Asian, (not china), 21st c. small Manufacturers click for more
China does dominate the region, (and the world for that matter), when it comes to Ukulele manufacture but there are an increasing number of workshops and factories opening up elsewhere in Asia, and still a few in business from the time before China became pre-eminent. Getting information on them can be hard as the websites are often difficult to translate
Takamin Musical Industries
This is an Indian Manufacturer rather than an importer and they appear to do more Guitars than Ukuleles. They do include in their catalogue a Concert scale Ukulele that has a floating bridge and goes down to a tailpiece. All of the Ukulele I have seen and most of the Guitars have "Takamin Export Quality" on the left side of the upper bout. I have seen the Guitars on sale in South Africa as well as India. I haven't found a website or anything much on them, just an entry the Indian trade marks journal saying they started using Takamin as a trademark in 2007 and that they are based in Kolkata, India
clearly nothing to do with the Japanese firm Takamine
Hideaki (and I have also seen him called Honten?) Urabe founded Urabe Ukuleles and Guitars in Kobe Japan in 1997 after having been making instruments for other companies, starting with Guyatone, since 1967. He was joined by his son Naohiro in this venture in 2001. In addition to making Ukuleles and Guitars; they also make Buddhist altar fittings. The website is in Japanese so I could be mistranslating? Back to the Ukuleles and they make Sopranos, Concerts, Tenors, Super Sopranos (Concert and Tenor scale) and even a Soprano scale Super Sopranino? (I have seen a Guitalele too). On the headstock they put a square, triangle and circle as a logo. Apart from his son, he has also taken on a number of other apprentices over the years who have gone on to start up workshops and brands of their own, people like Hidemaru Tsurezure and Himeta Chiharu As Hidemaru Tsurezure worked for Urabe Strings for 10 years before starting his own workshop I'm not sure Aprentice is the right term; more like employee? And I don't know how many work there at any one time but there does seem to be a constant stream of them, and given the current output, (about 120 a year), so I think this is more a factory, albeit a very good one, than a workshop.
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