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Ukecaster
05-21-2018, 04:10 AM
Saw this one on eBay. Ad said it was unbranded, only says Made in Western Germany, in the soundhole. Sure looks like a Bruko to me. Is it? The design of the point at the end of the fretboard looks a bit different than current models, and it appears to have a gloss finish too. Their website says they started making ukes back in the 30's, and didn't brand them as Bruko until they moved their operations after WWII. The maple neck has darkened up a lot, compared to the bright white color of their new maple necks, so I assume it is a vintage Bruko.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Soprano-Ukulele-w-bag-Mahogany-body-maple-neck-Made-in-West-Germany-/142795435934

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Pirate Jim
05-21-2018, 04:20 AM
Definitely a Bruko

actadh
05-21-2018, 05:31 AM
My Brueko is a few years old. Looks similar.

frolicks
05-21-2018, 12:22 PM
That is definitely a Brüko. For some time they made unbranded instruments for different dealers or companies.

The only thing I could add to determine the age has to do with the back bracing: If the small piece of wood glued to the back from the inside has a square profile, it was made before 1980. Because from 1980 onwards they used flattened and more round-shaped pieces for the bracing. I got this information personally from Brüko, so it seems reliable.
I own a couple of Brükos but I just realised, they all have bowed backs and that's why they don't have any bracing at all. Sorry, I can't send you a picture.

But from the foto I would guess yours is older than 1980. Just guessing, though.

Ukecaster
05-21-2018, 12:44 PM
Thanks for the info. I was lucky to snag it for a good price. It will be interesting to see whether age mellows out the sound, as I have found recent Brukos to be very bright and somewhat plinky, at least when strummed. I think they sound better for fingerstyle, we'll see.

Mr. Sweetie
05-21-2018, 04:11 PM
Nice score. that is a sexy uke.

ukeinfused
05-24-2018, 06:36 PM
Suh-weet!!
I love the idea of a vintage Bruko. (Never played one, but have heard about how bright they are...)
Please let us know how it sounds!
Trade you for something when you're done with it... ;^)

Ukecaster
05-30-2018, 06:00 PM
Well, it is a vintage Bruko, pre-1980, according to Herr Pfeiffer at Bruko. I guess exact dating is not available, only that it is pre-1980, as seen by the square shaped back bracing and white soundhole ring. The action is around 2mm, and it sounds great with new Worth Browns. The sound is much richer & sweeter than the other 2 Brukos I have owned, nowhere near as trebly/plinky. Not sure if that is due to being older, or different construction. Love everything about it, except the friction tuners, which actually have paper washers under the metal washers on the front of the headstock, no washers under the tuner buttons on the back. Will add some there and see what happens.

I had it on my futon, and my pup jumped up there close to it, so I moved it over a bit for a photo opp. Maybe I should teach her "Do Your Ears Hang Low"? :D

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frolicks
05-30-2018, 09:35 PM
It's a nice one, no doubt. The dots on the fretboard are made of wood, right?
I have nearly the model here, and it's gourgeous. Unfortunately, it obviously has some lose bracing somewhere, that I am unable to locate. Makes the whole thing sound as if there is a built-in distortion. Probably nice for punk music, which am not too fond of, unfortunately. Anyway, makes for a nice deco object, too. Plus, I have another vintage Brüko which also sounds great.
Have much fun with yours!

frolicks
05-30-2018, 09:48 PM
At Brüko, they go even further. My pre-1980s model Nr 3 (made of super light okoumé wood) had the same issues with the tuners: worn-out paper washers to make them go smoother. THey willingly exchanged the washers and offered some advice on how to change the tuners.

I had gotten hold of the uke just before I took it there. Therefore I still thought the old tuners wood work for me. I had them replaced by a friend recently.

And on a newer No 5 model, I had bought used, they exchanged the nut which the previous owner had worked on to make it fit for silly thick strings for some exotic tuning variant.
Oh, did I mention they did both for free? Now, that's what I call customer care!

Ukecaster
05-31-2018, 02:11 AM
It's a nice one, no doubt. The dots on the fretboard are made of wood, right?

Yes, they are wooden dots, which I hadn't noticed before.

Ukecaster
06-01-2018, 03:21 AM
Here's a peek at that square brace through the soundhole

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Ziret
06-01-2018, 04:34 AM
Glad you're enjoying it!

ukeinfused
06-01-2018, 09:42 PM
Based simply on the stamp, your uke is a true mid-modern piece.
From 1952 “Made in Western-Germany” or “Made in West-Germany" was used to distinguish from East-Germany/GDR. (The term was not compulsory and rather used at whim.) These terms of course became obsolete after 1989 when the Berlin wall came down.

I'm guessing that wonderful patina would place it in the first half of that time period.
I love how Bruko's work is so recognizable with their talented use of different woods, especially maple.

It's definitely a lovely piece of history!
(LOL, having been born in 1961, I guess that would make me officially "vintage"!)

Ukecaster
06-02-2018, 02:09 AM
Cool, thanks for the info!

frolicks
06-03-2018, 11:28 AM
Based simply on the stamp, your uke is a true mid-modern piece.
From 1952 “Made in Western-Germany” or “Made in West-Germany" was used to distinguish from East-Germany/GDR. (The term was not compulsory and rather used at whim.) These terms of course became obsolete after 1989 when the Berlin wall came down.

I'm guessing that wonderful patina would place it in the first half of that time period.
I love how Bruko's work is so recognizable with their talented use of different woods, especially maple.

It's definitely a lovely piece of history!
(LOL, having been born in 1961, I guess that would make me officially "vintage"!)

Neatly explained, but not entirely true for Brüko, at least. They use a different stamp nowadays, or rather: a marking iron, than the one in ukecaster's foto, but the one they are using till date still says: "Made in W.-Germany". For whatever reason, maybe just to add some vintage feel to their instruments. I have a rather new, just a few years old, maple Brüko soprano here, and it still has that stamp (or rather brand).

I am not so sure about the patina, though. I saw Brükos from the 80s or 90s which looked quite older to me. It always depends on the way they are treated. Looks can take on an older feel due to neglect or a harsh treatment or also simply from not keeping the instrument in a case when it's not being played.

In any case, it's at least 38 or nearly 40 years old, which, of course, makes it quite "vintage" for sure. And I absolutely agree on the "lovely piece of history" part!

Nickie
06-03-2018, 02:38 PM
Congrats on a great purchase.

Ukecaster
06-03-2018, 03:10 PM
Agreed on the patina. On the maple neck Fender electric guitars I love, many new, stark white maple necks will amber up nicely after only a couple of years out in normal light, even faster if left exposed to sunlight, especially those with lacquer-based finishes, poly not so much.

ukeinfused
06-08-2018, 04:34 AM
Neatly explained, but not entirely true for Brüko, at least. They use a different stamp nowadays, or rather: a marking iron, than the one in ukecaster's foto, but the one they are using till date still says: "Made in W.-Germany". For whatever reason, maybe just to add some vintage feel to their instruments. I have a rather new, just a few years old, maple Brüko soprano here, and it still has that stamp (or rather brand).

I am not so sure about the patina, though. I saw Brükos from the 80s or 90s which looked quite older to me. It always depends on the way they are treated. Looks can take on an older feel due to neglect or a harsh treatment or also simply from not keeping the instrument in a case when it's not being played.

In any case, it's at least 38 or nearly 40 years old, which, of course, makes it quite "vintage" for sure. And I absolutely agree on the "lovely piece of history" part!

Well, huh!
Thx for the info, I stand corrected. So much to know.
If neither the stamp nor the patina can date the uke, then how did you come up with 38 or 40 years old?
I appreciate learning about this.

How about a soundclip, Ukecaster?

frolicks
06-10-2018, 10:07 AM
As written before - I wrote it and Ukecaster got it confirmed by Mr Pfeiffer from Brüko - the small wooden bracing on the backside, that you can see through the soundhole, has a square profile. Such a bracing was used by Brüko only up to 1980. Afterwards, they used differently shaped pieces for the backside bracing. Apart from that, it will be difficult to get the age more precisely determined. This model was built already in the 1950s.

And I'd be interested in a soundclip, too. As I mentioned, the one I have here is unfortunately damaged. Probably a loose bracing somewhere, but hard to determine. Anyway, I payed not much money for it, and it still makes for a nice decorative object.

Jerryc41
06-11-2018, 12:36 AM
From 1952 “Made in Western-Germany” or “Made in West-Germany" was used to distinguish from East-Germany/GDR. (The term was not compulsory and rather used at whim.) These terms of course became obsolete after 1989 when the Berlin wall came down.)

Take a look at the short film on the Bruko site, and you'll see the branding stamp sear "Made in W Germany" into a Bruko uke. I'll have to look inside mine and see what it says.

Ukecaster
06-11-2018, 03:15 AM
Just added a quick video in the reviews section here

https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?133538-Vintage-Bruko-soprano&p=2072014#post2072014