Shinji Takahashi / T's Ukuleles Seilen Stringed Instruments website

T Guitars Baby BA100 Soprinino Ukulele
T's Supersopranino
(5000th made)
(This is with the help of computer translators?) Luthier Shinji Takahashi started a workshop for repair and manufacture of Guitars in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture in 1985 and he called it T's Guitars. In 1997 He learned how to make Ukuleles and went on to win a prestigious makers prize in Hawaii for one of his Ukuleles. In 2000 he changed the name to T's Guitars and Ukuleles though Ukulele production was still very limited. (maybe 10 a year). In 2003 with the rising popularity of the Ukulele within Japan the demand for quality Ukuleles took off and with the help of some backers and his reputation for winning the ukulele making prize in Hawaii he started a proper production facility employing other staff in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture. He also at around this time set up a new consultancy company called Seilen Stringed Instruments for managing his part in this enterprise and acting as a design consultant to other Ukulele manufacturers. Since the founding of what is now T's Ukuleles, (the Guitar part of the name has been dropped since to my knowledge they have never made any Guitars), he has go on to help a collaborative enterprise for with Kiyawa where they make FT Ukuleles (I believe that the T's Ukulele factory makes the special FT models designed by Takahashi for Kiwaya to market) and help set up a factory in 2012, (with product release in 2014, in Oahu for Winkler Woods to start local manufacture of their IMUA brand, (again with Seilen keeping an interest in the factor). There is also a production of Uke Basses started in 2013 called MMB (Mobile Mini Bass), this time solely under the management of Seilen producing both a rubber strung AMB (Acoustic Mini Bass) and a steel strung EMB (Electric Mini Bass - with 4 or 5 strings). On top of all this corporate work he still likes to personally make Ukuleles as one off custom jobs and brands these with Seilen as well.

T's Ukuleles

At some point since its founding Takahashi has given up all interest in T's Ukuleles (though he still owns the T's Guitars name) and it is now owned by Smelting Co. (or maybe Sirens Co.? - the joy of translators). Under the current management they make all scales except Baritone, including Minis (they call Babies), Super Soprano and Super Concert, (but they call them "Mini Tenor"). They have a full catalogue of standard production in a variety of woods and they also produce one off custom jobs. They also make a range of solid(ish) body electric Concerts and Tenors both as a catalogue item and with custom options. All of the Ukuleles have a stylised T as a headstock logo.

In 2015 they set up a new factory in Shiojiri, Nagano Prefecture and started a new range called Kakumae They make Soprano, ((PJ), Concert, (OS), and Tenor, (BC, I assume these letters mean something?), scale models with this brand and one of the key features is a fully and independently adjustable bridge they call the "00Tune". Another feature is the use of 4:1 planetary tuners, (from Gotoh) There are a number of wood and decoration level options available for each size and they are also quite small in scale length for each size. Linking innovation with this brand they have also produced a fan fret Tenor model, still with the adjustable bridge though this may be marketed under the T's brand as the 30th Anniversary model.

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