NUsD - Pair of Martin Becks

Veritas99

UU VIP
UU VIP
Joined
Mar 11, 2021
Messages
343
Reaction score
619
Location
Virginia
A little over a year ago, after watching Baz give a Martin Beck ukulele his highest score to date, I reached out to Martin about the possibility of making a matched set of ukuleles for myself and my wife. That email kicked off a year-long process that finally concluded with the two amazing ukuleles pictured below. We had a few key requests for the build, namely my wife wanted a hummingbird inlay and UPTs to avoid "ears," I wanted a redwood top, and we both wanted high g.

Martin was great to work with, providing photos of multiple wood options when we were deciding on the build. He normally only uses wood he's had in his shop for at least 5-6 years, but he didn't have any redwood. Fortunately, he managed to source some from a trusted friend (who had been saving it in their shop for over 18 years). After putting down a deposit, we had to wait a bit as he as about a 12 month waitlist, but in the end that was good because it helped keep my UAS in check (mostly) knowing what was coming. As we got closer to our build, he started providing regular updates, including 50+ photos during the build process. I've included a few of the build photos too.

Other than size and inlay design, the ukuleles are virtually identical. Both have one-piece redwood tops cut from the same board, master grade flamed claro walnut backs & sides, ebony faceplates, fingerboards, and bridges, with bloodwood binding. We stuck with more of the walnut and bloodwood (and a strip of abalone) for the sound hole inlay. The necks are from one piece of mahogany, reinforced with carbon fiber. Martin used sitka spruce for the X-bracing, Worth clears for strings, and finished the ukes with a French polish. As a coincidence, the ukes match perfectly with the high quality hard cases he provides.

A uke may look great, but that doesn't matter much if it doesn't have the sound to match. Fortunately, these ukuleles have a sound that may even exceed their looks. My tenor has a warm, rich sound with a volume that exceeded my already high expectations. Individual notes ring loud and clear, particularly on the A string, and the amount of sustain is absurd. Intonation up the neck is perfect. I will say that my A & G strings are very close to the edge of the fretboard, similar to the spacing on a Kamaka, and will take a little practice to avoid pulling the A string off the edge like I occasionally do with my Kamaka. My wife hasn't let me play her concert yet, since its her new baby, but assures me that it sounds lovely and already "joked" about needing a low G from him as well. I will try to add a sound sample at some point, but things are never quiet enough now that my 6 year old is off from school for the rest of the year.

Overall, I really can't recommend Martin enough. He's great to work with, produces amazing ukuleles, and whatever recognition his work has gotten from Baz's reviews or Matt at World of Ukes, he deserves more.
 

Attachments

  • 20221213_150111-(reduced).jpg
    20221213_150111-(reduced).jpg
    375.5 KB · Views: 68
  • 20221213_150159-(reduced).jpg
    20221213_150159-(reduced).jpg
    422.2 KB · Views: 66
  • 20221217_213318-(reduced).jpg
    20221217_213318-(reduced).jpg
    465.1 KB · Views: 55
  • IMG_1921-(reduced).jpg
    IMG_1921-(reduced).jpg
    368.9 KB · Views: 52
  • 20221213_144707-(reduced).jpg
    20221213_144707-(reduced).jpg
    556.7 KB · Views: 54
  • IMG_1620-(reduced).jpg
    IMG_1620-(reduced).jpg
    426.3 KB · Views: 54
  • IMG_1842-(reduced).jpg
    IMG_1842-(reduced).jpg
    402.4 KB · Views: 52
  • IMG_1833-(reduced).jpg
    IMG_1833-(reduced).jpg
    311.9 KB · Views: 73
They turned out lovely! Can't wait to hear how they sound. Just got my Martin Beck yesterday, and I am very pleased.
 
So beautiful....individually and as a pair. Congratulations!
 
What a gorgeous matched pair! I like the choices both of you made and the wait was worth it.

Enjoy them and we await any sound samples you can provide.
 
What a pair of ukes. Congratulations for both of you!

I'm lucky enough to own a Martin Beck as well, one of his "basic" models with spruce and rosewood. Even though I have quite a few really nice ukes it's quite easily my best one. The playability and tone are just incredible, and the looks are to die for. I love the swirly asymmetric soundhole rosette and the different headstock inlays he makes. Massively underrated luthier. I'm glad he's getting some recognition after Baz's reviews.
 
Those are gorgeous. I love that you ordered matching his and hers ukes 🥰 One day I'd love to book a shop visit with Martin, he lives just a couple of hours up Island from us!
Based on the background of the build photos, I imagine it smells amazing. If you get a chance, please document it for us!
 
@frets alot @Spicysteve @rainbow21 - Thanks, hoping to get some time later this week to make a short sound sample.

@Dohle - I wouldn't call yours "basic," it looked and sounded lovely in Matt's samples! And I agree he's underrated. He's been making instruments for 25 years, not really sure how he's flown under the radar for so long. Need to get Andrew at TUS to feature him on a podcast to really blow him up!
 
A little over a year ago, after watching Baz give a Martin Beck ukulele his highest score to date, I reached out to Martin about the possibility of making a matched set of ukuleles for myself and my wife. That email kicked off a year-long process that finally concluded with the two amazing ukuleles pictured below. We had a few key requests for the build, namely my wife wanted a hummingbird inlay and UPTs to avoid "ears," I wanted a redwood top, and we both wanted high g.

Martin was great to work with, providing photos of multiple wood options when we were deciding on the build. He normally only uses wood he's had in his shop for at least 5-6 years, but he didn't have any redwood. Fortunately, he managed to source some from a trusted friend (who had been saving it in their shop for over 18 years). After putting down a deposit, we had to wait a bit as he as about a 12 month waitlist, but in the end that was good because it helped keep my UAS in check (mostly) knowing what was coming. As we got closer to our build, he started providing regular updates, including 50+ photos during the build process. I've included a few of the build photos too.

Other than size and inlay design, the ukuleles are virtually identical. Both have one-piece redwood tops cut from the same board, master grade flamed claro walnut backs & sides, ebony faceplates, fingerboards, and bridges, with bloodwood binding. We stuck with more of the walnut and bloodwood (and a strip of abalone) for the sound hole inlay. The necks are from one piece of mahogany, reinforced with carbon fiber. Martin used sitka spruce for the X-bracing, Worth clears for strings, and finished the ukes with a French polish. As a coincidence, the ukes match perfectly with the high quality hard cases he provides.

A uke may look great, but that doesn't matter much if it doesn't have the sound to match. Fortunately, these ukuleles have a sound that may even exceed their looks. My tenor has a warm, rich sound with a volume that exceeded my already high expectations. Individual notes ring loud and clear, particularly on the A string, and the amount of sustain is absurd. Intonation up the neck is perfect. I will say that my A & G strings are very close to the edge of the fretboard, similar to the spacing on a Kamaka, and will take a little practice to avoid pulling the A string off the edge like I occasionally do with my Kamaka. My wife hasn't let me play her concert yet, since its her new baby, but assures me that it sounds lovely and already "joked" about needing a low G from him as well. I will try to add a sound sample at some point, but things are never quiet enough now that my 6 year old is off from school for the rest of the year.

Overall, I really can't recommend Martin enough. He's great to work with, produces amazing ukuleles, and whatever recognition his work has gotten from Baz's reviews or Matt at World of Ukes, he deserves more.
Wow, just wow! Love the rosette, headstock inlays, side sound port and wood combos. Beautiful but not blingy. He went on my list after Baz’s review as well… Congrats!
 
My apologies for the quality (both in terms of audio and my playing). For some reason, the mic wasn't working well with my computer so I had to record to my iPad using GarageBand for the first time. On playback, everything sounds more muted than in real life. Not sure if it was an issue with the settings or mic distance or what, but you may need to listen with the volume up. Either way, I assure you they sound better in person than the samples...

 
Top Bottom