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The Best Martin Ukuleles

Martin has been offering some exciting and beautiful-sounding new instruments!

by Jennifer VanBenschoten

Are you wondering what the best Martin Ukuleles are? Martin isn’t just a name on an instrument! Hang out with any guitar player long enough, and you’re sure to hear them mention Martin Guitars. It seems like everybody in the guitar world has heard of Martin guitars, and maybe even been lucky enough to get their hands on one and play it!

Some folks think the best Martin ukuleles are from a hundred years ago, when the C. F. Martin Company first started making them. But in the last few years, Martin has been offering some exciting and beautiful-sounding new instruments!

F. Martin Starts Making Ukuleles

For over 70 years, C. F. Martin had been making exquisitely crafted guitars. Even though they didn’t focus on creating a large number of guitars, they were already well known as high-quality instruments.

When the Hawaiian music “craze” of the 1900s came to the United States after the fall of the Hawaiian kingdom, Martin started making ukuleles. Once they started offering ukuleles in 1915, that was the turning point – more people became aware of their brand, and the volume of sales of ukuleles helped them shift production to start producing greater numbers of both guitars and ukuleles!

But as demand for ukuleles went into a steady decline over the years, Martin also slowed production of ukuleles. Martin stopped production on their ukuleles in 1995, just as the instrument began experiencing a resurgence in popularity. In 1997, they started offering their Backpacker ukulele, and by the early 2000s, began building ukuleles at their Nazareth, PA factory. Since 2012, they’ve been producing reproductions of their original ukulele builds, expanding their line to include soprano, concert, and tenor size ukuleles.

Read more: Konter Ukulele, A Fascinating Piece Of History!

Martin ukuleles have always been highly regarded by professional musicians, and for good reason. Even ukulele legends May Singhi Breen, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, and Herb Ohata love Martin ukuleles for their sweet tone and quality craftsmanship.

Ready to join the Martin family of musicians? Here are the top picks for the best Martin ukuleles:

Martin Streetmaster Ukulele

Quite possibly the best-loved and most popular of the modern Martin ukulele models is the Streetmaster. The Streetmaster offers solid wood construction in the classic ukulele shape, and at a mid-range price point for a solid wood instrument. The reviews of these instruments have been overwhelmingly positive from both established Martin fans and new players alike! If you’re looking to experience the quality of a genuine Martin ukulele at an affordable price point, the Streetmaster is your best bet.

These tenor-size Martin ukuleles are made with solid mahogany and come with a gig bag.

Martin 1T IZ Tenor Ukulele

This Martin ukulele was created to honor the great Israel Kamakawio’ole, also known as IZ. It has an incredible vintage sound and feel to it, with that fabulous Martin build. It’s embellished with a lovely hibiscus flower in beautiful pink awabi pearl. This Martin ukulele is perfect for strumming, fingerpicking, blues, jazz, or traditional Hawaiian music! It features solid mahogany top, back, and sides, with a rosewood fingerboard. Overall, an incredibly special ukulele to add to any collection.

Martin Konter Soprano Ukulele

A gorgeous little soprano ukulele made in solid flamed Koa wood, this is a wonderful replica of the famed Konter ukulele. The original Konter ukulele was owned by Richard Konter, aka “Ukulele Dick”, and was taken with him when he joined Admiral Richard Byrd’s expedition to the North Pole in 1926. Smuggled along under the seat of an airplane, Richard Konter managed to get signatures of Admiral Byrd and all 45 crew members, as well as President Calvin Coolidge, Amelia Earhart, and Thomas Edison! All of the original signatures have been carefully engraved into this keepsake instrument, along with a replica of the original label. A real conversation starter at your next ukulele club meeting!

Martin Sinker Mahogany Tenor Ukulele

Sinker wood has unique origins, and this incredible Martin Model O tenor ukulele is made with solid mahogany wood that was pulled from the bottom of a river in Belize! At the turn of the 20th century, it was common for logging operations to cut trees and then float them down river to the sawmills that turned them into furniture, paper, and lumber. But not all of the trees made it – many of them sank in the rivers along the way, where they remained for over a hundred years. Instrument makers like Martin have discovered that using sinker wood results in a much different sound than using new wood. Spending so many years underwater actually strengthens the wood, and results in a richer, darker color due to the lack of oxygen. And because the wood is reclaimed, it’s more environmentally friendly.

Martin S1UKE Soprano Ukulele

If you’re looking for a sweet little Martin soprano ukulele that won’t break your budget, this is a great instrument for you. It was sales of the Martin soprano ukulele that helped make the C.F. Martin Company what it is today! The design of the original Martin soprano ukuleles were closely based on the designs of the original Portuguese ukuleles that were created in Hawaii in 1879. Playing the Martin S1UKE soprano ukulele is like taking a step back in time to the first golden age of the ukulele in the U.S., when music was on every streetcorner in every city and people were discovering just how much fun it was to play the ukulele. This sweet Martin soprano ukulele can find a home in any ukulele collection!

Read more: What is A Ukulele Chord Chart? + FREE Gift!

Find the Martin Ukulele That’s Perfect For YOU!

Of course, there are other options for Martin ukuleles in the The Terry Carter Music Store. You can find Martin ukuleles at price points for every budget! When choosing your new Martin ukulele, you’ll also have options to customize your instrument with electronic pickups, strap buttons, strings, accessory packs, humidifiers, and more! So if you’re looking to add one of these classic instruments to your current collection or looking to upgrade your current entry-level instrument, there’s no time like now to find out why the music world loves the best Martin ukuleles.

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