any of the Mexico Martin Ukes unless you can see them in a store, there is just to much inconsistency with these Ukes, as well as finish issues, improperly finished Ukes.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by AlohaKine; 12-17-2017 at 12:37 PM.
    Looking For My Next Uke!
    Lanikai LU-21C - Concert

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    over yonder
    Posts
    6,426

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Booli
    Nice brother!

    CONGRATS
    Now that you've revised the review, I will have to revise my comment, which at this moment requires some deep thought and consideration, for which I have little time due to an increased work schedule...

    When I have more time I will come back and write something meaningful here.
    Last edited by Booli; 12-07-2017 at 12:22 PM.
    This ═╣FAQ link╠═ will help you learn about many things.
    You should click it, as the answers are waiting for you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    69

    Default

    Big congrats!
    The love for C1K is growing everyday! And I seriously mean it!
    Falling in love with Fingerstyle!
    Makala Dolphin, Kala KA-SLNG, Martin C1K

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    How R' Ya
    Posts
    304

    Default

    More pictures of the two necks and headstocks...
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by AlohaKine; 12-08-2017 at 01:14 PM.
    Looking For My Next Uke!
    Lanikai LU-21C - Concert

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    over yonder
    Posts
    6,426

    Default

    No worries about the supposed 'taunting' and I'd not think your thread will be taken that way, as I'm sure lots of folks here really love to see a NUD or Review post.

    It's always necessary for those deeply afflicted with UAS to have a steady stream of NEW (to them) items to drool over, otherwise the UAS is likely to wither and die, and we just cannot allow that to happen now, can we?
    This ═╣FAQ link╠═ will help you learn about many things.
    You should click it, as the answers are waiting for you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Chester, VT
    Posts
    233

    Default

    Great looking instrument. I have two different Martin sopranos - one from the early 30s and the other an OXK. In looking at their Koa instruments for either a tenor or maybe a concert I was hesitant because of the Mexican provenance. I wonder where they find their Koa wood? Do they import from Hawaii to Mexico?

    The OXK may not be the nest comparison to my vintage instrument BUT there are some issues in the new one that I can overlook, but I wish it were better made.

    I agree heartily about using the Gotoh UPT tuners - they are amazing. I use the Grovers on a couple of other instruments BUT wish they had the better ones made by Grover for Mele. I see other newer Grover's are hitting the market but they are hard to find. The Mele ones are not the same dimensions as the older classic ones so I have not made the swap. For a few $$$ more the Gotohs are a much better looking tuner and they work flawlessly.

    PM sent re the bag.
    Kamaka pineapple soprano gold label - 1950s
    Kamaka custom soprano, gold label. 1960s?
    Koaloha Opio long neck soprano. 2016
    Mele pineapple soprano - koa and mahogany - modern
    Martin SO, modern, Mexico
    Mainland longneck concert pineapple
    No name concert in koa
    Kamaka tenor - 2002
    Mele, Braddah tenor 1990s
    Slingerland banjolele Maybell - 1920s

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    L.A. California
    Posts
    645

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Booli View Post
    No worries about the supposed 'taunting' and I'd not think your thread will be taken that way, as I'm sure lots of folks here really love to see a NUD or Review post.

    It's always necessary for those deeply afflicted with UAS to have a steady stream of NEW (to them) items to drool over, otherwise the UAS is likely to wither and die, and we just cannot allow that to happen now, can we?
    Very much agreed! No worries about envy.
    I really like reviews and NUD posts. They give me happy dreams.

    Congratulations on a wonderful ukulele!
    Playing my Magic Fluke and grinning like a fool!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AlohaKine View Post
    I wrote a lengthy email to Martin, suggesting they need to create a Mid-Range line, right now, you have $400 to $2000 and nothing in between it's sad.
    I agree with this. Martin's current line is confusing and worrisome to me. I can't imagine they sell very many 2K's at current street prices, and they aren't at all transparent about what you get for the extra money.

    I can see how they arrived at this situation. Ironically, I imagine they got here by transparently pricing their ukes at a ratio similar to their costs. I can imagine it might cost 2 or 3 or even 4 times as much for them to manufacture the "same" instrument in the US vs Mexico. That's just the reality of manufacturing today.

    But when somebody who doesn't know this arrives at the Martin website, they see one uke for $400 made out of koa, then another uke, same size, presumably same build quality, also made of koa. But it costs $2000 because it has.... "nicer" appointments? Nicer finish? I don't think they really justify the difference, and I think it leaves the current lineup sort of... uncomfortable.

    I recently purchased a 2K and I love it to death, but there is no question that I paid a premium that is difficult to justify other than that I loved the way it sounded.

    EDIT: Also want to add that I see no reason to assume that the uke Martin produces in Mexico will necessarily be worse (or better) than the one they produce in the US. I sincerely hope that they fully expect to maintain the same levels of quality in both factories.
    Last edited by ra88it; 12-01-2017 at 05:56 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    How R' Ya
    Posts
    304

    Default

    I know where their Koa comes from, not sure it's suppose to be known, but if it is I'll let everyone know, not sure if it's suppose to be shhh or what... LOL

    @ra88it yes very odd the line up low end, high-end nothing in between.

    But what is also really odd, is sometimes with these Mexico Martins you end up with one like I did that is very Mid-Range quality, actually somewhat Upper too. I've had $1500 Hawaiian Ukes in my hands before to tell you, the craftsmenship and tone on this C1K is just as good.

    This makes me think, some of the Mexican Luithers down in Mexico are sneaking out a few good ones here and there, to show us what they can really do... LOL

    I have seen and played quite a few Kanilea, KoAloha and Kamaka, to tell you, for their Standard Range, which is like $1000 for all of them, this C1K looks just as good, actually at times I have seen some poor looking Standard Kamaka and Kanilea, where the quality of the construction of this C1k is better, it's crazy.

    Seriously, people, please PM to me, I already sent Martin an email I can send you, so you just add a little of your thoughts to send off an email to Petition Martin to offer this mid-range line, which is just some nice options to the Mexico line...
    Last edited by AlohaKine; 12-10-2017 at 02:18 PM.
    Looking For My Next Uke!
    Lanikai LU-21C - Concert

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Upper US
    Posts
    1,367

    Default

    As someone who has never tried the newer high end K-brands, glad to hear that the C1K delivers the goods. Agree on the large gap in Martin's product line too. Nice grain on yours!

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •