One of the first Martin 3K Ukeleles ever made.
This is possibly a prototype, one of the first, all hand-made Martin 3K Ukeleles, made probably before the official introduction of the model by Martin in 1919-1920.
It has many signs that it was the one of the first ones:
- Ebony fretboard is hand-cut
- Fretboard inlays are hand-cut
- There is an “A” on the back of headstock… could be a marking by the Martin craftsmen in-house to indicate a prototype.
So it dates from about 1918– when Martin first developed the style “3K” before its launch in 1920.
The “K” of course, stands for Koa (wood).
- Several cracks on back (repaired)
- Two cracks on top (repaired)
- There is one missing brace, a back brace, inside. Since ukeleles are so small, that brace has no real structural importance, so we decided not to replace it
- The sound hole was at some point enlarged slightly, either at the factory, or later. Probably later– so we’ll call it the Tony Rice model… this modification does add loudness
- The finish is all original.
- Original striped nut
- 3 lines inlaid down center of fingerboard.
- 7 ply side binding
- Celluloid ornament on top, behind bridge (known as the “parend”).
- Small pearl paired-diamond inlays at fret 5, 7, 9– hand-cut. With the “bowtie” at the 7th fret
- Kite-shaped celluloid ornament on front of headstock
- Original friction pegs
- Ebony fretboard
- C.F. Martin & Co. stamp on back of headstock.
The tone is absolutely superb– loud, clear, bright glassy tone that only Koa gives– and this one is as light as a feather… the best tone we’ve heard from any ukelele.
With original case.