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View Full Version : NUD - Bruce Wei Arts eBay win.



kohanmike
04-08-2016, 07:35 AM
I received the brown burst tenor uke yesterday that I won from an eBay auction early last week, it arrived much sooner than I expected. It's darker than I expected, the neck is slightly narrower than my other ukes and the shape is different than I'm used to, with a narrower upper bout, but it's built well by Bruce Wei Arts (I even emailed him if it's one of his or one he puts up on consignment, he said it's his).

It's all solid acacia koa cutaway, solid maple neck, solid ziricote headplate, solid ebony bridge, solid rosewood fretboard. It came with Aquila labelled strings, but when I tuned and played it for about a half an hour, the E string popped at about the 4th fret, making me skeptical they are real Aquila. Luckily I had a set of D'Addario Titaniums, which are slightly brighter than the stock strings. I still have to install strap buttons, and maybe a preamp/tuner & pickup, which I have.

I have to put it through it's paces the next few days. I'm not totally convinced I'm going to keep it, but if I decide not to, I'm going to donate it to the UCLA/Mattel Children's Wing music therapy program along with the five ukes our group will deliver that we donated to by way of The Ukulele Kids Club.

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/Done front 600.jpg
http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/Done back 600.jpg

Martynas
04-08-2016, 08:13 AM
it looks beautiful! i see birds on fretboard? just wow. how much you paid for this uke?

kohanmike
04-08-2016, 08:27 AM
The birds and the rosette are abalone looking, nice touch. The auction bid was $101, shipping from Vietnam $65.

cml
04-08-2016, 08:28 AM
They usually go pretty cheap, try searching ebay. Some seem to love them, others not so much.

kohanmike
04-08-2016, 08:34 AM
The negative comments about Bruce Wei ukes are rather old, partly because for a good while he sold cheap poorly made consignment ukes by other builders in Vietnam, he stopped doing that. All the ones I've received from him in the last two years have been very nice.

sam13
04-08-2016, 11:00 AM
Can you post a sound sample? Looks great ... curious what it sounds like. Thanks.

Camsuke
04-08-2016, 12:12 PM
Congratulations Mike, looking mighty fine!

johnson430
04-08-2016, 12:13 PM
Can you post a sound sample? Looks great ... curious what it sounds like. Thanks.

+1 for Sam's request.
I am very curious to hear one that is a confirmed Bruce W. instrument.

Mike, can you take some close-ups of the soundhole, neck, the tuners, etc.
I really like the look of this sunburst tenor.

Nice score,
Johnson

ZappCatt
04-08-2016, 12:32 PM
I really like my Bruce Wei for what it is a $110 all solid ukulele. It sounds fine, and is my main player.

I replaced the stock "Aquilas" with Aquila Reds, and just recently put on a Low G

It definitely is built much heavier than higher price ukes. When I play mine, while it has good sound, I do not feel the reverberation coming through the instrument like I do with the Mele Baritone or Martink T1K I played at the store.

I am glad I purchased mine for the price, and it is a nice instrument. It just proves, all "solid wood ukuleles" are not made the same.

kohanmike
04-08-2016, 01:54 PM
I'm working on doing a recording but so far none of my low end equipment is doing too well. But as I work at it, I'm finding I really like the sound of this uke with the D'Addario Titanium strings, has better projection and sustain than with the Aquilas (if they are), especially the more I get my chops back after playing only sporadically the last year or so.

kohanmike
04-08-2016, 02:09 PM
Here are a few more photos.

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/Brown more.jpg

UkerDanno
04-08-2016, 02:58 PM
very nice, Mike...I think you're singlehandedly supporting Bruce Wei!

Nickie
04-08-2016, 03:41 PM
Congrats Mike!
Mr Wei seems to know what he is doing. The photos you shared show some pretty darn nice workmanship. I love the contrast in color from the front to the neck.

Kyle23
04-08-2016, 04:42 PM
Looks great Mike. You have a nice collection.

kohanmike
04-08-2016, 08:21 PM
Thanks all. I seem to have been helping here and there with some companies. SmallGuitars.com where I bought the mini P-bass that I had painted surf green has sold out of them since I've been touting them on the Talk Bass forum, and Bruce Wei has been taking many more months to complete his custom orders since I've been posting about him too, and he does answer my emails within a few hours.

Vietnam seems to be up and coming for making ukes. I talked to Pepe Romero recently and he uses a Vietnamese builder for his line of ukes.

kohanmike
04-11-2016, 08:04 AM
I've been warming up to doing a recording of this uke, but then I picked up my Kala, there's really no comparison, the Kala has much better projection and sustain. Not only that, I also tested the brown burst against my black mandolele, and the black is better as well. So it looks like when the UCLA/Mattel Children's Wing music therapy program is ready for us, I'll donate it along with the other ukes from The Ukulele Kids Club.

johnson430
04-11-2016, 08:09 AM
I've been warming up to doing a recording of this uke, but then I picked up my Kala, there's really no comparison, the Kala has much better projection and sustain. Not only that, I also tested the brown burst against my black mandolele, and the black is better as well. So it looks like when the UCLA/Mattel Children's Wing music therapy program is ready for us, I'll donate it along with the other ukes from The Ukulele Kids Club.

Maybe try one more string change. I tried the D'Addario Titanium and I am not a big fan.
I would try one set of fluorocarbon stings before letting this thing go.
Just my 2 cents.
Maybe spring for a good set of strings for the next player.
I am a big fan of the PHD strings.

Inksplosive AL
04-11-2016, 09:01 AM
My Wei Wei tenor sounded flat and dead and felt seriously overbuilt the first year. After sitting a year it is now comparable to my KoAloha concert. I think Ive mentioned this before.

Tried D'Addario Titanium on a couple sopranos and couldn't get them off fast enough.

~peace~

kohanmike
04-11-2016, 09:16 AM
As inexpensive as this uke was, and my other ones sound that much better, I have no problem giving it to a kid in the hospital who would need it far more than me.

Inksplosive AL
04-11-2016, 09:39 AM
As inexpensive as this uke was, and my other ones sound that much better, I have no problem giving it to a kid in the hospital who would need it far more than me.

Point taken.

sam13
04-11-2016, 09:42 AM
As inexpensive as this uke was, and my other ones sound that much better, I have no problem giving it to a kid in the hospital who would need it far more than me.

They look great ... but from the many written testimonies here on UU ... sound dead. Too bad, was really hopefully ... wonder if it is the builder ... or just cheap dead wood.

Inksplosive AL
04-11-2016, 10:52 AM
The suck is they crack or split usually in a dark stripe in the wood but Ive seen a thread on a Pono which did the same. On the flip once they are humidified properly and glued they become stable. Ive also read a thread here claiming the BW pocket uke was louder than a Kala or other name brand pocket uke.

~AL~

anthonyg
04-11-2016, 12:51 PM
I used to have a very popular review video of mostly Bruceweiart ukuleles up on YouTube but took it down as I felt that it just wasn't up to date anymore with what you could buy from him now.

I've bought a baritone and a tenor ukulele from him since he took over and started making them himself. The baritone is a nice instrument. Well made with a rich sound and decent intonation although not perfect. A FANTASTIC instrument for the money.

The Tenor is mostly well made but, DAMN, the bridge is glued on short and the intonation is going sharp. What annoyed me most was that this was a problem from earlier instruments and I had sent him e-mails with picture about the issue. Anyway, the better news is that the intonation problem CAN be relatively easily fixed by compensating the nut (place a shim under the strings next to the nut). This flattens the intonation which compensates for the sharp intonation.

The standard strings they come with are TERRIBLE. This is the cause of the dull sound. Replace strings as soon as you get the instrument. This isn't a big deal. You guys/gals change strings all the time.

My latest brucewei instruments are quite stable and I have no major issues with them although they do move a little just as EVERY ukulele I own does. The average humidity where I live is about 40% which is a little low for a jungle built instrument but not that low.

Anthony

kohanmike
04-11-2016, 06:11 PM
They look great ... but from the many written testimonies here on UU ... sound dead. Too bad, was really hopefully ... wonder if it is the builder ... or just cheap dead wood.

I think you'll find those testimonies are rather old. I find that in the last couple of years, Bruce's ukes have been pretty good, especially for the cost. My brown burst does not sound bad or dull at all, it's just that my others sound better, so I have no real need to keep it, I'll rarely use it.

Here are three audio samples I just did to belay any fears of Bruce's work (please excuse my rusty technique).


http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/BWA brn Trailers.mp3


http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/BWA brn Truman.mp3


http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/BWA brn Blues.mp3

chefuke
04-11-2016, 08:27 PM
The negative comments about Bruce Wei ukes are rather old, partly because for a good while he sold cheap poorly made consignment ukes by other builders in Vietnam, he stopped doing that. All the ones I've received from him in the last two years have been very nice.

Bruce is a dude based in Taiwan - he might have dropped a few of his suppliers but he does not make anything himself - a clever middleman.....

anthonyg
04-11-2016, 09:19 PM
Bruce is a dude based in Taiwan - he might have dropped a few of his suppliers but he does not make anything himself - a clever middleman.....

My understanding was that previously bruce was just the middleman selling others instruments. He wasn't invested in the construction.

I believe now that he owns the company making them so has more say on quality. They have got better.

Anthony

johnson430
04-12-2016, 02:22 AM
I think you'll find those testimonies are rather old. I find that in the last couple of years, Bruce's ukes have been pretty good, especially for the cost. My brown burst does not sound bad or dull at all, it's just that my others sound better, so I have no real need to keep it, I'll rarely use it.

Here are three audio samples I just did to belay any fears of Bruce's work (please excuse my rusty technique).


http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/BWA brn Trailers.mp3


http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/BWA brn Truman.mp3


http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/BWA brn Blues.mp3


Hey Mike, that sounds pretty darn good.
Thanks for sharing. What strings are you using?

kohanmike
04-12-2016, 05:56 AM
Hey Mike, that sounds pretty darn good. Thanks for sharing. What strings are you using?

D'Addario Titanium (I mentioned in my first post). They're fine, I don't see a reason to replace them with something else.


My understanding was that previously bruce was just the middleman selling others instruments. He wasn't invested in the construction. I believe now that he owns the company making them so has more say on quality. They have got better. Anthony

I emailed Bruce last night asking where he does business and if he makes the ukes himself, this is his answer:

"I'm Taiwanese and my workshop is in Vietnam. Most of time, I live in Vietnam around 10 months a year. All the instruments/parts have been making in my workshop from the beginning to complete. I work with my staffs to build the instruments."