Best years for vintage Martins?


Well-known member
Apr 24, 2009
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South Jersey
Are there certain years of range of years that are more desirable for vintage Martin sopranos?

Desirable in terms of sound not just collectible value.
Pre-war are considered better than post-war. I owned some from the 40s, 50s, and 60s and I haven't come across a bad one yet, but there are some OUTSTANDING ones. Like most ukes, play before you buy when you can.
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Personally I desire a WWII style 0 or 1 because we are both war babies. Some even have steel bar-frets. As far as sound goes I prefer the Honduran Mahogany sound to the Koa. somewhat brighter and punchy. Strings make a difference, but the biggest is what environment they were used in, with emphasis on the used. If never used they would look great and may be of value to a collector with tags bills of sale and all. They probably would sound as dead as their life style, compared to one that has been played regularly. When ever I hand over one of my 70+ year old martins to one who has never played one the first comment o how light it is then after a few strums how much it vibrates. I've had and have very nice modern ukuleles that have better intonation and smooth action. I just haven't bonded with them like I seem to with the old Martins. The market is down for vintage instruments right now and yes I'm selling a few. I'll keep posting some and try to get more and better sound clips.
Oh, 30's vintages are the best by far! Of course I may be biased...:shaka:
I dunno, but I just had to turn down a 30's tenor in excellent condtion due to lack of funds....but i paid off my Visa card today!!!!! woo hoo!
Thanks for the feedback everyone. This is what I wound up with. Style 1 circa 1920. It has fret markers at 5, 7, and 9. Maple nut and saddle so it's pretty early. Played it along side a 1930 and 1940 and the tone is just monstrous compared to those. The tuners and a back brace have been replaced sometime in it's history.

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