Now Yasuma was an interesting firm because they really were a "Lawsuit Maker". Unlike the Gibson vs Fugigen thing which never went to court, Martin did take Yasuma to court and won, then had a lot of Yasuma's output destroyed for copyright infringement! Some say the real reason for Martin getting the hump wasn't that Yasuma copied them (which they did, just look at the headstock logo to start with), but that the Yasuma's were better. Better than a Martin? Now that is a reputation to live up to. So when this one came up I was very keen a] to have a go on a Tiple Ukulele and b] to see how good it is. The person I got it from bought it new in 1972 and had a repair shop give it a full going over before selling so it is in pretty perfect nick. A lot of the old ones you see are in a bad way where the bridge has failed due to the of the string tension, they have charm but are pretty much unplayable. This one I could do a gig with tomorrow, (if I ever started gigging)
Anyway to the reputation for being as good as a Martin? Well the build is immaculate, the quality of wood is triple A (at least) I wouldn't say its better than a Martin but I couldn't say the Martin is better than this. Its also surprisingly playable, I feared it would be a bit of a cheese grater on my soft nylon fingers but it isn't. True, its not for the beginner but its more forgiving than you would expect. I think because there are so many strings you can get away with not having all of them properly fretted and it still sounds very full.