Martin Ukulele Owners Club

On a slightly twist -

Does anybody own (or has read) the book: 'The Martin Ukulele: The Little Instrument That Helped Create a Guitar Giant' by Walsh & King? I have been thinking of picking up a copy and wondered if anyone else found it interesting, useful, informative, etc?
I have used that book more than any other, it is a good reference for production numbers, dating and researching tuners, saddles and nuts for restoring Martins. Also a great rundown on the Ukulele history with Martin. Well worth $30
 
Okay boys and girls, here is potentially an odd one . . .

Today I added Martin uke #6 to my collection, an OX bamboo soprano. Long story short, this little guy holds up very, VERY well when compared to all of its other made in Mexico cousins that have come out in recent years . . . and for $200 used, it was an absolute steal!

New here is the odd part - there is no Martin label on the inside of the uke (perhaps it fell off at some point?), and it has a black headstock, which is unlike any other OX bamboo that I have ever seen. To my eyes it certainly looks and feels like a legit Martin, but I will leave it up to those of you who are much more knowledgeable about Martin ukes than I am to give me your views - but I can't help but wonder if this ukulele might have started off its life as some sort of sample/prototype . . . or are there others like it out there that I just haven't laid my eyes on?

Thanks.

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Can't help you there, Mike, but I just wanted to say hello! I really like your CD too. It's like having a friend in the truck! This forum is so interesting I cannot believe it!
 
Top looks different than the sides in this picture. The stock pictures show the top, back and sides are all the same material. here is a picture of the first three they release. They released a "Natural" model the following year. Can't explain the headstock though...



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Yes, that is the other odd thing about this uke . . . the top is a natural color, while the sides and back are the greenish color. The good thing is that I actually much prefer the black headstock to the greenish one that I have seen everywhere else, so I guess I lucked out with the aesthetics.

Again, it all seems legit . . . but very odd.
 
I was lucky enough to discover a 1968 Martin style 1 Tenor in new condition. It has the original case and the price tags still attached along with sets of extra strings. I was thinking of getting the IZ commemorative tenor when this came along, and I thought "How about getting the exact same kind of Martin that Iz had from the same year." The cost for the tenor in 1968 was $125 and the case was $45. it is in perfect condition and because of that, I really do not play it. I tried it, as one would do in a store, and loved it, but I don't play it. I keep it humidified and take it out to dust it.
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Thats amazing. I have such conflicting thoughts about that. On the one hand, it's in museum quality condition, what an amazing piece of history to preserve. On the other hand, I say play the dang thing. It's what it's made for and as a tribute to the talented hands that made it. That said, I would also have a very hard time playing it.
 
Thats amazing. I have such conflicting thoughts about that. On the one hand, it's in museum quality condition, what an amazing piece of history to preserve. On the other hand, I say play the dang thing. It's what it's made for and as a tribute to the talented hands that made it. That said, I would also have a very hard time playing it.
exactly!!!

I sold a 1945 Martin tenor with some wear and no cracks to help pay for this one. I want that 1945 back to play- lol. I have been looking for a vintage tenor to play. it does not need to be in great physical condition. it just needs to sound good and not be too expensive. This 1968 sounds amazing so every time I take it out to check its condition and to clean it, I play it a bit. It is such an incredible ukulele. So easy to play with a fantastic sound. it is one of the best that I own. I have a few KoAloha, a Kamaka, and Kanile'a. this Martin is up there with my best.
 
Re the OX bamboo, I’d email Martin to ask them. Maybe it’s a weird one-off prototype, or mistake that somehow slipped out the door. I once had a factory mistake when I bought a Martin Centennial soprano from an online dealer, and got a natural bamboo OX, with a numbered Centennial label inside.
 
FYI - I just posted my 1950's Martin Style O soprano on the marketplace. It is a beauty! I just prefer a tenor.

 

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I want to show off my newest addition. I was lucky enough to come across this style 3 from a local family that was cleaning out their daughters room after she moved away and told them they could get rid of all the stuff she left behind. I wasn’t able to determine where the daughter may have gotten it from. It’s in really really good shape. No repairs or cracks. Some small dings here and there but for a 100ish year old instrument is in amazing condition. I’ve got new strings on the way. If anyone has advise on how to store this puppy please let me know. I don’t plan to keep it locked away. I’ll be playing it a ton. But I’d like to keep it healthy too. Also, can anyone help me put a date to it? Based on other listings I’ve seen online I’m guessing 1920s-1930s but wonder if it’s possible to zero in on something more accurate.
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I picked the style 3 up because it was an absolute steal, but the longer I own it the more I feel Ill suited to be it’s custodian. It’s in really good shape and I don’t want to be the one to damage such a cool historical instrument. I don’t think I’d feel that way with a modern instrument of the same monetary value. Just some weird morning thoughts.
 
I don’t think I’d feel that way with a modern instrument of the same monetary value

I treat my instruments and belongings according to their inherent capability to enrichen my life, by using them and looking at them.

Almost no thought of value but then I repair/restore things and ADD value to them or keep them from the skip
 
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One thing im curious about. I notice on the style 3 the neck is suuuuper thin at the nut, and I sort of love it. I also own a modern S1 uke and its just a tad more chunky at the nut and im finding I prefer the thinner neck much more. Is this a common trait on vintage Martins? And are there any modern makers that have a neck that is also this delicate and thin?
 
One thing im curious about. I notice on the style 3 the neck is suuuuper thin at the nut, and I sort of love it. I also own a modern S1 uke and its just a tad more chunky at the nut and im finding I prefer the thinner neck much more. Is this a common trait on vintage Martins? And are there any modern makers that have a neck that is also this delicate and thin?
Dave Talsma's Ditson copies have a neck JUST as described.
 
I picked the style 3 up because it was an absolute steal, but the longer I own it the more I feel Ill suited to be it’s custodian. It’s in really good shape and I don’t want to be the one to damage such a cool historical instrument. I don’t think I’d feel that way with a modern instrument of the same monetary value. Just some weird morning thoughts.
Nothing in this world lasts forever. Instruments are made to be played. You are fortunate to have found a great one. Have fun and enjoy playing it and even dinging it up if it comes to that.
 
I just want to share a word of warning to any Martin uke owners with the bright golden embossed logo on the headstock. Some clip on tuners can easily remove this logo as the logo seems to be simply adhered on the outside of the varnish easily knocked off. This has happened to me on my T1K where the two 3’s in the 1833 have come away, one I found stuck to the rubber on the underside of the tuner clamp and alas the other has vanished.
 
Doing something about the logo Ernie could be seen as an admission of failure by Martin.
Is the use of the cheap ($33/set) plastic GraphTech tuners on Martin’s FSC Concert uke another rabbit hole? With a price tag of $2400 one would think the FSC Concert would come with tuners like those on the 5K Soprano except with black buttons not white.
I hope Martin’s ukulele side of the business is not going down the same route as Kodak did when they refused to embrace digitalisation of photography. With fear of this being taken the wrong way (and I have no issue with keeping some standard lines of ukuleles) I do think Martin can do better than coming up with compressed particle board and green washing to excite their fans as there is some pretty smart and creative competition in the ukulele world out there….
 
Is the use of the cheap ($33/set) plastic GraphTech tuners on Martin’s FSC Concert uke another rabbit hole? With a price tag of $2400 one would think the FSC Concert would come with tuners like those on the 5K Soprano except with black buttons not white.
I agree with you. Using Graph Tech plastic tuners on the FSC just isn’t right. I expect better than that from Martin.
It’s a grievous value mismatch.
 
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