The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

C F Martin Style 1 Soprano Ukulele, 1917

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Here’s something special – a century old C F Martin Style 1 Soprano ukulele, built during the uke’s first rise in popularity. Eventually, the Ukulele became so popular that Martin had to expand their production facility.

The Ukulele started to gain attention in the early years of the 20th century, and C F Martin made a few examples around 1906. However, these were built more like guitars and the relatively heavy bracing did not work well. In 1916, the company launched a new version with traditionally lighter construction and these were well received. The first 200 or so had serial numbers, but by July 18 1916 this practice ended. Dating on the subsequent models is based on the visible features.

The Style 1, 2 and 3 were the first models produced in 1916, though these did not appear in price lists or catalogues until 1918. The Style 1 has basic adornment and uses an all Mahogany body and neck, with Brazilian Rosewood for the fingerboard. The frets are bar style, with no difference between the tang and bead. On the earliest models, the nut, saddle and bridge were boxwood, and alter the bridge was Mahogany. The Mahogany top of the Style 1 has thin Rosewood binding, with a thin black/white purfling. In 1918, the fingerboard gained small dot position markers. In 1920, Koa models became available.

We’re dating this C F Martin Style 1 Soprano ukulele example to 1917. Its lack of a serial number puts its construction after July 18 1916, and its lack of dot position markers limits it to pre-1918. It features the Martin stamp impressed on the back of the head and on the inside of the back, visible through the soundhole.

This C F Martin Style 1 Soprano Ukulele is in good playing condition. It’s definitely been used as intended, with fingertip wear on the treble side of the top’s upper bout. There is a crack in the back, and as well a dent that has not gone through. The friction tuning pegs are original and made of Brazilian Mahogany. It plays nicely and has a sweet, rich tone.

A modern Crossrock hard shell case is included.


 

Price: $1100 CAD
  • Model: Style 1 Soprano Ukulele
  • Year: 1917
  • Finish Gloss
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: N/A
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 31/01/2019

  • Consignment Item

  • Required CITIES documentation
  • Including Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: .55lbs .25kg
  • Scale Length: 350mm 13.75in
  • Nut Width: 35mm 1.38in
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