Asian, (not china), 21st c. small Manufacturers click for more

Jeffrey yong j uke tenor ukulele
Jeffrey Yong J'Uke
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

Jeffrey Yong Guitars

He is a luthier from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia who started making instruments in 1985 and I'm not sure how big the operation is now. As the name suggests his builds mainly Guitars, but he does do Mandolins and Ukuleles too plus some local folk instruments. Despite being based in Kuala Lumpur he is a member of the American Guild of Luthiers and as well as making instruments he runs a school of luthiery teaching others, (he was a teacher before becoming a full time luthier). Back to the Ukuleles and I have only seen Tenors which he calls J'Uke

Maestro Guitars

Founded in 2004, Maestro Guitars is based in Singapore. They started out with all production in Singapore too, but now they also own a Chinese factory where the lower end Ukuleles are made. They have a number of ranges, 10 being the lowest and laminate through to 55 with anything above 30 being called the Custom series, (these are made in Singapore and the numbers here denote different wood choices not quality levels). In all series they do Soprano, Concert or Tenor, and in the 10 and 20 series they have a Soprano pineapple as well. In 2014 they introduced the Island, (an oft used name), series, this are made in China but in small batches and to a higher standard that the 10 and 20 ranges; they only come as Concert or Tenor. They have shops in Singapore and Thailand and some US, European and Australian Distributors

Suzuki Music Co.

This Suzuki was founded in Hamamatsu, Japan in 1953 as a Harmonica maker and has nothing to do with the famous Suzuki Violin Co. founded in 1887, either of its post WWII entities or the motor vehicles, (though they don't like to tell you this). Over the years they have added a lot of instruments to their range, particularly Pianos and other keyboards - they are now the owners of Hammond Organs), have opened a number of factories in other places like China and Korea and claim now to be the world's largest producer of educational musical instruments. This claim, if nothing else, gives a good idea of the standard of instruments they sell. They have, for some time had a kit Ukulele in their Japanese catalogue and there has been a fairly budget looking range of Soprano, Concert and Tenor models on sale especially in the far east, (however I can find no mention of them on any of Suzuki Musics websites?) In 2014 they launched a selection of slightly more upmarket Concert scale Ukuleles including a Pineapple in a number of decorative wood laminates. The Ukuleles themselves look like they were made in China and are mainly distributed in the US.

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