USED Martin Style 51 Solid Mahogany Baritone Ukulele (1960s)
This Martin baritone ukulele has a conventional sized body with some lovely naturally aged mahogany bound with tortoiseshell binding on the front and back and a simple rosette but the design is influenced in part by the tenor guitar with which Martin had extensive experience building by the time the first baritones rolled out of the Nazareth, PA factory.
The scale length (nut to saddle measurement) is just over 20 inches which makes for a slightly lighter string tension and a slinkier, slightly spongey sound when you strum the ukulele. The neck is slimline and thins to a beautifully comfortable and slender 33mm at the nut which might scare some modern players who are used to the chunkier Hawaiian style 38mm nut widths but trust me when I say that this uke remains comfortable in the first position and quite frankly effortless to play for a ukulele that is nearly 60 years old.
The bridge looks to have been reglued at some point in the ukulele life but this has been done very well with only a small patch that looks out of place north of the bridge piece and the left side of the body has had a crack repair that is not invisible but certainly is not remotely ugly. The crack is absolutely stable and to be expected on instruments of this age and experience. The wood on this instrument has opened up wonderfully, it is vibrant but rich and warm... You really can't fake the natural patina of this instrument when you look at it, especially when it sounds just as charming.
The friction tuners are in excellent condition and we were surprised to see how well they hold their tuning given that this is a common point brought up by Martin collectors with experience of this time period. One of the ferrules was broken and has been replaced with a non-matching part, but it fits and works well.
Likewise, I have nothing bad to say about the fretwork and state of the neck on this instrument which is so good I had to go back and look again because it is so uncommon on instruments of this age. This baritone also comes with an original period correct hard case, which still has all the catches and they work! But, for hard travelling and gigging, I would invest in a decent hard case.
The baritone ukulele has such a complicated and rich history that has its origins in the mainland US rather than on the tropical islands of Hawaii. The earliest baritone ukuleles were mahogany and in many people's eyes; the instrument truly became iconic and a permanent fixture in the ukulele family when Martin introduced the style 51 in the early 1960s.
Overseas customers: please be aware that you will be charged VAT as well as Import Duty and Customs Clearance fees on this ukulele!