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Thread: Tell me about Martin soprano SO ukes

  1. #1
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    Default Tell me about Martin soprano SO ukes

    I have searched the forums and have not seen a review of the Martin SO. I have seen a few reviews on YouTube. I know several forum members own them and I would like to hear what you think of them. I have only looked at them on-line (never played one). I have thought of purchasing one, it will be the only Martin I will ever be able to afford. Any comments would be welcome.
    “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”
    ― Martin Luther

  2. #2
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    I've emailed Rayan a review of my Martin S-O - twice - and it's never been added to the review page. I'll look for it and send post it here. In the meantime, a short review:

    It's not worth the money. There are so many better ukuleles out there - many for less than half of the $299 suggested retail price of a Martin S-O. Plus, Martin's inner bracings aren't long enough to span the width of the uke. Mine developed a split on the back, right where the bracing ended. Cost $60 buck to get repaired.

    If you're set on getting a Martin, it's better to find a vintage Martin Style 0 and pay 100 bucks more. They're infinitely better. But if you simply want a soprano uke that sounds the same - or better - than an S-O, buy Ohana, Mainland, or Kala.
    -Alan (UKISOCIETY)

    My muse.

  3. #3
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    I haven't heard many people say they like them.

  4. #4
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    Here's a photo of the inner bracing of my Martin S-O. The side is where the dark line and the string's shadow meet. Notice that the brace is far short of meeting the edge. The short dark wood bits are the repair blocks.
    -Alan (UKISOCIETY)

    My muse.

  5. #5
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    Default Martin S-O review

    Here's my review:

    Martin Soprano S-O

    Summary
    Features 8
    Sound 10
    Action, Fit, & Finish 7
    Reliability/Durability 4
    Customer Support 0
    Overall Rating 7
    Submit a review for this product!

    Features:
    All mahogany body, rosewood fretboard, steel frets, Peg friction tuners, plastic saddle and nut, Martin strings. There are no fret inlays, which I prefer.

    Sound:
    With the Martin strings it comes with, it's a bit quiet for my taste. Replacing the strings with Aquila Nylgut makes an enormous improvement in volume and tone. That said, with the original strings on it, the modern Martin S-O is much louder than comparable mahogany bodies sopranos, probably due to its very thin body wood. With the Aquila strings, my Martin makes a bright "crunch" when strumming. It's a thinner sound than the mellower Flea soprano, making it perfect for Bluegrass, Folk and Pop.

    Action, Fit & Finish:

    The action is high on the higher frets on the Martin. No buzzing, no clumpy "thump" sound to any of the frets. The finish is beautiful. I like looking at the wood grain on the body – it displays depth to the wood grain.

    Reliability/Durability:

    This is a fragile instrument, partly due to the inner framework of the body. The supports on the inside don't fully span the width of the body. Because of this, my uke experienced a split where the bracing ends. The repair fixed the problem, but I was out $60 because of it. It still sounds great though.

    Customer Support:
    I have no experience with this aspect of the Martin, except for the individual dealer.

    Overall rating:
    I give it a seven. It would be higher if the body braces were better and if it were about $90 dollars less. They charge $300 for it and I think they're trading on their name. But the new Martin S-Os are sounding good. I've played some that were made in the early '90's or '80's and they had a thinner sound to them. But mine dates from around 1997 and I'm very happy with it. I've also played some new S-Os in shops and their great sound continues. I had a luthier add inlay dots on the top of the neck, making mine a unique Martin S-O!
    -Alan (UKISOCIETY)

    My muse.

  6. #6
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    Default Martin So

    Tim I just PM you
    Dan

  7. #7
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    Default position markers

    Alan, can you tell me what it cost to put the poison markers on your Martin. Im a lefty and would like to have it done.
    Thanks
    Dan

  8. #8
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    Nice review. I still wonder what's going on with the review section, and especially the outsourcing bit. It could be a valuable resource for aspiring playahs...
    sigs disabled kthxbai

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by UKISOCIETY View Post
    But if you simply want a soprano uke that sounds the same - or better - than an S-O, buy Ohana, Mainland, or Kala.
    Aren't Mainland mahogany sopranos essentially based upon vintage Style O specs?

    "Everything I do gonh be funky from now on" - Allen Toussaint.

  10. #10
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    Alan, Dan and all-thanks for the info/insight.
    “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”
    ― Martin Luther

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