The Martin Ukulele
is a detailed look at the ukuleles built by the C. F. Martin Co. of Nazareth, PA, and at how the instruments' success forever changed the company that made them. Martin's ukulele making led the small, respected builder of fine guitars and mandolins into an era of unprecedented growth in the 1920s and helped it become one of the most notable manufacturers of high-quality guitars in the world. As the C. F. Martin and Co. celebrates its 180th anniversary this October, this new book illustrates the fascinating story of the company and the ukulele during this time span.
Drawing heavily from the extensive archives at the Martin factory, the authors examine the company and its development, featuring production records, sales ledgers, and a vast collection of correspondence as well as hundreds of photos, including pictures of many of the rarest ukuleles the company produced. Extensive additional imagery chronicles the history of the popularity of the ukulele itself.
The book is both a narrative about Martin's ukulele manufacturing history and a reference work detailing the numbers of each style of ukulele ever made by the company. It is an exploration from Martin's first attempt at production in 1907, through the peaks of ukulele popularity in the 1920s and the 1950s, to the disinterest that caused Martin to cease ukulele production in the 1990s, and up to the recent resurgence that has allowed the firm to again offer a wide assortment of new models.
The preface of the book is the heart-warming story of how collecting ukuleles influenced and shaped the life of Tom Walsh, who met his wife as well as his best friend and co-author John King through his passion for this amazing instrument.
About the authors
Tom Walsh has done extensive research on the history of the ukulele, from its development in Hawaii to its periods of popularity on the mainland. He is a co-founder and board member of the non-profit Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum, and he has been featured on radio and television programs involving ukulele history.
The late John King was widely acknowledged as one of the modern masters of the ukulele. King recorded two CDs and also wrote two ukulele instructional books. He was also a dedicated ukulele historian, writing many articles about the development of the ukulele, contributing to the Hawaiian Journal of History
, and coauthoring The Ukulele: A History
, the first scholarly study of the instrument.
The Martin Ukulele