C. F. Martin Style 3 Soprano Ukulele (1925)

C. F. Martin  Style 3 Soprano Ukulele  (1925)
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Item # 11101
Prices subject to change without notice.
C. F. Martin Style 3 Model Soprano Ukulele (1925), made in Nazareth, PA, natural finish, Mahogany body, mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, black gig bag case.

This is a very fine playing and sounding Martin Style 3 ukulele from the middle of the 1920's. The Style 3 was offered in mahogany or Koa (as the Model 3K) as the original top of the line Martin ukulele until the advent of the pearl-trimmed Model 5-K in 1923. This Style 3 was still a fancy and fairly expensive ukulele when it was built in the 1920's, and one of the finest ever made to this day.

Martin's Style 3 ukuleles have some unique decorative features that stand out from the crowd. These include a celluloid ornament at the base of the body and the multiple celluloid center stripe down the center of the fingerboard with small pearl diamonds for position inlays. The body is 7-ply bound front and 3-ply back with a multi-ply celluloid soundhole ring; the nut and saddle are bone. This one is finished in the transitional '20s style, when the company was switching from hand-rubbed Varnish to sprayed lacquer. There is some clouding on the top and especially the back (which is fairly heavy) that is unfortunately typical of this period, when Martin was still learning how to apply the new finish properly.

The tuners are the metal shaft Grover friction pegs with a flanged shaft over the button used at that time. The original bar frets remain in excellent condition. The 3M listed at $27.50 in the mid-1920's, which was quite expensive for a uke; a pretty good guitar could be had for that price! The model sold in much smaller quantities than the less expensive Style 0's and 1's and is far rarer today. This is a lovely if not perfect example and a wonderful players instrument by any standard.
Overall length is 20 3/4 in. (52.7 cm.), 6 3/8 in. (16.2 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 2 1/4 in. (5.7 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 13 3/4 in. (349 mm.). Width of nut is 1 7/16 in. (36 mm.).

This is a nicely original uke overall, 95+ years old and showing very little playwear, mostly just the finish clouding noted above. There are some small dings, scratches and dents but the only really notable finish issue is the moderate clouding to the top and sides, and fairly heavy clouding on the back. This is a product of the transition in finishing techniques at Martin; the body has a lacquer coat over the varnish undercoat and the blending is inexact; this is still an exceptionally thin finish and not a later overspray. The neck is not affected, the finish there is entirely varnish.

Apart from one neatly sealed grain split to the upper back the uke is crack free. It plays and sounds excellent with the typical superb Martin tone, rich and incisive at the same time. Despite the ancient issues with the finish this is a super attractive uke, and a superb player's instrument. It resides in a modern gig bag. Overall Excellent - Condition.