View Full Version : NGD: Bruce Wei Koa Guitalele

08-03-2018, 04:03 PM
Hi Everyone,

I've been talking about my new guitalele for the last few days, so it's probably about time I posted photos, etc. I was thinking about doing a short video review, but because I'm not really sure about how to play it yet, I decided I'd just take a few pictures and do a short description.

I got this uke for next to nothing (AU$150 plus postage) second hand off Gumtree (it's like Craigslist in the USA). The seller was very up-front that the reason for the low price was 2 cracks, one just above the bridge on the soundboard, and the other on the upper right of the back. My thinking was that it's a good opportunity to see if I can handle 2 extra strings (long story short, I can't right now, but I'm going to give it some time), so I'm not too fussed about that sort of damage as long as it doesn't affect playability. I'm saying this is Koa because that's what it was advertised as. I have a very slight suspicion that this might be made from a non-koa acacia wood, but I don't have any grounds for this other than that I didn't pay very much. I think Bruce Wei lists his woods accurately, so it's probably the real thing.

Once I got it, I had a look and sure enough, the cracks were there, but they don't seem to affect the sound or playability at all. There is also very very minor deformation in the soundboard where the bridge has been pulled forward by the strings, but not bad, and the 6th fret is a bit high, which causes a bit of buzzing on the G string when I play on the 4th and 5th fret, which should be fixable. All in all though, it's totally worth what I paid for it.

My first impressions are that it's heavy. Really heavy. I've never played a non-uke stringed instrument before, so I suspect that it's because the neck is wider and contains a truss rod, but even compared to my KPK, which is quite heavily built, the neck in particular feels like it weighs a tonne. The sound is sweet and clear, though. It's currently strung with Nylguts, and I'm happy to leave them on for a while because they seem to sound good.

When I told my wife I had bought a guitalele, she rolled her eyes at me, but when it arrived her eyes lit up and she said "you didn't tell me it was so pretty!" And it sure is pretty. Abalone inlays on the fretboard and around the sound hole, and coloured inlays on the back. I thought it might be painted on, but you can see that the grain runs in a different direction on the coloured portions, so it is inlaid. I particularly like the little bit of curl near the top of the back.

08-03-2018, 04:08 PM

I hope the third image attaches...

08-03-2018, 07:30 PM
Nice buy! I like the front grain and the design on the back. If you end up pursuing the GL, then you appear to have a great foundation instrument. Just a little TLC to stabilize and fix playability, and you have a neat GL, for a great price, with a story to go with it. We all like rescue stories.


bird's eye view of my ukelele
08-14-2018, 05:39 PM
what a great looking instrument! can't wait to hear it in action!! :rock:

08-15-2018, 01:05 AM
I have a Bruce Wei Tenor. I love it. It’s the best sounding tenor I have.
I live in good old humid Ohio. The uke has stayed perfect for about 5 years now.
Someone in Arizona might have a pile or warps and cracks.

But I, I love mine.