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Thread: Why do Martin Ukes cost so much????

  1. #11
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    [QUOTE=uketeecee;1458446]Not only does the vintage Martin 5K ukulele look good, it sounds good too. Worth every penny.

    You can say that again, Terry! Or any vintage Martin… what's not to love???

    Last edited by soupking; 01-07-2014 at 05:26 PM.
    Sopranos: Black Bear 3K, Black Bear Bell, Firefly, Laughlin 3K
    Concerts: Fluke Koa, Fluke Mango
    Tenors: Blackbird BTU, Kamaka HF-3

  2. #12
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    Check out Benny Chong, A.J. Leonard, Sam Lemann, and Terry playing Terry's Martin/Ditson Style 3 on Terry's YouTube channel (BeareTube), and you will have your answer. If other soprano ukes sounded like this one, Martins wouldn't be so expensive...probably.

  3. #13
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    30's American Ukes are expensive in the UK.
    30's British motorcycles are expensive in the US.

    I'll swap you even, a 30's Martin 3M for a '36 HRD.
    Have Courage!
    Guitar & ukulele building, repairs also, 38 yrs. in business.
    http://davidnewtonguitars.squarespace.com/repairs/

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by FormbyFanatic95 View Post
    and it is the plainest looking one of the lot.
    I actually like that.

    The reason they are so costly, I think, is due to
    1. They are hand-made
    2. When they are made in the US, they cost more (than say in Mexico) because of the cost of the labor
    3. Of course, the material they use (wood, etc.) is first rate ...

    The number 2 reason explains why most of the (decent sounding) cheaper ukes are made in China, for example (where they must have skilled labor, but paid cheaply)

  5. #15
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    They sell for so much simply because people buy them for so much.

    If no one bought them, they wouldn't sell. Then what would Martin do?
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  6. #16
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    I think the prices of the vintage Martins and the prices of newer models of comparable quality (for example the Kiwaya KTS-4 or the Ken Timms) are "anchored". For example, the Kiwaya and the Timms retails for US$520. I think their prices are based on the price determined by the market for the "real thing" (Timms can chime in if I'm wrong). If the demand for vintage Martins would decrease, thus decreasing the price of a vintage Martin, probably the prices of the replicas models would have to decrease as well (or stop producing, if the price was lower than the production costs).

    On the other hand, I think the prices of replicas affects the prices of the vintage Martin ukes too. On a first glance, we may assume that if they didn't existed, probably the price of vintage Martins would be higher, because one part of the demand for Martin-style ukes today is fulfilled by these ukes. On the other hand, maybe the prices of the replicas serves too as a "compass" to the price of a vintage Martin (In 1922 a Martin Style 0's price was $10. Bringing that to 2012 (I'm too lazy to calculate it for 2014) would cost $135.44, considering there's no depreciation, but that's obviously not the way to look at it). It's hard to determine a causality. With the right data it'd be possible with econometrics to suggest something more accurate, but I don't think it can be found.

  7. #17
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    I purchased my first "vintage" Martin (Style 3) in Oct 2013 and I am glad I did. Very nice uke with excellent tone and playability. I was a doubter. That has changed. I paid too much but I'm very glad to have this sweet little vintage Martin in my hands.
    cheers ... dennis

    Antoniotsai Rose Tenor (Acacia Koa)
    Blackbird Clara (Concert - eKoa)
    Kanile'a Concert (Custom - Curly Tiger Mahogany)
    Kinnard Concert (Custom - Redwood/Cocobolo)
    Kinnard Tenor (Custom - Cedar/Walnut)
    Mako Tenor (Custom - Koa)
    Martin 1T IZ (Tenor - Mahogany)

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by fernandogardinali View Post
    With the right data it'd be possible with econometrics to suggest something more accurate, but I don't think it can be found.
    Perhaps this might give a more accurate idea of inflation and worth/price of the style 0?
    Quoted from the measuringworth.com site:

    "If you want to compare the value of a $10.00 Commodity in 1922 there are four choices. In 2012 the relative:
    real price of that commodity is $137.00
    real value of that commodity is $302.00
    labor value of that commodity is $498.00(using the unskilled wage) or $611.00(using production worker compensation)
    income value of that commodity is $767.00"


    Same excercise for a style 5K:

    "If you want to compare the value of a $50.00 Commodity in 1922 there are four choices. In 2012 the relative:
    real price of that commodity is $685.00
    real value of that commodity is $1,510.00
    labor value of that commodity is $2,490.00(using the unskilled wage) or $3,060.00(using production worker compensation)
    income value of that commodity is $3,840.00"

  9. #19
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    Owning a Ferrari, does not make you a racing driver, although the car will sound nice when you floor it...... holds the road very well, goes like the clappers and has a very good re-sale value. I am not sure if this analogy works for 5k Martins or any other expensive instrument in that it makes you a good player? If you were blindfolded, and had a good musician play a variety of good ukes, you would not be able to distuinguish which instrument was used, as succefully proved by the late MGM.

  10. #20
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    When I play my ukes the sound hole is closest to my ear. If I like what I hear I'm willing to shell out the dough accordingly. If I like to think I can tell the difference between good quality ukes and am willing to cough up the money, good for me. Shouldn't make a difference to you. Just my dos centavos.
    cheers ... dennis

    Antoniotsai Rose Tenor (Acacia Koa)
    Blackbird Clara (Concert - eKoa)
    Kanile'a Concert (Custom - Curly Tiger Mahogany)
    Kinnard Concert (Custom - Redwood/Cocobolo)
    Kinnard Tenor (Custom - Cedar/Walnut)
    Mako Tenor (Custom - Koa)
    Martin 1T IZ (Tenor - Mahogany)

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