5/25/2017

1950s Martin Style 0 Soprano Ukulele





It's hard to beat a Martin soprano for its classic, sweet, "standard ukulele" sound. It's like the Fender Stratocaster of the uke world -- an excellent design that's quality-built, works for all sorts of styles and is practical as well. The thin, C-shaped neck profile and wider nut and longer (than the 13" standard) scale make it stand-out from other ukes and just like the 14-fret Martin flattops of the 30s became the "new modern guitar," these ukes eventually became the "new modern uke" template ever since they hit the scene in their 20s form. This one is either a late 40s or early 50s uke and it came in via a customer for repair.

Work included re-repair (cleating, mostly) of an old side crack, a very light fret level/dress, install of some new Gotoh geared pegs, and setup. It's playing on-the-dot at 1/16" at the 12th fret and strung with Martin fluorocarbon strings. Aside from the tuners, it's all-original.



The specs are as-usual for a style 0 -- unbound body, solid mahogany body, top, and neck, rosewood fretboard, mahogany bridge, and ebony nut and saddle.




If you look closely you can see the tiny slots I've cut in the saddle to lower the action just a tad to 1/16" standard. Otherwise it'd be up over 3/32" and the feel would be a hair stiff.




One nice thing about the aluminum-housed Gotoh UPTs is that they can "fake it" for old tuners since there's no shiny, chrome-plated bits on them.




2 comments:

Chuck said...

Interesting, I've never seen slots cut in a saddle to lower the action. Did you consider lowering the height of the saddle in other ways to maintain the "standard" shape?

Jake Wildwood said...

Unless I pointed it out, no one would notice I'd done it at all, most likely.

It's more like they're notched half-way into the saddle than really below the top profile of it.