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Thread: Martin C1K Review - Quality Control Problems

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by Choirguy View Post
    I was just noticing that Mim’s, the Uke Republic, and The Ukulele Site do not carry Martin. I wonder if that says something about their opinion about Martin ukuleles, or if Martin requires dealers to carry too much inventory.
    Not entirely sure but you might be on to something there. I know for certain that small dealers (ukulele or guitar dealers, or both) can no longer carry Epiphone or Fender ukuleles because both brands insist that they carry not only significant stocks, but also a range of their instruments - for example, you can only carry Epiphone if you also stock some Gibsons. It totally prices out smaller retailers.

    That said - places like SUS in the UK are NOT huge businesses - yet they regularly stock Martin.

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  2. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Northen California


    The only small independent dealer I know of here in northern California that carries Martin ukes is Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto (a great store for acoustic guitars). But they carry the full line of Martin acoustic guitars - it's a virtual Martin paradise. The Martin ukes I've looked at there were, in my opinion, nothing special. The MIM (Made In Mexico) ones were just average in fit and finish. Then there is a huge premium for the USA-made. There was nothing wrong with the playability or tone of any of them. From my experience in the guitar world, there are those that just must have a Martin, and those like me who wouldn't touch one. You pay your money and you take your chances.

    The big box stores run on volume, and returns are just figured into the business model. They are profitable and are not going to change their practices.

    My best experience has been with Hawaii Music Supply. If I lived in HI, like Alohakine, I'd go see them in person and choose the exact uke I wanted. And as others have pointed out, they don't carry Martin.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2012


    Martin requires dealers to buy all kinds of none instrument items not only the guitars/ukes so you have to do as they want or you can not sell the intruments...not sure why they make this rule?

    Andrew at Hawaii Music Supply sends back many many ukes(even expensive ones) as their normal setups are done on all the ukes they send out so if a company sends ukes that require more than normal amount of work on it they get rejected or he stops carrying the brand all together...

    another strange thread from the end he is capping on a uke/company/dealer as usual... IMO but since he has Martin's ear maybe they will change.....
    Last edited by hawaii 50; 12-16-2017 at 07:52 AM.
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  4. #24
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    How R' Ya


    Booli, sorry to hear, and I did talk to an exec level staff member about suggestions, and to be honest, it's all good, I'm not mad or anything, hope no one reading the post was thinking this.

    SamAsh has been great to be honest, all the staff I have spoken to on the phone really helpful, and I just scored a killer deal this time on a Kala Elite Concert, which I hope is going to be good, I can't imagine a bad Kala out of California, seeing all the Chinese ones I've seen in the past that were really nice.

    It's just because I've gotten such amazing deals from SamAsh is why I purchased from them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakelele View Post
    Threads like these are pretty confusing, especially for readers who happen to stumble upon them via search engine looking for impartial reviews on what and where to buy. Wasn't the original post more like "what a great uke", and "what a great deal"? And now it's a total 180? To be honest, I was sceptical about both endorsements, so I'm not surprised about the flip-flop. Don't you wonder why most stores dedicated to the ukulele don't have Martin in their lineup?
    Sorry, I did say in the post that I was excited and not paying attention to the Ukes when I did the original post and I did mention all this in the original post, so I thought I made all that clear for everyone to understand it was a mistake on my part....

    Martin has a name, and history I'm not going to deny, hopefully it was just a rare thing that happened.

    Choirguy I did edit the post over, but I didn't make it in bold, the title of the post was changed, so I assumed others would read and see the changes, but I went back and made the top bold.

    By the way SamAsh didn't have a big order from Martin when I placed my order, they told me it was just a small order they placed from Martin.

    It would be interesting to ask the other dealers why they don't carry Martin, if it's because they have to buy their guitars too, especially someone as big as the Ukulele Site in Hawaii, when they have carried a lot of brands over the years.
    Last edited by AlohaKine; 12-16-2017 at 10:37 AM.
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  5. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Dayton, OH


    Quote Originally Posted by hawaii 50 View Post
    another strange thread from Alohakine....
    Hawaii 50, may I ask you to stop using the above line when commenting on Alohakine's posts? This is not the first time I have seen this and it is a borderline violation of rule #1.

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  6. #26


    Quote Originally Posted by AlohaKine View Post
    SamAsh is a big, box chain, I guess you could say company, according to Wikipedia 45 locations across the USA;

    SamAsh says they don't open the boxes and inspect, they want it to be closed, as in not a broken seal for the customer, and I get the idea/thinking behind something like this. But I did explain that if they didn't inspect instruments, then you can run into problems like this.

    I personally think the Store Inspection and setup aspects of a business are a really good selling point, and something players like, knowing that professionals, cleaned/prepped, inspected and setup their Ukes, this is a good thing, and I tried to encourage SamAsh to looking into this.

    Of course these things happen with other makers, and they should not of left the factory, the thing is, Martin and companies like them, that have these issues, the truth is, this is a Quality Control issue, the company themselves not addressing these problems and allowing these out the door, which should not be happening in the first place.

    Specialist dealer or not, the stores aren't to blame, the makers are, and they need to improve their Quality Control, and for Martin, it should be better. But even if things slip through, I agree, it's nice to buy from places that inspect, and if there's a problem it's dealt with before.

    I won't name names, but I think, or I assume, everyone gets the idea here. I expect something like this, from the smaller Chinese makers, I didn't expect to see this, twice in a row from Martin.
    As far as protruding fret ends goes - I am responding way after the fact, but I believe the following is totally relevant. I strongly disagree that Martin is at fault, at least with your statement on the frets, "Both Ukes frets were not properly dressed, frets are sharp on both sides of the necks, not fun to play on either neck." In fact, in most cases of fret dressing, the dealer is at fault.

    Here is a recent review I posted on Amazon about a Martin S1 I purchased.

    A Great Uke and A Message About Humidifying Your Ukulele
    January 30, 2019

    I recently bought a new Martin S1 from a local music store. The frets were sticking out badly and had very sharp ends. I got a great deal on the ukulele because of this (basically dealer cost). An extremely common reason for sharp protruding frets is an instrument that has gotten dried out. The owner/seller has not humidified it adequately. This is NOT Martin's fault. As wood dries, it does a few things. It shrinks, it cracks and the action can get high or low. Luckily, my Martin S1 was not cracked, and the action was fine. I put the ukulele in a good Protec Max case, put an Oasis humidifier in the sound hole, 2 Oasis humidifiers by the headstock and one by the heel of the ukulele. Within two days, the frets were protruding FAR less. I then brought it to a good luthier and had the frets dressed (about $40). As it is very cold where I live, our forced air heat runs virtually all the time, and the relative humidity in our house is very low. I keep the S1 in a Protec Max case, an Oasis humidifier in the sound hole and by the headstock. I have a number of very good ukuleles, and this Martin S1 is a favorite. Plays and sounds great. Amazon sells very good humidifiers for ukes - the Oasis OH-18 and the Music Nomad MN302 Humilele Ukulele Humidifier are my favorites. Use only distilled water in them for best results. The Martin S1 is a great ukulele for the price.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Austin, Tx, USA

    Default I disagree with the perspective of the negative review

    You got some rough fret ends and donít like the wood figuring. These are all bargain priced solid koa instruments. They are satin finished and not heavily marketed for having beautiful wood figuring with glossy finish. A lot of laminates are made to look beautiful and sell on their looks. I find these Martins are made to sound beautiful and sell on their looks. I frankly find all this noise about the wood grain and finishing kind of funny. Sharp fret ends shouldnít be happening, but if you didnít try hydrating the instrument to see if that resolved it then that is a rooky mistake. Maybe you are not a rooky, but it is a mistake nonetheless.

    I owned a C1K and itís sound rivaled my Koaloha and Kanilea and Pro Classics. I also played several solid Martin 1 models in a store. They were all impressive. If you want specific wood grains in a product like this I think you will need to cherry pick. It is a thinner neck profile, that is something some prefer and others dislike. I hate to say this, but this negative review by the OP is a lot of noise to me.

    I consider the C1K or T1K to be a good step up to a quality sold wood SOUND from starter laminates. I find you will have to spend hundreds more to achieve this sound quality in other brands. It may need some setup, and you may need to throw one back. If you donít like what it is, buy something else. But if you understand what it is, it may be the right uke for many people. To make it something the OP would want, I think Martin would have to raise the price.

    Best to all who read this.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlohaKine View Post

    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...

    ...........[Dionysis,had to cut some of the initial review as my post was too long, but it is up there at the spot #1 if you have time to read it all over again.]

    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.
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