View Full Version : Taking the risk

09-12-2014, 06:26 PM
Hey guys! Upon reading and messaging kohanmike about his custom bruce weis, I've decided to take a stab at it too. I don't want to reveal much but all I'll say is that it's very Jake-esque. Though, that's probably a dead giveaway LOL. It cost me 700 dollars and will be finished by next month or even the month after (hopefully before my birthday).

He sent me the drawing of how it will basically look like and the wood which he'll be using. I'm liking it very much so far.

Hopefully my experience will be like kohanmike's. How people wait for their customs to be built, I'll never know. I'm constantly checking my email every single day now!

UPDATE! My uke is finally finished! He will be sending it soon.

09-12-2014, 06:34 PM
Let us know how it turns out--good, bad or so-so, Bao. Your experience can help others.

The Bruce Wei thread, from early 2014, was rather epic, and probably alls been said that can be said about that luthier. Seven hundred clams is a small fortune in Vietnam (and not a pittance in Peoria, either). So, one would hope that you'd get a refined, trouble-free instrument. Some have.

Thanks for posting. It is a fun and exciting wait, yes. :). Have a great day down under, mate.

09-12-2014, 07:10 PM
Yes, ofcourse! I'd definitely want people to know if in the events mine turns out bad. I do have faith that I'll at least get a playable uke though. My experiences with alulu ukulele have only been extremely positive so far. I loved every single uke I received from taisamlu. I'm sure bruce wei will hold up well.

Ahah yes, I remember that thead well. What's said on those threads almost swayed me against it but I don't know, I guess I had a change of mind to be risky. Here's hoping that it won't turn out like those posts.

You have a great day :)

09-12-2014, 08:19 PM
Ooh, gotta love the suspense. Any hints on the wood?

Will need lots of pics. Good luck with the wait.

09-12-2014, 09:03 PM
I'll say it's curly everywhere, van. Bruce picked out some nice curls for my uke too ;D Definitely not as nice as Jake's uke but hey, I'm loving the grain anyway! I'll post pictures whenever bruce sends me some!

That's exactly how I'm thinking about it, bill. Sure, 700 may seem like a lot but for this experience and an 80% chance (as people have stated about bruce's QC) of getting a good one. I'd certainly take it. Though, a flight around uluru/sky diving also sounds tempting ;)

09-13-2014, 05:49 PM
Hoping it turns out great for you in every way. I am looking forward to some curly pics.

09-14-2014, 12:11 AM
Bao, so you're the one slowing down the progress of my next ukes. Here's my experience so far, I received a mahogany mandolele a couple of moths ago ($290 shipped), but while tracking it through shipping, I decided I wanted it in gloss black with mother of pearl inlay, so I ordered that ($480). The mahogany came and it's built well and sounds good, but I'm selling it.

I also received a gypsy jazz style ($780 shipped), beautiful, built well, maybe too well because it lacks a certain amount of projection and sustain. I'm going to change the strings, but I think the solid curly maple top is just too thick and does not resonate well enough. Bruce says to give it a couple of months to open up. One problem that came up was with the tailpiece; hand made from wood, metal and bone, and the bone cracked, so Bruce is making me a replacement with the bone part being metal.

Now I'm waiting for the black gloss, and a custom bass uke fretless ($565 including a custom gig bag), but what was supposed to be 35-40 days has become more than 60 days (it's all your fault Boa).

Mahogany Mandolele:
http://www.fairfax67.com/images/Mandolel For Sale.jpg

Gloss black mandolele, mother of pearl:
http://www.fairfax67.com/images/Mandolele black.jpg

Gypsy style uke:
http://www.fairfax67.com/images/Gypsy semi side.jpg

Bass uke and bag:
http://www.fairfax67.com/images/U-Bass & bag.jpg

09-14-2014, 12:28 AM
AHAHAH Sorry but I couldn't resist, Mike.

Your gypsy jazz looks amazing! I'm sure it will open up really nicely over time and with the right strings. My Lanikai monkeypod sounded so dead initially but after a year, it's probably the best sounding uke I've ever played (Even trumping the expensive ukes I play at various music stores).

09-14-2014, 01:48 AM
Mike. The curly/flame maple top definitely needs time to open up. I would give it 12 months at least before confidently passing any judgement on it at all. I have an all flame/curly maple tenor I bought from bruce wei nearly 2 years ago. It took some time but now it rings like a bell with a lot of punch. Definitely change the strings.

Bao, you should be fine to. Bruce Wei is exercising a lot more quality control over his custom instruments. I've just bought an acacia baritone from him and I'm expecting better quality from the newer ones, although I have to say that despite the faults my Bruce Wei instruments have, they still have a sound to them. After they open up of course. Again, 12 months at least before making a judgement. This is fair. I have a local luthier built ukulele that took 12 months to open up and find its voice.


09-14-2014, 09:17 PM
Thanks Boa and Anthony, I did need that positive reinforcement. Good, I'll wait it out. (I had a Lanikai monkeypod tenor cutaway that I swapped out the poorly conceived Fishman Sonicore preamp in the sound hole with a Fishman side install Isys+. It was dull in the same way as the gypsy, but before it opened up, it cracked from low humidity, so I gave it to my cousin's young son and decided to order the gypsy.)

09-14-2014, 09:22 PM
Yes wait it out. Don't underestimate the need to change strings also. You have to change them.