In 1880, Manuel Nunes was the first to open a ukulele shop in Hawaii. Many others soon followed, including both Diaz and Santo who worked for a short period of time for Nunes.
By the early 1900’s the ukulele was showing up in several west coast cities in the United States. It wasn’t until 1915 that the ukulele really became popular in North America. In 1916, Samuel Kamaka (pictured on right) began manufacturing ukuleles in Hawaii in a large scale.
Made from Koa wood unique to Hawaii, the Kamaka Ukulele remains to this day, one of the most renowned ukuleles in the world. Prices can range from $400 to over $2000 for a handmade Koa ukulele.
From the 1920’s to the 1950’s the ukulele experienced tremendous growth in popularity. In North America, the C.F.Martin guitar company began manufacturing ukuleles. Using Mahogany as their choice wood, they soon established themselves as one of the premiere ukulele makers in the world. Today there are numerous ukulele manufacturers both in Hawaii and in other parts of the world. In addition, there are many other custom builders who build exquisite ukuleles in many styles and shapes.
Other prominent ukulele makers today include Kala, Oscar Schmidt, Koaloha, Lanikai, Kanile'a, Pono, and many others. Quality sounding 'ukuleles are now produced worldwide to accommodate all levels of playing skills.