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

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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


They have a fairly large range of Ukuleles, (but no Baritones), in a number of woods, including koa for the best ones, they are made in South Korea and they also make Guitars


Founded in South Korea in 2001, (They have nothing to do with the old Echo Ukuleles made by the Hawaiian Mahogany Company.) Their main brand appears to be Countess, (though I have seen a few Ukuleles just branded as Echo), and as well as making full range of ordinary Ukuleles from Soprano to Tenor in mahogany or spruce top. They have also teamed up with an Illustrator, (Mr. Oh?) and have a range of highly decorated budget and standard Ukuleles with the branding Countess Pony Brown, these are made in China and I have seen them on sale there under the name Kawaii, though it still says Countess on the actual Ukulele. In 2013, (well I didn't see any previously so I'm guessing a bit here), they started producing a range branded Cuke. This might be a premium range for Echo, they say they are solid woods, it seems to be at least at the top end of the Countess branding, (but it might be replacing Countess as the brand name?) I believe these like the good Countesses are made in Korea? I have never seen a Baritone under any of the brandings but I have seen Sopranos, Concerts and Tenors, plus they seem to be fond of Concert scale Supersopranos, (and strap pins on the neck heel). The also had in 2010 a limited edition backpacker style Concert they called the "Irish Backpacker" because it used short scale steel Tenor Banjo strings (though they alluded a lot to the Emerald Isle in their advertising)

Quest International

This is a Japanese musical instrument manufacturer and distributor founded in 1997 in Shiojiri-city, Nagano. They have a number of chordaphone brands, MD (for electric Guitars), Landscape, (for electric Double Basses) Sitars, (a Harp Guitar hybrid instrument?), and the Ukulele brand Lanai. In this range they have a Soprano and Concert (though they may be Concert scale Supersopranos, it's unclear in the text), made of solid mahogany and solid or laminate koa. Their description of the quality is "We basically give the priority to making the middle-class models" but despite this all of the instruments are made in Japan. One interesting thing to note from the photos I have seen is that all of the saddles and nut on the Ukuleles are made of wood?

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