1920s Martin-made 1K Soprano Ukulele

While unmarked, this is clearly an early-20s Martin 1K complete with rosewood/maple binding and koa-bodied build. Being a Martin koa uke, I would've expected wood pegs to have been installed but this one sports mid-20s friction pegs. Who knows if they're original, though? Pegs on ukes get swapped-out all the time. I can't help but think that this might be just one in a long line of ukes Martin made for other retailers.

It's a customer's uke and it's a lovely-sounding critter with that typical Martin lilt plus a bit more volume and sparkle than their usual mahogany-bodied sopranos. The uke itself has the more "rounded" edging on all of its surfaces and a slightly stiffer-feeling build per 1920s specs. This doesn't hurt the voicing, however.

Work on this uke included cleating/repairing three hairline top cracks, a light saddle shave/string ramping, and a light fret level/dress. One back brace (the lower one) was also reglued as it was a little loose.

Aside from the hairline cracks, this uke is awfully clean. The rosewood board looks great! These are the usual bar frets from the time and have a tallish, thin feel.

I love the wood binding on the 20s Martin ukes (and guitars, for that matter).

Rather than pull the bridge and shave height off of the bottom and then reglue to attain better action, the customer decided to simply have the saddle reprofiled a little lower. Action, after work, is nearly spot on at just a hair-above 1/16" at the 12th fret.

A fella just can't argue with koa's looks (and sound).

The 20s friction pegs are still going strong. Note that the neck is mahogany rather than koa.


Paul said…
I hope it is played and enjoyed !

Paul S.