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View Full Version : What is up with Bruce Wei?



Timmytheinflator
07-02-2017, 06:56 AM
Hey all, still new here but been watching the forums for a while, finally registered! I know Bruce has been brought up here before but the last post was 2015. I have read so many reviews and it's such a mixed bag. I have several ukes, one Kala solid top and really want a full solid that I can afford. The Bruce Wei's are really nice "looking" but I'm stuck in the "do I buy a nicer laminated or a cheaper solid" quandary. Suggestions? And also, anyone out there buying the wei's? Ebay is so odd, the sales are all private so no bid info, 95% of the auctions never get a bid and in the rare occasion one does I get sniped at the last second. I'm all for getting good deals and good for those doing it but something smells off! Shill bidding? I don't believe the feedback, anyone with experience with Bruce? Thanks! And happy strumming!

Croaky Keith
07-02-2017, 07:40 AM
I have a feeling that I read he was packing it in, might have been in the Luthiers Lounge. I'd check before thinking too hard about one of his, else you may get disappointed.

I started out with Kala, mainly concert & tenor laminates, then a solid cedar top bari, big difference. :)

I have since bought a couple of Ohana solid mahogany ukes, & am finding them to have a great tone, & are good value.

Booli
07-02-2017, 08:21 AM
I have a feeling that I read he was packing it in, might have been in the Luthiers Lounge. I'd check before thinking too hard about one of his, else you may get disappointed.

I started out with Kala, mainly concert & tenor laminates, then a solid cedar top bari, big difference. :)

I have since bought a couple of Ohana solid mahogany ukes, & am finding them to have a great tone, & are good value.

Aye - we might want to check that thread by Pete Howlett:

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?128005-Bruce-Wei

and also look at the post history of kohanmike (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/member.php?107714-kohanmike), since he had gotten a custom BWA uke with side sound-ports a few months back, but I have not been around here on UU much after since Mike posted about that uke, so not sure what the status is beyond kohanmike's details given in Pete's thread linked above...

...so you might do well to contact Bruce Wei directly and find out what his build-schedule is if you want to get one of his instruments before he possibly winds down his operation in August...

Timmytheinflator
07-02-2017, 09:07 AM
Thanks! Appreciate the link, I'll do some reading and see what turns up. My instinct is to stay away, but if he is in fact winding down, it may be worth the $200 risk... if I do I'll post what I find out! Thanks again!

HubbaBubba
07-06-2017, 07:15 AM
I have two of Bruce's Ukes. The first was a tenor I purchased last year. It is beautiful. The action had to get worked on but it was well worth the money. Last month a concert caught my eye. It was flamed maple and had the Hawaiian Island sound hole and palm tree inlaid finger board. I got it at a great price and when it arrived I was thrilled. It is really pretty. Better yet, the action was right on and the intonation was dead on. I have heard of others wh have not had such good luck. My experience with Bruce's ukes have been great and if he is truly getting out of the business, I will buy another or two from him.

kohanmike
07-06-2017, 07:46 PM
I just ordered another custom from Bruce, with Hawaiian sound holes as Hubba mentioned. Bruce makes good ukes, I have no reservations recommending any of his ukes. Years ago he used to allow inferior builders to sell on his eBay store, but it reflected badly on him, he told me he stopped doing that a couple of years ago. He says that business has been slow and if it continues that way for an extended time, he might have to close up.

A few months ago I bought one of his ready made on eBay, a brown burst solid acacia koa for under $200. It's really nice, sounds good, plays good, looks good. As it happens, because I wanted one with Hawaii sound holes, I decided to have him duplicate it with the islands sound hole and I'm going to donate mine to UCLA/Mattel Children's hospital music therapy program through The Ukulele Kids Club when we play in a couple of weeks.

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/BWA Brown burst.jpg

Tenor
07-07-2017, 04:38 AM
A few months ago I bought one of his ready made on eBay, a brown burst solid acacia koa for under $200. It's really nice, sounds good, plays good, looks good. As it happens, because I wanted one with Hawaii sound holes, so I decided to have him duplicate it with the islands sound hole and I'm going to donate mine to UCLA/Mattel Children's hospital music therapy program through The Ukulele Kids Club when we play in a couple of weeks.


Great, Mike. Good for you.
And that is one beautiful ukulele!

Nickie
07-08-2017, 02:28 PM
Congrats Mike. I marvel at how inexpensive Bruce's ukes are. They look great!

Chopped Liver
07-08-2017, 02:59 PM
I REALLY want this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bruce-Wei-Solid-Acacia-Koa-Tenor-Ukulele-Mop-CAT-Inlay-Bag-UI17-2299-/311910870486?hash=item489f562dd6:g:kBMAAOSwXXxZUHb M

But, sadly, I cannot. Too much student loan debt to pay back and no extra income . . .

But it's a beauty! I hope someone buys it and gives it a good home!

Skysophrenic
07-11-2017, 07:52 AM
I REALLY want this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bruce-Wei-Solid-Acacia-Koa-Tenor-Ukulele-Mop-CAT-Inlay-Bag-UI17-2299-/311910870486?hash=item489f562dd6:g:kBMAAOSwXXxZUHb M

But, sadly, I cannot. Too much student loan debt to pay back and no extra income . . .

But it's a beauty! I hope someone buys it and gives it a good home!

Lets see what it looks like when I get it in person!

Chopped Liver
07-11-2017, 08:17 AM
Lets see what it looks like when I get it in person!

And sounds like! Keep us posted!

FuzzeeSock
09-07-2017, 07:47 AM
I have a Bruce Wei concert acacia with the f-hole design, just got it a few weeks ago. Very nicely made, solid construction, and good transaction with Bruce. It came in about 2 weeks as I live on the Pacific North West. Sound is sweet and warm, and to my surprise the bridge design with the double holes, work really really well. It's so easy to change strings without having to tie knots and such, and looks cool. The tuners are good, at least on the one i received. Smooth and keep tuning. Bruce told me that the solid top is about 2mm thick, and that the f-hole design looks thicker only because he adds some spruce or other wood there for strength and stability, but the rest of the top wood is thin. The f-hole design is very pretty and there's a small side sound port.

one note, to humidify this solid uke, i found a great one that actually fits in the side sound port hole since there's no way to fit a uke humidifier from the top due to the tiny f-holes.
get the Music Nomad Humilele. It's size is perfect, and it fits perfectly in the side sound port, and can still fit in a solid case.

so far, my experience dealing with Bruce has been good. He's nice and responsive and professional.

I'm in talks with him now about building a custom tenor mahogany and have been asking around,
and i might as well ask here too...

does anyone have a Bruce Wei Tenor Mahogany and what does it sound like?
I cannot find enough sound samples on youtube

I'm looking for a deep lush full sound to put Low G on

thanks!

Prattism@gmail.com
09-07-2017, 01:08 PM
I have purchased four of the Bruce Wei auctioned Ukuleles from eBay.

To make a long post short:

One (Cowboy inlay Solid Acacia Tenor) was okay,
One (Dove inlay, heart sound hole solid Acacia Concert) was good
One (Palm inlay, islands sound hole, solid Acacia Tenor) was very good
One (Turtle abalone inlay/sound hole, side port, cutaway solid Mahogany Tenor) was excellent

All four Bruce Wei Ukuleles were bought on eBay auction. Including $55-65 shipping, they ranged in cost from $91 to $140. Bargains all. The biggest bargain was the Mahogany Tenor which I got for $36 and $55 shipping (shipping discounted because I bought two instruments that day).

1) The Cowboy inlay tenor sounds dead. Decent resonance but a very muted sound. I love the look, not so much the sound. I've tried a few different strings hoping to improve it. The Southcoast strings seem to do the best so far, the brightness offsetting the natural dull tone. It's also uncomfortable to play, the neck is too thick. Much thicker than any other uke I own.

2) The Dove inlay concert was for my daughter. It sounds nice, but it's a very small concert. It plays more like a super soprano. Not much volume for a concert, but not bad. Certainly worth what I paid for it on the auction, including the $65 shipping fee. My daughter absolutely loves it.

3) The Palm Inlay with Hawaiian Islands sound hole is very, very good. Great sound, warm, rich, nice volume, and resonance. Well setup, easy to play. Looks amazing. Intonation on the first and third strings is perfect, a little off on the second and fourth. Compensated saddle would most likely take care of that.

4) Turtle Inlay/sound hole, side port, cutaway solid Mahogany is nearly perfect. Great finish, sounds terrific, not as warm as the Acacia but great volume and resonance. Intonation is the same as with the Palm Inlay tenor with perfect intonation on the 1st and third, a little off on the 2nd the 4th strings. Well setup, easy to play, and very nice sound. Very light weight and balanced. Feels great in my hands.

The first three acacia instruments are heavier. Thick necks which aren't particularly comfortable. Thicker headstock. The Mahogany is very different with a thinner, smoother neck which feels much better in my hands. Overall the instruments feels lighter, more delicate. It almost seems like it's built by a different company.

Once my collection grew to include a Mya-Moe Myrtle tenor, Kailea Koa tenor (Low G), Ko'olau tenor and Black Bear Soprano, most of the other dozen or so instruments don't get much playing time. The exceptions are my Bruce Wei Mahogany Tenor (which is in the living room and gets lots of playing time because it's handy) and the Fluke which stays in the Lanai and gets 'porch' playing time plus I just love it. I prefer to play the Bruce Wei Mahogany tenor over my Pono Mango Concert, and my Cordoba 35TS. Both of which cost 4 times as much.

The auctioned Bruce Wei instruments are a huge bargain but I've found it's a bit of a crapshoot. I get the feeling that the auctions that start off at $1 aren't their best instruments - what might be seconds for a different manufacturer. From what I've heard, the ones that are either ordered or start off at $150+ at auction are better quality and sound. (The Mahogany tenor with turtle sound hole is currently offered for $295 on ebay) I would consider buying a custom if the urge to start buying hits me again. Currently the Mya-Moe, Kanilea and Black Bear have sated my need to keep purchasing more ukes. We'll see how long that lasts.

kohanmike
09-07-2017, 07:44 PM
My first custom mandolele from Bruce played and sounded very good, but I wanted gloss black and was too late to change, so I ordered another that was acacia koa and sold the mahogany.

FuzzeeSock
09-08-2017, 08:51 AM
Thank you Kohanmike and Prattism for sharing your experiences about your Bruce Wei's. Appreciate it!