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Early 1900’s Martin Soprano uke
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Author:  bcombs510 [ Wed Oct 24, 2018 9:14 am ]
Post subject:  Early 1900’s Martin Soprano uke

Hello,

I have a Martin Soprano uke where the bridge came off. There are also some spots on the back that need addressed.

For the bridge, from what I can tell the string slots themselves are still in good shape, but there is a chunk of the bridge that is gone.

I’m looking for thoughts / recommendations on the bridge. Clean it up and glue it back down with HHG? Or should I try to recreate it? The only real issue I can tell is the chuck missing on the backside.

Image

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For the back I think just thin some HHG and clamp? Seems pretty straight forward.

Image

Brad


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Author:  DanKirkland [ Wed Oct 24, 2018 9:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Early 1900’s Martin Soprano uke

Might want to replace that bridge, after a while they just get extremely worn out.

For the back you can easily clamp with hot hide glue. one thing you might try as well is adding a little heat to help the wood lay back down flat. I've just used a soldering iron with a little wet cloth to spot steam these back down in the past. Either way it's a straightforward fix.

Author:  Frank Ford [ Wed Oct 24, 2018 9:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Early 1900’s Martin Soprano uke

Time for a new bridge.

Author:  bcombs510 [ Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Early 1900’s Martin Soprano uke

I was really trying to avoid making a new bridge for it. :) But... time to learn something new I guess!!

Author:  DanKirkland [ Wed Oct 24, 2018 7:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Early 1900’s Martin Soprano uke

bcombs510 wrote:
I was really trying to avoid making a new bridge for it. :) But... time to learn something new I guess!!


Uke bridges are insanely simple compared to a regular guitar bridge. That advantage you have is that you have the original, shouldn't be too much trouble to make a replacement with that to copy the design.

Author:  profchris [ Thu Oct 25, 2018 4:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Early 1900’s Martin Soprano uke

That bridge doesn't look right to me, at least for Martin ukes made from the 1920s onwards (and Martin only started making ukes in 1917). The front and sides should be rounded, not scalloped, and the saddle should be a separate drop-in (and probably ebony).

However, your bridge does look pretty old, so it might be worth some research in case Martin made a few oddballs. However, the 1917 pamphlet (you can find a copy here: http://www.ukulelemag.com/stories/marti ... es-history) looks like the same as the 20s style, though the resolution is too poor to be certain, but it definitely shows a drop in saddle.

Ken Timms makes stunningly accurate (and excellent) reproductions of the Martin 20s Style 0, and a quick web search will find you dozens of useful images. You'll see that the shape is extremely simple to make.

Author:  bcombs510 [ Thu Oct 25, 2018 5:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Early 1900’s Martin Soprano uke

Thanks, Chris. I picked up the John King book to do some research. So far I only know what the owner thought which was early 20’s - 30’s but they weren’t sure.

Thanks for the references.

Brad


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Author:  profchris [ Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Early 1900’s Martin Soprano uke

Show us a few more pics and we might be able to suggest a date range. On the seam separation the back looks a little thick for an early Martin, maybe more like 1950s/60s production, but hard to tell without seeing the whole instrument from several angles.

Certainly worth fixing, whenever it was made!

Author:  bcombs510 [ Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Early 1900’s Martin Soprano uke

profchris wrote:
Show us a few more pics and we might be able to suggest a date range. On the seam separation the back looks a little thick for an early Martin, maybe more like 1950s/60s production, but hard to tell without seeing the whole instrument from several angles.

Certainly worth fixing, whenever it was made!



Here are some pics. From what I can tell it’s a style 0, but I don’t see anything else to give me a clue on timing. Any details I can give that will help?

If anyone has one from this era with the original bridge and can give some dimensions I would highly appreciate it.

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Author:  Freeman [ Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Early 1900’s Martin Soprano uke

Here are some pictures of mine. It does not have the stamping on the back of the peg head or inside the sound hole like yours.

Attachment:
IMG_4892.JPG


Attachment:
IMG_4893.JPG


Attachment:
IMG_4894.JPG


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IMG_4896.JPG


I don't know the exact year but I always thought it was around 1030. Style 0.

There is a little anecdote associated with it. I got a call from my dear old dad one day, he said he was an a estate sale and there was this little Martin instrument. I asked him to describe it, he said it was pretty small and all redish brown and real old - did I want it? Thinking probably an 00-17 which I dearly coveted I said "how much". He said "it'll cost you lunch".

A few days later we had lunch and he presented me with the little uke. Lunch was good.

Author:  bcombs510 [ Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Early 1900’s Martin Soprano uke

Thanks, Freeman. I picked up an “Early Martin Soprano” plan from Elderly that has the bridge dimensions. I think I will have to make a new one.

I talked to a guy who is well versed in dating these and he thought late 20’s early 30’s given the stamp on the back of the headstock and the tuners.

I will build a bridge and see how it looks. I may have to try my hand at relic’ing. :)


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Author:  bcombs510 [ Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Early 1900’s Martin Soprano uke

What about maybe buying this and using the bridge from it? I'm hesitant to make a new bridge because it will stick out like a sore thumb. :)

https://www.ebay.com/i/233170589783?ul_noapp=true

How much is too much for this uke on ebay? The bridge looks "OK" to me.

Author:  profchris [ Wed Mar 20, 2019 6:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Early 1900’s Martin Soprano uke

I'd have thought the only problem with a new bridge is colour matching. If you can get that right, then a few fingernail marks and some light abrasion would be all you'd need to make it look appropriate.

Why don't you join the ukulele underground forum and contact Ken Timms (Timbuck on the forum). He's in the UK, but a bridge is nothing to post. And I know he has just made a batch of soprano bridges for his 20s Martin Style 0 replicas.

For those who don't know, Ken makes a better Martin soprano uke than Martin does these days - his aim is to match their 20s offerings and the consensus is that he gets really close! Plus he's a nice man, and I'm sure he can help you out with a bridge.

Author:  bcombs510 [ Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Early 1900’s Martin Soprano uke

profchris wrote:
Why don't you join the ukulele underground forum and contact Ken Timms (Timbuck on the forum). He's in the UK, but a bridge is nothing to post. And I know he has just made a batch of soprano bridges for his 20s Martin Style 0 replicas.

For those who don't know, Ken makes a better Martin soprano uke than Martin does these days - his aim is to match their 20s offerings and the consensus is that he gets really close! Plus he's a nice man, and I'm sure he can help you out with a bridge.


Chris, I wanted to circle back and say thanks for referring me to Ken. He shipped me three (3!!!) bridges ranging from just needing final sanding to drilled and slotted and needing shaped so I can choose what works for me. Truly unexpected and very appreciated. Thanks a lot of sending me on the right path.

Brad

Author:  profchris [ Thu Apr 25, 2019 4:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Early 1900’s Martin Soprano uke

bcombs510 wrote:
profchris wrote:
Why don't you join the ukulele underground forum and contact Ken Timms (Timbuck on the forum). He's in the UK, but a bridge is nothing to post. And I know he has just made a batch of soprano bridges for his 20s Martin Style 0 replicas.

For those who don't know, Ken makes a better Martin soprano uke than Martin does these days - his aim is to match their 20s offerings and the consensus is that he gets really close! Plus he's a nice man, and I'm sure he can help you out with a bridge.


Chris, I wanted to circle back and say thanks for referring me to Ken. He shipped me three (3!!!) bridges ranging from just needing final sanding to drilled and slotted and needing shaped so I can choose what works for me. Truly unexpected and very appreciated. Thanks a lot of sending me on the right path.

Brad


Ken is a class act! And if you ever get the chance to play one of his ukes, grab it with both hands.

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