Ancestor's Ukulele


All Handmade Ukulele


 by Hajime Sakai


made in Gifu Japan




About me


Welcome to Ancestor's Ukulele and thank you for visiting my site. My first name is Hajime and the kanji I use to write it roughly translates to “ancestor,” hence the brand name of my instruments. I first decided to pursue becoming a luthier in 2004 when I saw a TV documentary about Mr. Kenji Koike, a master luthier at Yairi Guitars. I quit my job, left my home town in Chiba (just east of Tokyo) and moved to Nagoya where I attended the Central Japan Academy of Musical Instruments. After graduating, I worked for some local manufacturers while moonlighting as a custom instruments builder. In winter 2011, I was nominated by Mr. Mori from FineWood to join the “Winter Amateur Builder Contest” for ukuleles in Tokyo. As my reputation grew and order volume stabilized, I decided to quit my day job and devote my full-time to making my signature line of ukuleles.


In January 2013, I realized my dream to open up my own workshop. Later that year in May, my work was exhibited in the Hand Crafted Guitar Festival in Tokyo. Then in June I was featured in the Ukulele Magazine Buyers Guide. In September I traveled to Hawaii to exhibit my instruments. My instruments were featured again that year in November at the Osaka Sound Messe. Later that month I was honored to be commissioned to make a signature model for Apirak Sirinanthakul, a reknowned artist from Thailand. Apirak was so kind to do a private concert at my studio and you can enjoy some of his playing on my ukulele here.


In March 2014, I was fortunate to have Akihiro Kaida, major pro player visit my workshop and for private concert vol.2. Two months later in May that year,  my ukuleles were featured in the 10th annual Tokyo Handcraft Festival. There was more big news that month – I finally secured a contract with a dealer – The Ohana Ukulele  Shop in Osaka. Again I was featured in Ukulele Magazine vol.11 in the article “Japanese ukulele builders.” Now it’s 2016, and I’m going into my 4th year as a pro luthier.


If you’re interested in a beautiful, handmade ukulele, made in Japan with impeccable craftsmanship, look no further. I have a range of standard models that I can make for you to order. Also I would be happy to make the ukulele of your dreams if you are looking for a signature model or other custom job.




About my ukes


My day to day building focuses on producing 6 standard models of ukuleles, from soprano to tenor. Since I make every ukulele by hand each instrument has its own unique charm.


The thing that all of my ukes have in common is that they are all professionally made, and ready for professional use. I try to keep them simple design-wise to celebrate the natural beauty of the wood. I place the highest importance on respecting the soul of the instrument throughout the building process and this means you are guaranteed to get a sound you will fall in love with.


The following features are common on all of my ukuleles:


All my ukes are finished with high-quality durable lacquer.


Fretboards & Bridges
I use ebony to make the fretboards and bridges in all of my ukes.


I use GOTOH UPT/UPTL tuners (made in Japan).


Nuts & saddles
Non-bleached nuts & saddles.


I make my necks out of mahogany. All models have truss rods installed for redundant stability.


Ebony veneer with abalone logo inlay.


Worth BM/CM (made in Japan). I typically string in low-G, high-G is available by request.


Can be installed by request.




Model comparison chart





Neck Joint


Base price (JPY)tax out




12th fret

Solid Hawaiian koa body (grade AAA).



Solid Honduran mahogany body. Hannabach yellow low-G strings (made in Ger.) available upon request.





14th fret

Solid Hawaiian koa body, tortoise shell binding, 9-layer maple/rosewood purfling. This model features a unique fret marking design. Instead of the typical white dots on the 5, 7, 10 and 12, it has three pairs of snowflakes on the 5, 8, and 12. It still has side dots in the traditional locations (3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 15, 17).




Solid Honduran mahogany body. 9-layer maple/rosewood purfling. Demo video of me playing Tenderly on one of my 7M’s (link).




Solid European spruce top, solid Hawaiian curly mango sides and back. 5-layer maple/rosewood purfling. ziricote headstock veneer.



Style-7M Solidline

Solid mahogany body. Brazilian rosewood heel cap. Rosewood binding with a 0.5mm maple strip for contrast. Features a “S” mark in 0.5mm maple strip on the bottom of the body.





12th fret

Similar to other “M” models.



Engelmann spruce top, AAAA Indian rosewood sides and back.



Frets are 23sbu narrow guage. Otherwise similar to other “K” models.


Style-4S Solidline

Engelmann spruce top, AAAA Indian rosewood sides and back. Jacaranda heel cap.




14th fret

I created the Style 6 models aiming to build the ideal uke for playing chord solos. They have that “flat” sound that sounds so good when playing old timey jazz progressions.



Made with the same chord solo frame of mind as the 6M, but with a Western cedar top, it has that soft warm tone you’ve come to expect from cedar.




14th fret

A longer scale concert, these models have 18 frets total.



Grade AAAA Hawaiian koa body.



Engelmann spruce top and Honduran mahogany sides.


Style-8 special mango

As the name implies, this is a real special instrument. Solid curly mango top, mango sides, and spalted mango back (all Hawaiian). Even the bracing is Hawaiian – I use koa. Here is a demo video where you can enjoy the playing of Tomoki Sato (link).



Style-8 Garuda


14th fret

I named the super-deluxe model in my concert line after the golden-winged mythological beast. The top and bottom are cocobolo and the sides are soft curly maple.





14th fret

Here is the tenor you have been dreaming of. I designed these models like my others for simple elegance and perfect intonation and response. This instrument will work for YOU in the studio and on stage, not the other way around. Top is in Engelmann spruce with Honduran mahogany sides.



Style-9S custom

Jacaranda sides and back. Mexican abalone purfling.




Solid Hawaiian grade AAA koa body. Mexican abalone purfling.



Solid Hawaiian grade AAAA koa body. Mexican abalone purfling.



Solid Hawaiian grade AAAA koa body. Mexican abalone purfling.









The base prices above are only a point of reference. The final price will be determined after considering any special requests, etc.


Quality assurance and after service


I offer free adjustment and repairs (parts cost only) for all my instruments. In general, the ukes headed for music shops leave my workshop with the action somewhat high since it is easy to lower action but next to impossible to raise it. However for ukes made to order, I can accommodate requests to adjust the action. I don’t begin building anything for you until I understand completely in detail what you want in terms of playing style and appearance. I take pride in my craftsmanship, and also my customer service. The high prices reflect the commitment I make to ensuring you many years of happy playing. If you buy a factory line production uke, you never know who did what during the building process. Since I do everything myself, I take full responsibility for the quality of the finished instrument and you always know who to call if you have any issues. I put the highest priority on playability and player satisfaction.


*As with any wooden stringed instrument, be especially careful of humidity and temperature. Most cracks are caused by humidity.


Contact me


If you live in Japan, or are just visiting, you are welcome to stop by my workshop. It’s about an hour north of Nagoya. Please call or email in advance of your visit.


Address: 505-0038, Gifu, Minokamo, Chubudai 2-1-12, Ancestor’s Ukulele, H. Sakai


Tel: 080-5013-7737






Order form


If you would like to place an order, or would like to make an inquiry regarding a possible order, please use the form below. Depending on your specific order and my current production volume, your instrument should be finished within 2-3 months after placing your order. Please briefly state the model you are interested in along with any special requests. I will try to reply in the next 24-48 hours.



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