21st c. Luthiers from Europe click for more

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Alberto Gallinaro Concert
In being on the look out for nice Ukuleles I see the work of a number of full and part time luthiers. The instruments they make look very nice and worthy of note.

Alberto Gallinaro

He started in luthiery in 1997 after a career in precision engineering and being a local blues guitarist, something that he still does, and based in Albignasego, Italy. He is mostly know for electric and acoustic Guitars including Archtops but he has made other instruments too, including Ukuleles. He also makes amps and pickups.

John Claughton - Griffin

John Claughton, from Leeds, UK started out as an instrument maker at Leeds College of Music studying Musical Instrument Technology in general but Guitar making in particular. He became a professional Instrument Maker in 1988 specialising in the manufacture of Classical Guitars. He also started making folk instruments including vihuelas (he's an expert in this field). He was asked by the George Formby Society to make Banjoleles for them and made them for a few years in the late 90's and early 00's, (he sits between Ron Spiers and Phil Cartwright in this role and didn't brand all of these Banjoleles " the Griffin"). He has largely given up Ukulele making as he wasn't selling enough and now works mainly on the folk instruments. He produced quite a few Banjoleles he branded "the Griffin" and some Soprano, Tenor and Concert Ukuleles during this period though. I have also heard that towards the end of his Banjolele making period he was using mainly parts made in China that he then branded?

There is another Griffin Banjos still working - luthier James Bowen in Shropshire but he only does 5 string bluegrass. He has done some interesting things on Banjos using Titanium though, which is much lighter than the usual Steel of Brass and apparently much better acoustically too. Perhaps one day he will make a Banjolele like this?

Kevin Parsons

Based in Newcastle upon Tyne, England he was the luthier in the Dave of England enterprise set up after Tony Zemaitis retired. What happened here is that Tony gave all of his jigs, designs and other bits to a collector called Dave Brewis for him to carry on making Zemaitis style instruments. Brewis wasn't a luthier so got Kevin involved to do most of the manufacture and this enterprise ran from 2001 until Kevins retirement. Kevin also made instruments including Ukuleles, under his own name, and still does although he is officially retired

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