New Martins vs Old Martins

On a very old Martin, isn't that soft fretboard edge the result of years of play? Can't believe they were rolling fretboard edges that many years ago? I could of course be wrong.
 
Great observation Ryan. MGM's blind sound tests enforces the very subjective nature of preferences. I believe "Gems" can be found in any brand of uke. I also read somewhere that over a period of time, the molecular structure of the wood changes from vibration and climate effects. Thus, will most likely sound better over time.
 
On a very old Martin, isn't that soft fretboard edge the result of years of play? Can't believe they were rolling fretboard edges that many years ago? I could of course be wrong.

My 50s soprano and 60s baritone both have rolled / rounded fretboard edges. It was clear that this was done at the factory, because the rounded edges extend to the base of the fretboard.
 
Fair enough - cool that they were doing that. My Kanile'a has slightly rolled edges.

Only other instrument I have with rolled edges is a USA deluxe Strat. Man - that is a nice addition to a fingerboard!
 
Fair enough - cool that they were doing that. My Kanile'a has slightly rolled edges.

Only other instrument I have with rolled edges is a USA deluxe Strat. Man - that is a nice addition to a fingerboard!

When you receive your Martin T1K you will be pleased by the comfort of the rounded soundboard edges.
 
I too had the chance to play all the new Martins recently.
Whereas you can still see/feel/hear the pedigree in a Martin uke that was made as late as the 1990's, these new ukes seem to come from a different maker altogether?!
I wonder what happened at Martin??
I much prefer the old ones.
 
Of course there are bad examples of any uke, but I get the feeling that some people just don't want to like them.
 
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Paul - that is what I am getting from a host of entries all over the web. Thats one of the reasons I bought one. Will let you know.

I am sure there are vintage Martins that may sound better, but that is subjective, and the wood has had 50 years to age. For me - I just have zero interest in buying a vintage one and the hassle that entails. Therefore for me the new ones are the ONLY choice. Plus, I picked mine up, solid Koa Tenor, lovely looking finish for £380 - a good price I think for that level of craftsmanship and solid Koa. Sure, it isnt a $1000 dollar vintage, but as I say, I know that and dont want a vintage.
 
Of course there are bad examples of any uke, but I get the feeling that some people just don't want to like them.
I owned a Martin D35 guitar and loved it. Simply stunning build, sound and action. It was almost too good for my roustabout ways where instruments got banged about. I have the highest respect for Martin instruments. I simply felt the sound of their ukuleles didn't live up to the reputation their guitars have made for the company.
 
I too had the chance to play all the new Martins recently.
Whereas you can still see/feel/hear the pedigree in a Martin uke that was made as late as the 1990's, these new ukes seem to come from a different maker altogether?!
I wonder what happened at Martin??
I much prefer the old ones.

Maybe they ought to try making the D-shape again. :drool:
 
I've been following this thread and finally got out my Martins to check them out. I have 3 , a 1930's style 1 , a 50's style O and a 1990's
SO . Each sounds different but they all sound great. The SO has Aquila's on it and the other two have M600's but the SO sounds really good, I don't understand why some people don't like them. It is well built, sounds great and it feels a little heavier built so I don't mind really wailing on it ,it's a sturdy uke. I doesnt look as nice as the vintage ukes but it is a great uke and it sounds great. It's a really loud uke when you want it to be .
 
Now that I'm the lucky owner of a 1950's Style 1 (as of this morning), I thought I'd weigh in, instead of just following along. The uke is stunning. Not just in fit and finish, but the sound is magical. It's hard to describe, it's deep and it rings clear. It really is a joy to play. The rounded fretboard is very comfortable and smooth as butter. I have not played the new Martins, so I can't compare it, but right now I have to say it's without comparison.
 
I've been following this thread and finally got out my Martins to check them out. I have 3 , a 1930's style 1 , a 50's style O and a 1990's
SO . Each sounds different but they all sound great. The SO has Aquila's on it and the other two have M600's but the SO sounds really good, I don't understand why some people don't like them. It is well built, sounds great and it feels a little heavier built so I don't mind really wailing on it ,it's a sturdy uke. I doesnt look as nice as the vintage ukes but it is a great uke and it sounds great. It's a really loud uke when you want it to be .
I forgot to add that I played a new S1 and I thought it sounded alot like my SO but I dont like the extended fretboard , I like 12 frets.
 
I’ve got 2 50’s style o Ukes they both sound great and both sound about the same. I’ve got a 2011 s2 USA Martin. I love it. Got a s1 I like it. Both the style 0,s and the s2. Are super ukes I prefer to play the s2 the most. The s1 is not up to par with the others. Gets a little tinny as u go down the neck. But it’s great too. Better than any of the 4 vintage kamaka’s I’ve had.My take is. I don’t want my s2 to sound like a vintage Martin 50 years from now. I love the way it sounds now. But it probably will. But I won’t be around anyway. They should sound good a new USA Martin soprano will cost u over 2 grand now. That’s the Konter uke. Can’t even get a mahogany.
 
Wow another ancient thread but may be worthwhile updating how newer Martins of the last 10 years stack up. I have some friends who play newer Martin ukes and they all sound very nice to me. I think that the basic ones are quite similar to other mass produced ukes in that price area, but haven't experience one of the 1k plus models yet. As for the old Martins I had opportunity to play I found that the plain mahogany ones all sounded fantastic, and seemed to be in better playable shape than the Hawaiian built ones of similar age. But these were all in uke stores and likely were not representative of what's available from private sellers online.
 
I prefer to play the s2 the most. The s1 is not up to par with the others. Gets a little tinny as u go down the neck. But it’s great too. Better than any of the 4 vintage kamaka’s I’ve had.My take is. I don’t want my s2 to sound like a vintage Martin 50 years from now. I love the way it sounds now. But it probably will. But I won’t be around anyway. They should sound good a new USA Martin soprano will cost u over 2 grand now. That’s the Konter uke. Can’t even get a mahogany.
I have the S2 and love it too. I gave my S1 away after I got my S2. I only needed the S2 and its great sound. I also have a Konter and I will do a review of it one day. Just been too lazy. I have lots of the new Martins. They just have their own sound.
 
Talk about "lightly built". What are the weights of say 20s, 50s and 00s Martins?

I have a HS-O soprano which supposedly is a copy of a 20s Martin but it sounds terrible compared to my 3 Italian built and 2 China built ukuleles.

It weighs 370g my Italian 400g

I don't know which strings are on it however. They could be the originals from the 80s.
 
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Not sure if OP question about actual design differences were addressed. Some things I can think of :
Original ukes were all soprano sized with single piece tops and no bracing. Are modern Martins the same size, do they have bookmatched or single piece tops, and do they have bracing?
 
No bracing on the tops? I always thought they had 2 top braces, one above the soundhole, and one below? Unfortunately, I don't presently have one to check.
I haven't read the Martin uke book, but I thought that bracing for ukes was introduced with the Martin taropatch models. Wonder if they also started two piece tops for those as well.
 
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