Fanner Guitar Works

Cape Town, South Africa

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Announcement    Welcome to Fanner Guitar works- Rocking Ukuleles, Retro Classics for Modern Musos. Handmade in the Western Cape, South Africa.


Last updated on Jul 7, 2018

Welcome to Fanner Guitar works- Rocking Ukuleles, Retro Classics for Modern Musos. Handmade in the Western Cape, South Africa.


Brian Fanner

Contact shop owner

Brian Fanner


Average item review
5 out of 5 stars
See reviews that mention:
Quality 47 Shipping 26 Customer service 21

About FannerGuitarWorks

Sales 599
On Etsy since 2014

Rockin' Ukuleles, Retro Classics for Modern Musos

Inspired by Rock'n'Roll classics, our solid body electric ukuleles are made for the stage.

Exceptional quality and playability are our passions.

Owned by Brian and Mark Fanner (yes we're brothers), we're a small family business based on the West Coast of South Africa with an office in Cape Town.

Having both spent too much time at university studying Law (Mark) and Industrial Design and Fine Art (Brian) we set up our business in 1997. At first we made finely tuned wind chimes for the European market and later picture frames from reclaimed timber which is still an important part of our business ( if you're curious).

In 2000, motivated by Brian's interest in the skills required to make a great sounding guitar, and nudged in the direction by a few friends, we started learning how to build electric guitars. It started with a couple of hobby builds for Brian who has been playing guitar since he was 10. We soon found a niche making guitars from oil cans, which is a childhood occupation for many African children. Ours are electrical and playable though, so much so that they have featured on many a stage and are owned by musical celebrities around the world. We've made over a thousand of these guitars to date.

In 2014 we started making our electric Ukulele's - we figured they would be easier to take to an international market being smaller to ship and with a wider appeal than the oil can guitars. We were also tickled by the idea of making ukulele versions of classic rock guitars of the past.

Being based on the southern tip of Africa, and out in the countryside to boot, we have become expert in-sources. We pretty much make everything ourselves.

Our wood comes largely from our extensive stock of reclaimed timber on our farm. Gathered over the years, there is more than a thousand cubic meters of it, a fair percentage of which is valuable teak and other interesting woods. We hope that by using reclaimed timber we are reducing our environmental footprint.

Most of the spray painted bodies are made from Meranti or Douglas Fir which are lightweight yet stable with great acoustic properties. Maple, Wenge and special figured woods are bought in for projects.

Some hardware needs to be imported but much of it is designed by Brian and lazer cut in Cape Town. We polish the stainless steel ourselves.

The bodies are cut on a cnc machine and hand sanded, neck profiles are hand shaped.

Spray painting is also done in house and is one of the trickiest bits for us to get right. Temperatures on the farm can reach 45 degrees Celsius which means that much of the painting needs to be done at night when things have cooled down a touch. After spraying several coats the bodies and necks are hand sanded.

The pickups are hand wound using alnico pole magnets and potted in beeswax harvested from the hives on the farm.

Brian personally sets each ukulele up, he favours a low action but will accommodate customer requests.

Once finished the ukes are shipped from our office in Woodstock in Cape Town in bags that are again made locally. We cut the material and the stitching is done by a local woman in Cape Town and provides her with a useful extra income.

For videos of our Ukes in action please check out the Fanner Guitar Works You Tube channel.

Our Etsy reviews speak for themselves as do the growing number of customers who have bought second and even third Fanner Ukuleles. Buying one of our Ukes is certain to extend your musical range and will gives you many years of enjoyment.

Thank you for reading our story :)

Brian and Mark Fanner.

Shop members

  • Brian Fanner

    Owner, Designer

    Brian's Fine Art studies provided access to industrial design materials and processes for which he soon acquired a passion and skills. Brian has been playing guitars since he was 10 years old and has been making stuff since about the same age.

  • Mark Fanner


    Mark studied Law in the late 80's and has been running manufacturing business with Brian since the mid 90's.

Shop policies

Last updated on October 3, 2020
Hi Welcome to Fanner Guitar works on etsy...

I am Brian Fanner - designer and builder of the retro electric ukuleles the South African Oilcan guitar and Brian Fanner Original Custom (B.F.O.C) electric guitars.

Our Ukulele's are manufactured and assembled locally in the Fanner Guitar Works workshop. Parts and extra bags are available on request.

Accepted payment methods

Paypal Mastercard Visa American Express Discover Apple Pay Klarna Giftcard
Accepts Etsy Gift Cards and Etsy Credits
Returns and exchanges
I gladly accept returns and exchanges
Contact me within: 14 days of delivery
Ship items back within: 30 days of delivery
I don't accept cancellations
But please contact me if you have any problems with your order.
The following items can't be returned or exchanged
Because of the nature of these items, unless they arrive damaged or defective, I can't accept returns for:
  • Perishable products (like food or flowers)
  • Digital downloads
  • Intimate items (for health/hygiene reasons)
Returns and exchange details
Returning goods

If you change your mind about the things you have bought, you can return them within 30 days of your purchase date. If they are still in the condition in which we sent them to you, we'll give you a refund on your purchase, but shipping costs are non-refundable.

NB: Before returning an item, please send an email letting us know what you plan to do.

Damaged goods

If the item you received is damaged, or somehow unsatisfactory, please get in touch with a photo of what is at issue. Any damaged goods supplied by us will be replaced.
Additional Policies and FAQs
Please use Paypal... or bitcoin if you are that way inclined.

Our ukuleles are all custom hand crafted and we work as fast as circumstances will allow but we do not compromise on quality and attention to detail.

This takes time and custom work and custom colors can add to the production cycle time. We use only Nitro cellulose paints where possible and they do have long curing times. Painting is in fact the most time consuming part of building a quality uke, a coat of Nitro can take a week to cure hard enough to rub down and a uke may need several coats to get the finish we're looking for. Further delays in paint application can be caused by poor weather, especially in winter when high humidity can mean delays in applying the next coat of paint.

We also rely on several outsourced parts and services that cause delays beyond our control. We endeavor to communicate fully with you the real time status of your build along with some progress pics of the uke in the manufacturing process.

We try to get all custom work out withing 6-12 weeks, the build time can vary considerably depending on how much customisation is required. There is also some degree of luck involved with regards to the weather and availability of parts for custom jobs. Waiting times can also be affected by the number of custom builds on the go at the time when we receive your order.

The long and short of it is that we do our best to get it out to you in a 6-12 week window but sometimes we are lucky and it can be done in as little as 3 weeks, other times we are not so lucky and it can take 18 or even 24 weeks for a difficult build.

If you are impatient please speak to us about what we have in stock that may be possible to get done quickly.

We use FedEx Express priority shipping to deliver our ukes, transit time is usually 2-3 days. Occasionaly there are delays with customs clearance, generally FedEx will contact you if this occurs.

Any additional customs charges will be paid by the buyer.

Any additional customs charges will be paid by the buyer.

South African customers, please get in touch with us via email: brianfanner [!at] or marcusfanner [!at]
Additional policies and FAQs
For additional information please contact us via email or the conversation / message section of our etsy shop:
fannerguitarworks [!at]