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Thread: Your favorite Martin copy

  1. #1
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    Default Your favorite Martin copy

    Hello everyone! Certainly Martin has a well known history with ukuleles. While these classic instruments can come with a hefty price tag, I am very curious to hear what Martin copies you all are finding in similarities. Certainly it is more than just an all mahogany instrument. With budget always being a concern at the home front, what have you all found to sit well in this regard? Thanks!!

  2. #2
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    If I had my druthers, I'd get a Ken Timms.
    "Those who bring sunshine and laughter to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".

    Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday living.

  3. #3
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    Great topic! I expect there will be some great replies. I have an Ohana SK38 which was/is highly recommended. I honestly cannot come to a decision whether I like it or not. Often it depends on my playing. I had a Kiwaya KTS-4 which I found to be very nice but tonally neutral though it may have been the one I had as it's highly regarded everywhere. I might even get another though I think it's overpriced at around $650. The Ohana is around $219 (Mims). The Martin S1 is somewhere in between. The problem with buying decent Ukuleles is actually finding a physical store that sells them! Good luck with your quest.

  4. #4
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    I think Ken Timms is always going to get the nod for best Martin replica, certainly aided by his review on Got a Ukulele (and recently mentioned on the Podcast with Alex from SUS).

    Then would come Kiwaya's instruments, I think.

    Somewhere down the line would be the similar mahogany models by Ohana, Flight, and Mainland, to name a few.
    My ukulele blog: http://ukestuff.info

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  5. #5
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    The Mexican Martin S1 is a darn good copy of a Martin soprano. I consider mine a keeper.
    Kamaka HF3, Tenor
    Martin S1, Soprano
    Ko'olau C1, Concert
    Flight TUS-35

  6. #6
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    I have own(ed) Martin 1ck, 1 centennial, 3 centennial, vintage 3m/3k 1920s, 1k 1920s, 2m 1920s.
    I have also owned, Kiwaya, Ken Timms, Wunderkammer, Tinguitar, cripple creek.
    I have played Ohana’s vintage rope binding series.
    Your best bet is Ken Timms.. if you want the vintage Martin soprano sound. All the ukes in that list are really nice so you won’t go wrong if you decide to go some other way..
    if you want a Martin the centennial series 3 is really really good (made in USA) and you can find them floating on reverb. The series 1 centennial is good (made in Mexico) too but harder to find. The Mexican Martin sopranos are good too but I would go with Ken if I were you..

  7. #7
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    If budget is your main concern get the Ohana 28 rope binding vintage all solid mahogany soprano. Really good to look at and sounds good too. https://ohana-music.com/products/vintage-line-28-series
    you should be able to wait and find a second hand around 200-250

  8. #8
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    Ken Timms will cost you more than a vintage Martin.. maybe just get a vintage Martin.. patience is key

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by kkimura View Post
    The Mexican Martin S1 is a darn good copy of a Martin soprano. I consider mine a keeper.
    Considering that the discussion was Martin, I didn’t even include the S1 in my thoughts.
    My ukulele blog: http://ukestuff.info

    My ukulele YouTube channels:

  10. #10
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    Ken Timms sopranos are wonderful but I'd say mine sounds darker than my vintage Martin Style 0. That might be because the Timms is made out of Cuban Mahogany, so maybe the koa or Brazilian mahogany Timms sound more like vintage Martins. Nonetheless, it's one of the best choices out there.

    I would put good money on Wunderkammer sopranos being the closest to vintage Martins from these smaller luthiers. I haven't played one or seen one in the flesh but every video with decent sound quality I've seen of them reminds me very much of a vintage Martin. Also, apparently they are astonishingly loud.

    The obvious factory made choice would be Kiwaya, as has been mentioned already. My KTS-7 is incredibly close to the sound of my Martin, and the looks are basically identical bar the logo of course. Ohana and Flight have some vintage style models if you're on a budget.

    Quote Originally Posted by kerneltime View Post
    Ken Timms will cost you more than a vintage Martin.. maybe just get a vintage Martin.. patience is key
    Not really. Prices for Timms have gone down from the crazy days, at least for the mahogany sopranos. I paid about the same for both my Timms and Martin, and the Martin wasn't in the best shape. I'm pretty sure a pristine vintage Martin will cost you more.

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