Martin Ukuleles were never numbered, so dating is tricky, but my ukulele friend in the US reckons it dates from the 1950’s and the double dots at fret 7, WBW sound-hole rings and faux tortoiseshell binding makes it a typical Style 1.
While the instrument has no body cracks or splits it’s acquired a few marks over the years and despite a bit of a polish has always looked at bit shabby.
That is until, I tried Virtuoso Guitar Polish on it a couple of days ago. My usual Martin Guitar Polish had just run out so I searched on the web for something comparable and found Virtuoso, a two stage cleaner and polish especially formulated by the very upscale Virtuoso Vintage Guitars in the US.
It’s not cheap – a shade under £30 for the two bottles but you don’t need much and most of all – this stuff really works. The first time I used it was to polish my Martin 000-45, and it did a good job. The 000-45 is a Custom build from about 10 years ago and in good condition – so getting it shining like new is not a big ask. However when i tried Virtuoso on the uke it really came into its own.
I’d given the uke a clean a while back and it cleaned up OK with a damp cloth followed by the standard Martin Guitar Polish, but still looked tired and dry. As it’s a nitrocellulose lacquer there didn’t seem much more that I could do – and I certainly didn’t want or really need a re-finish.
Applying the Virtuoso Cleaner and a bit of effort removed a fair amount of ingrained grime that I didn’t know was there and left the instrument looking noticeably brighter/shinier after a basic buff. After applying the Virtuoso Polish there was a virtual transformation. Sadly, because I didn’t anticipate such a change I didn’t take any before photos. But it genuinely looks so much deeper in lustre overall.
Virtuoso will ship from the US but the cost of shipping is about $40 and they do have a UK dealer, The Guitar Repair Workshop in Manchester. I’ve forgotten the guys name but the package arrived the next day and they seem very efficient.
The Virtuoso website is fine for general info but the experience of the guy from TGRW is a better testimonial than that on the Virtuoso site – their video is a dealer showing how the product works on a brand new Martin with a satin finish… the result is a demo of how to apply polish rather than showing what this wonderful product can actually do.