In being on the look out for nice Ukuleles I come across a few small, possibly part time luthiers from Japan who's Ukuleles I usually only see advertised for sale in music shops, and if they have any web presence it is in a language that is difficult for me to translate. Very often there is little information on them beyond a name and sometimes a brand name, however the instruments they make look very well made and worthy of note.
The name apparently means Iridescent Clouds Stringed Instruments. He is a luthier who makes Guitars and Ukuleles with a very distinctive tuning peg arrangement. I think his workshop is in Minamiichiban, Yamagata Japan, he has been in business since before 2008
Tatsuro Furubayashi - F's Uke
Tatsuro Furubayashi learned to make instruments working in the Yukinobu Guitar and Violin workshop in Machida, Tokyo starting in 1998. In 2010 he opened his own workshop in Iruma, Saitama Prefecture making and repairing a wide range of instruments including Guitars and Ukuleles. I have seen all the standard scales of Ukulele from him including, unusually for a Japanese maker, Baritones He often brands his Ukuleles with a lowercase f on the headstock
(or is it Mitsulele? you can never be sure with translation engines but he appears to have dropped the branding now so it's probably moot) He is from Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture and has been in business since 2001 when he turned full time, (before this he made Ukuleles as a hobby). He makes a number of specific models of Ukulele which he will then customise with things like inlays and soundhole shapes, he also does the traditional Japanese arts of Hakone, (a kind of parquetry) and Kamakura, (a kind of lacquering) as decorative options. Te specific models he makes, and he gives them style letters, include Mini, Soprano, Supersoprano, Concert and Tenor scales but his scale lengths as on the big side so with his Concerts his standard scale length in 400mm but he also does an option he calls "Mideamusaizu" with a 390mm scale and his Supersoprano is 380mm. He does make Soprano and Concert Pineapples and a thin body style Soprano (for both Pineapple and figure 8 with either coming is a special backpack hard case) but I've not seen extra string options. He does 12 frets to the body for the smaller models but usually its 14 and he uses a variety of local and Hawaiian woods
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