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the52blues
09-23-2010, 03:13 AM
We have had a couple of threads on Vietnam ukes in the past and as I had mentioned I loved the ukes I bought from Taisamlu and have decided to stay away from Antoniosai. There is another guy from Taiwan on Ebay - Bruce Wei. Up until now his ukes were very plain looking with very little inlay. He charges $85 for shipping and does not include a case but will provide one for $30. Lately he seems to have upped his game with some nice new styles with tasty inlays and a sound hole in the top front bout. Has anyone here bought from him? Any stories? I'm bidding on one now...don't know if I'll win or not but if anyone has any info on this guy I'd like to know. Thanks.

Chris D
09-29-2010, 10:10 AM
Sorry for not replying to this thread sooner...
I have a soprano uke from Bruce, I sniped it for a paltry $11! That's under 8 quid!
Even with the shipping on top it was cheap.
Solid "Monkey-Pod wood"... whatever that is.... it sounds real nice with Aquilas fitted.
I mostly fingerpick & it has a real sweet rich & "sparkly" tone, much nicer than I expected.
I deepened the nut-slots a little & dropped the action by filing a few mm off the underside of the saddle, the intonation is good.
It took no more work than this to get it playing like a much more expensive instrument.
The neck has a nice rounded profile, which I much prefer to the shallower necks... I find a deeper neck makes it easier for the thumb to provide some back-pressure for barre-chords etc without any straining, but maybe that's just me.
I'm not a fan of fancy inlays, this one is subtle, little MOP stars for the fretboard-dots, plain abalone round the soundhole & a little herringbone stripe @ the tailblock.
I T-cut the matt finish to a vintagey-shine. (I don't like matt!)
There's another thread here somewhere, Bruce Wei's ukes seem to have quite a good reputation & he does give good service.
That Antoniosai is obviously one to avoid like the plague, but I would happily order another off Bruce Wei...

agilitydog
09-29-2010, 11:22 AM
I bought one several months ago...simple maple and spruce tenor...just to fiddle around while worked on my own tenor builds. I'd only experienced soprano and concert before this. Same experience as above...got it for under $10.00 w/delivery under $95.00. I avoided bidding on the more exotic inlayed stuff hoping that the quality would be in the instrument and would cost less. No complaints at all. Bruce even responded to after sale questions about bracing, finish, and radius. I bought a set of tuners from Antoniosai (inlaid artist on ebay now). Would never do that again no matter what the quality or price. Big difference!

the52blues
10-01-2010, 08:32 AM
I did manage to win a Bruce Wei tenor uke. It looks to me like a Fluke shape with nice aquarium fish inlays up the fretboard - $22.79!!!!!. I am paying $30 extra for a hard shell case and his slightly high $85 for shipping but altogether a gorgeous uke for under $150 CDN. I can't wait til it arrives. I have now bought 4 ukes from Taiwan/Vietnam and am so impressed I likely will never spend $800-$1600 on a Hawaiian uke. I don't see the sense. I also bought some active PU systems for a couple of dollars each and my tech will install one for me in trade for the second unit to sell to someone else. He just did that for me with my Yamaha 12 string. I paid $5 each for 2 systems. He installed one in my guitar and I gave him the other one. Not bad an installed active PU system for $10. I like Ebay....

Brenda Wong
01-15-2015, 04:31 PM
I did manage to win a Bruce Wei tenor uke. It looks to me like a Fluke shape with nice aquarium fish inlays up the fretboard - $22.79!!!!!. I am paying $30 extra for a hard shell case and his slightly high $85 for shipping but altogether a gorgeous uke for under $150 CDN. I can't wait til it arrives. I have now bought 4 ukes from Taiwan/Vietnam and am so impressed I likely will never spend $800-$1600 on a Hawaiian uke. I don't see the sense. I also bought some active PU systems for a couple of dollars each and my tech will install one for me in trade for the second unit to sell to someone else. He just did that for me with my Yamaha 12 string. I paid $5 each for 2 systems. He installed one in my guitar and I gave him the other one. Not bad an installed active PU system for $10. I like Ebay....


How much did you pay on custom? Was it send through regular mail and it deliver to your door ? Just wondering if it's a bad idea to order in the winter.

DownUpDave
01-15-2015, 04:56 PM
How much did you pay on custom? Was it send through regular mail and it deliver to your door ? Just wondering if it's a bad idea to order in the winter.

Brenda that post is 4-1/2 years old. You might want to send him a PM and see if he answers, his last activity was back in Aug 2014.

For what it is worth I think it is a bad idea to order period. You have a new Kanilea from HMS and you were not happy with their set up. So I might be going out on a limb here but I am guessing these ukes are probably a little lower quality.

Brian1
01-15-2015, 05:01 PM
How much did you pay on custom? Was it send through regular mail and it deliver to your door ? Just wondering if it's a bad idea to order in the winter.

Hi Brenda, the person you are replying to has not been posting for over 4 months now. I don't know about customs as in fees for shipping a ukulele into Canada. (OR do you mean how much does he charge for a custom ukulele ?) But there was a thread earlier today about the costs of importing ukuleles from Asia. In the US and in Norway there does not seem to be a tax on importing small quantities of ukuleles (usually). I don't know about Canada. But someone here might know, or you might want to check the other thread from earlier today.

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?103723-Customs-Fees-Tariffs-for-Tom-Pocket-Uke-from-Hong-Kong

kohanmike
01-15-2015, 09:06 PM
Brenda, you can email Bruce at the email address I gave you and ask him any question you have, he's answered all my questions quickly and clearly about each of the 4 customs he made for me. By the way, Bruce is from Taiwan but builds his instruments in Vietnam. If you're asking about customs, I know that in the US, there are no customs fees, and shipping from Ho Chi Minh City to Los Angeles is about $65 to $70.

Brenda Wong
01-17-2015, 04:05 PM
I was just curious because I saw a uku with cats inlay on the neck, I thought how perfect is that for my daughter upcoming birthday.
No it's not for me.. I have no right to buy any more uku in the next year or so. The kanilea is working well now. The sound opened up. I have been playing so much ( to hide from the cold winter) , I love it more and more . Someone in this forum said in time I will form a relationship with the Kanilea and he is right!

ichadwick
01-18-2015, 03:24 AM
I got a baritone from Bruce Wei in 2013. I can't recall the exact amount, but I believe the total taxes and processing fee was about $50.

The uke dried out and cracked over a period of about 6 months, so I suggest caution. I'm in Ontario too and winter air here can be as dry as Mars, despite the snow on the ground. It can be tough on any musical instrument.

Brian1
01-18-2015, 09:21 AM
This is interesting to me. I hear such mixed reviews and realize that some may be the result of who built the instrument that ends up with the label that has Bruce's name on it.

I have seen video of string instruments being made in Viet Nam with hand tools and people sitting on a bare floor, in conditions with open windows and in some cases open walls and all the workers have matching t-shirts and shorts. I have also seen pictures of factories in Asia that look to me as neat and tidy as hair salons with people wearing masks and gloves. Neither example has anything to do with Bruce Wei however, it has been mentioned that he does not and even could not be producing all of the instruments that he lists on his e-bay store.

That said I am also wonder (meaning I don't know) if the type of wood has anything to do with this cracking. Does wood that originally comes from a region have anything to do with how well it holds up in the climates of other regions ? Are tropical woods more likely to crack than say maple or spruce when an instrument is brought into a climate where all of the humidity is frozen out of the air and drops to the ground, and heaters warm the homes ? Or does exposure to the humid environment at the time the instrument was built "seal the deal" ? Tom, Kala, and most other ukuleles are built in Asia (and Asia is a huge area with more than one environment) but don't seem to have the same reputation of cracking.

I would hate to discriminate against and entire economy or an entire group because I made a foolish wood choice. To me it is rather offensive to say things like "You get what you pay for" when "what you pay for" feeds someones family for a week. The video of people working in the open with less equipment, appear to be working harder than those who only claim that their instruments are "hand made" when power tools and in some cases electricity is (or isn't) used.

Back to Bruce Wei, Bruce is obviously using computers to design his custom builds which I have heard no complaints about. If he is also supporting other builders in his region as part of his business his reputation is naturally affected by the products he puts his name on. I don't know what a builder in Asia should or could to to predict the future of cracking of an instrument. But, it would be nice to know how to better judge or predict what type of instrument is going to crack.

Brenda Wong
01-18-2015, 09:25 AM
This is interesting to me. I hear such mixed reviews and realize that some may be the result of who built the instrument that ends up with the label that has Bruce's name on it.

I have seen video of string instruments being made in Viet Nam with hand tools and people sitting on a bare floor, in conditions with open windows and in some cases open walls and all the workers have matching t-shirts and shorts. I have also seen pictures of factories in Asia that look to me as neat and tidy as hair salons with people wearing masks and gloves. Neither example has anything to do with Bruce Wei however, it has been mentioned that he does not and even could not be producing all of the instruments that he lists on his e-bay store.

That said I am also wonder (meaning I don't know) if the type of wood has anything to do with this cracking. Does wood that originally comes from a region have anything to do with how well it holds up in the climates of other regions ? Are tropical woods more likely to crack than say maple or spruce when an instrument is brought into a climate where all of the humidity is frozen out of the air and drops to the ground, and heaters warm the homes ? Or does exposure to the humid environment at the time the instrument was built "seal the deal" ? Tom, Kala, and most other ukuleles are built in Asia (and Asia is a huge area with more than one environment) but don't seem to have the same reputation of cracking.

I would hate to discriminate against and entire economy or an entire group because I made a foolish wood choice. To me it is rather offensive to say things like "You get what you pay for" when "what you pay for" feeds someones family for a week. The video of people working in the open with less equipment, appear to be working harder than those who only claim that their instruments are "hand made" when power tools and in some cases electricity is (or isn't) used.

Back to Bruce Wei, Bruce is obviously using computers to design his custom builds which I have heard no complaints about. If he is also supporting other builders in his region as part of his business his reputation is naturally affected by the products he puts his name on. I don't know what a builder in Asia should or could to to predict the future of cracking of an instrument. But, it would be nice to know how to better judge or predict what type of instrument is going to crack.

My daughter tells me the reason the instrument crack is because the uku probably has been sitting at the port in a shipping container in the heat for weeks until the container is filled then again sit on the ship for at least a month before arriving North America. Now this made sense why some arrived cracked and some are OK. The OK one probably was the lucky few that did not sit at port for too long?

bazmaz
01-18-2015, 09:52 AM
When I got to the third email from people I knew who bought and were dissatisfied, I vowed I would never entertain buying one. Perhaps that means I miss out but would rather not play Russian Roulette.

Brian1
01-18-2015, 10:11 AM
When I got to the third email from people I knew who bought and were dissatisfied, I vowed I would never entertain buying one. Perhaps that means I miss out but would rather not play Russian Roulette.

There are currently two threads complaining about a Pono. That does not count against a three strike and you're out rule for me. I doubt it would for you either.

To make a good judgement one would need to know how often a problem occurs and the reasons why it occurs. Relying on people sending information to you may not always be the best course. How many happy customers need to write you to overturn your decision ? How many are sold with no problems?

Dan Uke
01-18-2015, 10:22 AM
There are currently two threads complaining about a Pono. That does not count against a three strike and you're out rule for me. I doubt it would for you either.

To make a good judgement one would need to know how often a problem occurs and the reasons why it occurs. Relying on people sending information to you may not always be the best course. How many happy customers need to write you to overturn your decision ? How many are sold with no problems?

What are the threads?

Brian1
01-18-2015, 10:55 AM
I believe the threads are something like :

"I should send this back right ?"

and the other is something like :

"If you have a pono could you check something for me.

Inksplosive AL
01-18-2015, 12:36 PM
My wei wei tenor cracked due to my inexperience with solid wood instruments born in a jungle. If memory serves me correctly it took a week or less to arrive to my door. It was not very well padded while packed. One crack that appeared on the rear night have happened due to compression before drying. I caused another small identical crack clamping the top crack closed with some glue.

The instrument sat the better part of the year in my jungle box (economy humidifier) I've bought a few ukuleles since and find I'm a soprano. After receiving a well loved concert KoAloha of course I brought them all out for a sound test. My wei wei tenors voice changed sitting. Shes sings as sweet as the KoAloha now.

The setup as shipped was fine I'm just not into the tenors string tension I guess. Playable, sounds great, cracks seem to be stabilized with humidity control and it was $17.50 before adding the shipping charge. Mine has no label and cosmetic defects.

Great ukuleles have a higher buy it now or make an offer listing. The better ukuleles get a higher starting bid, those with thicker finish or other "defects" or those that sit with no bid then get listed with a .99 cent starting price. Many times this relisted ukulele gets sold very close to the old original starting price. At times $5 is saved for all the stress of bidding.

This is what I have observed.
~AL~

Brian1
01-18-2015, 01:46 PM
Never thought of it that way AL. That does make sense, I was always operating under the assumption that the high cost of shipping was covering the cost of shipping and the ukulele and that everything on top of that was profit.

Looking at it the way you describe suggests that we are comparing $20 instruments to those that cost 100's more. So you are saying that a $20 cracked Bruce Wei tenor humidified, sounds similar to a cracked KoAloha concert?

Inksplosive AL
01-18-2015, 02:17 PM
The KoAloha concert is dated 2002 it is a three piece body with no cracks but well loved. I consider well loved to be 100% playable with visible wear from playing. There is some finish wear and some fretboard wear, small ding or two but shes a singer for sure. This ukulele was well played and is very impressive even with all the religious symbolism.

Yes I'm saying to my ear a 1 year old sub $100 cracked ukulele (under $20 actually) sounds as full and rich in tone as the aged KoAloha. The Wei Wei was said to be solid acacia. My Kala KA-SCG while as loud as both now sounds very thin compared. None of my other ukuleles come close to this richness of tone.

Maybe I should string Wei Wei up with a set of Aquila reds and give it another go. I was going to tune it as a linear baritone but after this discovery I haven't changed a thing yet.

Oh yes and shipping is shipping look: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bruce-Wei-Solid-Curly-Hawaiian-Koa-Tenor-Ukulele-Dragon-Inlay-UG17-1190-/171609476105?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item27f4b8cc09 $750 tenor still $70 to ship.

~AL~

EDIT: None of this is any good for UAS. I have to keep telling myself I really want a Blackbear or a Timms ukulele never mind a Martin 3 Cherry but a solid wood ukulele for under $200 (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bruce-Wei-Solid-Brazilian-Walnut-Soprano-Ukulele-Engraved-Top-Bag-UG13-2040-/191484839902?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c9562c7de) that might sing just as sweet is hard to pass. I tend to dent ding and scratch everything I own as well so. Why oh why did I sleep on that white pine soprano from Blackbear last year around this time. It was gone by morning.

bazmaz
01-18-2015, 09:48 PM
There are currently two threads complaining about a Pono. That does not count against a three strike and you're out rule for me. I doubt it would for you either.

To make a good judgement one would need to know how often a problem occurs and the reasons why it occurs. Relying on people sending information to you may not always be the best course. How many happy customers need to write you to overturn your decision ? How many are sold with no problems?



But I havent had trains of emails about Ponos being dry, or cracking, or being made from overly thin woods...

My money, my choice - i would never risk one. But that is just me..

Andy Chen
01-18-2015, 11:08 PM
There are currently two threads complaining about a Pono. That does not count against a three strike and you're out rule for me. I doubt it would for you either.

To make a good judgement one would need to know how often a problem occurs and the reasons why it occurs. Relying on people sending information to you may not always be the best course. How many happy customers need to write you to overturn your decision ? How many are sold with no problems?

Both threads came from the same OP. Is it the same uke? In which case, it's not two possibly faulty Ponos, but one.

kohanmike
01-19-2015, 08:13 AM
As much as I know from what Bruce has told me, the ready made ukes on his eBay site are made by various builders, his custom ukes are made by him and his own staff. I bought a ready made off his eBay site about a year ago, a pretty mandolele I got it for $51 plus $70 shipping. When it arrived I saw that the binding work was not done well at all, and it did not have much projection or sustain. When I contacted Bruce about it, he told me about the other builders and that he was in the process of eliminating some of them because of the lower quality and workmanship. I asked if he could custom a mandolele, he said yes, so I ordered a glossy black solid acacia koa, which is constructed much better and sounded and played really well right out of the box.

After a Lanikai monkey pod of mine cracked in low humidity last year, I keep all my ukes in a humid controlled cabinet.

paullchter
01-19-2015, 01:37 PM
I got one from him a year ago, and it turned out to be an un-repairable piece of junk. He never responded when I emailed him to complain!

paul

SteveZ
01-19-2015, 02:38 PM
There seem to be folk that have good experiences with this vendor and others who are very disappointed. No doubt the photos are gorgeous and the corresponding prices are unbelievably low. it's kind of like the computer dating site where the photo looks like a beauty queen (or the male equivalent), but the person who shows up could scare paint off the wall with the personality to match. Bottom line - if it's too good to be true, it is.....

I have often thought of purchasing a BW instrument based on the photos and the price. However, such a purchase would be considered a gamble based on the fact that if anything is wrong with the instrument at delivery, I think I'm stuck. If it's one of the low-cost instruments, the shipping often costs more than the item, making it cost-ridiculous to return on my dime. If it's one of the higher priced "actual" BW custom instruments, I still have qualms concerning materal quality (based on all the cracking stories) and dealing directly with a vendor on the other side of the globe is inconvenient and risky. Some days I think I'll roll the dice, and other days I'd question why and then scan the marketplace ads.

I'd have a lot fewer concerns about BW if the product was distributed through any established instrument vendor within my country who backed the warranty. The added cost for this service is like "instrument insurance" to me and an added expense well worth it.

There appear to be those folk who have gotten a good instrument from BW and are satisfied. It just shows there are good deals to be made. The question is whether one wants to give it a shot or not, knowing what is entailed cost-wise and product-wise with the transaction. It's a matter of personal choice on how one spends one's own money in this Caveat Emptor international marketplace.

Brian1
01-19-2015, 06:20 PM
I know someone who orders from him chronically. He happens to be an amateur wood-worker. I have been to his house and estimate there to be more than a dozen likely two dozen of them scattered between at least 20 or so other brand ukuleles from a Mya Moe, a Boat Paddle, and others I can't name off the top of my head. I didn't ask him directly about his dealings w/Bruce and didn't hear them played well over the back ground noise on the few I did play. He did say that he likes them, he has never mentioned one cracking or being unplayable in any way, I am not at all worried that I will have problems getting the ukulele, I feel fairly confident that it wont crack within days based on the numbers I have seen in good condition. Bruce does state that he takes returns within 14 days but doesn't cover shipping which often is more than the ukulele itself. (and you have to ship it back) so if you are ordering one of his $400 concerts you might get back $280. If you get a ukulele that goes at auction for $25 it wouldn't be worth it to ship back.

I have bid up to $75 a couple of times but never won an auction but, if I can find one that doesn't have too many flowers, an odd shaped bridge, or too much inlay that I like and it isn't tropical wood, I would bid again.

Inksplosive AL
01-19-2015, 06:40 PM
I wonder how many who wouldn't own a BW due to playing "the lottery" actually participate in the Chinese lottery know as Harbor freight. Its funny as hell I just in talking to my lady earlier today said buying a BW ukulele is like playing the Vietnamese lottery. I told her how I passed up a Mango Soprano that interested me and should have bid on it.

The ability to get a solid wood ukulele that's not just another floor model for a fraction of the cost is tempting. Lets say a Pono costs $500 hell I can get 5 BW ukuleles for the cost of one floor model.

The odds seem to favor the gambler.

:)

Popster999
01-19-2015, 08:12 PM
I have purchased several BWs over the past few years and have mixed experiences with the instruments. It seems if they make it here unharmed they have a great survival rate if humidifiers are used. I've gifted BWs to my grandchildren (with humidifiers and cases) that have survived so far. They generally require a decent setup. Have not received one that I would consider unplayable. Yes, it's a bit of a crap shoot, but even the bad ones are decent for the price.

bazmaz
01-19-2015, 11:22 PM
And so it continues - the lottery is not for me, sorry Bruce.

I understand any brand having some bad ones slip through, its natural, but I don't have to go far to find a bad story about a Bruce Wei. Not my kind of odds.

ichadwick
01-20-2015, 02:29 AM
When I got to the third email from people I knew who bought and were dissatisfied, I vowed I would never entertain buying one. Perhaps that means I miss out but would rather not play Russian Roulette.

Well, for the price, it's a small gamble. I might buy another from him in the future, but forewarned, I will treat it differently with regard to humidity. The fit and finish were excellent - no complaints about the quality. My only serious complaint was that the body size for a baritone instrument was way too small, making it sound rather thin. More like a tenor body with a baritone neck.

CeeJay
01-20-2015, 04:04 AM
My money, my choice - i would never risk one. But that is just me..


Seconded ... so it's not just you Baz.

And what the hell is a humidifier for ?...why do you need humidifiers (I know what a humidifier is ,to be clear ...it is not a "duh!" moment )with your Ukuleles ...this is a genuine question ...not scoffing as it could be read to be....or do we not get the right sort of climate in UK (that's a given !!)to require them......for a Uke ..?

If this chap is selling instruments that "need this or that" doing to them ...and with the emptor's long view that it may split,be too thin..etc etc...then

surely these aren't Fit For Purpose ?

If I want a punt ,I'll go and put an each way bet on a bag of bones and horsemeat:deadhorse: at the local bookies ....and I don't even do that ....

However ,to continue the betting analogy ,horses for courses and if it floats your boat ,fine.:2cents:

Brian1
01-20-2015, 06:28 AM
And so it continues .

Sorry, I didn't know you were supposed to get the final word based on hearsay evidence. The reviews seem pretty good when comparing apples to apples. Or in this case comparing $79 solid top mangos to $79 solid top mangos. (Tenor cutaway with inlay neck and gig bag has 0 bids and ends in 6hrs.)

Popster999
01-20-2015, 07:01 AM
CeeJay,

I live in a semi-arid region, Colorado to be exact, where normal humidity is low. Couple this with the furnace running in the winter and you have an extremely nasty (low humidity) situation for solid wood. This applies to all things wood. Take the thin, solid wood of instruments and you have a recipe for disaster if you do not supply additional humidity. Check out the recommendations from HMS, for instance, and you'll see that dry climates require humidifiers. Otherwise you can expect cracking and splitting.

BW ukes further compound the problem because there is no climate control used in their manufacturing. i.e. "air drying" is the normal method for conditioning the wood. As you can imagine, moisture content in their ukes is likely to be much higher than established manufacturers.

You are fortunate, indeed, to live a climate conducive to wood instruments. But those of us in less fortunate geographic locations absolutely require humidifiers. I use a humidifier on my furnace to raise humidity in the house in the winter. Additionally, have a portable humidifier in the music room to maintain 45% humidity level, which would otherwise be in the 20% range. The BWs are of least importance, but I would be sick if either of the K brands cracked.

Hope that explains why some of us have a need for humidifiers.

coolkayaker1
01-20-2015, 09:41 AM
Bruce Wei gets more internet forum time than any other single luthier around. Epic threads every other month.

The guy is a frigging legend.

Brian1
01-20-2015, 10:38 AM
Yes this thread has been going on since 2010 ! :)

anthonyg
01-20-2015, 12:04 PM
It never ceases to amaze me just how many people who have never bought a Bruce Wei instrument jump on the bandwagon to diss them in these threads. The timber in Bruce Wei instruments is air dried. In Vietnam. Its a little dry where I am (40% average humidity) so I need to humidify my instruments occasionally but its not horrendous. I wouldn't recommend that anyone in a drier climate purchase an instrument (of any type) that's made in a humid climate.

Hawaii has a similar humid climate to Vietnam. Hawaiian ukuleles, particularly old ones suffer similar problems yet I don't see everyone who has never bought a Hawaiian ukulele jumping in to diss on Hawaiian ukuleles. Just the opposite. Hawaiian ukuleles often don't get the reviews they deserve.

I was at my local music store yesterday and I was talking with a tech guy about Australian custom instruments. Expensive, Australian hand made instruments made in a dry part of Australia suffer horrendous issues if taken somewhere humid in Australia and vice a versa.

Humidity control for the big manufacturers used to involve locating the factory in a location with 50% average humidity.

Bruce Wei instruments are not perfect. I've never said that they were yet somehow Bruce Wei has become everyones favorite whipping boy.

Do not buy a Bruce Wei instrument if you live in a very dry climate. The truth is that you will wreck any fine timber instrument in a very dry climate yet it seems that its only Bruce Wei that everyone wants to diss on for this issue that effects everyone.

Anthony

CeeJay
01-20-2015, 12:56 PM
CeeJay,

I live in a semi-arid region, Colorado to be exact, where normal humidity is low. Couple this with the furnace running in the winter and you have an extremely nasty (low humidity) situation for solid wood. This applies to all things wood. Take the thin, solid wood of instruments and you have a recipe for disaster if you do not supply additional humidity. Check out the recommendations from HMS, for instance, and you'll see that dry climates require humidifiers. Otherwise you can expect cracking and splitting.

BW ukes further compound the problem because there is no climate control used in their manufacturing. i.e. "air drying" is the normal method for conditioning the wood. As you can imagine, moisture content in their ukes is likely to be much higher than established manufacturers.

You are fortunate, indeed, to live a climate conducive to wood instruments. But those of us in less fortunate geographic locations absolutely require humidifiers. I use a humidifier on my furnace to raise humidity in the house in the winter. Additionally, have a portable humidifier in the music room to maintain 45% humidity level, which would otherwise be in the 20% range. The BWs are of least importance, but I would be sick if either of the K brands cracked.

Hope that explains why some of us have a need for humidifiers.

Pops'999

Thanks for that . I was genuinely curious . So if you have a verrrry dry climate ..humidify,then .

Okay that makes sense ...Here we seem to be constantly combatting damp so BW should do quite well here ....

Unless of course they don't like the cold ;)

CeeJay
01-20-2015, 01:08 PM
It never ceases to amaze me just how many people who have never bought a Bruce Wei instrument jump on the bandwagon diss in them in these threads. The timber in Bruce Wei instruments is air dried. In Vietnam. Its a little dry where I am (40% average humidity) so I need to humidify my instruments occasionally but its not horrendous. I wouldn't recommend that anyone in a drier climate purchase an instrument (of any type) that's made in a humid climate.

Hawaii has a similar humid climate to Vietnam. Hawaiian ukuleles, particularly old ones suffer similar problems yet I don't see everyone who has never bought a Hawaiian ukulele jumping in to diss on Hawaiian ukuleles. Just the opposite. Hawaiian ukuleles often don't get the reviews they deserve.

I was at my local music store yesterday and I was talking with a tech guy about Australian custom instruments. Expensive, Australian hand made instruments made in a dry part of Australia suffer horrendous issues if taken somewhere humid in Australia and vice a versa.

Humidity control for the big manufacturers used to involve locating the factory in a location with 50% average humidity.

Bruce Wei instruments are not perfect. I've never said that they were yet somehow Bruce Wei has become everyones favorite whipping boy.

Do not buy a Bruce Wei instrument if you live in a very dry climate. The truth is that you will wreck any fine timber instrument in a very dry climate yet it seems that its only Bruce Wei that everyone wants to diss on for this issue that effects everyone.

Anthony

Umm , because it IS only ever BeWe that is discussed .No-one ever seems to have the same issue with other manufacturers..begging the question slightly I know ..but there it is.

...and anyway, no-one seems to be "Disrespecting" Bruce Wei....

His products are being discussed in a restrained and moderate manner...his general craftsmanship and overall appearance of his product seems pleasing to most ...the longevity ,depending on the climes to which the instruments go seems to be the bone of contention......and that is a fair topic for discussion.......

No I have never bought one...( but I might ..given that maybe they might suit our slightly (huh) moist clime .....) and given my earlier post BH(Before Humidifier information was given) that may be a bit of a retraction ....but curiosity has settled for more than just Pussy Cats I suppose .....

CeeJay
01-20-2015, 01:47 PM
What bruce is showing up is how much it actually costs to make a uke in Asia. The effort to make one from scratch by hand is about the same even if the wood moves when it is relocated to a drier climate. Most of the ukes made in Asia, including the kalas and ohanas which have ever rising prices probably cost the same as Bruces ukes to make.
Perhaps what we are seeing here is a reaction from those who have vested interests in selling the over priced Asian made ukes? They don't like the fact that Bruce is setting up competition in Vietnam, as well as the fact that he is showing the real cost of manufacture. And perhaps that is why there is so much fuss, as soon as Bruce and his team start to get it right, there is going to be a bit of a shake up in the pricing of Asian ukes. Already, there are some great ukes being made in China which are priced much lower than the Kala and Ohana lines. In fact there are so many new brands that are reasonable value for money, it is hard to know which one to buy.

Now Bill , this one I whole heartedly agree with......I still stand and gape askance at prices often bragged about on these forums ...there is not that much wood , skill or other material that could justify the price of a $3000 ukelele..not in my eyes...

and as a consumer I have every right to say so...as will every manufacturer who will now scream me down and justify their prices..have the right to do just that..

It's a game lads..you price it, I scorn it ..until we reach an accord ..savvy?

...I ain't falling out with ya...:p

Inksplosive AL
01-20-2015, 02:03 PM
Fun fact: I own three Kala ukuleles and everyone of them if I sight the rear brace through the sound hole are built with this brace downhill to the left. While I know this really shouldn't do much its a flaw to varying degrees on not one but all three I own.

To some I imagine Kala's are likely not much worth talking about or buying either.

~AL~

CeeJay
01-20-2015, 02:06 PM
Fun fact: I own three Kala ukuleles and everyone of them if I sight the rear brace through the sound hole are built with this brace downhill to the left. While I know this really shouldn't do much its a flaw to varying degrees on not one but all three I own.

To some I imagine Kala's are likely not much worth talking about or buying either.

~AL~

I got a Kala Banjerlele ...I love it ...got an 8" pot and a concert neck...so the pot sits on my pot just nicely and as I can't play concert piano I can play concert necked banjerlele instead ....:shaka:

kohanmike
01-20-2015, 03:26 PM
My best sounding ukes are my Kala tenor cutaway with solid cedar top and acacia body ($369 US), a custom Bruce Wei mandolele all solid acacia with glossy black finish ($350), and a direct from China 2 hole acacia which I think is all laminate ($140).

anthonyg
01-20-2015, 06:19 PM
Well I disagree that Bruce Wei is showing what it costs to make a ukulele in Asia. Bruce Wei is taking what money he can get rather than charging a decent price on what it costs. To be honest I think the builders were getting peanuts for many hours of skilled labour.

Why should we expect poor Asians to work many hours for us for peanuts?

You end up in a vicious cycle anyway with poor prices leading to poor quality. There is no free lunch and I was happy to see Bruce Wei put up most of his prices to support higher quality. There used to be at least two builders selling their ukuleles through Bruce Wei and one of them didn't make ukes as well as the other. A bit hit and miss. Still, I've made GREAT recordings with a Bruceweiart baritone ukulele from the 2nd builder and while now its a little warped, it was a GREAT instrument for a couple of years. Its still a playable instrument, it just has some buzzes that won't be economical to fix.

Anthony

spookelele
01-22-2015, 06:46 AM
Umm , because it IS only ever BeWe that is discussed .No-one ever seems to have the same issue with other manufacturers..begging the question slightly I know ..but there it is..


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GS6GqjP-zMY

So... does that mean taylor guitars are crap/lottery?
If you search for martin cracks, you can find those too, I just ran across that one looking at humidifiers, and it was an eye opener.

I'm not defending BW. I don't have one. But.. he has a 99.7% satisfaction rating on over 24k sales. If you look in the ebay history of it, he has tried to reconcile every complaint.

I'm not on either side of this debate. Just pointing out that he's not the only one that has cracks, and he doesn't appear to be a cheat.

kohanmike
01-22-2015, 11:55 AM
I've had problems with a couple of customs Bruce made, one was a tailpiece that had to be replaced three times, which he paid shipping, the other was cracks in the side of a fret board that he also paid shipping, $66 US. He has always responded to my emails quickly and clearly.

Brian1
01-22-2015, 12:44 PM
There are bound to be problems, in different climates. I suppose that laminate bodies like we see on most ukuleles from asia are less likely to crack and if the builders here are any indication the body other than top has very little to do with the sound.

I am currently bidding on a few ukuleles from Bruce, I don't know if his shipping charges are accurate, I hope so I have sent him a request to combine shipping on multiple items.

I have seen a couple of reviews on YT about two to one in favor of Bruce, one guy claimed responsibility for leaving his uke next to a heater and got a free replacement bridge. Another person complained that their was was a crack in the bottom upon arrival, which could have been due to shipping but also had buzzing on an 8string where the strings were too close together in his opinion. Its rather hard to go by people who post reviews of things they buy, I don't post about anything I am happy with, I always assume I am going to be happy with what I buy so the thought of praising someone for a good job doesn't usually cross my mind.

So, I looked at his feed back and it is positive =1,545. Negative= 5, and 12 neutral over the last 12 months, and he has been selling since 2003.

I imagine that 99.7% with over 1,500 sales a year is pretty hard to beat. Granted a handful of people who have no problems on arrival might be giving positive feedback too soon. But that handful who review too early probably holds true for every instrument company.

CeeJay
01-22-2015, 12:48 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GS6GqjP-zMY

So... does that mean taylor guitars are crap/lottery?
If you search for martin cracks, you can find those too, I just ran across that one looking at humidifiers, and it was an eye opener.

I'm not defending BW. I don't have one. But.. he has a 99.7% satisfaction rating on over 24k sales. If you look in the ebay history of it, he has tried to reconcile every complaint.

I'm not on either side of this debate. Just pointing out that he's not the only one that has cracks, and he doesn't appear to be a cheat.

No you're right ...we all have cracks ...I happen to be sat on one........

good for you though for trying to expand the crack debate ...ooer ...no hang on ...that does not come out right .....


Anyway ..to show how fair minded this sack of curmudgeonly-ness is ....in the interest of fair play ....I sat and made a bid on a tenor guitar....I mean ukulele ...because lets face it ...I am not going to pay proper money for one........I won a $55 dollar bid on a cutaway model..a Koa Atishoo or something similar ..occasion ..acacia...I don't know...

$ 10 dollars more than the selling price to post it !! But that seems par for the course.....so 55 uke $65 P & P as we used to call it...(I haven't worked
out what it is in squids yet) ...and I bet HM Customs will want a bung ...bastroids....

first hurdle fail ...

Bruce Wei Solid Acacia Koa Tenor Ukulele Mop CAT Inlay, Soft-Bag UC17-2025

Wed, 21 Jan 2015 at 9:23
Wed, 9:23
Message starred
Other: bruceweiart sent a message about Bruce Wei Solid Acacia Koa Tenor Ukulele Mop CAT Inlay, Soft-Bag UC17-2025 #191483780368
Hide Details

From

bruceweiart

To

:drool:...Me ee EE !!



First of all, please accept my deepest sorry for a...
eBay
New message from: bruceweiart (23995YellowShooting Star)
First of all, please accept my deepest sorry for all about this confusion !

My staff careless listed this item while it has already sold on Jan 8th. Item number :

http://www.ebay.com/itm/191470864894

In this case, please check the options below & let me know your opinion :

1/ You've the right to ask me full refund to you

2/ Please see attached photos of the Tenor Ukuleles below. If you like one of them, I'll immediately ship it to you

Thank you for your time & I look forward to hearing from you soon !

Best regards !

Bruce




So I chose a different but very similar model ...responded ...

..in the reply "immediately ship it" has become "asap" .


So ...looking forward to developments and will get back to you ......I 'm rather smitten with this little adventure I have to say ....

CeeJay
02-04-2015, 07:10 PM
It has landed ...Monday 3rd of this month so that's a fortnight almost exactly from bid to balls up to Brampton ... from where it was collected ....


Currently overtuned to ADF#B it is re-entrant ,which surprised ,but does not bother me...sounds pleasant and looks to be well made ....for the purchase price I would actually have to put very in front of those two values .

So we will see how it fares and keep a North-Eye on it.

Brian1
02-04-2015, 09:40 PM
I ordered one from him directly not via e-bay, he had the style I wanted available but it was not listed on ebay, and I offered him a fair price (more than they normally go for at auction) so I did not have to deal with bidding or waiting for the uke I wanted to come up for auction and watch it for a week while others bid on it. I am now trying to figure out the VN postal service tracking number. He said it should arrive in 12-18 days and from what I can tell from the VN post office it shipped on Jan. 30th. So I am hoping based on your information and what he sent me that it will arrive around Valentines day.

Could anyone tell me if when ordering via e-bay if they have a USPS tracking number ? (because I think that would be worth it in the future)

CeeJay
02-04-2015, 11:12 PM
Yes ...I got a tracking number.

wildfire070
02-05-2015, 03:41 AM
That tracking number should work with USPS tracking.

spookelele
02-05-2015, 05:36 AM
They e-mailed me a VNPost tracking number, which tracked briefly on the VNPost site (how good is your Vietnamese?) until the shipment left port, then nothing for a number of days till the shipment hit customs in New York (?? other damn side of the country). This was reported by both VNPost and USPS tracking, using the original tracking number. Nothing further from either until the package arrived at my front door. Not even a ring at the bell, but I was alerted by my early-warning dog.

That has been my experience in tracking things from china, korea, thailand, czech republic, and others. You see it hit their local postal system, and then it arrives at your door, and it's marked delivered.

Brian1
02-05-2015, 06:26 AM
Tt I was alerted by my early-warning dog.

I need to get me one of those instead of one that tries to sneak away and hitch a ride in the mail truck. :)

Thanks for the tracking info- info. :)