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View Full Version : Bruce Wie uke impressions



whistleman123
10-31-2017, 04:00 AM
I'm considering placing a custom order with Bruce for a new soprano. Is anyone currently playing a Bruce Wie Uke? What are your impressions on build quality and playability?
Thanks

kohanmike
10-31-2017, 04:35 AM
I'm a long time user of Bruce Wei ukes, both off the shelf and custom (see my signature). He does very good work, all of them are done well. I'm about to order another custom. One important note, be sure you are very clear exactly what you want, look over the final spec drawing he sends and be sure every detail you want is correct.

spookelele
10-31-2017, 06:08 AM
I'm considering placing a custom order with Bruce for a new soprano. Is anyone currently playing a Bruce Wie Uke? What are your impressions on build quality and playability?
Thanks

Does bruce actually make the ukes? Or does he list ukes he finds that others have made?
Like.. if you custom something, who's making it?

Tudorp
10-31-2017, 09:21 AM
Bruce does both. He builds himself, has his employees build them, and also sells ukes built by other builders. If you buy a custom from him, likely, he will build it. He does make a nice uke. Some out of his factory are hit and miss, but he is quick to make it right if you get a bad one. But a custom, he does pay good attention to detail and builds a nice uke. I have been playing one of his concerts for many years, and it is my favorite go to Uke. Awesome sustain, tone, volume. It is a solid mahogany. I love it. It plays as nice and in many cases, better than ukes I have played for twice the money.

Nickie
10-31-2017, 10:36 AM
Bruce does both. He builds himself, has his employees build them, and also sells ukes built by other builders. If you buy a custom from him, likely, he will build it. He does make a nice uke. Some out of his factory are hit and miss, but he is quick to make it right if you get a bad one. But a custom, he does pay good attention to detail and builds a nice uke. I have been playing one of his concerts for many years, and it is my favorite go to Uke. Awesome sustain, tone, volume. It is a solid mahogany. I love it. It plays as nice and in many cases, better than ukes I have played for twice the money.

Now, stop that. You're making me want one, and all I did was innocently stroll by....

Cornfield
10-31-2017, 11:13 AM
Bruce does both. He builds himself, has his employees build them, and also sells ukes built by other builders. If you buy a custom from him, likely, he will build it. He does make a nice uke. Some out of his factory are hit and miss, but he is quick to make it right if you get a bad one. But a custom, he does pay good attention to detail and builds a nice uke. I have been playing one of his concerts for many years, and it is my favorite go to Uke. Awesome sustain, tone, volume. It is a solid mahogany. I love it. It plays as nice and in many cases, better than ukes I have played for twice the money.

And yet, you donít list his uke in your signature but you do list the $80 Lanakai

Tudorp
10-31-2017, 11:30 AM
And yet, you don’t list his uke in your signature but you do list the $80 Lanakai

I hadn't updated that list in years. Some I don't even own anymore, and others I now own aren't in that list. I wasn't even aware that those signatures were even noticed that much. The Lanikai I gave away to a kid years ago, and it was only $50. ;)

kohanmike
10-31-2017, 11:52 AM
Bruce has not sold ukes made outside of his operation for years. He told me that directly when I asked. As was said, he stands behind all of his work.

Inksplosive AL
10-31-2017, 12:19 PM
I have mixed feelings on Wei ukes...

One tenor won for under $18 plus shipping at the time IIRC was $60 for a tenor.

Developed a crack in a dark part of the acacia top and a tiny sideways tress crack on the back I could only guess from shipping. Some humidity and some tight bond after a few questions in the repair forum and shes all good. I let it then sit a year or so as it felt tight and overbuilt. When my Koahola concert came I then compared all my other ukuleles to this sound.

To make a long story short the Wei tenor is the only one that had the same full sound of the Koahola.


Fast forward a year or two I see a walnut soprano for $99 plus $60 (now the soprano shipping price). I will admit I first changed the strings to Aquila reds as I do on most my ukes. This little girl is soooooo quiet that to get volume out of it the strings need to be attacked in a manner Ive never used on another uke. Of course this causes the strings to buzz.

I did buy a cheap EQ and pickup I may cut into and install someday. I do need to switch back to the Aquila whites to see if it changes anything. Oh being prepared with humidity issues I kept this one humidified but missed one sponge drying out. A crack developed in a dark stripe of the walnut top so I just glued it. This might change things though I doubt it.

Another complaint is he left room for a name inlay at the top of the head stock this makes the pegs too close together but I see hes changed this poor design again.

After a year they seem to be stable in normal humidity.

Its like buying tools from Harbor Freight its a gamble. Good Luck if you decide to play the Vietnamese lottery!

anthonyg
10-31-2017, 09:40 PM
I've bought at least 10 brucewei ukuleles over the years. The very first one I bought was the best. The quality was a bit variable for a while but since brucewei took over completely the quality picked up again. I have a baritone that I bought a couple of years ago that's very good. I have a tenor from a couple of years ago that's well built but its bridge was annoyingly a little out of place.

I've just won one today on eBay. A tenor. It will take a couple of weeks but I'll tell you how it is when I get it.

Choirguy
11-01-2017, 01:38 AM
I have one Bruce Wei, it is a concert with F holes. It has a very restrained fretboard (compared to Bruce’s usual work) which appealed to me. I have only had it for a few months, and I have yet to see it make it through the winter. It was $165 shipped, and I don’t have any complaints—but it isn’t the ukulele that I reach for most of the time. Right now, I’m always reaching for my Opio Concert. The Wei doesn’t match the Opio in sound, even though they are both solid acacia, and while the Opio Acacia is not as loud as my Opio Sapele Tenor, the Opio just has a richer tone. I should also add that the Wei is a bit smaller in depth and width than my other concert ukuleles, so that size difference might impact things as well.

The Wei has a bell-like sound, with good Harmonics, and it isn’t unpleasing—but it would likely get lost in a community jam.

So...I love the look, the tone is nice but quiet, and I don’t regret the purchase (again, I have to make it through the winter). You won’t find a pathway to a custom ukulele any more price effectively—unless you choose to order a Bonanza (Pete is putting the final touches on a cut-away solid wood Bonanza right now).

Tudorp
11-03-2017, 06:05 AM
I meant to show a picture of my Bruce Wei Concert. I let him build it with just a few specs from me. I wanted it all Mahogany, and more understated than much of his work. He did some abalone inlay on the fret board, but not as much as he usually does, and it is tasteful so I let him do that. The top has a carved checked pattern, and I am not sure if this is the reason this thing has crazy amount of sustain, but it's a theory. Love the rich tone of it. I've played it nearly daily for over 6 years now and still love it.

104131

bellgamin
11-03-2017, 10:11 AM
i have a custom 8 string baritone by wei. On a scale of 10=great, it's a 6.5. He followed my specs exactly, so I am satisfied that it is what it is.

ichadwick
11-05-2017, 06:43 AM
I bought one. It cracked soon thereafter. Then it got worse. I gave the parts away.

Never again.

Tudorp
11-05-2017, 07:08 AM
A word of caution, and admitted by Bruce awhile back. This was several years ago and I have no idea if it is still this way, but the Ukes he posts on ebay with very low starting bids are generally his 2nd's with blemishes, and imperfections. which is why they are listed so low. He lists his better ukes, and the ones that don't have some of the issues of the 2nd's at slightly below his regular prices, or with BIN prices.

Choirguy
11-05-2017, 08:38 AM
I bought one. It cracked soon thereafter. Then it got worse. I gave the parts away.

Never again.

ichadwick...not denying or disputing your experience...just curious when this occurred? Recently? Several years ago? I ask because general feedback has been that he has stepped up QC over the past years (like many manufacturers).

Bao
11-09-2017, 07:40 PM
I've had a koa ukulele I custom ordered from Bruce Wei many years ago (2013-2014?). It was light weight, playability was great but the sound was lacking a little at first. After a year of playing and constantly trying new strings out, the worth browns really made the ukulele shine.
In terms of build quality, I couldn't really find anything wrong with it over the years. It has not cracked after these years of gigging etc. Of course, whenever it's not in play, I keep it in its case.

All in all, the ukulele cost me 800 dollars? I do not regret spending this much for a custom from Bruce.