It's not particularly stripy or even all that interesting to look at but the deep coloured wood, coupled with the satin finish gives it a very traditional look that I like.The grain that there is isn't straight up and down the body, rather a little more swirly, but looking at photos of others, they can be variable like that. Rememeber, Martin will be saving the select woods for their higher end models that cost considerably more than this one (and I mean considerably...). As you can probably tell, I'm not falling over myself about the looks on this one.Trust me, I've played a few of the old ones and they can be staggeringly, good, but for this site, it makes more sense to look at the current retail line-up that people can actually go out and buy.Yes, you may be right, your vintage may sound better, but that doesn't stop the new ones being instruments capable of being reviewed in their own right. The S1 Soprano from Martin has actually been about for a few years and in fact surfaced about the same time as that T1K tenor.The instrument is styled on the original Martins of old and has a totally traditional look to it.It's a very 'old-time' double bout shape with a nice curved base and generous upper bout proportions.
There are no gaps in the body joints dressed with filler, and it all looks incredibly well put together. It has 'that' soundhole smell that seems to be another Martin trademark - a mix of woodshavings and tru-oil. Fitted into the body by way of a dovetail joint (another Martin trademark making for a more secure connection at this point - necks are normally / glued / bolted) is a single piece mahogany neck, once again finished in hand rubbed satin. In fact I'll stick my neck out and say it's one of the nicest feeling ukulele necks i've come across for quite some time.
It's not like readers could then easily go out and buy the exact same one, of the same age, with the same patina, wood aging and history.
So a review of a vintage would be next to pointless for the purposes of what this site tries to do.
Incidentally that satin coat is hand rubbed and I immediately was struck with a vintage vibe when I opened the case. I like ukuleles like that, but undertand that if you covered the Martin logo, people may assume it was a generic Chinese ukulele. It's far from ugly, but equally it doesn't make you go wow when you open the case either. The top and back of the instrument are single pieces of wood and the sides are in two pieces - nothing remarkable with that for a soprano. Other than a black and white (and very simple) sound hole rosette, there is no other body decoration, and no edge binding. I tried to work out if the rosette is a trasfer or an inlay, but I couldn't get a definitive answer.
My money is on transfer, which, if true, is slightly disappointing for the money these cost.