Chinese Brands with Limited Distribution click for more
There are a lot of Ukulele factories in China, usually in Guangzhou, and whilst some of them make the famous brands that are distributed internationally, (and some don't respect copyright), they also produce other less famous brands that only get very limited distribution. These may be the factory "house" brands or may be a limited trial run and they never really went into production, (but then a trial run of 500 is more than some luthiers will ever make)? I haven't found the information to be more specific, but some of these brands are as good as the famous ones made along side them so deserve some recognition.
Some of the factories will have used more than one of the brand names on otherwise identical models of Ukulele and I am finding the more I look into it that some of these "manufacturers" are really only Ukulele distributors and by this I mean that a company that specialises in making say Guitars or Violins is asked by a customer to supply Ukuleles as well. Instead of making the Ukuleles themselves, although they probably could, they buy them from one of the other factories and sell them on as their own; making it hard to work out who exactly makes them? Anyway here is what I have found.
Established in 1989, a large firm which specializes in the production of both western and oriental musical instruments. With its "Fish Bridge" Ukulele and "Rabbit or Bear" Soundhole Ukuleles it has a cavalier attitude to copyright. The main house brand name for Ukuleles is Strong Wind, (an odd choice?), but it may well use others too? From what I have seen they do Soprano and Concert and most of the output is fairly budget.
The Company was founded in the late 1990's in Beijing, making Guitars and Amps. The range has extended over the years and now includes Banjo's (though the don't appear to make Banjoleles), Lap Steels and Ukuleles. Their house brands are Vorson, Rockman and Jackson. They use the Vorson branding on a concert scale all ABS Ukulele which comes in a variety of finishes, and on a range of steel strung electric Ukuleles which for a while they called the Eleuke range, (this appears to have stopped now and probably due to Bugsgear). They use Rockman on a selection of laminate acoustic Ukuleles and I have never seen them use Jackson on a Ukulele. They do OEM work for others and from some of the designs on the ABS Ukuleles I don't think they observe copyright much
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