US Small Importers/Manufacturers/Distributors post WWII click for more

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Geronimo Villafan mexican soprano at Ukulele Corner
My Villafan Soprano
The war, and subsequent occupation in the Pacific meant a lot of US servicemen travelled to or from the conflict via Hawaii, and often picked up a Ukulele somewhere along the way. Given its portability and the remembered childhood popularity they also often learned to play them and when they came home after the war this led to the second wave of popularity for the Ukulele, (but not in Europe as they were less involved in the Pacific war). With the rise in popularity and the rise in far eastern manufacture this meant there was a business opportunity for a lot of small companies either making, or more often importing and distributing Ukuleles. Some of these companies didn't last long and often there is not a lot of information on them beyond names on the headstocks.


I have seen Hardel Drums with the same logo too so it's an instrument distributor name and I have seen it suggested that it was an east coast USA music shop or possibly chain(?), but I have no information really beyond that. On the Ukulele front I have seen Sopranos and Baritones, (the Baritone is one of the mystery ones) It may be irrelevant but I have not seen any Guitars, Banjos Mandolins or any other of the usual types of instrument, just Ukuleles, Drums and oddly Trumpets?


Villafan Corpus Christi, Texas is what is on the headstock logo of some Soprano Ukuleles (and I've never seen another scale), though the Ukuleles themselves were made in Mexico, probably in Paracho, Mexico by the guitar maker Geronimo Villafan for a Corpus Christi schools ukulele project in 1970. The Ukuleles had a distinctive squarish, with the corners cut off, headstock, a plastic fretboard, (reputedly from the same supplier as Harmony's), with a scale length of 13in (330mm), and an all wood bridge secured with a large screw in the center. I don't know the full story of the project so I could be wrong but the headstock design is very similar to Geronimo Villafan's, the dates seem to match up and there is no sign of them now?

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