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

Jersey Girl "Ptera" Guitalele
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

Crews Manic Sound

Super complicated and extra confused with translation engines! - Crews Guitars or Cruise Co.? is a Japanese firm from Tokyo that started in the early 1990's. They make electric and acoustic Guitars and Basses under the Crews Manic Sound brand plus others like Rabbit is, (seriously not a translation error!), and D'Angelico. Now John D'Angelico was a famous New York luthier who died in 1964. While he was alive John sold the name to La Belle strings to market D'Angelico branded strings. After his death the branding rights seem to have been expanded to cover new guitars as well, and been sold on a few times? In 1988 the Japanese electronic musical instrument maker Vestax signed a deal to make Instruments, Guitars certainly, bearing the D'Angelico name under licence. At some point after 2010 Vestax appears to have passed the rights to Crews, (and maybe given up Guitar making altogether?) In 2014 Crews released a limited edition Archtop soprano scale Ukulele under the D'Angelico Guitars branding for sale in Japan only. I have not seen any other Ukuleles under any of their other names. They appear to have made a second release of the archtop, still using the D'Angelico name but half the price of the first, (though still expensive), and with simpler, natural or monotone finishes
This has nothing to do with the US firm D'Angelico Guitars founded in 2011 though the two companies seem to be arguing over who actually has rights to the brand name?

Jersey Girl homemade guitars

Founded in 1991 this is a Japanese based Co-Operative of 3 craftspersons, (Eiko Goto, Akiko Oda and KasG - though these may be aliases?) who make primarily electric Guitars and Basses. They make other things too like effects pedals, Mandolins and though they don't make Ukuleles they do make the range of short scale Guitars including Guitaleles; and even a very short 12 inch scale octave Guitar, so turning out a Ukulele would not be a major step. I don't know why "Jersey Girl" as they are a Japanese company and I don't know why "homemade" as the instruments look very well crafted but they do also used the branding JGHG quite a bit.


They were founded in 1947 and were very much part of the occupied Japan boom in chordophone making and produced instruments branded Artist, Conrad Drifter, Fernandes, Hondo, Love Rock, Mosrite, Sigma and Silver Star, They may have produced Gaban, Gallan, Gession, Hummingbird and Robin. This may not be all the brands they made, I haven't seen all of these names on Ukuleles and they may not have been the only firm producing them; my usual sort of statement when talking about Japanese Ukulele production in this period. The difference is that Tokai did make Sigma Ukuleles for Martin in the 1970's and they are still in business, in Hamamatsu, making acoustic and electric Guitars, and in 2014 they have reintroduced Ukuleles under their Cats Eyes brand, (this is one of the old brand names but they have kept it going for use on their acoustic range of guitars). I have only seen Sopranos but there may be other models out there?

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