European 21st c. small importers/distributors Click for more

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Skylark Paddle Jumbo Tenor Baritone Ukulele Corner
My Skylark Triangle Tenor
There a few small firms that still manufacture some very nice Ukuleles and other instrument in Europe. Then there are a number of European importers and retailers who have a range of Ukuleles they import, usually from China, and then brand with their own name. These are usually better than the budget end, (though may include a budget end model) and some can be quite good quality

Hoyer Guitars

I'm not sure this entry should be here as the owner since 2012 is a US distributor, however since I'm not sure the current owner distributes Hoyer branded Ukulele any more I will leave it here. Hoyer started as a family run firm in 1874 in what is now the Czech Republic but was then Germany. At the end of WWII the Hoyer family was deported to West Germany along with the other Germans from that part of Czechoslovakia (see Framus) and started up again in Tennelothe. In the 50's they produced some spectacularly ugly Archtop Guitars and some nice Mandolins but not, as far as I can see, any Ukuleles, in 1977 the last of the Hoyer Family left the business and in 1987 production ceased and the firm went out of business. The name was picked up by a German Musical instrument distributor at the time, and changed hands over the next few decades until in 2005 guitar production was started again in Germany, and 2009 it was bought by UK distributor called Ritter Brands ltd. At some time maybe after 2005, maybe after 2009(?) Hoyer started branding Soprano, Concert and Tenor Ukuleles, (possibly Baritones too?), that were made in Portugal by APC. In 2012 the US parent Ritter USA LLC took over the name and everything, and it appears now that they are only marketing Electric Guitars that are made in the far east under the Hoyer brand.

Skylark Guitars

Founded in 2006 in Market Drayton, UK to import and resell some of the interesting and different Chinese made Guitars, they quickly expanded to include Banjos, Mandolins, Amps and a whole raft of other musical paraphernalia Including Ukuleles, some of which come with the Chinese branding but a lot of which are branded Skylark (with a simple representation of a skylark on the headstock that can look a little like a chinese character or a very stylized t). They have, and do stock all scales of Ukulele but the exact models and body shapes are regularly changing and what is available today may not be available in six months. They usually carry a budget range but they can sometimes have better quality instruments available (at one stage they were distributing Maestro Ukuleles from Singapore) and they have had a lot of the Jeshing made Ukuleles on sale branded Skylark. There is a shop though they prefer you pre arrange a visit so most of the sales are on line.

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