C. F. Martin Style 3K Soprano Ukulele , c. 1928

C. F. Martin  Style 3K Soprano Ukulele ,  c. 1928
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Item # 9736
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C. F. Martin Style 3K Model Soprano Ukulele, c. 1928, made in Nazareth, PA, natural finish, Koa body, mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, black chipboard case.

This is a beautiful and very fine sounding Martin Style 3K ukulele from the later 1920's, with dramatic flame-grained koa on the top, sides and back. This Style 3K was the original top of the line Martin ukulele until the advent of the pearl-trimmed Model 5-K in 1923. This koa wood Style 3-K was still a very fancy and expensive ukulele when it was built in the later 1920's, and one of the finest ever made to this day.

Martin's Style 3 ukuleles have some unique decorative features including 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. It is finished in the thin later '20s style ambered lacquer and has metal shaft friction pegs with a toothed button used at that time. The original bar frets remain in excellent condition. The 3K listed at $30.00 in the later 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 clean and all original uke overall, 90+ years old and showing very little playwear. There are some small dings and dents and light water spots on headstock face, but the only really notable finish issue is the top shows markings from where a Flamenco-style clear pickguard (or something similar) was once attached and then removed. This resulted in some minor distortion to the top finish which has been well polished out but is still visible, especially if the instrument is held to the light at an angle. In actual playing situations this would be hardly noticeable.

The uke is remarkably crack free, with just one small check mark to the koa back in the lower waist area. It plays and sounds excellent with the typical superb koa Martin tone, rich and incisive at the same time. Despite the small issue with the top finish this is a super attractive uke, and a superb player's instrument. It resides in an older heavy chipboard case with some old Senorita brand strings as a keepsake. Excellent - Condition.