John Hornby Skewes

john hornby skewes laka butterfly soprano ukulele vus75
Laka VUVS6 Soprano
jhs john hornby skewes pilgrim vintage dub Banjolele
(pre Pilgrim) Vintage DUB 5
Vintage Laka VUVS6 concert SG Ukulele Corner
Laka VUVS6 Concert
Founded in Yorkshire in 1965 by John Hornby Skewes, this is a large UK based importer and distributor of Musical Instruments. As well as being the UK distributor for a number of manufacturers like Manuel Rodriguez and Danelectro, they have a lot of their own brands of musical instrument like a range of electric guitars branded Encore and 6 ranges that include Ukuleles or Banjoleles


This is their Student line of instruments and includes a low end Blue or Natural Soprano


A budget range of electric and acoustic Guitars that also include a budget Soprano, (the website only shows natural but I have seen other colours on sale)

Laka by Vintage

This is the premium Ukulele brand name and used only on Ukuleles. The ranges come in Soprano, Concert and Tenor scales with a number of laminate or solid wood choices, and some solid electric options too.


This started, (JHS say in 2009 but they didn't come to market until 2012), as Pilgrim by Vintage After a couple of years JHS dropped the "by Vintage" and this is the brand name that took over from Vintage for Banjos and Mandolins. They are not doing Ukuleles in this range but they are doing the Banjoleles under it.


This is one of the first brand names JHS used and over the years it has been used on lots of different types of instrument. Guitars, Mandolins and Banjos, including a Banjolele, and Ukuleles. There are still some fairly budget Sopranos in the range but I believe that this branding is moving to be more a Guitar range with Laka and Pilgrim taking over the other instrument types.

Finally, whilst I don't think they are responsible for every Spongebob Squarepants Ukulele around, they have a licensing deal with Viacom/Nickelodeon and are certainly the main distributor around Europe. In 2014 they added Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Beano, (licensed by D.C.Thomas & Co.), branded Ukuleles to this part of the catalogue and given it an overall branding of Real Musical Instruments Co. Newer additions to this line include Cavern Club and Beatles Yellow Submarine

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