View Full Version : NUD: Bruce wei custom uke finally made and arrived!

11-11-2014, 03:34 PM
It's been a little longer than expected but it has finally arrived!
Bruce said it would take a month but I knew that one month was too good to be true - afterall, he has his own life to live. Overall, it took around 3 months to make and come to me. Which still isn't that long if you think about it. Onto the uke: (See links below)

1. https://33.media.tumblr.com/272dafbedacce61c3662993f08bd3b20/tumblr_newkfrhb9F1r2vi0io2_1280.jpg
2. https://33.media.tumblr.com/a08b680de4968e3ae052b358f76cf83f/tumblr_newkfrhb9F1r2vi0io3_1280.jpg
3. https://38.media.tumblr.com/392501a9da4100ec2b5f219b9c1c2a6d/tumblr_newkfrhb9F1r2vi0io4_1280.jpg
5. https://33.media.tumblr.com/3a97de218cce77f182861411622af761/tumblr_newkfrhb9F1r2vi0io6_1280.jpg
6. https://31.media.tumblr.com/3609e797d46cd568868a26c1a39e5245/tumblr_newkfrhb9F1r2vi0io7_1280.jpg
7. https://38.media.tumblr.com/e82206caa06bd2755d8992cd34b82f22/tumblr_newkfrhb9F1r2vi0io8_1280.jpg

The specs:
Front back and side - Solid Koa
Binding - Curly maple
Headstock head plate, fretboard and bridge - Ebony
Scale - 17 inch tenor

My opinion:
Aesthetically: It looks amazing. I looked really closely everywhere and I couldn't find a flaw made by him as of yet. Unfortunately, I stupidly let my uke fall off my lap while I was tuning it so there's a bit of a lacquer scratch there (I was such an idiot). The koa he used is nice. It's not as curly as one of those big name builders can get but I think it's adequate. The body seems to be smaller than my Lanikai SMP. I always noticed that Lanikai ukes had larger bodies than other brands though.

Soundwise: The sound is nice, full bodied, and loud given the body size. It definitely matches up to my lanikai. I put Ko'olau golds on it which makes it nice, warm but not as punchy. The sustain on this uke is good but not as good as my Lanikai. Though, it's not a really fair comparison since my lanikai has had 4 years to open up. I'm sure that given time, it will be MUCH better than the lanikai seeing as how it sounds nice already.

The tuners have plastic black buttons on it so it doesn't feel as expensive. But that was my fault since I forgot to state that I wanted wooden buttons. That can be changed anyway.
The sound is a little too warm with not as much punch. That's probably because I decided to buy ko'olau golds instead though. A string change will fix that up.

Sound sample:
Uploaded with my iphone so I'm not sure how well the sound quality will play out.

Will it stand the test of time?
That, I'm not sure of. But I get the feeling that this uke will be one of the ones that last.

Was it worth it?
Yes, I would very much say it was. It cost me 700 dollars but I think it's 700 dollars well spent.

11-11-2014, 05:04 PM
looks really nice, hope you love it!

11-11-2014, 05:16 PM
Hey Bao, nice looking/sounding uke. Congrats!

Now comes the hunt for the right strings.:)


11-11-2014, 05:36 PM
Very nice. Try some Aquila Nylguts if its too mellow. Was it sent in the case pictured or was that bought separately?


11-11-2014, 07:45 PM
Congratulations Bao, it looks and sounds very nice.

mm stan
11-11-2014, 08:28 PM
Congratulations it looks real nice, happy strummings

11-11-2014, 08:37 PM
Looks really nice. I've been using Bruce for my custom ukes.

(I deleted my post not wanting to take the attention away from your NUD.)

11-12-2014, 12:01 AM
Interesting build and photos, Bao. I recall when you ordered it, with Aloha spirit and wanting to give it a try. Nice that it made its way to you.

When you say that it's "warm" and "not as much punch", I hope that you are right that a simple string change will fix it (vs. being overbuilt/overbraced).

At $700 (one of Bruce Wei's highest end instruments), I would be interested to know your (or anyone else who has direct comparison) opinion compared to a Pono tenor. A Pono cutaway, with slotted headstock, goes for about $800 with HMS set up (radiused fretboard, adjustable truss rod, free shipping, etc.), so pretty close price-wise. Wondering how they compare, head-to-head.

Congratulations, and may you have years and years of joy from your new instrument. Nice playing on your video, Bao!

11-12-2014, 12:09 AM
Congrats bao, I think you got a good one. It has a sweet sound when fingerpicked.

11-12-2014, 01:01 AM
Ahah thanks guys, I'm loving it at the moment!

Vanflynn: Yeah, that's always the exciting part :)

Anthonyg: It was bought separately. This uke didn't come with anything but it was packaged nicely!

Kohanmike: Give us a review when the ukes come! Also, try swapping out your strings for your jazz. String changes can make that much of a difference.

Coolkayaker1: Don't worry, I'm plenty confident that a switch to some fluorocarbons will do wonders! It doesn't seem overbuilt at all either. The thickness of the soundboard is as thin as my lanikai as well so that's good. I wonder that too about comparisons to a high end uke. If I ever find a K brand (or high end) at a meet up or at a store, I'll be sure to compare them first thing. There have only been mid level ukes (300 - 700 dollars) at my music stores so far and from my many months of going to music stores endlessly and trying them out, I personally think that my custom bruce wei tops them for sound.

Bonesoup: Thank you! I think it sounds much better in real life. I found that iphone cameras were never that good at recording.

11-12-2014, 01:38 AM
I just checked out your sound file. It sounds very much like a, Ukulele! Seriously it will get better. Its not just Brucewei instruments that get better with age. I have ukulele's hand made in Australia that got better with a little age.


11-12-2014, 03:57 AM
That is very nice! Love that glossy finish - it just makes the whole thing glow!

11-12-2014, 05:02 AM
Looks great, and I like the sound as is.

11-12-2014, 06:39 AM
I think the sound is pretty good, IMO. Maybe not the sustain that you want, but hopefully changing strings will fix that.

11-12-2014, 06:42 AM
That's a gorgeous uke, congrats!

Bill Mc
11-12-2014, 09:01 AM
Enjoy that new ukulele Bao and don't allow anyone's opinion as to why you should not enjoy it have any influence on you.

11-12-2014, 09:58 AM
It looks very nice, and the sound seems to be quite nice even over the phone.

11-12-2014, 12:25 PM
Wow, congrats....700 sounds like a really good deal, and a month's wait is nothing, to get what you want, and will enjoy for the rest of your uke pickin' life!

Down Up Dick
11-12-2014, 12:40 PM
Looks good to me, Bao. I'd like a high gloss Uke -- maybe next time. Have fun strumming! :old:

11-12-2014, 12:58 PM
Congrats Bao! That is a good looking tenor, the build and finish look well done. Curly maple binding is gorgeous. Good choice on the slotted headstock.

11-12-2014, 01:01 PM
Great looking uke, Bao. Sounds good too. Congrats!

11-12-2014, 01:19 PM
Congrats on the new Uke. Hope it meets all of your expectations. Cheers.

Dan Uke
11-12-2014, 01:54 PM
Congrats!! I like NUD as we all can celebrate together!