Small Firms or Luthiers from Africa and the Middle East click for more

Yaron Naor Concert Ukulele
Yaron Naor Concert
Though the Banjo may have originated in West Africa, it hardly features in any Chordophone manufacture over the last 150 years. There was Gallo in the 1950's and today I am only aware of a few luthiers.

Mervyn Davis - SmoothTalker

Based in Broederstroom, South Africa, he started making and repairing instruments while studying architecture at the University of Port Elizabeth. Once he graduated in 1978 he started a career in full time instrument making which has always been his occupation, (not architecture). He makes all kinds of chordophone including Guitars, Basses, Mandolins, Violins and even Oods, (he may have been making Ukuleles too but he doesn't mention it on his websites.?) In 1988 he designed and then started making a rage of instruments he branded SmoothTalker using fairly standardised and easy to produce body parts Again this range features Guitars, Basses and Mandolins, even a wood body Banjo but this time no Violins or Oods. He does specifically say on the website for this though, that the range includes Ukuleles using the "size 0" body size, (but it doesn't say the scale length). Since some time before 2009 his wife Debbie has also been working in the workshop on making these.

Murray Kuun

Based in South Africa he started out making Violins but now makes mainly Guitars. His work is fairly innovative as he says he doesn't like making slavish copies of other instruments and he has made some Mandolins and Ukuleles too. In addition to making instruments he also teaches luthiery

Yaron Naor

From Bat Hefer, Israel. He makes all sorts of folk instruments and Guitars but specialises in Ouds. He studied at the Faculty of Industrial Design, Tel-Aviv University before starting his firm the Unique Musical Instruments Building and Repair Co. His main job is graphic design so the luthiery must only be part time.

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