1920s Martin 1K Koa Soprano Ukulele

This is a customer's uke that I bullied the owner into leaving to make sure a couple cracks on the top got cleats. I did him the extra favor (on the house) of lightly leveling the frets, restringing, and setting it up, too. I didn't want to see this thing go sour over time from storage without true repairs -- it's not like the koa-wood version of antique Martin style 1s are growing on trees, you know!

At a glance, you might think this a regular mahogany Martin with a redder tinge to the finish -- but that's just because the grain is fairly plain for koa. I knew right away, but I think it was a pleasant surprise for the owner.

That aside -- these older Martins, with their rosewood bindings, sure are classy little beauts, aren't they?

I'm certain that, while period, these are not the original pegs. This probably wore wood ones when it was built.

The neck, by the way, is mahogany, the nut and saddle are ebony, and the board is rosewood, per usual Martin fare.

The hairline cracks on the top are hard to see, but they shoot south from the soundhole on the treble side and near the center. Someone shot them with glue in the past but they weren't cleated, so I did the latter to make sure they'd stay in place.

The pegs are, however, nice old period ones with spring-loaded housings that -- more or less -- make tuning-up a bit smoother.

There are also a couple of old, with-grain, side hairline crack repairs.

1 comment:

Kevin Crowell said...

I have one of these and I LOVE it. I only wish I could find one with a concert scale.

That said, my little lovely has a "bite" to the sound that is exquisite. There's really nothing like these old Martins, especially after 90+ years.