View Full Version : Looking for info on Diatone Soprano ukulele from the 1950's

07-06-2016, 04:07 PM
I have a ukulele that I believe was purchased overseas, possibly in Japan, around 1950. Does anyone know anything about Diatone ukuleles?

07-07-2016, 10:09 PM
Diastone, with an S in the middle.

Japanese, made in the 1960s-1970s, modelled on Martins, in styles numbered between 11, 14 or 17, in either laminated, plain or striped mahogany. Tell-tale signs are the tuners set a bit lower on the headstock, and the straight fretboard end.

There's still no clear history of Japanese made ukuleles, although it would be interesting. Copyright lawsuits, subcontracting, post-war economic measures (the split of the Suzuki company), shops becoming workshops, a search for exotism (using English brand names in Japan and Japanese brand names for export, eg Famous/Kiwaya or Star/Tama)... there's a whole documentary in there!

Ian Chadwick presumed the Diastones were made at either Hoshino Gakki (gakki = factory) in Nagoya or at the Fujigen Gakki in Matsumoto, both on Honshu Island. My guess is they were probably made at the Takamine Gakki in Nakatsugawa, founded in 1962, since they also made Diastone guitars until eliminating that brand in the late 1970s, when they started their famous electric-acoustic guitars.

07-08-2016, 07:38 AM

I did some research on them a while back.