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

Crafter q50e 4 string mandolin at Ukulele Corner
My Crafter Q50 Concert
probably really a 4 string Mandolin?
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

Crafter

The firm started in Seoul, South Korea in 1972 with 5 people making Guitars but at this time they were branded Sungeum, (a name still used in Korea), in 1986 believing this name was not helping exports they launched the brand Crafter. The firm has expanded considerably over the years and now employ more than 150 people making mainly Guitars but also Mandolins. I did not think they ever made Ukuleles until I came across the Crafter Q50. The instrument is clearly based on their line of Mandolins but only has 4 strings. Whatever Crafters original intentions for the instrument were, (its no longer in the catalogue so I have asked and received no reply; customer services?), with only 4 strings the previous owner thought it was a Ukulele and I think a lot of others would too.

Susing's Guitars

In 1949 on the Philippine island of Cebu, Juanito Valiente Sr. started making guitars and sold them in a small store owned by his wife, Susing. During the Vietnam War in the 1960's , American soldiers who were deployed at the Mactan Airbase became a good source of custom and the enterprise expanded its Guitar making and started to make Ukuleles. It also improved the quality of its instruments as production tools were upgraded and a wood moisture tester was used to try and prevent cracks when taken overseas. Susing’s Guitar was renamed to THE NEW SUSING’S GUITAR around the year 2000 when Lucrecio Valiente, son of Juanito Valiente Sr., took over the family business. Some of the instruments produced at the time of the Vietnam war have stood the test of time and proved to be at least reasonable quality instruments but there is a big question mark about the quality of the New Susings range and but for the existence of the older instrument I would put this brand along side all of the others on the Questionable Reputation page. In 2014 under the management of the grandchildren of the founder there was a major revamp and modernisation of the brand creating a more formal catalogue of Sopranos, Concerts and Tenor Ukuleles and including a nice piece about the Guitar making process on the website, sadly skipping over the wood drying and preparation though.

Yeil Musical Instrument Int. Co.

Founded in 1987 and based in Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, the company also runs Yale Strings. The 1 5 3 travel Ukulele Which is the only model I have seen them brand is steel strung and made in Korea

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