21st c. Luthiers from Australasia click for more

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Sidekick Tenor Banjo Ukulele banjolele
Sidekick Tenor Banjolele
In being on the look out for nice Ukuleles I see the work of a number of full and part time luthiers. The instruments they make look very nice and worthy of note.

Bevan Galbraith - Captain

He is based in Te Pahu, New Zealand and is a self-taught instrument maker, specialising in New Zealand native Wood ukuleles and other small instruments. He makes all scales of Ukulele including Bass Baritone, (though he no longer makes the travel Ukuleles), He does take custom orders but also builds on spec. He has used woods such as tawa, matai, mangeao, pohutukawa, maire, kowhai, kohekohe, rimu, totara, kauri, puriri, tawhai, rewarewa, manoao, tanekaha, kanuka, matipo, kamahi, akeake, kahikatea, rata, houhere, pukatea and hinau in manufacture and he also finishes he Ukuleles off with beeswax, this process means they have to be re-waxed occasionally

John Hewitt - Kapono

Based in Auckland, New Zealand He runs a family music shop called Hewitt's Guitar and Fiddles. this shop has been in existence since 1900 and started out as a Violin Maker. I have read the Hewitt family have made Ukuleles under the shop name at times starting in the 1950's but I've not seen any. In 1998 John started making Ukulele under the name Kapono in the full range of scales plus Lili'us and Taropatches. He makes them in a standard and deluxe range with custom finishes. There are Pineapples as well as the figure 8 and a range of other instruments including the Tahitian Banjo too.


Founded in 2012 in Russell, New Zealand by two people called Curt Carlson, (main luthier), and Edward Ackman. The plan was to make an affordable Banjolele and after 10 different prototypes and over 100 individual instruments they settled on a Tenor scale Banjolele that was noticeable for being very light that they called the Sidekick which was released to the world in 2015.  I believe that the commercially produced Banjoleles are made by Naomi Music in China rather than by the designers in New Zealand
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