Martin Ukulele

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Martin ukuleles are some of the most sought after ukuleles around. There are many avid collectors of Martin ukuleles around and people who refuse to play anything but Martins.

Martin started producing ukuleles in 1916 and were the largest producer of ukes

There are a number of different styles (from style 0 to style 5 – but there’s no 4). Generally speaking, the higher the number, the higher the price.

More knowledgeable sellers will indicate which style the Martin is. However, less well informed sellers, such as on eBay or in junk shops, will often not know what style the uke is. In this case, it’s worth being able to identify which type of ukulele it is and how much it might be worth so you can tell if you’re getting a bargain.

Martin stopped making ukuleles for many years. But with the new boom they’re back on the bandwagon. To begin with they started by releasing new models. They were not all that well received. So they’ve reintroduced the old models. Which is definitely a good marketing move. Whether the new ones match up to the quality of the old ones is an area of dispute.

On Video

This video, by ukulelezaza, has three different styles of Martin ukulele. From the beginning: Style 0, 1960s Style 1, 1920s Style 2, 1940s Style 3

On eBay

On Amazon UK

Dating Martin Ukuleles

Again, there you can go into minute, recondite information in this area, but their are two easy to spot features that will help you work out or confirm the Martin’s age:

Peghead: The earliest Martin ukuleles (before ’33) have a stamp on the back of the peghead. After this, they had a decal on the front (there was a slight overlap in these).

Soundhole: Inside the soundhole you’ll see a stamp. If you can see the words “Made in USA” the ukulele was produced after 1966.

Martin Made Ukuleles

As well as making their own ukuleles, Martin also made ukes for other manufacturers such as Oliver Ditson. These ukuleles are identical to the standard Martin ukuleles apart from the maker stamps and decals.

eBay Ruses

Because Martins are so sought after, some sellers on eBay resort to shady tactics to get their ukes in front of buyers. One way you’ll see regularly is people advertising the uke “w/ Martin strings” in the title. You see ukuleles refered to as ‘Martin style’ – even when they clearly aren’t (Kiwaya are an exception to this). Another is people speculating that the ukulele is a Martin – it rarely is. Martin’s are almost always stamped. Personally, I wouldn’t buy anything from a seller that uses such desperate tactics.


  1. Joel T. Perdue March 6th, 2010 3:17 pm

    Greetings My Friend and Thank You,
    I became so excited that I wet my pants…Well, not really, but still, it was that good and very much appreciated by me. Can’t wait to share it.
    Virtually, as good as it gets, literally.
    Thanx So Much, Joe, Cotton Eyed Joe

  2. Larry Perlman September 14th, 2011 11:32 pm

    I own a Martin soprano from the early 60’s and a baritone Martin I purchased for $1,200 which I felt was a good buy. I also own a Collins koa tenor which I love to play.

  3. John January 17th, 2012 5:40 pm

    Anybody know where I can find a case for a Martin O style soprano Uke? I just aquired one which I date somewhere between late 1940’s and early 1960’s Also if anyoen has any tips on cleaning the finish or what is the best way to care for a vintage uke. Thanks!!

  4. Jamie January 23rd, 2012 7:26 pm

    I have a Martin style 3,diamond shaped inlays the works, original case. was told by the gentelman that gave it to me it was a copy of Ukele Ikes’. I acquired it from an older gentelman in the early 60’s. He said it had been in his closet for years. Prbably has only been played a matter of hours.excellent condition. Is anyone interested?

  5. Amelia June 2nd, 2012 3:46 pm

    Are Martin ukuleles the same as Martin Smith ukuleles found on the UK Amazon site here:

  6. Woodshed June 2nd, 2012 4:27 pm

    Amelia: God, no!

  7. Arlo James Barnes July 22nd, 2012 9:17 am

    I am assuming ‘Made in Mexico’ are modern-day? I have a style 1 (number 2020).

    By the way, the seams are amazing – were it not for the grain, it would look to be carved from a single block of wood. Minimalistic & sturdy design.

  8. Troy October 16th, 2012 11:52 pm

    Hello! I have a Martin style 0 Uke in nearly mint condo.

    It DOES has-
    -the overlap on the front decal
    -round pegs and T frets.
    -Martin stamp inside body

    It DOSENT have-
    -A stamp on the back of the head
    -The MADE IN USA stamp inside it

    What year would you guess this one would be?


  9. paolo petrozziello January 16th, 2013 12:35 pm

    I am the happy owner of two Martin ukes ! I first bought an OXK, on which, at the beginning, I had many doubts, but then, reading all the positive reviews about, I decided to buy it and I am very happy of this purchase. After some time, I felt I had to buy an original Martin US made one, so, I found a nice opportunity and got a 3cherry ! My mexican Martin had to have his… US “brother” !!! Beautiful instrument, really ! Amazing look and playabilty. I am very happy with both of them and would like to add here, that the OXK can stand up perfectly in front of his more precious “brother” ! Just a different sound, a bit more brilliant, than the cherry one, which has a milder, sweeter voice, but, sincerely I can simply state that they are BOTH very good, as all “Martin made” instruments !!!

  10. Dan June 2nd, 2013 10:21 pm

    Curious Headstock number stanping:

    I have a Martin style-1 Sporano in mahogany w/ rosewood fretboard that my dad bought new circa 1932. No stamp on back of headstock, decal on front, stamp above interior center back-brace (Nazareth PA), ebony patent tuners, ebony nut & bridge-insert, and what looks like tortoise shell top banding (with bk/wh inbound of that), bk/wh/bk/wh/bk around soundhole. I think ALL of those are normal S1M features for 1932 but I have two questions:

    1) was tortoise shell banding standard in the early 30s?
    2) looking at the TOP edge of the headstock there is stamped into the wood a large serial or production number of some sort: “19G 4140” yet I haven’t seen ANY of the Martin-related uke sites mention anything about a number there. What’s up with that number?

    Appreciate any insight you can offer.

    Thanks so much!

  11. JBS from Apollo June 26th, 2013 7:58 pm

    The recent S-O, S-1 and new Koa 1K are all made in Mexico and start at $399. The 2 thru 5 are made in USA and start at about $1K.

  12. Jackson October 19th, 2013 7:55 pm

    I bought a Martin OXK to stuff into the saddlebag of a Motorcycle. Honestly, it’s a great Uke. The playability and intonation are excellent. Although it isn’t as loud as a Martin S1, it is an incredibly durable ukulele with great sound for what it is.

    I would definitely recommend this uke to anyone who travels a lot, or enjoys sitting by an outdoor campfire. Great uke for a beginner too.

  13. Alder July 17th, 2014 5:00 pm

    I came across a very old delta baritone uke. I cannot find any info at all.
    i have searched and searched. it is mahogany
    with a rosewood fretboard the serial# is on the neck
    block. can anyone tell me anything about it.

    greatly appreciated

  14. Rob April 7th, 2015 10:34 pm

    I have a Late 1940’s to Early 1950’s Martin Style 0 soprano Ukulele. Tuners have round shims. Bar frets, mahoney body & neck with ebonie fret board. C. F. Martin Co. Est. 1833 decal on head. C. F. Martin Co. NAZARETH, PA brand inside sound hole. Sound hole has two rings around sound hole.

  15. Ting Tang April 28th, 2015 9:55 pm

    I have a concert Ashbury ukulele and looking to upgrade.
    Been looking at Martin ukuleles and I really want one!!

    I’m struggling to find one with a cutaway. Is that possible?
    I’m from UK by the way haha
    Please let me know.

  16. Woodshed April 29th, 2015 6:04 am

    Ting Tang: I don’t think it’s possible.

  17. Archie March 6th, 2016 1:04 pm

    For all your Martin uke questions, well mostly, there’s a great book on the history. It’s also chock full of reference material on various models:

  18. Baker Uke March 11th, 2017 1:34 am

    So, I believe I have a 1932’ish Soprano. It was my mother-in-law’s mother’s ukulele. I wish I could post pictures, but a couple of things. It has documentation (single page “manual” and replacement string sheet both dated 1931). It has the stamp at the backside of the peg head. Inside the sound hole, stamped inside the body says Martin & CO and on the line below, Nazareth.PA., all uppercase. What’s also interesting is string #1 is a black wound string, string #2 is a silver wound metal string, and strings 3 & 4 look to be fluorocarbon. The recommended tuning was ADF#B. It is still in it’s original alligator case.Would be happy to share pictures. No, it’s not for sale. Just thought I’d share.

  19. Sue August 9th, 2018 10:38 pm

    I have a Martin ukulele bought in Hawaii in the early 60s when my dad was stationed at Hickham AFB. I was just looking online to get a new case as it went through Hurricane Andrew in 92 and hasn’t been in a case since. Fortunately only the case was messed up and it still looks almost perfect. I had no idea that it was worth that much. My mom bought my brother and I both a ukulele to take lessons. She had fun playing them too.

  20. Aram R November 10th, 2021 8:38 am

    don’t be fooled by the “made in Mexico” stamp in the sound hole……they are made with the same equipment that is in the nazareth shop, the koa wood is sourced from Hawaii, and they still are made up to the critical standards of Martin guitars. They sound great, look great, and are more importantly a great joy to play. I am really picky about how my uses sound and I have a few ukes but …the ones that get the most play time are my Martin and my Kamaka so that should say something at the least.

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