|Body And Neck:|
As one of the world’s finest acoustic guitar brands, it makes sense that Martin would produce a great ukulele too – they’ve been building them since the early 1900’s! One of their more modern creations is the very popular 0X Bamboo, which sits at the lower end of the premium sub-$500 ukulele market. Due to the construction, it’s a uke you’ll either love or hate… curious? Read on!
As we suggested, there’s a few issues of contention with the 0X Bamboo – namely the fact that there’s no bamboo in the ukulele. Instead, Martin use an eco-friendly high-pressure laminate (HPL) which consists of wood particles pressed together with resin under a high heat. As for the bamboo grain? This is essentially a picture, which gives the illusion of real wood. Whether you approve or not, it feels sturdy, well-made and looks great, especially in its colored varieties. We’re reviewing the blue model, although equally attractive green and red versions also exist. If you’re not a fan of these colors, a new natural model has been released, although this tends to come in at a higher price.
Overall, the 0X Bamboo features a minimalist design, with a simple soundhole rosette and the iconic Martin logo on the headstock providing the only real decoration aside from the colors. As for the neck, this also isn’t the most traditional, as Martin use a birch laminate – also known as Stratabond – which is very playable and sturdy, and is fitted with a sipo fretboard and 17 frets.
The 0X is a solely acoustic uke, with solid hardware that ensures good playability. It features a sipo bridge, with a white Tusq saddle and nut providing good tonal consistency. The set of Grover friction tuners – nickel, with white buttons – are decent, although we’ve seen better tuners on cheaper ukes. Finally, the soft, padded Martin-branded gig bag it comes with is pretty cool and a nice addition.
With all the commotion over the woods used, the 0X Bamboo actually sounds pretty great – you wouldn’t expect anything less from a Martin. You can’t tell it’s HPL. Instead it sounds like a solid wood uke. Punchy, crisp and jangly, as you’d want from a soprano uke, with good projection despite its tiny size. You’d probably guess it was solid wood if you didn’t know the difference, and – frankly – when playing, it’s hard to tell.
As soprano ukuleles go, there are probably better value models out there, but that takes nothing away from the fact that the Martin 0K Bamboo is a fun, good-looking, easy to play use that sounds great. You are paying a little extra for the prestigious name, but you equally get impeccable craftsmanship and playability. It won’t appeal to everyone, but there’s a lot of worth in this little uke.