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Thread: Martin S1 vs Ohana soild mahoganies

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Default Martin S1 vs Ohana soild mahoganies

    Hi all,

    I'd like to get a solid mahogany soprano (maybe just a solid top) and I'm curious about the Martin S1 or some of the Ohana's.

    Ohana produces several solid tops: sk20, sk35, sk35g, sk38, sk39.

    I wonder how any of these Ohanas compare in sound to the Martin.

    I'm not into a vintage Martin, nor I care about ornamentation. Just plain mahogany.

    Thanks

    Eugenio

  2. #2
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    I would get the Martin , you won't regret it. The Martin has a bit wider nut , it's just better overall.
    " Anything larger than a soprano is cheating "
    " I'm no luthier but ,........"

  3. #3
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    I've reviewed several of these models on Got A Ukulele - for me I have yet to find an Ohana soprano that comes close. That's not to say the Ohana's are bad instruments, but they fell short of the Martin on tone for me and certainly on the quality of build. Reviews of the ones I looked at (including the Martin) on the link in my signature.
    The GOT A UKULELE REVIEWS DATABASE!

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    Ukes include (!) Kanile'a K1 Tenor, Tinguitar custom solid tenor, Fluke, Flea, Tinguitar Reclaimed Mahogany soprano, KM Ukuleles Dreadnought Concert, Brόko walnut soprano

  4. #4
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    I agree that a Martin would be a better choice for the reasons mentioned. I would not discount the idea of a vintage Martin. You can sometimes find one that works well at a good price.

  5. #5
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    Most of the Ohanas you mention, except the SK-20 have solid sides and back too. I haven't noticed imperfections in any of my Ohanas, but then I don't look for perfection in my instrument either. An obvious flaw would bother me (for a while), but I don't go hunting for issues. I look closer than I used to just because I read this forum too much!

    I think my SK-38 sounds great and is a nice lightweight build with lots of volume, but it does have the disadvantage of a narrower nut. The Martin has a wider nut and really wide string spacing that you don't find on many sopranos. If you're coming from a larger instrument, you'll really appreciate it, but if you're already playing narrow neck sopranos, maybe that's not a concern.
    Glenn

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    Finland
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    While Ohanas are usually decent quality, I don't think they even compare to the S1. The build quality and especially the quality of the wood used for the S1 is just on another level IMO. The only caveat I would have is that the S1 has a really jangly sound to it, even for a soprano. If you're ok with the sound then I would go for the S1 over an Ohana every single time.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    This.

    I own two all-solid Ohana sops. Love them both. But my Famous (built on Martin specs) has a much more comfortable neck. They all sound great, but the Famous is easiest to play. If budget isn’t a problem, I’d go with the Martin. Either way, Mim is a great source. She’s a registered dealer for both.

    Quote Originally Posted by glennerd View Post
    Most of the Ohanas you mention, except the SK-20 have solid sides and back too. I haven't noticed imperfections in any of my Ohanas, but then I don't look for perfection in my instrument either. An obvious flaw would bother me (for a while), but I don't go hunting for issues. I look closer than I used to just because I read this forum too much!

    I think my SK-38 sounds great and is a nice lightweight build with lots of volume, but it does have the disadvantage of a narrower nut. The Martin has a wider nut and really wide string spacing that you don't find on many sopranos. If you're coming from a larger instrument, you'll really appreciate it, but if you're already playing narrow neck sopranos, maybe that's not a concern.
    SOPRANOS: • 1920s Gibson UKE-1 • 1930s Martin 2M • Ohana SK-28 ‘Nunes’ • Flea koa • Ohana SK-35G solid mahogany • Famous FS-1
    CONCERTS: • Martin C1K • Enya Nova U (blue) • Ohana CK-50WG (solid cedar top) • Firefly maple banjolele • Makala MK-CE
    OBJETS D'ART: • Vintage 'Mauna Loa' c. 1925 soprano • Kahuna "Felix the Cat" soprano • Woodrow "Steelers" soprano

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  8. #8
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    Don't forget the humble Martin S-0 too! They don't seem to be widely lauded, but I love mine! The good (from my perspective): a great feisty bark; seemingly "chunkier" frets than on the S-1; fingerboard doesn't extend so far down toward the soundhole as on the S-1 (and for me this is preferable). The maybe not-so-good: no internal lining to hold the top, sides, and back together, but so far the structural integrity seems absolutely fine.

  9. #9
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    Yes , the Martin SO , I like them so much , I have two . I prefer the SO to the S1 because I like the shorter fretboard.
    " Anything larger than a soprano is cheating "
    " I'm no luthier but ,........"

  10. #10
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    For a style 0 or 1 type Martin, I prefer the shorter fretboard as well, but I think the S-0 is long discontinued. Shame really. What I've read of it, the S-0 didn't get a good reception at the time Martin introduced it, but everything I've heard of it since (reviews and videos) suggests that it's very close to the S1 in terms of quality. Weird that...

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