North American 21st C. small importers/distributors click for more

Silverleaf archtop tenor ukulele
Silverleaf Juke Tenor
There are a number of North American importers and retailers who have a range of Ukuleles they import, usually from China, and then brand with their own name. They are usually better than the budget end, (though may include a budget end model) and some can be quite good quality.

Eastman Strings

Eastman Strings is actually a Chinese brand, run by Qian Ni, a Chinese-American. The company has headquarters in California and the instruments are made China. They specialise in high quality acoustic and archtop instruments "harking back to a time of elegance" (their words; but they do have a good reputation for quality). At the 2013 NAMM show they were introduced a line of mahogany Soprano, Concert and Tenor Ukuleles based on the Martin S1 design. In 2014 this range was expanded to include spruce top models and an spruce and maple archtop Soprano. Also before releasing a commercial range, Eastman did make some Ukuleles as to be samples distributed at conventions or as gifts.

Silverleaf

Based in Norridgewock, Maine and founded in 2013, (I think), this is a small distributor of Tenor scale Archtop Ukuleles they call the Juke. I have only seen the archtop Tenors and only in a sunburst finish so I don't know if the catalogue does include anything else? I also assume they are a distributor and not a manufacturer since they don't make any "made in the USA" claims"? I am willing to be corrected here and say more if I had any more information on the product range but so far they haven't replied to any of my emails.

Viet Strings

Based in Orange County, California with a real shop as well as an Internet presence and having been in business since at least 2013, this is a firm specialising in importing and reselling Guitars, Mandolins and Ukuleles that were hand made in Vietnam. They claim to have an acclimatisation process in place for all of the instruments to ensure that they won't suffer from the cracking and shrinking that can occur when removed from the tropics, (I've not found any independent reviews but with a physical location they must be prepared to stand by their claims). They advertise Soprano, Concert, Tenor and Baritone scale Ukuleles in a number of woods. In addition to having a number of stock instruments they can also arrange to have then custom built. They are also associated with VietnamGuitars.com and thanhvietnam.com, both based in Vietnam so these must be suppliers.

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