As early as 1915, Martin began experimenting with ukulele designs. They produced various models—some even made of genuine Hawaiian Koa—for decades, and today all of them remain among the highest-quality ukuleles available.
By 1960, the coming folk revival brought renewed instruments to acoustic folk instruments, such as the ukulele. That year, Martin introduced the Style 51 Baritone Ukulele—a nice-looking, all-mahogany ukulele tuned down to DGBE. Its scale length is 20-1/8", and even though it's low-tuned, it still feels like a small instrument at only 10" across. It features classic Martin Style-18 tortoiseshell binding, and for most of the '60s, it even had a Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard and a Brazilian Rosewood bridge.
This 1960s Martin Style 51 is an extremely fun baritone ukulele with rich, nuanced tone. It's amazing the low-end presence and sound you can get out of such a small instrument. It looks to be from about the mid-'60s, and it still has the Brazilian Rosewood parts. There's certainly some novelty for a collector anyone interested in C.F. Martin history, but it's also a fantastic ukulele in its own right. To be fair, this old Style 51 is hard to argue with.
This '60s Style 51 Baritone Ukulele is in nice shape for its age. It shows some scuffs and wear and tear around the body (see photos), and there's a small 1"-crack on the top—just to the treble side of the sound hole. It plays nicely, and it includes all of its original parts. The original friction tuning machines hold tune nicely.
This 1960s Martin Style 51 is a lot of fun to play, and the lower Baritone tuning makes it easy transition for guitar players. Its rich, resonant sound will produce countless new song ideas, too. It includes a modern hardshell case.