C. F. Martin Style 1 Soprano Ukulele , c. 1920

C. F. Martin  Style 1 Soprano Ukulele ,  c. 1920

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Item # 8315
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C. F. Martin Style 1 Model Soprano Ukulele, c. 1920, made in Nazareth, PA, dark mahogany finish, mahogany body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, black gig bag case.

This is a well-worn but great-sounding example of an very early 1920s Martin Style 1 ukulele. Although by Martin standards these were a fairly inexpensive instrument (originally retailing in the $12 range), they are built to the highest Martin 1920s standard and are considered easily amongst the best-sounding ukuleles ever manufactured.

The Style 1 is a simple design with a natural mahogany finish and no ornament beyond 3-ply wooden top binding and sound hole ring and three dots on the fingerboard. This early model retains the maple nut and saddle of the first Martin ukes, replaced not long after with ebony.

The tuners are modern metal friction pegs with black plastic buttons, an often-seen substitution for the wooden violin-style pegs Martin provided at the time. Many early 1920s Martin ukes have since been fitted with similar pegs, as for most folks they are generally much easier to tune. This uke plays very well and has a lovely tone.
 
Overall length is 20 3/4 in. (52.7 cm.), 6 1/4 in. (15.9 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 2 5/16 in. (5.9 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 13 5/8 in. (346 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/8 in. (35 mm.).

Long ago someone must have loved this ukulele, and played it...a LOT! It remains all original except for the tuning pegs as noted above but shows quite a bit of wear, most notably to the face where some of the very thin varnish finish has been simply strummed away up near the fingerboard. The rest of the finish shows general wear as well, including to the back edges, a noticeable scrape behind the bridge, and an odd patched brushed-in spot on the upper side.

There is a small repair to the back lower edge where it took a bit of a hit long ago and several sealed grain cracks to the back. Despite this catalog of woe the uke plays perfectly and sounds simply swell, as they would have said when it was new. A lovely player's instrument still and a testament to just how well C.F. Martin & Co. built everything they put their name on. Very Good + Condition.