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View Full Version : Vintage Luna Ukulele--history, details? etc?



rar jungle
09-06-2009, 11:10 AM
Hi,
I just bought a Luna brand ukulele off Craigslist, it's obviously a pretty old soprano, maybe from the 1950's era. It says manufactured by Luna Music Company Ltd, Tokyo, Japan, No. 103 on the label inside. Does anybody know anything about this brand? And what the No. 103 means? It's a great sounding and playing ukulele, kind of like an old Martin, but the wood although stained brown, appears to be something other than mahogany. Anybody else have one of these or know anything?
Thanks!

gp-ak
09-06-2009, 12:23 PM
I think newer ones are made by Kiwaya, older ones by another manufacturer
http://www.kiwayaukuleles.com/kiwayajapan.html
EDIT:
Made by Kimano Gakki in the 50s, Kiwaya bought the name in '93

rar jungle
09-07-2009, 03:48 PM
Okay, thanks! That's a helpful link! Still wondering what the model number means and stuff....

NiX0NisN0W
03-27-2012, 12:44 PM
I'm dealing with the same issue. mines the old 600 model but the wood is seriously bugging me!! :confused:

Denise12!
09-14-2015, 03:01 PM
Hi,
I just bought a Luna brand ukulele off Craigslist, it's obviously a pretty old soprano, maybe from the 1950's era. It says manufactured by Luna Music Company Ltd, Tokyo, Japan, No. 103 on the label inside. Does anybody know anything about this brand? And what the No. 103 means? It's a great sounding and playing ukulele, kind of like an old Martin, but the wood although stained brown, appears to be something other than mahogany. Anybody else have one of these or know anything?
Thanks!

Hey! I've got a 320 Luna/Japan as well. Been w me since 1963! Wood cracked. Think it's worth repairing? Still sounds great. Thought the #s meant how many in the series?

Xtradust
09-15-2015, 04:43 AM
Lardy's Database has a good bit of info on them....
"Luna Gakki were founded in Okayama in 1936 and through the 1940's 50's and 60's were a major independent and separate Japanese manufacturer, probably the most popular in Japan, apparently doing enough local business to not be involved with the OEM manufacture that was being carried out Japan at the time; though there was a company called Rhythm Band Inc. of Fort Worth Texas that imported them under the Luna branding to the US.
Back in Japan the Okayama factory burned down in the second half of the 1960's, (I have read 1966?) but by this time they had expanded with offices in Tokyo and Yokohama as well, so they survived the fire, however this fire combined with the waning popularity of the Ukulele was the beginning of the end for Luna Gakki. Production of Luna Ukuleles was now carried out, I believe, by Mituba Gakki and at some point Luna Gakki stopped production altogether. Kiwaya took over the name, (presumably they brought it? but I don't know when?), and now produce a range of Ukuleles largely for the Japanese market using it.
Also it should be noted that in the 1960's Luna put "model by Kamaka" on the box for their Pineapple but this was a poor translation and they meant it was a copy of the Kamaka Pineapple idea, not that it was in any way meant to be a fake of an actual Kamaka)."
http://database.ukulelecorner.co.uk/site/ukulelemakers/i-j-k/kiwaya/kiwaya4

I have a Luna Tenor that I just love. No. 480. It has a really strange bridge. The action was so high, I doubt that it was ever played. I know an amazing guitar (uke) tech that was able to work on the bridge for me and get the action down. It's spectacular instrument now. 83415 83416

UkerDanno
09-15-2015, 11:17 AM
some pictures would be nice...

39ford
09-16-2015, 03:59 AM
83463I have a vintage Luna Soprano No. 380 I bought 15 years ago. It came with red plastic tuning pegs. It's a kind of Zebra wood with black binding and rope inlay at the sound hole. Frets Fayne said years ago that Kamaka was who these were made by or for but the letter "K" perhaps means Kiwaya.834608346183462

janeray1940
05-16-2017, 05:34 PM
83463I have a vintage Luna Soprano No. 380 I bought 15 years ago. It came with red plastic tuning pegs. It's a kind of Zebra wood with black binding and rope inlay at the sound hole. Frets Fayne said years ago that Kamaka was who these were made by or for but the letter "K" perhaps means Kiwaya.834608346183462

Neat uke! Here's a bit more from the better-late-than-never department, via the Kiwaya/Takumi website (http://takumiukulele.com/kiwayajapan.html). Perhaps the K is for Kamano?

The most popular brand was the Luna that was manufactured by Luna Gakki (working out of Okayama prefecture) and distributed through Kamano Gakki.

TooOldForRockNRoll
02-22-2019, 10:48 AM
I've got a Luna No. 380, too. I thought the wood or laminate may be mahagony, but when reading some posts here I wonder if it could be zebrawood.

It has the original plastic pegs, not easy to tune. So I will change them into Gotoh friction tuners. Here are some pics.

115715
115716
115717
115718

FinnP
02-22-2019, 01:11 PM
I have a Tokyo Luna model 400. It’s a good little soprano ��115720 (For trade to a concert or longneck soprano, my hands are to big for soprano size)

Ukecaster
02-22-2019, 02:10 PM
I have a Tokyo Luna model 400. It’s a good little soprano ��115720

Looks great, a precursor to a Kiwaya KTS-4. Love that Japanese craftmanship.