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RawrGazzawrs
08-26-2011, 04:32 PM
http://www.ebay.com/sch/bruceweiart/m.html?_trksid=p4340.l2562

this guy sells some sexy instruments and to start off at such a low price for auctions when barely anyone bids for them... has anyone ever bought from him? seems too good to be true :P

808boy
08-26-2011, 04:44 PM
Aloha,
Seems to me that the ukuleles Tudorp was selling came from Bruce Wei in Vietnam. Had some favorable reviews of his instruments by members here on UU forum. Maybe someone will chime in soon, or Tudorp may offer some insite.......................BO................... ......

Tudorp
08-26-2011, 04:46 PM
Hes legit. I have bought many ukes from him. Decent out of the box, but QA isn't the best. About 20% have issues, but he makes good on those. The 80% that turn out pretty good, are in bad need of a good set up. But, Bruce is good people, and builds a pretty decent uke. He's safe to buy from.

southcoastukes
08-26-2011, 05:11 PM
Let me qualify what I am about to say. I am not going by a visual inspection of the woods, but by the photos the builder himself has posted. Photos of the reduced quality often found on ebay don't make for positive wood identification.

Nonetheless, the claim of "Mahogany" and "Rosewood" seem like typical lumber marketing. All kinds of woods are given names like "Peruvian Walnut", "Brazilian Cherry", etc. They mean nothing other than there is a very superficial resemblance to the well known woods whose names they steal.

Phillipine Mahogany, for example, is not a true mahogany at all, and I'm sure it wouldn't make any kind of decent tonewood. Nontheless, some of these "wannabe" woods can actually be excellent tonewoods. It just makes one suspicious when the woods in the photographs seem to be something other than what is advertised.

mednuke
08-29-2011, 07:08 PM
I recently bough a tenor ukulele from bruceweiart on ebay, I received it in the mail the other day. I am very happy with it! It looks gorgeous, it plays beautifully... I have an aNueNue papa II concert uke I quite like, but this bruce wei uke has so much more sustain and is much louder. I don't know what expert uke players would have to say about the action, but to me it seems fine and the uke is quite nice to play.

It depends on whether you are a uke snob or not. There are many uke snobs who think these ukes from vietnam are fakes or frauds, and who prefer to blow their money on Martins because it is THE BEST. Personally I think you get a great instrument for the price when you order from bruceweiart, but you do have to keep in mind that it is a bit of a gamble because you don't see the instrument beforehand so you should be prepared for the possibility that is is not perfect. I was prepared for this, but in the end I am quite happy and have been showing off my new uke. Everyone agrees it's gorgeous.

If you are not comfortable with the uncertainty of buying a vietname uke on ebay, then perhaps you might want to pay more and get a reputed brand so that you know exactly what you are getting. That being said I think Bruce Wei makes beautiful instruments and is honest about what he is selling. I even compared my uke to the pictures on ebay once I received it, and it was spot on. I can tell that the uke pictured is the one I was shipped from the details in the wood.

bmoreuke
08-29-2011, 10:10 PM
I just played played a Bruce Wei uke here in Sydney the last week, it sounded decent to me, nothing too extremely amazing, but nothing horribly wrong with it either. I didn't get much time to inspect it, but the finish seemed a little thick to me, and the inlay seemed somewhat low quality. Overall IMO, it had a good sound, and with a good set up, like Tudorp says, they would be a pretty decent uke.

1300cc
10-27-2011, 08:07 PM
Mine just arrived today, it's advertised as solid acacia koa, looks good, but having problem tuning it up, particularly the A, it vibrates, .....anyone can suggest how to set it up correctly?

mr moonlight
10-28-2011, 04:58 AM
Hes legit. I have bought many ukes from him. Decent out of the box, but QA isn't the best. About 20% have issues, but he makes good on those. The 80% that turn out pretty good, are in bad need of a good set up. But, Bruce is good people, and builds a pretty decent uke. He's safe to buy from.My only question is, how does he make "good on" the instruments that have issues when shipping costs are so high? A good setup is pretty much expected for any lower end uke but a 1 in 5 chance of getting a bad uke is extremely high so it's something you definitely have to prepare for. Also a good setup as in just some fret, saddle and nut filing or do some parts need replacing. I've thought about picking up one of his ukes before, but was unsure about the quality.

1300cc
10-28-2011, 11:03 AM
This is second day I had this brucewei uke solid acacia koa tenor it's now playing ok , the buzzing A string now gone, comparing the sound to my kala solid mahogany concert not too bad at all, the finish is good, but I can see the inside workmanship is not that good....but anyway at least i have not wasted my $157 Inc delivery....I wish I can compare it to a kala tenor

Yestyn The Great
07-19-2012, 11:06 AM
I just ordered 2 ukes from bruceweiart. A mahogany tenor and a koa soprano. Waiting for them now.

jackwhale
07-19-2012, 01:32 PM
I didn't know there were any 'uke snobs' on UU. I learn something new every day.

dweez
07-21-2012, 02:37 PM
I bought an acacia tenor uke from bruceweiart a couple years ago and was quite satisfied at first. Slowly, the neck bowed and the fingerboard cracked... it has become completely unplayable. I'm guessing that the high humidity it Vietnam is the problem... I also suspect that the environment that he builds the ukes in is uncontrolled. Btw, I have many solid wood instruments and keep them all in a humidity controlled room. I think I only paid about 90 bucks or so shipped, so I wasn't expecting much anyway. I've learned my lesson however.

Dan Uke
07-21-2012, 06:22 PM
I bought an acacia tenor uke from bruceweiart a couple years ago and was quite satisfied at first. Slowly, the neck bowed and the fingerboard cracked... it has become completely unplayable. I'm guessing that the high humidity it Vietnam is the problem... I also suspect that the environment that he builds the ukes in is uncontrolled. Btw, I have many solid wood instruments and keep them all in a humidity controlled room. I think I only paid about 90 bucks or so shipped, so I wasn't expecting much anyway. I've learned my lesson however.

That's good to know...The key to an instrument is how they hold up after a couple of years. Lots of instruments look nice and lot's of new luthiers popping up these days.

It makes sense to pay a little more and go with a company that has customer service.

katysax
07-21-2012, 06:50 PM
A few years ago I was on a visit to Baja Mexico and I stopped in a small guitar shop. The luthiers there were building guitars and selling their work. I bought a requite that was beautiful; it played and sounded great. What I have now at my home is a badly bent and bowed thing that can't be played and used to be a Requinto. What I learned is that when you build a guitar (or ukulele) with woods that have been inadequately cured and dried, the wood will eventually bend and distort. Thus my Requinto was fantastic when it was new and after a few months was a piece of bent and useless wood.

The lesson learned was there there are luthiers in some countries who will put a lot of work into beautiful hand-crafted instruments but the wood isn't going to last.

RichM
07-21-2012, 06:59 PM
It depends on whether you are a uke snob or not. There are many uke snobs who think these ukes from vietnam are fakes or frauds, and who prefer to blow their money on Martins because it is THE BEST.

I'm glad you like your Bruce Wei uke. I think it's entirely possible that those who don't like them are not snobs; the fact that somone doesn't like what you like doesn't make them a snob, it makes them a person with an opinion. However, you seem to feel the need to denigrate Martins and the people who "blow their money" on them... as if Martin buyers are too dumb not to realize how they are wasting their money... which, sadly, makes you a snob.

Jonas UT
07-22-2012, 02:22 AM
Quite an old topic but I'd like to chime in with a few comments (on topic).

I've ordered two guitars over the past few years, both solid koa and they were at the more higher price range of Bruce's instruments. I am still enjoying both of them a lot.

More recently (two months ago) I have also bought a solid mahogany concert tenor, nothing too fancy on the outside (unlike some others in his eBay shop), but it plays beautifully. Wasn't that expensive either. I'm playing it at least as much as my tenor Kala limited golden acacia these days.

I'd also like to note that whenever I had contact with Bruce he was extremely friendly and helpful. When I asked about the ukulele stands (when I was ordering the ukulele) he even gave me a free one!

Hopefully the ukulele can hold its quality over the next few years.

PS: I also think that Bruce has improved a lot over the years. He has been doing this for quite a while now and I've noticed that there are less and less reports of cracking, low quality, etc...

GKK
07-22-2012, 05:35 AM
Bruce's Uke's are very nice!

I bought an Acacia Tenor and it is well made. I've asked Bruce to lower the action on his future uke's and he said, he tried it and liked the sound.

The negative reviews come from older posts of his earlier uke's from his beginning days and the stories just keep recirculating by others who read it. Bruce's newest ukulele's are very nice and I even got free shipping!

arpie
07-22-2012, 01:41 PM
I bought an Acacia Tenor Pineapple uke from Bruce for my husband and it is a delightful ukulele to play! The neck is nice & slim and a joy to play. We had the setup fine tuned by a local luthier & Bruce compensated me for that cost - so I was very happy.

I got is as a 75th birthday present for Keith & he loves it as he's never played an instrument before. We've had it for nearly 12 months now & no hassles with any untoward movement at all. I would be very surprised if we have any problems with it further down the track!

40624

Roberta

MikeC
08-15-2012, 11:21 PM
Hi

I bought a mahogany tenor with single cutaway a few weeks back and I haven't been able to find a single thing wrong with it! the build quality is excellent, the finish really good - it's satin and I guess I'd prefer to have a natural finish, but really the uke is faultless.

It played well straight out of the box - I thought the action looked maybe a bit high but after playing it for 20 minutes I didn't notice it, and I haven't made any adjustments.

The tone sounds good to me, though I've never played a "quality" uke so don't really have anything to compare it to, but it has much warmer tone than the Mahalo tenor I had been playing.

I bought it on ebay and it arrived on my doorstep in NZ exactly a week later..... I wouldn't hesitate to buy another..... they are a real bargain!

I should add that I have no connection with the seller or any music dealer

Mike

ichadwick
08-16-2012, 05:55 AM
I've been considering a Bruce Weiart uke or tenor guitar for a long time. I've read many, many reviews of his products, as well as those of other SE Asian makers. In general the majority of the complaints have always been about the woods drying out. There have been others about build and sound quality but what it seems from most of them is that excess decoration (i.e. the inlay) on the top deadens the sound. That's pretty much true of all instruments, however. The earlier reviews are generally worse than later ones.

I have to say that no luthier can really account for all environments. I have had an Ohana crack, the bridge lift off my custom cigar box uke, and even the neck separate from my Boat Paddle uke (both of which were easily fixed). I have some ukes that always pop a string when the weather shifts - their necks move that much - and all of them go out of tune because of changing humidity. Of perhaps three dozen ukes I've owned or still own, I don't know one which is not responsive to the environment.

If others have one of his ukes, I'd like to hear more. His prices are certainly affordable.

The Big Kahuna
08-16-2012, 06:07 AM
I can't comment on his Ukes (as much as I'd like to) but I've read a few reviews of the decorative "inlays" that he sells separately. The overwhelming consensus seems to be that they are "transfers" as opposed to "inlays", and as a result aren't designed to be sunk into the wood and sanded flush, but are to be laid on the surface and then have many layers of finish applied over the top. That doesn't sound particularly good to me, if it's true.

ichadwick
08-16-2012, 08:17 AM
Don't know much about his inlays, but I do know that a serious amount of so-called inlay used on musical instruments is really just a sticker. I bought some myself for fret markers. Pretty thin, so I can't see it needing a lot of finish.

Tudorp
08-16-2012, 11:37 AM
Much of Bruce's "inlay" is inlay, but he does use decal in some areas, especially the borders, and binding. When the finish is applied after the decal it is hard to tell, but no one can get "perfect" inlays at that price point, so the ones that are "perfect" are generally decals. Bruce's you can tell between the two, because the router work for the inlay isn't as precision as you might see on high end ukes, and you can see some colored "filler" around the inlays if you look closely. On his ukes, if you don't see any of that filler around the inlay, odds are, it is a decal. That said, as I have always contested, for the price point, Bruce's ukes are very nice, and he is easy to work with, and very responsive on issues.

bariukish
08-16-2012, 12:05 PM
When I got run over by the uke train last Sep I bought a baritone on ebay made in Vietnam. I can't remember if it was this guy or not. Uke was about $40 and "shipping and handling" about $110. It arrived much quicker than I expected and was well packed in a wooden box. Lots of bling and inlays, looks pretty good to me but I'm pretty new to this stuff (but learning fast). Not very playable out of the box so I replaced the strings with a bari set of D'Addario's. Sounds much better. Then I came down with the disease and got a Kala solid Acacia and really love it, haven't played the 1st one since. I don't think there is a better bang for the buck than this Kala. World of difference in the two. But could I leave well enough alone? Nooo! Monday my new Myamoe baritone arrived and I am in love all over again. My point is, as with most other things, you get what you pay for. Whatever fits for you is usually the right thing.

PhilUSAFRet
08-16-2012, 03:03 PM
For the most part, few complaints, except for a questionable "setup", from folks who bought from Bruce within the last 2 years. 90% of the problems you read about occurred before then. As with many ukes, "depends on what you paid for it and whether or not your expectations were realistic."

kaizersoza
08-16-2012, 09:01 PM
I bought a 'Bruce' soprano used on e bay about 9 months ago, to be honest for the price it is not bad, the wood may be a bit thicker on the sound board than your average uke muting the projection a little and it is quite a bit smaller than your average run of the mill soprano ukulele, the tuning pegs are cack, but for £60 where on earth can you get a quality solid wood ukulele these days, i must admit that I haven't really looked after this uke like my other ukes it was never kept in a case or gig bag even, but on the rare occasion when I played it, I blew off the dust, quickly tuned it up and it played really well, there is a reputation with these ukes that the wood splits, but even with the lack of care this one has received there are no splits or cracks, I have now bought it a nice little gig bag to live in

The Village Woodworker
08-16-2012, 11:14 PM
I bought a Bruce Wei eight string tenor in solid mahogany with a rosewood fretboard.
I cannot fault this ukulele.
The finish is utterly superb, and the inlay MOP - on the fretboard only, apart from the rosette which is abalone - has been done with extreme care.
It sounds absolutely awesome to my ear, and needed no further tuning out of the box other than getting the strings - they are Aquila - in tune.
The action is very nice - easy to play, and the fretboard is very straight and even - no rattles or buzzing.
I cannot understand how he produces these beautiful instruments for the price that he does.
I am guessing that his ukes are going to command much higher prices in the future if he can just restrain himself from the urge to inlay everything.
Yes, I am a happy camper.
Cheers
Tom

dash213
08-17-2012, 01:30 AM
Hey Tom

Glad to hear you are happy with your uke from Bruce Wei. I just won a mahogany tenor today on eBay from him.

Can't wait for it to arrive. Will post a review as soon as I receive it.

Cheers
Darren

The Village Woodworker
08-17-2012, 02:00 AM
Hey Tom

Glad to hear you are happy with your uke from Bruce Wei. I just won a mahogany tenor today on eBay from him.

Can't wait for it to arrive. Will post a review as soon as I receive it.

Cheers
Darren

Good for you Darren.
Mine took about three and a half weeks to arrive from memory.
I was careful (and lucky) to choose one without inlay on the body, as I don't know how this affects the body's performance - sound wise.
I would think that the reputations of luthiers is built upon making instrument after instrument, and having them all perform very well - considering the variations in the materials that they work with.
No two pieces of mahogany will be the same or sound the same - even in the same design by the same luthier.
I think that the secret to luthier success is getting the best out of each instrument with the materials and workmanship that are used.
I am looking forward to your impressions, and I hope you are as happy with yours as I am with mine.
Lets hope we both got lucky, and that Bruce Wei makes very nice sounding ukuleles across his range.
Cheers
Tom

PoiDog
08-17-2012, 05:26 AM
In many ways, you can consider me a cautionary tale, I suppose.

I bought one of the Bruce Wei ukes about a year ago. With shipping it came to about $95 (if I remember correctly - like $2 for the price and $90 for shipping). It was supposed to be a gift for someone.

It arrived and I was just horrified. The finish was awful: there were two really deep scratches near the bridge, and blotchy, un-buffed splotches near where the fretboard meets the soundboard, and general all-around finish problems. Really ugly to look at. The soundhole wasn't sufficiently sanded, so you could see bits and shards when looking at it.

Still, it was $90, so I figured if the thing played well, it would be okay. I should have been wary when I noticed that the strings had tension on them already (normally you ship stringed instruments with the strings loose), but when I went to tune the thing three things happened: first, the A string slipped it's bridge knot and nearly whipped me. No worries, I re-attached it and tried again. Then, on trying to tighten it, the A string just snapped in two. Well, I figured at this point I may as well just restring the damn thing, so I did. As I was tightening the strings to bring the uke to tune, I heard a small explosion, and saw that the entire front support of the bridge had broken off clean, right at the base.

Well, that was it. I contacted Bruce and told him how horrible this uke was. He apologized, and offered to replace it if I shipped the broken one back. The punchline? I'd have to pay for return shipping, and the charge to ship the replacement. Suddenly, my $95 uke would cost me at least $270 (three $90 shipping fees)! I told him that was absolutely unacceptable, and that he should ship out a replacement free, and if he wanted the original back, he would have to pay for the return shipping. He was completely unwilling to do that, and instead just refunded my entire cost of the original uke.

All in all, the experience didn't end up costing me anything but time and aggravation. But I will not get anything from him again, no matter how pretty he makes them look in his pictures.

Others apparently didn't have this problem, so I guess I drew the short straw. But whatever, as I said, use me as a cautionary tale.

The Big Kahuna
08-17-2012, 05:36 AM
Mine took about three and a half weeks to arrive from memory.

I have a memory like that.

The Village Woodworker
08-17-2012, 11:33 AM
I have a memory like that.

Ha ha - mine is a trip down amnesia lane.
Cheers
Tom

Tudorp
08-17-2012, 12:15 PM
I always tell the kids "I have an awesome memory. It's just short..."

Or

"I have a memory like a steal trap. Nothing can get out.."

ichadwick
08-22-2012, 11:51 AM
Well, I ordered a baritone uke from him, in part to do a more comprehensive review on my site. I can only hope the uke is worth the cost and not a wall hanger. Last year, I spent a lot more on a baritone made by Aaron Keim (Beansprout, now with Mya Moe) that I really don't like and it simply gathers dust. The guy who sold it to me swore it was the best baritone he's ever played (although he conveniently "forgot" to tell me he had repaired a crack in the back, and done a sloppy job of it... am I being uncharitable to believe he deliberately misled me?). So it may join the Keim bari as a dust collector, or it may turn out to be a great instrument. Three weeks and counting...

The Village Woodworker
08-22-2012, 01:12 PM
So it may join the Keim bari as a dust collector, or it may turn out to be a great instrument. Three weeks and counting...

Buying online is always going to be a little bit of a risk - because you don't get to see, and hold and play the instrument before purchase. Add to that the possibility of damage in transit, and the risk goes up a little more. This would be the same with any brand of ukulele bought over the internet.
There have been some cautionary words here about Bruce Wei's ukes but also some very happy results. I am delighted with mine. I forgot to mention that his packaging was very good as well.
I hope you are as happy with yours as I am with mine.
Cheers
Tom

arpie
08-22-2012, 02:34 PM
I suggested to Bruce that he put a short youtube video 'soundtest' up with each of his ukes so that the punters can hear the uke they are keen to purchase ....... he hasn't done it yet - that would also sort out any buzzing problems/setup, as they wouldn't want a crook sound test!! Maybe one day ......

I also bought extra sets of geared tuners & Aquila strings from him at very reasonable cost - he buys the Aquilas by the Mile (well, maybe not,) but they do not come in cute little packages ... so are cut to the required Uke length (stipulate which size uke you have) & are therefore cheaper to purchase than shop bought ones .......

Sorry to hear about the Aaron Keim Baritone - did you ever get back to him about your issues? I would think that he would prefer sort out any issues, rather than having an unhappy customer? I am assuming you bought the uke as 'used', not 'new'? It didn't sound like you bought it from Aaron himself?

Roberta

Freeda
08-22-2012, 03:36 PM
Bruce has a listing right now that is making me salivate. Good thing it isn't a soprano or I would be hitting the buy now button.

ichadwick
08-23-2012, 04:02 AM
Sorry to hear about the Aaron Keim Baritone - did you ever get back to him about your issues? I would think that he would prefer sort out any issues, rather than having an unhappy customer? I am assuming you bought the uke as 'used', not 'new'? It didn't sound like you bought it from Aaron himself?

Roberta
The uke was bought from a Canadian in Nova Scotia, not from Aaron. It was made from recycled mahogany taken from old furniture, which intrigued me and appealed to my recycling sense. The wood is well cured, so I knew I shouldn't have any problems with it.

The former owner had a passive pickup put in, and it sounds okay amplified. I personally don't like the neck (too thick for my taste) and the sound hole (too small for a baritone to achieve its maximum tonal quality I believe). I can't complain about the build quality. It's basically a wall hanger for me. I could spend the money to have the neck whittled down, but the sound hole is as it is. I have some guitar strings I bought to restring it as a micro bass (+1 octave over a standard bass, EADG), thinking I could use an octave pedal to drop the pitch when necessary.

It was a $500 instrument for me, I'd gladly sell it for half that.

PhilUSAFRet
08-23-2012, 05:40 AM
Sorry if I'm a bit thick (old age maybe) but what makes it an Aaron Keim baritone?

PhilUSAFRet
08-23-2012, 05:50 AM
Here's the BruceWei uke I'm waiting on.

Yestyn The Great
08-23-2012, 06:18 AM
Here's the BruceWei uke I'm waiting on.

Is that a tenor or a baritone. Either way when it comes I would recommend having it setup. The action on mine that just arrived a few days ago was extremely high. The intonation was also slightly sharp but that can be fixed. The quality on these is excellent. I have another tenor that just shipped.

PhilUSAFRet
08-23-2012, 06:29 AM
Just arrived a few minutes ago, action a tiny bit high, but not outrageously high. On cursery inspection, intonation not bad, but waiting for strings to settle.good...then will have to check more closely. At the price, I can afford to have a little work done on it.
Due to the body design, it's a 25" Concert size and it is DROP DEAD GORGEOUS AND NEARLY FLAWLESS Headstock very heavy due to sealed chrome tuners, but otherwise, not a heavy uke and the top is thinner than I thought, approx 1/16".
Strings about 3 1/2 to 4mm at the 12th fret. I'll give it a good going over, check frets for level, etc. and do a complete review. Wow, am I impressed. Nice clear ring, decent sustain.... No Covered bridge pineapple mind you, but for $114 and free shipping, it's one of my best buys to date, and I have gotten some real deals.

Yestyn The Great
08-23-2012, 06:56 AM
Yes these ukes are great deals. And they sound great. The tenor I just ordered is an acacia with a cut away. These are some of the nicest instruments I have played.

ukulelecowboy
08-23-2012, 07:02 AM
Mostly out of curiosity, I wound up with one of his "Archtop Baritone Ukuleles" that appear on eBay with what appears to be a never ending supply. Fit and finish are acceptable. No sharp fret tangs. The inlay on the back is composed of the "filler" that tudorp mentioned. The design is absurd. Not really an Archtop but rather a flat top with an elevated neck, a floating bridge, and a metal tailpiece which contributes to the ongoing breakage of strings as it cuts through the fluorocarbon.

Action is impossibly high as you adjust the floating bridge for proper intonation. Tuners were heavy cheap guitar style that weighted down the headstock. Nothing to be amazed at. When I finally got the strings to hold without being sliced by the tailpiece, the tonal quality was mediocre and the sustain was almost non- existent. I can't speak for his traditional designs but I think his "archtops" are not worth the trouble. Nice to look at. Awful to set up and play.

Yestyn The Great
08-23-2012, 08:30 AM
Mostly out of curiosity, I wound up with one of his "Archtop Baritone Ukuleles" that appear on eBay with what appears to be a never ending supply. Fit and finish are acceptable. No sharp fret tangs. The inlay on the back is composed of the "filler" that tudorp mentioned. The design is absurd. Not really an Archtop but rather a flat top with an elevated neck, a floating bridge, and a metal tailpiece which contributes to the ongoing breakage of strings as it cuts through the fluorocarbon.

Action is impossibly high as you adjust the floating bridge for proper intonation. Tuners were heavy cheap guitar style that weighted down the headstock. Nothing to be amazed at. When I finally got the strings to hold without being sliced by the tailpiece, the tonal quality was mediocre and the sustain was almost non- existent. I can't speak for his traditional designs but I think his "archtops" are not worth the trouble. Nice to look at. Awful to set up and play.

I have never tried one of his weird designs but the normal tenor that I got is very nice.

The Big Kahuna
08-23-2012, 10:22 AM
I know a lot of you have bought them and have been relatively happy, but it seems as though you still feel as though the quality is suspect and the "heavy build" chokes the tone.

With that in mind, would someone be better off buying something domestically for the same price, despite being laminate ? I'm not asking for myself, as I live in England, but for what a BW Tenor costs, I'd have thought you could get a decent laminate Uke for the same cash that would play and sound better, despite not having the "bling", which seems to me to have about the same value and substance as a bumper sticker.

I'm not knocking your Ukes, I'm just canvassing honest opinions.

Yestyn The Great
08-23-2012, 10:55 AM
I know a lot of you have bought them and have been relatively happy, but it seems as though you still feel as though the quality is suspect and the "heavy build" chokes the tone.

With that in mind, would someone be better off buying something domestically for the same price, despite being laminate ? I'm not asking for myself, as I live in England, but for what a BW Tenor costs, I'd have thought you could get a decent laminate Uke for the same cash that would play and sound better, despite not having the "bling", which seems to me to have about the same value and substance as a bumper sticker.

I'm not knocking your Ukes, I'm just canvassing honest opinions.


Well the ukes I ordered have very little bling. Just dots on the fretboard. And the tone on mine is fantastic. The build quality on mine is also great and it is not that heavy.

PhilUSAFRet
08-23-2012, 12:16 PM
I know a lot of you have bought them and have been relatively happy, but it seems as though you still feel as though the quality is suspect and the "heavy build" chokes the tone.

With that in mind, would someone be better off buying something domestically for the same price, despite being laminate ? I'm not asking for myself, as I live in England, but for what a BW Tenor costs, I'd have thought you could get a decent laminate Uke for the same cash that would play and sound better, despite not having the "bling", which seems to me to have about the same value and substance as a bumper sticker.

I'm not knocking your Ukes, I'm just canvassing honest opinions.

Yes, you kind of are!!!! Youv'e gotten several honest opinions, they just don't agree with yours. How is your Bruce Wei uke?

ichadwick
08-23-2012, 12:27 PM
Sorry if I'm a bit thick (old age maybe) but what makes it an Aaron Keim baritone?
The label inside that says Beansprout, with Aaron Keim's signature...

ichadwick
08-23-2012, 12:33 PM
I know a lot of you have bought them and have been relatively happy, but it seems as though you still feel as though the quality is suspect and the "heavy build" chokes the tone.

With that in mind, would someone be better off buying something domestically for the same price, despite being laminate ? I'm not asking for myself, as I live in England, but for what a BW Tenor costs, I'd have thought you could get a decent laminate Uke for the same cash that would play and sound better, despite not having the "bling", which seems to me to have about the same value and substance as a bumper sticker.

I'm not knocking your Ukes, I'm just canvassing honest opinions.
Just a personal opinion, but I would never buy a laminate top instrument except for a resonator uke. It's like 100% agave tequilas: we have to have our standards. To me a mediocre solid-wood-top uke is still better than a good laminate, just the same way a mediocre 100% agave tequila is better than any mixto.

And the reason why laminates are okay on reso instruments? Because the cone does the work, and the wood is merely an echo chamber, which is where the laminates are appropriate. Laminates are okay for back and sides, since they reflect sound quite well. But not the top.

The Village Woodworker
08-23-2012, 12:37 PM
Mostly out of curiosity, I wound up with one of his "Archtop Baritone Ukuleles" that appear on eBay with what appears to be a never ending supply. Fit and finish are acceptable. No sharp fret tangs. The inlay on the back is composed of the "filler" that tudorp mentioned. The design is absurd. Not really an Archtop but rather a flat top with an elevated neck, a floating bridge, and a metal tailpiece which contributes to the ongoing breakage of strings as it cuts through the fluorocarbon.

Action is impossibly high as you adjust the floating bridge for proper intonation. Tuners were heavy cheap guitar style that weighted down the headstock. Nothing to be amazed at. When I finally got the strings to hold without being sliced by the tailpiece, the tonal quality was mediocre and the sustain was almost non- existent. I can't speak for his traditional designs but I think his "archtops" are not worth the trouble. Nice to look at. Awful to set up and play.

Those archtop designs from Bruce look extremely uncomfortable and difficult to play. He is experimenting with variety in his designs and, to me this is not one of his best.
He can probably be forgiven for this because of the quality of much of his other work. He will soon discover which designs are successful and which are not, and those lemons will be consigned to history. This will, of course make them rare and possibly collectable.
Cheers
Tom

PhilUSAFRet
08-23-2012, 12:39 PM
The label inside that says Beansprout, with Aaron Keim's signature...

Oh, that's a good reason. I just heard about the old furniture wood and stuff, and also I hadn't seen a $500 beansprout....maybe Aaron would trade you for it....sounds at least like a "collecters item." :old:

arpie
08-23-2012, 01:18 PM
I've heard of luthiers sneaking around 2nd Hand Shops over here, looking out for underpriced old 'good quality' cupboards & things - recycling for ukes - that is SO cool!!

Making it into a Micro Bass sounds a good option, Ian ......... put up a sound test when you do it! :)

The neck on our Bruce Wei is gorgeous - by far the the best of ALL my ukes! Even my custom Aussie Timber neck could be quite a bit narrower & shallower ...... but I am unlikely to do anything about it.

Our Bruce Wei also only has that tiny bit of inlay along the bottom front, so it doesn't affect the tonal quality at all.

I DO find the pineapple a little trickier to 'hold' tho. :o

Roberta

Fermin
08-25-2012, 08:27 AM
Question for those of you that have played Bruce Wei's ukes. Where would you position them in comparison with american brands? How much more would you have considered fair paying for them if they weren't from asia?

I have only one uke, and I'm thinking of getting one more. At this point I'm willing to spend up to around $300, not much more than that. Where I live, trying before buying is impossible. The only ukes in stores here are Memphis (you don't want to know) and Stagg. Some Staggs may not be that horrible, but with so many middlemen and import duties the price goes up way too much, so it's better to just buy online and if needed get it set up by a luthier here. I am looking at the Mainland Classic Mahoganny Concert, but Bruce's prices are tempting, and maybe I could get both a concert and a tenor?

The Big Kahuna
08-25-2012, 08:36 AM
Buy a Weiart and a Mainland. Take a hacksaw to the Weiart, and see if you can build an inlaid Ukulele stand for the Mainland out of it :)

Fermin
08-25-2012, 08:44 AM
Buy a Weiart and a Mainland. Take a hacksaw to the Weiart, and see if you can build an inlaid Ukulele stand for the Mainland out of it :)

:D

I appreciate the humour, but I'd like a serious answer from someone that has actually played them.

It seems they are good, but how good?

Tudorp
08-25-2012, 09:31 AM
Bottom line, and as I have said before. They are very good, for what they are. They are not a Koaloha, But for the money, they are very nice at that price point. I think they compare to mainland (kinda, but maybe not quite on some points), Ohana and other factory made ukes in the less than $300 price range. The only issue I have seen is his QA. Some units are awesome, some are junk. I have bought over 2 dozen of these ukes from him and found that they have about a 20% fallout between good and bad ones (80% good one, 20% bad ones), bottom line, you have a 20% chance of getting a lemon. Bad percentage really for a QA focused business, because that number should really be less than 1% if you have a good QA department. Wei doesn't have a good QA department, but he is a good honest guy, making an honest living, putting out pretty decent ukes for the money, if you get one of the 80%. From what some sell for, it may be worth the chance to take the 80/20 odds of getting a good one. If you do get a bad one, he tries to work with you, but being from on the other side of the world, the logistics is tough. What I did with a bad one I got from him (had a small hairline crack in it), is, As I was buying/setting up/reselling asked for credit on another one. He gladly accepted that. I told him to save the shipping fees on both sides, that I would take the bad one for $50. So, basically, he gave me full credit to buy another less $50. I repaired the bad one. The cool thing even disclosing it was cracked and was repaired, still sold that one on Ebay with full disclosure for $250. I made $200 on that deal. The guy that got it, was happy as a lark (of course I added a hard case, and a good set up). But, he was tickled pink to get it, even with the repair, and still loves and plays it today.

Bottom line. Wei Ukes are great ukes for the money if you get one of the 80%.

No, they are not high end. They are, what they are. Basically, all they need upon arrival is a good set up, and tweaking, because out of the box, they aren't set up very well.

Fermin
08-25-2012, 10:02 AM
I know they are not high end. I want a Mya Moe some day, and I know I will only get that the day I can afford a Mya Moe :P

Other than the QA, on what other points do you think they don't compare well against Mainlands or Ohanas?

Tudorp
08-25-2012, 10:54 AM
I found that "fit and finish" is a hit and miss. I have gotten them near perfect finish, and other times, small flaws. All cosmetic. I would say that is about 50/50 in getting one with one or two small to none flaws, and 50% chance to get one with 2 or more small flaws. Most the flaws are insignificant, but others might be more noticeable. But then again, most of the factory made ukes will have small imperfections in finish as well. On Weis, ya might see a small gap in a binding (but generally filled with filler), a miss cut filled, a "spot" in the finish, the inlay not percision and the use of filler can be seen if you look closely. Things like that. But all in all, cosmetic, not most the time, no more than any factory made uke in the $300 and under price range. The reason Wei's blimishes stick out more I think, is because his prices are so cheap, that people inspect them much closer to try and figure out why they are so cheap, so they are looking harder to find out why, noticing the small blims and things. That is my personal therory though. I have compared his ukes next to Ohana, and to be honest, as much as I love Ohana, I like my Wei ukes better. I have 4 of them in my own collection.


I know they are not high end. I want a Mya Moe some day, and I know I will only get that the day I can afford a Mya Moe :P

Other than the QA, on what other points do you think they don't compare well against Mainlands or Ohanas?

Tudorp
08-25-2012, 10:59 AM
That said, I used to buy Wei ukes for resell. I used to take them, set them up, do nut/saddle work on them, fretwork on them, marry them to a hard case, and re-sell. As many as I bought from him, he used to make it a point to be sure I got the good ones. The questionable ones he would sell on ebay. Buying from him directly you tend to get the best of the batches. The ones he sells on ebay at the low starting bids are generally the ones that has the most flaws.

Another food for thought with his ukes, vs/ ones like Ohana, is, Wei's ukes are hand made. Sure, not "perfect" in fit & finish, but each on is hand made, so in that price point you need to expect a few hand made flaws. Most the "factory" ukes have allot of automation in their mass production, Weis ukes are not "mass" produced, but do make them in substantial numbers by the sheer number of builders that he employs. But each, are hand made.

Fermin
08-25-2012, 11:37 AM
Thanks a lot for your answers.

I haven't found any other way to buy from him other than e-bay. How would one buy directly from him?

Freeda
08-25-2012, 11:44 AM
You can send him a message on ebay with your email address in it.

Tudorp
08-25-2012, 11:52 AM
What Freeda said... He is very responsive.

1931jim
08-25-2012, 12:30 PM
Do you have a twin sister Freeda.? Was it you or your sister who was in the Airborne Regiment.? You keep this octogenarian guessing. HaHa!!

Freeda
08-25-2012, 12:54 PM
Two sisters, no twins. Air Force not Airborne. The long haired one in my sig is
my daughter. ;)

Tudorp
08-25-2012, 01:07 PM
Howdy sister. I am also old Air Force.... At the risk of hijacking this thread (it's played out anyway I think), when did you serve and where? I am an old SAC man, and later served in Germany in TAC (USAFE) (but always a SAC man at heart... )

speaking of Airborne, my uncle served in the 101st Airborne. Funny story he always told (he is deathly afraid of heights, go figure), said to make it, you have to make the first jump on your own, no coaching, no pushing. He said he made that 1st jump to get through training for Airborne, but was pushed 178 and a half times after that.. lol..

Freeda
08-25-2012, 01:12 PM
Howdy sister. I am also old Air Force.... At the risk of hijacking this thread (it's played out anyway I think), when did you serve and where? I am an old SAC man, and later served in Germany in TAC (USAFE) (but always a SAC man at heart... )
I was active duty at a Guard base here in Michigan. I was a 4A, med admin, and one of two fulltime clinic staff. 2000-2003, never went anywhere fun. Guard and Reserve readiness requires a surprising number of full timers. They went to the Honduras, I stayed in Michigan to hold down the fort. Got out when hubby got orders to Great Lakes since there was no sensible place to transfer to.

Hubby is a retired Marine, he works for DLA now. He is in Afghanistan.

Tudorp
08-25-2012, 01:21 PM
I was active 1979-1986. Aircraft Electrical Systems Master Technician on B-52, KC/EC-135, and later F-16 and whatever else fell out of the skies of NATO.. Thank you for your time served, and thank the hubby too.

Freeda
08-25-2012, 01:29 PM
Right back atcha darlin. ;)

1931jim
08-25-2012, 01:52 PM
If you're gonna hijack a thread you gotta go high...
A guy jumps out at 2000 feet, counts to five pulls rip cord, nothing happens. Down he goes, pulls emergency cord, nothing happens. At 300 feet he meets a guy coming up.
"Excuse me sir do you know anything about parachutes"
"Sorry sir I can't help you, do you know anything about propane BBQ's."

Gosh just look at the time, nearly time for cocoa and cookies.
Jim

BassGuyukin'
08-26-2012, 06:14 AM
So.... back on track for a minute!

Based purely on the mostly favorable reviews in this thread, I just took a chance and bid and won this tenor from bruceweiart! $122.50 shipped. Looks beautiful, kind of an old western flair with some nice inlays on the neck, and what I'm hoping are inlays on the body (better not be a decal!). You guys know more than me about this stuff (still a relative begginer here) so how did I do? I'm crossing my fingers that I won't have an unplayable warped piece of firewood in a year.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/190717768912?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649

The Big Kahuna
08-26-2012, 06:18 AM
Hell of a nice looking instrument dude. Damn good price too. Between now and it turning up, ask the good folks on UU to find you the best luthier to take it to in your area, and have him set it up before you even play it.

If you take it out of the box and find that it plays like a nylon strung egg slicer, that feeling will stay with you. Get it back from the luthier with a professional setup and it'll be a keeper.

The Big Kahuna
08-26-2012, 06:19 AM
I should just say that the inlay isn't necessarily my taste, but I love the body shape.

Tudorp
08-26-2012, 06:41 AM
too ornate for my taste, but a nice one to look at. I bought and sold several of that style, or close to it. It was a popular model, and played well. I like Wei's mahogany ones in that body style over the Acacia though. The Acacia sounded fine, but volume wasn't as nice and warm his mahog in the same style. But still played and had a nice tone. You can experiment with strings to get a better volume from it I am sure. The body and fretpoard inlays I have found are actual inlays. Where he generally uses decals are in the MOP looking bindings.

Personally I think they suffer in volume due to the large or double pic-guards.

The Big Kahuna
08-26-2012, 06:42 AM
I'd like that model without the inlays and with a decent pickup. That way I wouldn't need to worry about the acoustic sound.

Tudorp
08-26-2012, 06:47 AM
This is one of his that I did a refinish job on using Nitro Lacquer. It isn't exactly like yours, but a similar body style and size. I also installed a pickup in it and it plays very nicely, great tone in either acustic or plugged in. This one is Mahogany though.
http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff490/Tudorp/P1040894.jpg
http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff490/Tudorp/P1040892.jpg

arpie
08-26-2012, 12:17 PM
There are a couple for sale on a Canadian online site

http://manitoba.kijiji.ca/c-buy-and-sell-musical-instruments-string-Tenor-Ukulele-solid-mahogany-hand-made-new-gorgeous-W0QQAdIdZ403810830

http://novascotia.kijiji.ca/c-buy-and-sell-musical-instruments-string-Custom-made-solid-Koa-wood-tenor-ukulele-W0QQAdIdZ392923064

Roberta

PhilUSAFRet
08-26-2012, 01:32 PM
42285
:D

I appreciate the humour, but I'd like a serious answer from someone that has actually played them.

It seems they are good, but how good?

Sorry, I don't think Big Kahuna is "funny" and "trashing" is not humor nor is it in the spirit of UU. I am still letting the Aquilas Bruce Wei installed settle in before I pass judgement on my new concert teardrop. It has the appearance of a $400-600 custom, is fairly loud with a nice ring and good resonance. I'll do a review when I get it completely sorted out. I paid just under $114 shipped. So far, and amazing bargain. I posted pictures further toward the beginning of this post. Between the posts here and on Youtube where a Canadian reviews about 5 of them, some people are getting some really decent ukes that play well, sound well, and that are beautiful.....period,

The Village Woodworker
08-26-2012, 01:40 PM
One thing that is evident about the instruments on Bruce's Ebay store is the variety of models that he sells.
Not only are there variations on the theme of say a tenor ukulele - with styles like boat paddle, archtop, coke bottle, teardrop, pineapple etc, but there are also variations within a particular style.
If we look at the standard tenor coke bottle/hourglass shape, and have a look at Bruce's offerings, we see that they don't all come from the same mould.
It occurs to me that there are a variety of moulds, and a variety of makers.
Now in western tradition these would likely come from the same factory - ie one building with assembly line or similar production.
In Asian tradition, these are most likely outsourced to small operators who supply the brand, and who must meet basic quality control measures to be acceptable.
If this is the case here, then it would go some way to explaining the differences that appear in this brand.
It would also explain why so many are excellent and a small proportion less so.
Just my 2c worth ................
Happy uke-ing all
Tom

Tudorp
08-26-2012, 01:54 PM
You are right. Bruce's ukes are made by hand, and really, no two are alike, but only similar. He employs several builders, and two builders may be building a few out of the same template, but they each would be different as you suggest because of that. They aren't cookie cutter ukes. The standard cuts I am sure he cuts those in batches, and start out the same as they come from a build plan and pattern, but as they get in the hands of the actual builders, that is where they take on the differences from each builder. I have gotten two or three of the very same uke, and in all cases, even those, there are distinct differences. Actually, I think that is kind of cool, that each one even not being a high end custom kinda have the "feel" of a custom. It's basically a custom one off at factory mass production prices. Kinda cool if you ask me.

BassGuyukin'
08-26-2012, 03:28 PM
And keep in mind, that even though his ukes are fairly inexpensive by our standards, over in Viet Nam they love the US dollar. $100-$200 over there goes quite a far ways. It's really a win-win for both sides. I know some people have a hard time accepting the idea that we can actually get some nice items for cheap, but if you find a legitimate and honest dealer there actually are some bargains (by our standards) to be had.

Blues2go
08-27-2012, 03:08 AM
Hi, I am a two month uke noobie. Ordered my second uke, a Brucewei Tenor Uke, solid Acacia Koa, bone nut, cutaway, minimal bling, description says rosewood fingerboard, but the photos look like ebony. It took 6 days to get to NY customs, where it has been for 4 days with no update.

I hope it plays as nicely as it looks.
42301

42302

42303

42304

Tudorp
08-27-2012, 03:24 AM
I like that wood inlay of the islands on the headstock.

dash213
08-27-2012, 11:31 AM
Hey Blues2go

That's very similar to the one I just won, except mine is in mahogany.

I can't wait to receive mine.

Cheers
Darren

Yestyn The Great
08-27-2012, 11:52 AM
Hi, I am a two month uke noobie. Ordered my second uke, a Brucewei Tenor Uke, solid Acacia Koa, bone nut, cutaway, minimal bling, description says rosewood fingerboard, but the photos look like ebony. It took 6 days to get to NY customs, where it has been for 4 days with no update.

I hope it plays as nicely as it looks.
42301

42302

42303

42304



The one I just one a few days ago looks almost exactly like that but without the inlays. I am sorry I like pretty instruments but only if the wood makes it pretty.

ichadwick
08-30-2012, 03:10 AM
Got my Bruce Weiart baritone uke yesterday. I will review it in greater depth on my website, with photos. But here are some initial impressions after playing it for a day...

The build quality is quite good. Intonation is good, fret edges are smooth, action is low and consistent, joins are clean, no glue extrusions. Minimal inlay is good and smooth. No complaints about the build that I can see. Easy to play, not very heavy.
The tuners are sealed and probably a bit heavier than necessary. They tend to make the headstock a little unbalanced. No big deal; they can be changed easily.
Finish is clean, satin and has no blemishes.
For $160, it was a good buy as far as build goes. Hard to complain at that price. It looks very nice, too.
Sound is okay. It's certainly not the loudest or brightest or clearest I've heard or own. It's "warm" - not as crisp as the ultra-light Lyra or even the Pono mahogany baritone. In part, that's the wood choice, but also because of the body, I believe.
The body size is a little smaller and thinner than my other baritones, which I believe contributes to the less than spectacular sound. It's not really bad, and individual notes are clear, but the sustain is short, and it tends to make chords sound a bit dull. The size also tends to limit the volume. I believe that a little more depth and a slightly wider lower bout would significantly improve the sound.
Sound hole is appropriate, however.
It came with Aquila strings, which I usually like, but am not sure they are the best for this instrument. I might try some others, something brighter.

PhilUSAFRet
08-30-2012, 04:44 AM
I am wondering if they use the same strings on all their ukes. The Aquilas on my new Wei concert teardrop look a little Thick????? I wonder if they are the ones specifically used on the soprano/concert ukes which I understand are the same diameter???

dash213
08-30-2012, 02:35 PM
Just received my uke from Bruce Wei, and wow, just wow.

Although I am a novice when it comes to ukes, I have owned and played guitars for more than 30 years (not vey well, and not for about 5 of the last years), so I do have a limited knowledge of what a stringed instrument should look and play like.

I'll start the positives.

1. It only cost me $109.00 AUD.

2. This uke is absolutely stunning! The finish and workmanship is superb. Fret ends are smooth, no jagged bits.

3. The tone (for me anyway) is great. The intonation is almost perfect, at the 12th fret the G and C strings are spot on, and the E and A strings are only slightly sharp (very slightly). Once the strings stretch a bit and settle, I will be able to get a more accurate finding.

The negatives.

There are no major issues that can't be fixed (from a playability side).

1. Very small (approx 2mm) scratch on the back.

2. No side marker at third fret.

3. Action slightly high but nothing too serious.

4. Tuners are generic rubbish and I will replace them with a decent set.

Honestly, for the money I paid I'm over the moon.

I'm assuming if I get the nut slots filed deeper, it will affect the intonation? I need to weigh up whether I can live with slightly high action versus almost perfect intonation.

Also, can anyone recommend a good set of tuners?

Cheers
Darren

Blues2go
09-03-2012, 05:33 AM
Hi, I am a two month uke noobie. Ordered my second uke, a Brucewei Tenor Uke, solid Acacia Koa, bone nut, cutaway, minimal bling, description says rosewood fingerboard, but the photos look like ebony. It took 6 days to get to NY customs, where it has been for 4 days with no update.

I hope it plays as nicely as it looks.
42301

42302

42303

42304



So I have been waiting, waiting, waiting . . . .
My uke shipped in Vietnam on 8/17 and arrived in US customs in NY at 4am on 8/23. Not bad, I thought. No further shipping info available. I assumed it had missed being scanned when it left customs so I was looking for delivery all last week. Today I finally see a tracking update. It left customs yesterday, 9/2. Wow. Ten days to clear customs. . . . At least I know it is on its way again. Phew.

Of course, they will probably move it by donkey and it will take another 10 days to get from NY to Massachusetts . . .

1931jim
09-03-2012, 06:25 AM
I can understand your frustration and anguish. We hope the Pony Express doesn't run into any bandits in the badlands of Berkshire. We are just sittin' here on Mount Greylock a pickin; and a strummin'. Waiting for some nice luckies to arrive. Sorry Blues2go. Please forgive me.

ichadwick
09-03-2012, 11:46 AM
JUST FYI, my uke from Viet Nam arrived in under two weeks. But Canada has always had trade relations with VN, so that might make it easier.

v30
09-03-2012, 12:56 PM
JUST FYI, my uke from Viet Nam arrived in under two weeks. But Canada has always had trade relations with VN, so that might make it easier.

Any unexpected tarriffs/duties or just the standard hst ?

Blues2go
09-03-2012, 01:51 PM
I can understand your frustration and anguish. We hope the Pony Express doesn't run into any bandits in the badlands of Berkshire. We are just sittin' here on Mount Greylock a pickin; and a strummin'. Waiting for some nice luckies to arrive. Sorry Blues2go. Please forgive me.

Great. It finally makes it out of US Customs only to fall into the Badlands that are Berkshire ....after I hit the 'Buy' button, that little uke became family. Tread carefully...

Cheers!

PhilUSAFRet
09-04-2012, 02:07 AM
Whoooops, my Acacia concert developed a Buzz after spending just a few weeks in Florida. I hope it's the skinny compensated saddle and not a brace. I had planned to have my Luthier check it out after it settled in. One person talked about changing Aquilas for something brighter....wasn't sure there was such a string, but remember reading a few folks had ukes that didin't brighten up, but deadened up with Aquilas.
If you discover some amazing strings for an Acacia Wei, please let me know. I do want max brightness.....it's my "surrogate" mandolin.

Teek
09-04-2012, 09:37 AM
Try Southcoasts for brighter clearer tone. :)

PhilUSAFRet
09-04-2012, 11:50 AM
May just do that

BassGuyukin'
09-04-2012, 03:36 PM
I did buy a tenor from Bruce about 10 days ago and have not received it yet. I wasn't planning on buying another, but he's got so many unique designs and decorated ukes that I just kept looking, and then found this one..... http://www.ebay.com/itm/190721500458?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649 put my bid in and won it! You can see from the sound hole design that this is just a unique idea that just made me want to have it. I hope it's a nice player, but regardless it is going on display in my living room. :cool:

buddhuu
09-05-2012, 12:06 AM
[...] I'm assuming if I get the nut slots filed deeper, it will affect the intonation? I need to weigh up whether I can live with slightly high action versus almost perfect intonation.
[...]


If anything, lowering the action at the nut is likely to improve intonation - assuming the instrument's frets and bridge are correctly placed. A very large proportion of intonation and tuning problems on new ukes are the result of high action at the nut. Typically, high action at that end means that notes fretted near the nut may get bent sharp by the finger pressure needed to overcome the high action.

arpie
09-05-2012, 03:10 PM
Hi ya

My husband's pineapple Bruce Wei had buzzing on the first & 2nd fret straight from the box & I took it to a local luthier who, for $35 lowered the action at the nut (Bruce recompensed me for that cost) & the luthier also leveled all the frets (some were a bit 'out') and it played beautifully from then on.

We've had it for about a year now with absolutely no issues other than that initial buzzing. His uke doesn't have aquilas on it either - I think Bruce started making them standard about then. Maybe one day I will replace them as I bought a few sets from Bruce some time later for my other ukes. He buys them 'in bulk' so if you want a few sets (not in the pretty Aquila packs), he may well send you some at a good price too (or even ask for some 'spares' to suit your uke, when you purchase it.)

Roberta

Blues2go
09-05-2012, 06:39 PM
Happy Days . . . My Acacia Koa Tenor uke finally arrived (bought a stand as well). 19 days to ship to the east coast (10 days in US customs in NY. . .) but Bruce does warn of a long delivery time.

I am a uke noobie, having bought a mahogany concert in the Philippines two months ago. I may not be an expert on ukes, but I do know guitars, and the build on this uke is excellent. It is a beautiful instrument. No QA issues whatsoever. No additional set up work needed. No buzzing. Perfect action/string height. Even the inside of the uke is cleanly finished.

My concert uke charmed and intrigued me, leading me to YouTube, and here, but I am a big guy, 6'5", with big hands, and long fingers. What amazes me about this Tenor is what a difference the longer scale and more roomy neck width makes to me. Wow!

Maybe I am one of the lucky ones, but I think that I got an exceptional deal on this solid wood instrument. I would buy again (and I'm sure I will at some point). In the meantime, it's back to the UU tutorials, Gerald Ross' swing progressions, Ukulele Mike, TheDirtyJohnson, uke fingerpicking, etc etc. I have the attention span of a gnat, with much to learn, but I am VERY happy with my purchase. 42656

1937Scott
09-05-2012, 06:47 PM
Very pretty uke! I'm happy it's a good player for you.


Scott

BassGuyukin'
09-11-2012, 04:28 PM
Received my tenor from Bruce today! Disclaimer: I am not a pro ukester so don't look at my little review as if I know what I'm talking about. I've been playing bass guitar for 35 years so I know my way around an instrument, but only 4-5 months into the uke so far. I guess I'm somewhere between a beginner and an intermediate player but so far I have purchased around 10 ukes (have sold half since).

From Vietnam it only took two weeks to get here to Washington state. I was expecting three weeks. The packing was fantastic. The box was not too big but it was packed between several layers of cardboard, styrofoam and bubble wrap. No need to worry about shipping without a case or gigbag. After cutting through all the bubble wrap I pulled it out from the body. Felt a little "toy-ish" to me and it worried me a bit. I pulled it out all the way and this thing was just beautiful. First thing I noticed was how thin the body wood is. Nice wood, but very very thin. Bang this thing on a hard corner of a desk and it may go right through. Maybe not, just seems thin. But the neck is a rock, solid and feels great. People have commented on cheap tuners but they seem perfectly fine to me. The inlays on the neck are fantastic. Really well done, and smooth. The inlay on the top of the body is thinner, not as nice, but still looks great. The workmanship is also very good. Maybe a few tiny blemishes but barely noticable. I only paid $122.50 for this thing, total. Deal of the century.

I also received a Mainland mahogany tenor a few weeks ago so I compared the two. The biggest difference is that thin body wood. I can only really judge the thickness at the soundhole, but this Bruce uke is about 1/2 as thick as the Mainland. I think I read some say that these ukes are neck heavy. Maybe a bit, because the neck is very solid and the body is light. Playing this uke is great. Feels not too different than the Mainland though it has a more rounded neck. OK, as far as the sound. A real winner here. That thin body wood may even enhance the sound. It is louder and warmer sounding than the Mainland. I definitely prefer this Bruce uke's tone over the Mainland, though the Mainland does feel more "solid" and well made overall. But the playability and tone of this Brucie is just great.

I'm very pleased with this one and would highly recommend one of these to anyone. I have another Bruce tenor coming and I'll give another quick review on that when I get it.

This is the one I just received.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/190717768912?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649

trifire
09-11-2012, 06:58 PM
Okey dokey, time to throw in my 6 cents ha!:) I did a "buy it now" on a bruceweiart solid mahogany tenor, the beginning of August. Unfortunately, the shipping company bruce deals with sent it to a guy in Oregon, and I'm in California. Fortunately and weirdly enough, the very nice guy in Oregon had ordered a soprano from bruce perhaps 6 months before, and since he didn't order another one, checked the other package label and saw my name and address, sent me a letter in the mail and after a very prompt contact both to and from bruce wei, shipped it to me, well I received it finally yesterday. Wellllllllll, it was definitely well worth the wait!! :) The build quality is excellent, the finish, the intonation, the action, the detail are spot on. Maybe he's got it down now the more he's produced, maybe I got lucky, all I know is I've played my share of "special K's" and other higher end, at least price wise, uke's, and I could NOT be happier. Feels rock solid neck and body, and I personally have a love of mahogany look and sound, so I'm in ukulele heaven:) Waiting on a longneck soprano from him, but in the meantime I'm a pickin and a grinnin. Highly recommended for a pretty much 1 of a kind solid wood custom you, like me, will have a fab time playing without spending a grand or 2 or 3:) Aloha from San Francisco42844

marewa
10-04-2012, 08:45 AM
Hi everyone, I am new here.

I am about to buy a concert size ukulele from bruceweiart on ebay. But before I do that, has anyone compared his ukulele to Alulu brand by another ebay seller taisamlu? The cost is about the same as one is free shipping but without case and another one is $60 for shipping but with a case. And from what I read through the past few pages of this thread, it takes about 2 to 3 weeks for Bruce to deliver his uke, and taisamlu is about 1 week.

Any input will be helpful as this will be my first uke. Another thing is, if I end up getting one from bruceweiart, any recommendation for the case?

Thanks!

Tudorp
10-04-2012, 09:49 AM
taisamlu A.K.A. "Sam" is also one of the good ones from that area. He is honest, and puts out a pretty good product for the money. His stuff is about the same, actually in some ways slightly better than Bruce's. I have worked allot with both of them. In fact, Bruce, and Sam are close personal friends, and Sam sells some of Bruce's stuff along with his. QA issues are pretty much the same with both of them, but either for the money are good guys to work with.

There is another "antone" or something like from the same area that however is a trainwreck.

The Village Woodworker
10-04-2012, 10:45 AM
Bruce's Ukuleles are very good. His headstocks seem to be a little longer than other ukes and this impacts on case/bag size sometimes. I have found that, depending on the uke, you may need a case/bag one size up - eg your concert may need a tenor case/bag. Wait until it arrives and try it in some cases/bags before you buy.
Cheers
Tom

OldePhart
10-04-2012, 12:33 PM
There is another "antone" or something like from the same area that however is a trainwreck.

Ahhh...yes...the "artist" himself with the $3 ukes with $300 shipping. :)

Tudorp
10-04-2012, 12:35 PM
The shipping isn't the problem with that guy as much as when you get your first dry spell his ukes comes apart into a bunch of pieces to reveal a note hidden inside that reads "Some re-assembly required". ;)


Ahhh...yes...the "artist" himself with the $3 ukes with $300 shipping. :)

OldePhart
10-04-2012, 12:44 PM
The shipping isn't the problem with that guy as much as when you get your first dry spell his ukes comes apart into a bunch of pieces to reveal a note hidden inside that reads "Some re-assembly required". ;)

Ahhh...and if you complain I suppose he says it's a special feature and he didn't realize that he sent you one of his more expensive "fold and store" versions so you should be happy you got such a good deal... LOL

John

Tudorp
10-04-2012, 12:50 PM
That, or his "pocket" uke feature. Ya put a piece in your shirt pocket, your hip pocket, your right and left pocket, and some pieces can go in your wife's pockets too.. "Glue and humidity not included."



Ahhh...and if you complain I suppose he says it's a special feature and he didn't realize that he sent you one of his more expensive "fold and store" versions so you should be happy you got such a good deal... LOL

John

marewa
10-04-2012, 01:01 PM
Thank you so much for the inputs. I will just see whichever I can win the bid then.

Yes, I did notice that Bruce's uke is a little longer and actually asked if it would fit in the normal box. He still haven't reply to me yet.

But since I am new to this thing, I am okay to wait until the right one comes to me.

The Village Woodworker
10-04-2012, 09:44 PM
Thank you so much for the inputs. I will just see whichever I can win the bid then.

Yes, I did notice that Bruce's uke is a little longer and actually asked if it would fit in the normal box. He still haven't reply to me yet.

But since I am new to this thing, I am okay to wait until the right one comes to me.
It probably won't fit a standard case for that sized uke. You will most likely have to go for a size bigger.eg I have a couple of tenors of his that need a baritone case, and a concert that needs a tenor case.
Cheers
Tom

marewa
10-05-2012, 06:39 AM
Bruce mentioned that he can sell me the hard case for $50. I will assume that the case he found would fit his uke okay. Attached the image he sent me. Just in case people are wondering, the soft bag is $15. But it seems that his case has no other space for extra strings, books, and etc. It is very likely that I will still shop around for it once I actually get the uke. we will see.. we will see..

Tudorp
10-05-2012, 07:11 AM
I actually have a couple of those hard cases I got from him. It is actually a really nice case. Well built, and much better made case then the $39 Guitar Center special. I installed a built in Hydrometer in the lid with the sensor inside the case, and the dial outside so you can read it without opening the case. Worked very well. It does have a small stowage compartment for pics, tuners, extra strings etc. Mine does anyway. Even if you get one that doesn't, it is actually very easy to make one in a case.

marewa
10-05-2012, 07:22 AM
cool. thanks for the input on the case. I was going to get a Kala Tenor Ukulele Foam Case from amazon just concert size doesn't fit. It is I think $39 as you mentioned.

As for building stuff inside the case, I am not very good at building details small objects in the real world. But I will consider his case so i don't need to stuff towels or things to make it fit the tenor case. Thanks.

Tudorp
10-05-2012, 07:47 AM
Th semi hard foam cases provide pretty good protection too, but I like actual hard shell wood cases (i'm old school like that I reckon) better. Not that they are better, it's just a personal choice. The cases I was refering to was the $40 "Musician's Gear" cases. Decent cheap cases those are, but the case Bruce uses is a much better built, better protection, much nicer hardware & latches for slightly more. Not nearly as flimsey as the Musician's Gear cases.

marewa
10-05-2012, 04:30 PM
I have one wood case and one hard form case, both work for me at the moment. I found that my wood case is actually lighter than the hard form one, but I am not sure for if it is due to the cost or the material. I will go to some shops this weekend to figure it out.

Blues2go
10-11-2012, 02:32 AM
Happy Days . . . My Acacia Koa Tenor uke finally arrived (bought a stand as well). 19 days to ship to the east coast (10 days in US customs in NY. . .) but Bruce does warn of a long delivery time.

I am a uke noobie, having bought a mahogany concert in the Philippines two months ago. I may not be an expert on ukes, but I do know guitars, and the build on this uke is excellent. It is a beautiful instrument. No QA issues whatsoever. No additional set up work needed. No buzzing. Perfect action/string height. Even the inside of the uke is cleanly finished.

My concert uke charmed and intrigued me, leading me to YouTube, and here, but I am a big guy, 6'5", with big hands, and long fingers. What amazes me about this Tenor is what a difference the longer scale and more roomy neck width makes to me. Wow!

Maybe I am one of the lucky ones, but I think that I got an exceptional deal on this solid wood instrument. I would buy again (and I'm sure I will at some point). In the meantime, it's back to the UU tutorials, Gerald Ross' swing progressions, Ukulele Mike, TheDirtyJohnson, uke fingerpicking, etc etc. I have the attention span of a gnat, with much to learn, but I am VERY happy with my purchase. 42656


Well, about a week after I received my beautiful tenor it developed a horrific buzzing at all strings, first position and even up to the third fret on the first string. I was very disappointed. I contacted Bruce and he responded immediately asking me to take the uke to a repair shop and report back. The shop told me to send it back, that the neck was warped and raising the action to address the buzzing was not an option because the warp was so bad. They also noted a slight bump at the bridge which should not be there.

Devasted, I wrote Bruce with their recommendation that I send it back. He again responded promptly, asking me to send him pictures. I instead posted a private video to YouTube to better demonstrate how bad the buzzing was. I did not want to pay return shipping and told Bruce that I would destroy the uke if needed, in lieu of returning it. Again, responding the very next day he told me that he believed me and would refund my full purchase, or I could deduct it from another purchase.

I chose the latter, and bid on another acacia koa cutaway tenor for a few dollars less than my original purchase. The uke shipped yesterday. No cost to me. I went for a second Brucewei uke for three reasons. 1. This was a truly beautiful sold wood instrument. I am of course banking on the hope that the 1st uke was simply one with quality issues. I live in New England, and I can not imagine the humidity levels here could have effected the uke in such a short time period. I do know that it played and sounded fantastic before developing issues. 2. The second reason that I chose to go for another uke was the outstanding customer service and responsiveness that Bruce displayed throughout this issue. Buying from someone on the other side of the world has inherent risk. Bruce made what could have been a very bad experience a positive one. He did not ask me to return the defective uke. It is wall candy though. 3. Finally, I looked at other options and you simply can not buy a solid wood uke for the same money.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that my first uke was an abberation. These are beautiful instruments.

Just thought I would share a negative experience that was handled exceptionally well by Bruce. Hoping for a happy ending to this tale.

Skinny Money McGee
10-11-2012, 03:44 AM
Some friends of mine bought one for their Daughter. They knew nothing about ukes, or any string instrument for that matter. All they saw was the price and the nice pictures on ebay. They said the Daughter never plays it and it sits in her room. Asked if I could see it. He brought it out and handed it to me. Could see right off the action was way to high at the #12 fret. Sighting down the neck, it had a huge bow and a slight twist. The uke was not playable.

Blues2go
10-11-2012, 04:30 AM
Some friends of mine bought one for their Daughter. They knew nothing about ukes, or any string instrument for that matter. All they saw was the price and the nice pictures on ebay. They said the Daughter never plays it and it sits in her room. Asked if I could see it. He brought it out and handed it to me. Could see right off the action was way to high at the #12 fret. Sighting down the neck, it had a huge bow and a slight twist. The uke was not playable.

Yes, previous posts indicated a quality issue with about 20% of the ukes, at least some time back the percentage was that high. I am giving him a second chance for the reasons that I listed. Hopefully I will get one of the 80% ukes.

marewa
10-11-2012, 07:51 PM
..... I live in New England, and I can not imagine the humidity levels here could have effected the uke in such a short time period. I do know that it played and sounded fantastic before developing issues. .....

I ordered one concert solid koa from him also. It should arrive in two weeks. His shipping is very slow. He mentioned that it was shipped few days ago, but no status update from with the shipping tracking. There was not even pickup or anything. Hopefully it should be okay when it arrives, and stay good for a long time. I live in New England also, so if anything, I will post review here.

BassGuyukin'
10-11-2012, 08:18 PM
I bought two tenors from Bruce and received both about a month ago. Just a month in, but I couldn't be happier. I also received a Mainland tenor at about the same time and much preferred the two made by Bruce. Matter of fact I sold the Mainland soon after. I have no idea if these two tenors will stay as playable as they are now, but I am quite content at the moment. I did however file the grooves in the nut a bit as they were too high. Easy fix.

The Village Woodworker
10-20-2012, 08:41 PM
There has been plenty of discussion about ukuleles from Bruce Wei, so I thought I might just add a little more in the form of a short-ish review. Maybe it is a little too long to add here, but I have uploaded it to my BLOG (http://thevillagewoodworker.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/bruce-wei-ukuleles-small-review.html) if you would like to read it. Be warned, I am a fan of his ukuleles, so I am saying nice things about them.
Happy uke-ing to all
Tom

anthonyg
10-20-2012, 09:16 PM
Its likely that someone else has linked to my YouTube review of Bruceweiart instruments in this thread yet here I go again. I've reviewed 7 brucewei instruments in this review,


http://youtu.be/m-FmrzMAOYg

Anthony

The Village Woodworker
10-20-2012, 09:25 PM
Its likely that someone else has linked to my YouTube review of Bruceweiart instruments in this thread yet here I go again. I've reviewed 7 brucewei instruments in this review,


http://youtu.be/m-FmrzMAOYg

Anthony

Thanks Anthony.
No, I haven't linked to your review. Will check it out though.
Mine's a written review so will involve some reading.
Cheers
Tom

anthonyg
10-20-2012, 09:34 PM
OK, I've got to complete part 2 of this review (I'm in the process of finishing it) but I should say in this thread that my experiences is that Brucewei instruments aren't so much green as they are new. I really don't think that a Brucwei instrument should be adjusted with a low action for at least 6-12 months. Baring any major faults which I haven't experienced with my 7 ukes just fit a new set of strings, leave the action high and let them mature. There is not a single one of my brucwei ukulele's that doesn't sound better after ageing than when new. Heads up. The offsets carefully formed into the saddles is WRONG for a Aquila strings. My experience for aquila Nylgut strings is that I want a STRAIGHT saddle set LONG (chisel edge, set long).

OK, measure it. VERY precisely measure the distance from the nut to the centre of the 12th fret and I mean precisely. Double this distance and expect it to fall within the thickness of the saddle. The saddle falling just a FRACTION further back leaves room for a high action but decent intonation. If it falls right at the back of the saddle then you will need a VERY low action to get decent intonation. Some of my instruments fall in this category. Not necessarily bad but let the instrument age and stabilise before you set a low action. Where I am in Canberra Australia I'm in a moderately dry environment 135km from the ocean but its not a dessert. I find that new instruments need to dry out a fraction to get the best sound but don't let them dry out too much. I simply place a damp sock (not too wet) in the case and close the case.

Feel free to ask questions.

Anthony

anthonyg
10-20-2012, 09:37 PM
Thanks Anthony.
No, I haven't linked to your review. Will check it out though.
Mine's a written review so will involve some reading.
Cheers
Tom

Thanks. I'll have to check out your written review.

Anthony

Stuntman
10-20-2012, 09:42 PM
Thanks for the reviews Anthony and Tom. Helped me make my decsion to try one myself.

I am a relative newbie to instruments in general - interested in your thoughts on hydrating noting my location (Newcastle).

The Village Woodworker
10-20-2012, 09:48 PM
Thanks Anthony.
Look forward to part 2.
Cheers
Tom

anthonyg
10-20-2012, 09:51 PM
Thanks for the reviews Anthony and Tom. Helped me make my decsion to try one myself.

I am a relative newbie to instruments in general - interested in your thoughts on hydrating noting my location (Newcastle).

Seeing as you are at the coast you shouldn't have any troubles with hydration unless you take them inland. I've come to the view that they are nice, old fashioned solid wood instruments which like ALL nice solid wood instruments need a little care and respect. They're not bulletproof ply/laminated instruments.

Anthony

The Village Woodworker
10-20-2012, 10:03 PM
Seeing as you are at the coast you shouldn't have any troubles with hydration unless you take them inland. I've come to the view that they are nice, old fashioned solid wood instruments which like ALL nice solid wood instruments need a little care and respect. They're not bulletproof ply/laminated instruments.

Anthony

Anthony is correct. You aren't very far from me - just north of Port Macquarie - but conditions should be relatively similar humidity wise. Having said that, we are in a very dry period at the moment, with no rain for months. Not exactly desert type conditions, but you know what I mean. I have found a zip-up softcase to be useful.
Cheers
Tom

anthonyg
10-20-2012, 10:11 PM
Nice review Village Woodworker. I tried to comment over their but I obviously need to sign on.

Anthony

OldePhart
10-21-2012, 08:21 AM
...I simply place a damp sock (not too wet) in the case and close the case.

Feel free to ask questions.

Anthony

Okay...my question is...did anybody else get an instant mind picture of sweaty socks and that unforgettable eue de gym locker when they read that? :biglaugh:

John

1931jim
10-21-2012, 09:45 AM
Ah sure now John you are right again. Damp socks and a pint of Guiness and two pickled eggs after a nice game. The guitar case or the locker room never smelled (smelt) so good. HaHa!!

anthonyg
10-21-2012, 10:48 AM
You know guys. If you didn't have access to clean water it just might work but personally I'm not going there.

Anthony

Tudorp
10-21-2012, 12:30 PM
I just left it alone and felt blessed that it wasn't an old pair of wet underware tossed in the case.. BTW: remind me to run if I see an add placed in the Market Place from that one.. lol..

marewa
10-26-2012, 08:28 AM
So I just started playing my ukulele today. It took this concert solid koa almost three weeks to from Vietnam all to way to my place, and it took me almost another week to have time to actually open the package.

I have got to say this is a beautiful piece of art work. Other than the strings bring a little high and uneven, it was all good. The sound is smooth, no buzz, and loud. I might need to take it to a shop to have someone lower the bridge for me later when I have time. Anyhow, so far I am happy with it so far after playing it for 30 minutes. No issue so far.

anthonyg
10-26-2012, 01:18 PM
Good to hear. Yes delivery times are PAINFULLY slow. Honestly I think that's where he had to make his money because I don't know where else he's making it.

Now if you want FAST delivery go and buy from Taisamlu. His delivery times are seriously fast. Vietnam to Australia I usually get them in about a week although I'm not sure what impact customs into the US would have.

Anthony

marewa
10-26-2012, 02:38 PM
My uke was in US customs for about 30 minutes only. I guess I was lucky on that side. But yes, Bruce has to make money somewhere, and for the quality of the uke, I will say the wait is worth it.

Winter is coming and the air is getting dryer. If this uke can stay in good shape till the spring, it shall be good forever.

Tudorp
10-26-2012, 03:18 PM
I own several of Bruce's ukes, and have for over a year (gone through all seasons in the dry, cold winters of Michigan), and have not had any issues. The key is keep them in a hard case when not being played, and the humidity between 50%-%60 and you will be fine. Keep in mind they were built in a humid climate.

beatlloydy
02-16-2013, 11:19 PM
I am going to take delivery of 3 of his ukes...I just thought from the pictures the craftsmanship looked great...I am going to keep one and pass the other 2 on as presents for guitar friends to get them interested in playing uke..I havnt decided which ones I will pass on and which one I will keep...I am hoping after reading this I am not going to be disappointed. However, I guess you get what you pay for. I got 3 nice looking ukes (2 tenors and 1 concert) for around $400 including shipping so price wise its quite good. 2 marketed as solid mahogany and 1 marketed as acacia koa.

It will be interesting for me as the only ukes I own are low end Lanakai's and to me these sound o.k (tho I am not an expert but just enjoy playing).

philrab66
02-19-2013, 09:53 AM
Anthony is correct. You aren't very far from me - just north of Port Macquarie - but conditions should be relatively similar humidity wise. Having said that, we are in a very dry period at the moment, with no rain for months. Not exactly desert type conditions, but you know what I mean. I have found a zip-up softcase to be useful.
Cheers
Tom

Hi Tom
I am eyeing up one of Bruces Ukes. Are the inlays on the necks as good as they look in the pictures.
Thanks Phil.

anthonyg
02-19-2013, 10:18 AM
Hi Tom
I am eyeing up one of Bruces Ukes. Are the inlays on the necks as good as they look in the pictures.
Thanks Phil.

The inlays are good. Funny thing though. I don't think that most of them are really done by hand (SHOCK/HORROR)! They are VERY thin. BUT. This also means that they are NEVER going to cause a problem. The catch 22 is that the Inlaidartist guy who gets a VERY bad reputation probably IS doing the inlay's by hand and they suffer terribly in dry climates as a result.

They look good, they don't cause problems, don't sweat it.

Anthony

anthonyg
02-19-2013, 10:20 AM
I want to do some quality checking after a conversation I had with brucewei before christmas. Can someone who has received an instrument recently from brucewei do some measurements for me?

Anthony

hoosierhiver
02-19-2013, 10:24 AM
49086

These are allegedly from Bruce Wei's shop.

hoosierhiver
02-19-2013, 10:26 AM
49087

Thought I'd post these since everyone seemed so concerned about child labor a few weeks back.

anthonyg
02-19-2013, 10:34 AM
I should add that the simpler inlays seem to be done by hand. I can see a tiny bit of dark filler around the inlay. Its nicely done. I have one instrument with a VERY complicated pattern on the back of the instrument. Honestly, I can't see how its done by hand and to be really Honest, I'm glad it wasn't.

Anthony

philrab66
02-19-2013, 10:45 AM
I should add that the simpler inlays seem to be done by hand. I can see a tiny bit of dark filler around the inlay. Its nicely done. I have one instrument with a VERY complicated pattern on the back of the instrument. Honestly, I can't see how its done by hand and to be really Honest, I'm glad it wasn't.

Anthony

So they are actually inlaid I have heard they are just stickers?

hoosierhiver
02-19-2013, 10:46 AM
So they are actually inlaid I have heard they are just stickers?

Vietnamese are crazy about inlays, some are way over the top.

anthonyg
02-19-2013, 11:26 AM
So they are actually inlaid I have heard they are just stickers?

Some are some aren't. The larger and more complex they are the more likely they are to be stuck on top. The simpler ones are done by hand. Those really large complex inlays, especially on the body would compromise the instruments integrity anyway unless they were very thin and just laid on top. They do look right close up however. I'm not 100% sure how its done.

Anthony

ChaosToo
02-25-2013, 12:56 AM
Resurrecting an old thread in some ways, but I'm another one that's been drawn to the Taiwan-built ukes - at least in theory.

I'm after another Soprano, but Bruce doesn't seem to have much in that line at the moment, so I've been researching Sam's offerings.......

The EBay pics are detailed and the descriptions honest, so you can see pretty much exactly what you're buying. Some of the binding work is a bit shoddy (more especially at the heel) but other than that, the quality looks perfectly fine at the price point.

What draws me to them most is the fact that I can get what's described as a solid koa soprano for about £150 delivered - and that includes the import taxes! That's less than half of what I'd pay for a laminated koa from any of the known brands - and significantly less than a solid koa with a 'name' on it......

I'm still undecided, but the temptation is definitely there - I can live with having to get it set up - I can live with slight blemishes and not-quite-perfect finish - as long as the sound is good ........

anthonyg
02-25-2013, 01:16 AM
These ukulele's are actually built in Vietnam. The sellers are in Taiwan. Brucewei sold a Maple soprano less than 2 weeks ago and has sold a few long neck soprano's since. Usually they are truthful and state the wood as Acacia Koa. I've shown them to a local luthier who has fixed intonation and such on them. He thinks they are well built generally. Its just issues with QC and the moisture content of the timber can be a little hit and miss.

Now the seller Taisamlu has been selling some soprano's recently that he states as being made from Hawaiian Koa. I just checked. He's auctioning some now. Generally I like his builds.

Anthony

ChaosToo
02-25-2013, 01:36 AM
These ukulele's are actually built in Vietnam. The sellers are in Taiwan. Brucewei sold a Maple soprano less than 2 weeks ago and has sold a few long neck soprano's since. Usually they are truthful and state the wood as Acacia Koa. I've shown them to a local luthier who has fixed intonation and such on them. He thinks they are well built generally. Its just issues with QC and the moisture content of the timber can be a little hit and miss.

Now the seller Taisamlu has been selling some soprano's recently that he states as being made from Hawaiian Koa. I just checked. He's auctioning some now. Generally I like his builds.

Anthony

Any experience of the Taisamlu koa sound quality? The more I look, the more tempted I am to take a gamble.......

anthonyg
02-25-2013, 01:43 AM
Any experience of the Taisamlu koa sound quality? The more I look, the more tempted I am to take a gamble.......

I have a Taisamlu solid acacia 8 string tenor that I am perfectly happy with but these Hawaiian Koa instruments are reasonably new to his line and I haven't tried one of those,

Here's my Alulu Acacia Koa 8 string tenor in action,


http://youtu.be/T06R2UkVxug

Anthony

ChaosToo
02-25-2013, 03:46 AM
Cheers for that - I might drop him a line to see if he's got any sound clips...... Yours sound great - but obviously the tone difference between tenor and soprano is massive anyway.....

1badchef
02-26-2013, 08:40 PM
Bruce Wei has no shop in Vietnam - he's based in Taiwan - he buys of Vietnamese Manufacturers - all small Family owned businesses - in many countries children join in the Family business. I got a shop in New Zealand and my daughters started helping as young as 10 years old - especially the young one was so keen to join watching her big sisters with admiration.

We are far, far away from Bruce Wei and the little ukes he gets out of Nam so to speculate (like I just did),
seems pointless - travel, watch, listen, learn and then judge.


Sorry new to this - is meant as a reply to child labour speculations and Mr. Wei's origin.

stormcarver
03-04-2013, 02:54 AM
Please say no to Bruce Wei ukes. I made that mistake last September. It is an absolutely gorgeous koa-bodied tenor with beautiful custom work on the fretboard. 49737

Unfortunately, the mahogany for the neck was air-dried in a tropical environment and took less than a month to back bow from the 7th fret up. Wei was not at all willing to work with the instrument or offer replacement, and jumped at giving me a full refund, which leads me to believe that this happens more often than I want to consider.

Repair or replacement of the damaged neck will cost more than I originally paid for the uke.

On the upside, the sound was amazing until the neck went to hell, and once repaired, should be again. I am so disappointed with what I am now seeing as an unwanted surprise project that I am considering selling it as a full-disclosure (of course!) project instrument at less than what it would cost as a koa kit.

I wouldn't wish the love/heartbreak/bang-head-on-wall-seeking-qualified-luthier/frustration on anyone though, and really don't recommend gambling on Wei and his "art." I did my homework and it seemed a safe bet, and I still lost. Just don't do it.

stormcarver
03-04-2013, 03:23 AM
To add and answer a question posed earlier in the thread regarding the fretboard inlay: it is beautiful and well done. There don't seem to be any areas of filler. Here is a close-up of mine. 49738

According to two local luthiers, it would be fairly easy to remove and attach to a new neck, as well.

This one will be appearing shortly in the Marketplace.

anthonyg
03-04-2013, 11:02 AM
I am unfortunately coming to the conclusion that the older bruceweiart instruments were better. My first brucewei is a stunning instrument sound wise and playing wise. Its perfectly stable timber wise with a straight neck. I have another couple of brucwei ukulele's that are quite good too but I'm not particularly happy with anything I've purchased in the last 12 months. I've just received a new one yesterday. Initial impression is that I'm not really happy with the saddle placement as there is barely 1mm of compensation available. Setup with a super low action it may be useable but I'll have to wait and see if the neck stays straight enough for a super low action.

I'd dearly like to keep on supporting hand crafted instruments from Vietnam but Brucewei is not doing his builders any favours by not pushing for higher standards of quality control.

Anthony

bonesigh
03-04-2013, 12:58 PM
Guess the outcome of this thread would be that it's an unpredictable buy. I knew I was taking a chance but finally went ahead with a Bruce purchase. I do like it, good sustain, nice looks, etc. I've had it for about 2 weeks but haven't played it much because the action is so high. I've successfully lowered action on many ukes. I've done fretwork nicely, but I've yet to lower the action at the nut (which is what this one really needs). I'm dragging my heels on this project. For the price I paid for it it's still a good buy. It's taking a chance though. Hope the neck doesn't bend on me!

beatlloydy
03-04-2013, 03:51 PM
I was sucked in...ordered 5 to keep and give to friends...have received 4 of them....1 was smashed in transit...not his fault but awaiting his response as I should receive it in good condition as described...1 stand was also smashed...on another one the grooves in the nut are too shallow to hold the strings in..will have to have this replaced....given 3 of 5 items I have purchased have issues I would say "run as far away as you can as it is a lottery and for every winner there are probably lots of losers" ....lets see if he makes good on anything and if he does I will update this post.

EDIT: to be fair to the guy...he got back to me promptly and we both agreed on a mutually acceptable compromise involving some money refunded...all money refunded for the broken uke (which was not his fault but the courier)...all money refunded for the stand (again more than likely the courier) and $20 off the uke with the slots in the nut not being large enough.

so..I am happy...if others are thinking of buying I would say go for it..and be happy if you get a good uke cheap..as they seem to do the right thing by the buyer in the end.

1badchef
03-10-2013, 06:48 PM
I brought a five string Tenor (high and low G) two months ago and I am wrapped with the quality and sound for the price of this ukulele. It required minimal work to set up perfectly.

All solid timber was used and its at least on par with ukuleles I paid three times as much (Kala solid acacia concert).

However I miss the label of the maker - seems sad to keep such good woodworkers anonymous. Bruce Wei a professional middleman.

anthonyg
03-10-2013, 08:45 PM
After being initially annoyed with the latest ukulele I received from brucewei it seems to be settling down OK. Still the timbers need to dry a little and mature. Even my best brucewei had to go through this process. I'll have to wait and see how it develops.

Anthony

anthonyg
03-10-2013, 08:46 PM
I brought a five string Tenor (high and low G) two months ago and I am wrapped with the quality and sound for the price of this ukulele. It required minimal work to set up perfectly.

All solid timber was used and its at least on par with ukuleles I paid three times as much (Kala solid acacia concert).

However I miss the label of the maker - seems sad to keep such good woodworkers anonymous. Bruce Wei a professional middleman.

The 5 string ukulele's look good and he's not selling them that cheap either.

Anthony

1badchef
03-10-2013, 09:34 PM
They sure do! I reckon its fair enough for these underrated vietnamese trades people to sell direct and make a decent buck. I paid 280 NZ dollars including shipping - for the same money I can only buy a inferior laminated timber one. The cheapest all solid timber Tenor with a comparable finish would go for 450 NZ dollars upwards down here. So for me the trade worked out.

gitarzan
04-18-2013, 03:36 AM
Well I just bought a maple tenor with a cutaway. Sure looks nice.

One thing I like is that the Bruce Wei photos on eBay are of the actual instrument. The one I got should be a stunner. A little more restrained than a lot of their ukes, but it has some really nice looking wood and doesn't need all that scroll work.

I cannot get to ebay from where I am now, but the auction is 171023572604 if you want to look it up.

anthonyg
04-18-2013, 03:47 AM
Well I just bought a maple tenor with a cutaway. Sure looks nice.

One thing I like is that the Bruce Wei photos on eBay are of the actual instrument. The one I got should be a stunner. A little more restrained than a lot of their ukes, but it has some really nice looking wood and doesn't need all that scroll work.

I cannot get to ebay from where I am now, but the auction is 171023572604 if you want to look it up.

Looks like a beautiful instrument. I've been going in and out of favour with brucewei instruments of late but I've learn't something. You just have to hang tight with them while they mature and they can go wobbly for a while. I've had a number of them that I was about to get rid of yet I picked them up recently and they had settled and played brilliantly. Just had to wait for them to dry and mature.

Anthony

UkeKiddinMe
04-18-2013, 05:33 AM
The wood is supposed to be dry Before it is cut into an instrument and covered in finish.

You folks are very brave and adventurous.

kvehe
04-18-2013, 05:39 AM
I received an "interesting-looking" tenor in February. It arrived with one brace sheared off horizontally, rattling around inside the instrument. It sounded okay, but I haven't played it much lately.

hoosierhiver
04-18-2013, 06:24 AM
The wood is supposed to be dry Before it is cut into an instrument and covered in finish.

You folks are very brave and adventurous.

What he said.

gitarzan
04-18-2013, 09:03 AM
The one I just bought has a rosette that is divided in 12 equal sections. PERFECT! for converting into a wall clock.

anthonyg
04-18-2013, 11:33 AM
I've NEVER had any problems with the body timbers on the instruments I have bought. The timbers are not that green. They have been matured but they are going to dry/mature some more in our drier western climates. I've had a few necks go wobbly for a while but after 12 months all of the necks that initially went wobbly have come back to being useably straight.

Yes there is a small risk in buying these instruments and yes they need some setup work but after 18 months they can develop into some superb instruments.

Anthony

billcarr
04-20-2013, 04:57 AM
I have 2 Alulu tenor ukes that I bought on Ebay from taisamlu. Both came with really nice hard cases. I also have a Woodley White curly Koa tenor that has a sound that just mesmorizes me. I am a newbie so I would never claim to know what I am talking about as far as uke quality goes. I do have a good ear though and I can say the the Alula ukes sound better than the Kala laminate I had before and 100 times better than the Lanikai I have as my "rat uke". They don't compare so well to the Woodly White but hey thats a $2000 plus instrument.

I am selling one of the Alulas locally (Norway) and made a youtube vid of it here. This uke cost me $130 shipped in a superb case.

http://youtu.be/LjyUSj5QKLQ

The sustain and projection is actually much better than what comes across on the vid, but my Samson mic cuts out at low sound input.

Bill

anthonyg
04-20-2013, 12:57 PM
The Alulu ukulele's I've bought from Taisamlu are a step above the Brucewei's in terms of mature timber. I've never had any timber movement in any of my Alulu ukulele's.

Anthony

billcarr
04-28-2013, 05:26 AM
So far I have bought 8 ukes from Brucewei on Ebay. All noname brands, For the price, I can't really complain about any of them. They all needed setting up and some had action so high they sounded way off. Nothing not fixable and I think they are quite good for the price. I could only really complain about one that had a very cloudy varnish finish. Another complaint might be that if you buy 2 ukes at the same time he will still charge you the same price for shipping but put both ukes in one box, thus saving the shipping costs and pocketing the savings himself. I do plan to take this up with him but don't expect any refund.... This has been my own experience..YMMV

Bill

protessmin
05-19-2013, 07:07 PM
I received my ukulele from bruceweiart this morning. What I purchased is a Solid Acacia Koa Concert ukulele with nice MOP inlays, it said all solid acacia koa(front, back and sides). But when i opened up the package, I saw a ding on the back, a painting problem on the edge. For me, those are just some minor problems. But 2 things really disappoint me, one is the back is not flat or in regular shape, it looks like it has been twisted. Secondly, I don't think the wood is solid.53237

coolkayaker1
05-20-2013, 02:04 AM
You folks are very brave and adventurous.

Ditto. With hugely respected brands like Mainland, Ohana et al ready to sell and stand behind a fantastic uke, why bother with the stuff contained in this thread? Honestly, buy a Mainland for 300 clams, enjoy forever. If want to sell, a UUer will give you 250 for it. Try that with a bWei.

anthonyg
05-20-2013, 02:29 AM
I received my ukulele from bruceweiart this morning. What I purchased is a Solid Acacia Koa Concert ukulele with nice MOP inlays, it said all solid acacia koa(front, back and sides). But when i opened up the package, I saw a ding on the back, a painting problem on the edge. For me, those are just some minor problems. But 2 things really disappoint me, one is the back is not flat or in regular shape, it looks like it has been twisted. Secondly, I don't think the wood is solid.53237

First up a curved back is GOOD. It helps project the sound. One simple curve is good. Complex arch curve is BRILLIANT. I've never doubted that brucewei instruments were made of solid wood. I'm curious as to what we are looking at in the sound hole but it could just be the way the hole is finished by hand. EDIT: Sometimes there is a thicker laminate supporting the sound hole. I don't know why they do it but I have seen it done.

Brucewei instruments typically need a setup and a little time to mature to get the best from them.

Anthony

protessmin
05-20-2013, 11:45 AM
First up a curved back is GOOD. It helps project the sound. One simple curve is good. Complex arch curve is BRILLIANT. I've never doubted that brucewei instruments were made of solid wood. I'm curious as to what we are looking at in the sound hole but it could just be the way the hole is finished by hand. EDIT: Sometimes there is a thicker laminate supporting the sound hole. I don't know why they do it but I have seen it done.

Brucewei instruments typically need a setup and a little time to mature to get the best from them.

Anthony

I didn't say it's a arch shape, but the back of mine ukulele is 1 side higher than the other if I look horizontally to the backboard

anthonyg
05-20-2013, 12:42 PM
OK, I have seen unevenness in the body of various brand ukulele's I've bought from different sources. Its the nature of some handmade instruments. Its never affected the sound or function of the instrument that I can tell.


Anthony

1badchef
05-20-2013, 07:36 PM
Ditto. With hugely respected brands like Mainland, Ohana et al ready to sell and stand behind a fantastic uke, why bother with the stuff contained in this thread? Honestly, buy a Mainland for 300 clams, enjoy forever. If want to sell, a UUer will give you 250 for it. Try that with a bWei.

Hi there,

I have bothered with that stuff and love it - I brought 5 ukes off B Wei and kept 4, one I sold for what I paid for (120$) and the guy is loving it - ultimately you are getting a handmade solid timber instrument for a very good price.

My current favorite uke to play is a B Wei acacia cutaway concert - I own a Kala solid acacia concert and a maton but still end up with the el cheapo vietnamese one in my hands - I am very happy with his products and its good to watch him improve the quality over the years.

1badchef
05-20-2013, 07:42 PM
I received my ukulele from bruceweiart this morning. What I purchased is a Solid Acacia Koa Concert ukulele with nice MOP inlays, it said all solid acacia koa(front, back and sides). But when i opened up the package, I saw a ding on the back, a painting problem on the edge. For me, those are just some minor problems. But 2 things really disappoint me, one is the back is not flat or in regular shape, it looks like it has been twisted. Secondly, I don't think the wood is solid.53237

If you stick your finger in the soundhole you will feel that there is a thin rim of wood (about a 1 cm wide) around it. That is to make sure the inlay above it does not compromise the structural integrity of the uke.

1badchef
05-20-2013, 09:09 PM
I didn't say it's a arch shape, but the back of mine ukulele is 1 side higher than the other if I look horizontally to the backboard

Could you post a picture? I have cutaways that appear higher on one side but its due to the "cutout" design and normal.

You also have to take into account that from some angles you experience optical illusions like for example when you stare down the neck from the headstock end over the frets - depending on the angle even the most precisely made uke will appear twisted. The best bet if you are as anal as I am is to use a devise like a micrometer to appreciate the vietnamese craftmanship.

I attached pics of a cutaway and a "normal" one both B Wei ukes the way you looked at it.

protessmin
05-21-2013, 02:34 AM
Could you post a picture? I have cutaways that appear higher on one side but its due to the "cutout" design and normal.

You also have to take into account that from some angles you experience optical illusions like for example when you stare down the neck from the headstock end over the frets - depending on the angle even the most precisely made uke will appear twisted. The best bet if you are as anal as I am is to use a devise like a micrometer to appreciate the vietnamese craftmanship.

I attached pics of a cutaway and a "normal" one both B Wei ukes the way you looked at it.

Is that the original shape should be? I have the same shape as yours. wow, then I think I was wrong. thx for correcting me.

protessmin
05-21-2013, 02:36 AM
If you stick your finger in the soundhole you will feel that there is a thin rim of wood (about a 1 cm wide) around it. That is to make sure the inlay above it does not compromise the structural integrity of the uke.

Oh..gotcha..thx man

protessmin
05-21-2013, 02:39 AM
If you stick your finger in the soundhole you will feel that there is a thin rim of wood (about a 1 cm wide) around it. That is to make sure the inlay above it does not compromise the structural integrity of the uke.

so the ukulele Bruce has without inlay around the soundhole won't have that thin rim of wood?

1badchef
05-21-2013, 08:01 PM
so the ukulele Bruce has without inlay around the soundhole won't have that thin rim of wood?

I have one without inlays and it still has a thin rim around the soundhole. I got a solid acacia Kala that also has a rim there. I assume it could be the builders playing it save as these soundboards are only 2mm thick.
however the maton I got has no rim but the timber seems to have a much finer grain (higher quality wood) than the BWei's - maybe a luthier could give us some facts?

billcarr
05-24-2013, 09:41 PM
Well it had to happen sooner or later. I won a maple tenor from Bruce and its a total mess. The neck is warped and the tuning pegs are too long so that strings are too high where they wind on. They keep popping out of the nut. I emailed him. He said he was very sorry about the problem and is offering a full refund without me sending the uke back. He only wants a photo of the faults.

It cost $21 and $60 for shipping but if he refunds the whole amount without me having to ship it back to him, then what do I have to complain about?

Bill

anthonyg
05-24-2013, 09:48 PM
There are some faults from time to time in Brucewei instruments yet you should keep things in perspective. I was at a reputable shop the other day and picked up a baritone ukulele. There was an S bend in the neck. Unbelievable. This ukulele had been put on the display wall without anyone even giving it a cursory glance. They took it away when I complained but for all I know they put it back again when I left.

Brucewei takes responsibility if any of his instruments have faults and to be honest I'm not seeing better instruments in main street shops.

Anthony

bborzell
05-25-2013, 05:24 AM
Perspective is just that; everyone has one. My take on this question is that it is a crap shoot and the odds are not in the buyer's favor.

Several years ago, the major woodwoorking tool manufacturer's in the US took their production offshore. At first, much of the casting work for jointers, bandsaws and similar tools that used large cast iron components was done in cottage operations that ranged from dedicated industrial facilities to garages or warehouses that cropped up overnight. If you bought a jointer from a company that utilized parts from these initial suppliers, the chance of ending up with a poorly dimensioned or finished casting was very high and that would nearly alway translate to poor tool performance. Only when the major makers like Jet, Delta and Powermatic reigned in and set up their own dedicated facilities with their own on site oversight did tool quality and performance begin to rise to approach the level that predated the move offshore.

The common theme here is that these ukes (as well as guitars and mandolins) are built in many different locations with oversight ranging from some to none. Use of green wood is common as is construction in settings where humidity is neither controlled nor anywhere near the humidity of many of the countries where these instruments end up. The result is that there should be no reasonable expectation that what you order will actually fit the image of what you originally expected. Twisted necks, and split backs and tops are common. Poor fretwork is even more than common. And, there are few experiences more disheartening that paying for an apparently beautiful looking carved hollow body jazz box guitar or mandolin only to have it self destruct before your eyes.

Given that there are many manufacturers who offer instruments at similar total pricepoints who do not utilize varied cottage operations and the inconsistent quality that comes from such suppliers and that reliably perform as advertised, I don't think that Bruceweiart instruments are worth the hassle. The bad experiences that folks report regarding his mandolins and guitars are numerous and include many instances where customers have ended up eating the instrument.

I fully understand that some folks are willing to take a risk in service of a possible reward that exceeds the initial investment. And, for some, the Bruceweiart odds are acceptable to them. It seems to me, however, that anyone seeking to newly take up playing any stringed instrument who might be reading through threads like this one in search of purchase advice needs to start out with an instrument that present a high probability of reliability an playability and I would hope that their entry into the world of ukes doesn't end up to be the sort of off putting experience that comes with buying an instrument that breaks in your hands or is unplayable.

Yes, you might end up with a Bruceweiart instrument that works out, and that is a valid perspective, but the reality of so many reports of failed guitars, mandolins and ukes is another important perspective.

anthonyg
05-25-2013, 05:45 AM
I'm starting to come to the conclusion that many of those who critisise brucewei and similar are just ASSUMING that you will get a better quality instrument from a main street shop or that at least they will weed the bad ones out. This is a false assumption. The quality of ALL entry level instruments is going down and I'm seeing instruments in stores that had no right being there but still, there they were.

I've been complimentary and critical of brucewei instruments but to be brutally honest the entry level big name brands aren't as good as they used to be.

Every brucewei that I have bought has started out sounding WAY better than anything I can buy in a store at anything like the price. My experience is that you just have to be patient and wait at least 6 to 12 months with a brucewei before you know just how the instrument will turn out.

Anthony

Flyinby
05-25-2013, 08:06 AM
Thought I'd add my experience here, maybe it will help others avoid a problem, or get a bargain, could go either way.

I have 3 Bruce Wei Ukes...a mahogany tenor, a cutaway tenor acacia koa, and a bell tenor acacia koa. Purchased from Sept. '12 to Jan '13, when he offered free shipping. Total costs were about $85, $140, and $100 respectively.

They all looked and sounded beautiful when I got them; action was generally lower than normal. The bell koa became a problem after about a month; first it got buzzy frets, and I had to dress frets and raise the action quite a bit. Over the next months the neck twisted, and it became unplayable. I finally clamped it to a table and applied heat, and was able to get the neck back to straight, albeit with a twist. Dressing frets again made it now playable, and intonation is decent, but the neck is forever twisted.

The cutaway koa developed a high part on the fretboard where it joins the body, to where if I fingered the 12-13-14, it played the 15th because the frets were too high. I dressed them down once, but it needs it again (also some unevenness along the neck meant all frets needed cleanup). All that aside, it is a nice-playing and sounding uke.

The mahogany tenor, the first one I bought, has had the fewest problems. It did need a fret dressing after a while (high frets around 2-3-4 especially), and the top is a bit warbly, but not bad, and it also plays and sounds nice.

My climate is reasonably humid, and I've had no cracking problems on these or any solid ukes. How well these ukes will do after a year or two is anybody's guess, but I think the two will remain OK...the bell maybe will become a wall-hanger at some point, but right now it's not bad.

I have to dispute the thought that these hold up as well as the "name" brands; I have several others, Kala, Oscar Schmidt, Lanikai, Islander, and some cheapie Mahalo and Luna novelty ones, and no neck problems on any of them, though the cheaper ones tend to need a fret dressing, and maybe some nut and saddle adjustments.

To be fair, I never contacted Bruce Wei about the warping neck, so perhaps he'd have replaced or refunded, but for the first month it was a fine uke.

So I think these ukes are best viewed as a gamble. If you can do some of your own work, or have a luthier friend, it increases the odds you'll get a bargain. I would NOT pay much more than $100, shipping included, but that's just me. It's almost a given that it will need some fairly complex work after a while, and it may be great after that, or may become a decoration. I like having the two good ones I have around...they can sit out on a stand and I don't have to feel the need to be so careful, since I know they're not $3-4-500 ukes, they sound good, intonation is good, and I'm glad I have them for such a low price. But I had to do a lot of work to keep them working...none of them would even be playable if I hadn't.

I was somewhat new to ukes when I got them, and the workmanship looked great; but after getting some of my others...Schmidt, Lanikai, and even some factory blems, I see that the joints really aren't all that wonderful...not perfectly matched and some glue inconsistencies showing (not horrible, but a major mfr. probably would have marked them as blems or seconds).

Now that shipping is $60 for a tenor, I'd suggest bidding carefully...all those guys trying to outbid you probably don't know what may be in store if they win.

The Big Kahuna
05-25-2013, 09:55 AM
Seems to me that these Ukes are best treated as Uke kits that come ready assembled, but need completely disassembling, and putting back together properly.

billcarr
05-25-2013, 10:03 AM
I have noticed that ukes listed from Brucewei are generally higher priced than they used to be. I suspect that the ones with starting prices around $1 have problems that they may be aware of. I bought a solid rosewood tenor with spruce top from him a while back that had a starting price of $120. It's one of the nicest ukes I own and so far abs no issues at all.

He has one listed now for $580 and it has his name on the headplate. It has been relisted several times.


Bill

bborzell
05-25-2013, 10:55 AM
I'm starting to come to the conclusion that many of those who critisise brucewei and similar are just ASSUMING that you will get a better quality instrument from a main street shop or that at least they will weed the bad ones out. This is a false assumption. The quality of ALL entry level instruments is going down and I'm seeing instruments in stores that had no right being there but still, there they were.

I've been complimentary and critical of brucewei instruments but to be brutally honest the entry level big name brands aren't as good as they used to be.

Every brucewei that I have bought has started out sounding WAY better than anything I can buy in a store at anything like the price. My experience is that you just have to be patient and wait at least 6 to 12 months with a brucewei before you know just how the instrument will turn out.

Anthony

I have no desire to perpetuate differences of opinion because, in the end, the differences will most likely remain and not much light will be shed on the facts of the matter.

That said, the notion that mainstream companies are building and selling similiarly priced ukes that warp and crack at anywhere near the percentages that come from reports from pretty much any stringed instrument forum that speaks to the type of instrument that bruceweiarts produces is simply not supported by any real data that I have seen.

Can you find poorly set up factory instruments in many shops, obviously the answer is a resounding yes. Will you find instances where braces buzz or kerfing pulls away from the joint, yes that can happen, too. But, badly twisted necks and warped or cracked tops and backs are simply not common with todays lower priced instruments from well known manufacturers, even this price point.

So, yes. If the question is whether I believe that my odds are considerably better buying a name brand low priced uke from a local dealer or even off Amazon than what if would face if I ordered a bruceweiarts instrument, then my answer is very much yes. And, if I did end up with a poorly constructed instrument, my options for easy correction would be much better.

That does not mean that I think any the less of people who buy his instruments. Nor do I believe that the reports of satisfaction are trumped up. It is just that there continue to many reports of very poor construction and that fact makes buying one of his instruments risky business. That you are willing to take that risk and have done well is fine with me. But, I don't think it is fair to equate that risk with buying a similiar price instrument from one of the known manufacturers.

ChaosToo
05-25-2013, 11:52 AM
I can only equate the ukukele market to that of the 'outdoor garment' market from about 15 years ago.

There were certain 'names' that were synonymous with quality, especially within the military circles, but who's target audience, and therefor overall sales, were strictly limited.

Cue a big explosion in those same brands becoming more fashionable for daily wear and the quality took an absolute nosedive, as demand far outstretched what could be achieved without outsourcing the brand name to 'A N Other' factory.

Ukes are trendy - so more need to be made. To keep up with demand, corners will inevitably be cut.

Such is the world of commerce.........

billcarr
05-26-2013, 08:10 AM
this is the signature uke I mentioned.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bruce-Wei-Solid-Hawaiian-KOA-Tenor-Ukulele-Mop-Inlay-Soft-Bag-UG17-461-/190841675702?


Bill

OldePhart
05-26-2013, 08:57 AM
I'm starting to come to the conclusion that many of those who critisise brucewei and similar are just ASSUMING that you will get a better quality instrument from a main street shop or that at least they will weed the bad ones out. This is a false assumption. The quality of ALL entry level instruments is going down and I'm seeing instruments in stores that had no right being there but still, there they were.

I've been complimentary and critical of brucewei instruments but to be brutally honest the entry level big name brands aren't as good as they used to be.

Every brucewei that I have bought has started out sounding WAY better than anything I can buy in a store at anything like the price. My experience is that you just have to be patient and wait at least 6 to 12 months with a brucewei before you know just how the instrument will turn out.

Anthony

Okay, I have (mostly) stayed out of this but I think maybe somebody needs to explain really clearly and succinctly why you are getting so much push back in your unabashed fandom of these ukes, Anthony. The problem is that 99.9% of beginners are not going to wait 6 to 12 months to see how the instrument is going to turn out. Most beginners don't even have the experience to recognize what might be wrong with an instrument let alone what might be needed to fix it. They need instruments that play very well now or they simply are going to be convinced that they haven't any talent and they will lose interest. An experienced player can get something resembling music out of a 2X4 with barbed wire fencing for strings - that simply isn't true of most beginners. Encouraging beginners to even consider instruments like Bruce's is doing those beginners a great disservice. Period. End of story.

While the various factory ukes do often need a setup (the reason that we routinely encourage beginners to purchase from vendors like Mim, Uke Republic, and HMS who care and will take care of them) the truth is that all but the very worst of them are stable and have decent fretwork. I.e., it takes relatively little to set up even the cheapest of the Kala, Lanikai, Ohana, etc. lines and even without being setup they are generally playable, if not particularly well intonated, etc.

Even mentioning bruce in the same sentence with Kala, Lanikai, and Ohana (and I am not a particular fan of any of those) is doing a great disservice to beginners. The fact that you apparently can't distinguish the difference between Bruce's instruments and those from the aforementioned companies doesn't mean that the difference doesn't exist.

Regards,
John

anthonyg
05-26-2013, 12:35 PM
Actually John I don't recommend brucewei instruments to beginners and I never have. I actually recommend that beginners buy an instrument from a bricks and mortar store near them and not even the online sellers you favour.

This argument in a way reminds me of how every man and his dog criticise Behringer in the sound reenforcement world. Behringer are cheaper than competitors but no better or worse for reliability than the others but everyone still picks on behringer for reliability if anything goes wrong and just ignores the issue if their pet brand fails on them.

I've had some brucewei ukulele's that I bought not that long ago that weren't as good as his older ones but then again I've played major brand instruments in stores that were no where near as good as they used to be too.

Anthony

ichadwick
05-26-2013, 01:31 PM
Come on. It's always caveat emptor no matter what you buy. And that goes doubly for eBay. eBay, like life, is a gamble. And sometimes you waste your money.

I've bought brand name ukes that were dogs and others that were superb. I bought a hand-made baritone by Aaron Keim (now with Mya Moe) and I dislike it so much it's got more dust than play. But a mango Pono I didn't like two years ago and stuck in a corner for a year or two I love to play today.

Your taste and appreciation changes, too, so what you liked in a uke last year may not be the same as today. And the instruments change, too.

I have a Bruce Weiart baritone late last year. It was okay, no serious problems; just the body was too small (IMHO) for the scale size. In the six months or so I've had it, it has developed nothing that I didn't inflict on it myself (resulting from a fall from a counter to a tile floor... ) The next one might be better, or worse. You never know until you play it.

I had a Lanikai 8 that split on the front. And an Ohana that bent its neck uncomfortably. A custom cigar box saw its bridge tear off, and a Boat Paddle neck separated from the body. Almost every uke I own goes out of tune as the seasons change.

It can happen to any and all ukes. Depends on your local heat, humidity and how you store them,

I played a brand new Martin at a Toronto music store. Hated it. priced at $1,850 or thereabouts. Wouldn't have paid $100 for it. But beside it was a vintage Martin at half the price I would have bought ina heartbeat (except it was soprano, not tenor).

Such is the nature of musical instruments.

Just imagine what life would be like without the internet giving us the ability to buy and sell online. There would be no ukulele renaissance at all.

protessmin
05-26-2013, 03:18 PM
by the way, if u take a look all brucewei ukulele on ebay, their price starts getting higher, i mean both the start bidding price or buy it now price:mad::p:o:cool:

1badchef
05-26-2013, 06:35 PM
Perspective is just that; everyone has one. My take on this question is that it is a crap shoot and the odds are not in the buyer's favor.

Several years ago, the major woodwoorking tool manufacturer's in the US took their production offshore. At first, much of the casting work for jointers, bandsaws and similar tools that used large cast iron components was done in cottage operations that ranged from dedicated industrial facilities to garages or warehouses that cropped up overnight. If you bought a jointer from a company that utilized parts from these initial suppliers, the chance of ending up with a poorly dimensioned or finished casting was very high and that would nearly alway translate to poor tool performance. Only when the major makers like Jet, Delta and Powermatic reigned in and set up their own dedicated facilities with their own on site oversight did tool quality and performance begin to rise to approach the level that predated the move offshore.

The common theme here is that these ukes (as well as guitars and mandolins) are built in many different locations with oversight ranging from some to none. Use of green wood is common as is construction in settings where humidity is neither controlled nor anywhere near the humidity of many of the countries where these instruments end up. The result is that there should be no reasonable expectation that what you order will actually fit the image of what you originally expected. Twisted necks, and split backs and tops are common. Poor fretwork is even more than common. And, there are few experiences more disheartening that paying for an apparently beautiful looking carved hollow body jazz box guitar or mandolin only to have it self destruct before your eyes.

Given that there are many manufacturers who offer instruments at similar total pricepoints who do not utilize varied cottage operations and the inconsistent quality that comes from such suppliers and that reliably perform as advertised, I don't think that Bruceweiart instruments are worth the hassle. The bad experiences that folks report regarding his mandolins and guitars are numerous and include many instances where customers have ended up eating the instrument.

I fully understand that some folks are willing to take a risk in service of a possible reward that exceeds the initial investment. And, for some, the Bruceweiart odds are acceptable to them. It seems to me, however, that anyone seeking to newly take up playing any stringed instrument who might be reading through threads like this one in search of purchase advice needs to start out with an instrument that present a high probability of reliability an playability and I would hope that their entry into the world of ukes doesn't end up to be the sort of off putting experience that comes with buying an instrument that breaks in your hands or is unplayable.

Yes, you might end up with a Bruceweiart instrument that works out, and that is a valid perspective, but the reality of so many reports of failed guitars, mandolins and ukes is another important perspective.

Thank you for sharing your view and I think you give good advise to discourage first instrument buyers.

I brought a few of his and beside one that has slight dishing (I am currently attempting to make a brace to fix this) the others are nice and enjoyable to play - these instruments allowed me to celebrate my addiction/passion to solid timber instruments without destroying my families budget. Further the learning of setting up a uke properly and understanding how they are constructed in the process got me to a stage of building/assembling one (I found this old cedar date box from california) myself now.

The ukulele affects my life in so many positive ways and the resulting joy is endless!

billcarr
05-29-2013, 01:13 AM
I agree with what many of you are saying about new players buying a well set up uke from a totally reliable source. There is enough for a newbie to learn without having to fight the instrument as well. Same goes for any instrument. I lost count of how many folks have come to me after being on vacation in Scotland and having brought a highland bagpipe home with them. Rosewood, made in Pakistan, totally unplayable and mostly unfixable, even for an experienced Piper. Some of them had even paid more than a good quality set of pipes would have cost.. If only they knew where to buy and what to look for.

I still think there is a place for the likes of brucewei. I have a top of the line uke. I am a beginner as well. I like to fettle with instruments, but I would not dare to experiment on my $2000+ uke. Experimenting and fettling are part of the attraction for me and it is very usefull for learning in detail just how the instrument works. At the prices I paid for the 5 or 6 ukes I have from Bruce, I can afford to do pretty much what I want with them. If it goes wrong then its not a big deal.

So far I have only had serious problems with one of his ukes. The others only needed setting up. How they will hold up over time is another story that only time will tell.

Bill

The Big Kahuna
05-29-2013, 01:41 AM
I was tempted to buy a cheap set of bagpipes, but I find it cheaper and easier to stamp on a cat every once in a while.

bborzell
05-29-2013, 02:02 AM
I was tempted to buy a cheap set of bagpipes, but I find it cheaper and easier to stamp on a cat every once in a while.

Do you have access to both practice and performance cats?

ichadwick
05-29-2013, 03:19 AM
I was tempted to buy a cheap set of bagpipes, but I find it cheaper and easier to stamp on a cat every once in a while.
Ah, that's my problem. I thought they were substitutes for saxophone...

billcarr
05-29-2013, 06:04 AM
I was tempted to buy a cheap set of bagpipes, but I find it cheaper and easier to stamp on a cat every once in a while.

STFU! :D Off topic but....My better half plays guitar but was, for a short while, mildly interested in ukulele. The other day when I asked her why she had stopped picking up my uke to play a bit, she answered "Oh I don't know.. It's a bit like playing a toy guitar" I told her to get on here and say that.

Bill

1badchef
05-29-2013, 09:23 PM
We ought to thank Pakistan for attempting to stop the spread of the bagpipe!

I remember back in the old days when ukes and guitars made in Japan got slammed for being inferior - today people collect them.

billcarr
05-30-2013, 07:18 AM
We ought to thank Pakistan for attempting to stop the spread of the bagpipe!

Well I'm sorry but that's a silly and rather ignorant comment. One could also thank the likes of Brucewei for attempting to stop the spread of the ukulele. That would be equally stupid.. Same thing.. different perspective :)

Bill

coolkayaker1
05-30-2013, 07:42 AM
Who exactly is Bruce Wei? Anyone ever met him? He's not listed on Wikipedia.

gitarzan
05-30-2013, 08:18 AM
Who exactly is Bruce Wei? Anyone ever met him? He's not listed on Wikipedia.

If you want to take his word for it: http://myworld.ebay.com/bruceweiart

billcarr
05-30-2013, 09:20 AM
Well he just gave me a full refund on a uke I was not happy with. Did not even ask me to return it. I don't know of any other Ebay sellers who do that.

Bill

philrab66
05-30-2013, 10:25 AM
Well he just gave me a full refund on a uke I was not happy with. Did not even ask me to return it. I don't know of any other Ebay sellers who do that.

Bill

Why on earth would he want it back ?

Flyinby
05-30-2013, 12:58 PM
STFU! :D Off topic but....My better half plays guitar but was, for a short while, mildly interested in ukulele. The other day when I asked her why she had stopped picking up my uke to play a bit, she answered "Oh I don't know.. It's a bit like playing a toy guitar" I told her to get on here and say that.

Bill

I picked up my Gibson (guitar) a while back, and it seemed very formal after months of playing ukes. Sort of like putting on a tuxedo.

1badchef
06-01-2013, 08:03 PM
[QUOTE=billcarr;1284557]Well I'm sorry but that's a silly and rather ignorant comment. One could also thank the likes of Brucewei for attempting to stop the spread of the ukulele. That would be equally stupid.. Same thing.. different perspective :)

Silly, ignorant and stupid - its been a while since I got called all three in one day. I was under the wrong impression the way you responded to the "cat kick" joke and let my funny side loose.

My apologies if I offended any Pakistani people on this forum - I worked with a scottish chef 20 years ago that played the pipes as well as he cooked and the resulting trauma is obviously still lingering.

I believe Bruce is doing quite well with over 10'000 instruments sold over the years. You would struggle to find a handful of bad feedback with photo evidence online - respect for the businessman - and the way you got your refund re-enforces his professionalism in my opinion.

billcarr
06-02-2013, 05:31 AM
Silly, ignorant and stupid - its been a while since I got called all three in one day. I was under the wrong impression the way you responded to the "cat kick" joke and let my funny side loose.
.

I would never call anyone those things. Only reffering to the comment and not knowing it was said "tonque in cheek". I never made the cat joke either :)

I start to wonder if Brucewei ever actually handles all the ukes he sells. I believe he is in Taiwan but all ukes I have bought from him are shipped from Vietman. His Ebay listings are pretty much standard text and he never mentions the small faults that some of them do have. Like cloudy patches on the finish. Action way too high, to claim they sound good, etc.

Sure it's gamble buying from him compaired to many other vendors, but some of us are born gamblers.. You win some..you lose some. So far I feel I am on the winning side, but maybe it's time to leave the table.

Bill

Contrails
06-07-2013, 08:34 AM
Can someone please point me as to how I can contact Bruce? Thank you

anthonyg
06-07-2013, 01:03 PM
Can someone please point me as to how I can contact Bruce? Thank you

Have a look at his eBay listings. You can contact him through eBay OR he lists 2 email addresses right there on his listings.

Anthony

Alloalexandre
07-09-2013, 12:32 PM
I bought a beautiful ukulele from Bruceweiart but unfortunately, the neck was warped when I received it. I paid a luthier 70$ to have it fixed and now I love it.

gbeckwith
07-11-2013, 02:03 PM
Okay. I've read through the first 8 and the last 5 pages of this thread. I'm waiting for delivery of a slotted head koa from this guy. I bought it 'cause it looked good and was cheap and am doing my usual "after the fact" purchase research . That being said...

I've been playing acoustic guitar as an amateur for 40+ plus years and have a house full of them. I started playing around with ukes about 5 years ago to add variety to my group's performances where I live in Japan. Guitar-wise, I have a 1991 Martin D-35 that was a gift (new), a couple of Epi's, Takamine, Yamaha, Fender and some basses as well. My ukes are far from high end with Lanakai being the most I've been willing to spend for. Not impressed by Martin ukes, BTW. My brother (shameless plug: <www.beckwithstrings.com>) is a luthier who's guitars are limited in production and fantastic in sound and quality. He's working on adding ukulele to his list as a service to his customers. He also does repairs and setups on most stringed instruments and has taught me a lot over the years about "luthier stuff"; enough to make me dangerous. :-)

I am not an expert musician in any sense of the term and know that no matter how good the instrument it's only as good as the person playing it. My skill level doesn't justify high priced ukes. As a retiree I have limited income and my lovely wife winces when I say, "I just bought another (fill in the blank)". But I like cheap. I don't expect $1000 quality from a $50 purchase no matter who made it. But I will buy one from someone who looks fairly respectable (research) and if it works I may buy more. I just bought an Alulu tenor that I am very happy with. A year down the road, who knows? But I feel like I got my money's worth out of it right now.

I will roger-up with those who say "not for beginners". I have a friend who is a beginner and in a local ukulele club and knows one song on her $500 koa-pineapple-bought-in-Hawaii soprano. In my mind that's a waste of money but for her it's not. In Japan everyone in the group needs the same "tool" regardless of skill level. That's cultural, not personal and only a "for example" for here. As with guitars, poor quality is discouraging to a beginner but high end may not be worth the investment.

This thread has given me more than enough information to know what to expect from a Bruce Wei. WAAAAAAAY more than enough. And that's all I wanted. If I get a good one, good. If I don't, so be it. I'll add it to the pile of "mainland units" I already have. If it twists and bends I'll carry it as a conversation piece. For my money, I can't loose.

Carry on, thanks for all the fish, and "kampai"!

Gary
26 years in Yokosuka, Japan and still going...

Nugget
07-16-2013, 10:53 PM
I thought I would add my comment on bruceweiart uke’s, I brought 2 recently off Ebay.
I paid around $40 Aus for each uke, that about $35 US plus postage.
Landed price including postage was around $100.
Delivery was fast (under the time they stated by several days).
The first uke was advertised as a concert koa.
The design was different - see pic for details.
This instrument was well made, it had a solid feel about it and the finish was good, not perfect but acceptable.
The neck is straight, the action good, harmonics good, machine heads are excellent and it came with quality Aqulia strings.
I love the feel of the neck but was a little disappointed with the sound - it has less volume that I’m used to, sounds a bit ‘tinny’.
The body is not as thick as my other ukes, I think this might be the reason.
Overall, for $100 bucks delivered, it is a good instrument.
The second uke was a more traditional tenor shape with sound hole - see pic.
The quality of finish on this instrument is not as good.
You can see variations in the binding width and fine gaps where the wood meets the binding.
Not bad, but noticeable if you look close.
But once again I love the solid feel of the neck, the action is great and machine heads excellent.
But I am also a bit disappointed in the sound quality from this uke.
There is not a lot of volume compared to my other instruments and it also sounds bit tinny to me, again I put this down to a narrower body.
Having said that, I actually love the feel when I play this uke, the neck feels good to me.
I don’t think I’d buy another uke off him because I’m beyond the quality he produces in my playing but I would recommend his uke for a beginner wanting a solid timber instrument to learn on at a fraction of the shop price.
You just need to be prepared to overlook some blemishes in construction.
My 2 bob's worth - Nugget ><>

The Big Kahuna
07-17-2013, 12:47 AM
All this thread has convinced me of is, if someone with a bit of cash were willing to take a gamble, they could buy a job-lot of BW Ukes, fettle the life out of them, and sell them on as BW Ukes with a professional setup/different strings etc for a fair profit.

anthonyg
07-17-2013, 01:16 AM
I'll add again that any ukulele you buy from brucewei is a VERY new instrument. Every single one I have bought over the last few years has improved in sound greatly with time. I've been about to give up on some of them but then they came alive. Give them 6 to 12 months.

Anthony

The Big Kahuna
07-17-2013, 01:38 AM
I think they're very much matched the a particular environment. Given the relative cheapness of the instruments, and the likelihood that the wood hasn't been particularly well cared for, I'd be very careful about importing one into an environment that doesn't have the levels of humidity that you'd expect to find on the seabed.

anthonyg
07-17-2013, 02:31 AM
I'm the first to say that you need to be careful about not drying them out too much yet I'm not that fanatical about the humidity and mine are fine. One instrument that I gave to my brother has split on the side because he kept it too close to a heater in winter. Its still a playable instrument though.

Anthony

OldePhart
07-17-2013, 02:54 AM
All this thread has convinced me of is, if someone with a bit of cash were willing to take a gamble, they could buy a job-lot of BW Ukes, fettle the life out of them, and sell them on as BW Ukes with a professional setup/different strings etc for a fair profit.

UU member tudorp tried that a year or so ago and it didn't work especially well. He did have several satisfied customers but I think he was probably making about 50 cents an hour, if that, when all was said and done. Also, there is a lot of risk in that proposition because if instruments start splitting, falling apart, or whatever a year or two in then it will be the person doing the setup and resale who is the "face" that takes the hit to their reputation.

John

OldePhart
07-17-2013, 03:04 AM
I guess I'll just never understand the concept that a lot of cheap, tinny-sounding ukes are worth one good one. For what some of the folks contributing to this thread have into Bruce's instruments they could be playing a really nice Hawaiian made uke that has quality, volume, tone, and sustain that Bruce's best efforts can't come within arm's reach of.

I can understand the attraction of Bruce's ukes to someone who can't afford a Hawaiian uke (or another quality uke) - but if someone can buy several of Bruce's instruments then they can afford to buy one nice uke, instead. And, IMHO, one nice instrument is worth ten-thousand tinny ones.

John

anthonyg
07-17-2013, 03:30 AM
Actually, one of the criticisms you CAN'T make about bruceweiart ukulele's is that they sound "tinny". They are solid timber instruments and they have a rich complex sound. They can be hit and miss in other area's and I've done setup work on all of them but none of them are tinny.

Anthony

Nugget
07-17-2013, 10:19 AM
but if someone can buy several of Bruce's instruments then they can afford to buy one nice uke, instead. And, IMHO, one nice instrument is worth ten-thousand tinny ones.

John

I have more than a dozen 'nice' uke's some even Hawaiian.
Some of us just like to try / own / play / experiment - it's all part of the fun.

gbeckwith
07-17-2013, 07:24 PM
I've had my bruceweiart concert koa about a week and have mixed emotions. Best quality uke I've found for what I paid (cosmetics, sound generation) but the intonation is significantly off. I'm gonna mess around with it a bit and see if I can do anything to help it but I definitely won't buy from him again. My koa Alulu tenor, on the other hand, is a dream of an instrument. Just can't seem to put it down or stop looking at it. Ordered a mahogany guitarlele from him today and am really looking forward to getting that one in my hands.

gbeckwith
07-17-2013, 07:26 PM
I have more than a dozen 'nice' uke's some even Hawaiian.
Some of us just like to try / own / play / experiment - it's all part of the fun.

Guitars and ukes are like tattoos and potato chips.

anthonyg
07-17-2013, 11:24 PM
I've had my bruceweiart concert koa about a week and have mixed emotions. Best quality uke I've found for what I paid (cosmetics, sound generation) but the intonation is significantly off. I'm gonna mess around with it a bit and see if I can do anything to help it but I definitely won't buy from him again. My koa Alulu tenor, on the other hand, is a dream of an instrument. Just can't seem to put it down or stop looking at it. Ordered a mahogany guitarlele from him today and am really looking forward to getting that one in my hands.

Check the position of the nut and the saddle. I've sent most of my brucewei ukulele's off to a luthier for work to get them to intonate properly. One arrived spot on. A couple were close.

What's the scale length of your instrument?

Anthony

Fermin
07-18-2013, 04:32 AM
Well, I haven´t been on the forum for a while.

About a year ago I took Tudorp´s advice to order directly from Bruce, and I give that same advice.

I e-mailed Bruce and told him exactly how I wanted my two ukes (woods, shape, fretboard, inlay, etc.). He gave me a quote, about the same as a Mainland, and when I OKed it work started.

A lot of care was put into these instruments and it shows. These are my second and third ukuleles (if you don´t count It-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named), so I don´t have much to compare to, but the only work I had to do on them was adjust the nuts on the tuners a bit. They have great intonation all the way up, the strings are at a height that is very comfortable for me, they have great projection (compared to my luthier made soprano, Bruce´s mahogany concert sound like a small piano, and well, the acacia koa tenor like a grand piano, it makes my chest vibrate when I strum it), the necks and frets are perfect, and they also happen to look absolutely beautiful, with no cosmetic issues at all (I looked real hard).

I couldn´t be more satisfied.

gbeckwith
07-18-2013, 08:14 PM
What's the scale length of your instrument?


Anthony: 15". Luthiers in Japan are expensive. Probably cost more than what I paid for the instrument to move the bridge. I've had it only a week or so will let it settle in for a bit.

Thanks.

coolkayaker1
07-18-2013, 08:57 PM
This thread has more "legs" than a skillet full of wood lice.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2E2KjTYS8w

Does Mr. Weiart know he's the hit of UU?

anthonyg
07-18-2013, 10:26 PM
Anthony: 15". Luthiers in Japan are expensive. Probably cost more than what I paid for the instrument to move the bridge. I've had it only a week or so will let it settle in for a bit.

Thanks.


You can measure it up just to see. I wouldn't recommend that you do any work until the instrument is 12 months old in order for it to settle down fully.

Anyway, place a steel rule down the centre of the fretboard (not the edge) and position the 7 1/2 " mark PRECISELY on the centre of the 12th fret. Now the nut position is most important. Is the nut precisely at zero? Ideally the leading edge of the saddle is at 15" with the thickness of the saddle falling longer although the saddle position doesn't need to be quite as precise as the nut position.

Just as a reference I have quite expensive instruments that don't have the nut and saddle in the exact right place. This isn't just a brucewei issue.

If the instrument has settled nicely after 12 months then I believe that they are worth spending some money on. A precisely setup instrument is worth something.

Anthony

Flyinby
07-20-2013, 09:11 AM
I have more than a dozen 'nice' uke's some even Hawaiian.
Some of us just like to try / own / play / experiment - it's all part of the fun.

There are other benefits too. I have 3 BW ukes, average total price about $100 each including shipping, and while I have some reservations, I've learned a lot from them and 2 of them are my most-favored "pick up and play" instruments that I don't have to be extremely careful with.

The Mahogany tenor developed some buzzy frets after a short time, and being a do-it-yourself type, I learned to level and crown the frets. This came in handy later when my acacia/koa cutaway tenor developed high frets at the body joint, and again I was able to level them and get my high frets back in working order. A bell acacia/koa tenor developed a twisted neck, and since it was a 'nothing to lose' situation, I tried heat and twisting to straighten it, and was able to get it back to be a reasonably-good playing uke.

None of the above would have been tried with an expensive 'K' uke, and I have since even fixed up some guitars, and with some nut and bridge work been able to make some cheap smiley face or watermelon ukes into well-intoned and decent action instruments that sound fine. And it's nice to have some fun, inexpensive instruments around that people aren't reluctant to touch because they're so "nice" (yet still sound good and fun to play).

One can't win anyway. Had I bought one "nice" 'K' uke, it probably would have been a Kanilea, and then I'd read a thread here telling me how inferior they are to the other 'K' brands, and no doubt it would be strung with Aquilas, which I think are great but get their own set of disparaging remarks, in favor of Worth or Martin, which in turn get their own set of disparaging remarks....

My 'K' ukes are Kalas, which I know don't qualify as 'K' ukes, but the ones I have work well and sound good if played well, as do the rest of them, even the made-in-China watermelon one. I've learned from the Bruce Wei ones I bought, and while I don't think they're the best, the end result for me has been a couple of ukes I really like to play.

Tudorp
07-20-2013, 11:44 AM
I sold most of my BW ukes, except a tenor my bride likes, and the one I fell in love with. The Concert Mohogany carved top. 2 years now since I bought that one, and it has such an awesome tone. It resonates, and has more sustain than any uke at any price I have ever heard. Im sure it's a fluke and the luck of the draw thing, but in the ukes favor in that one's case. People that have heard that specific uke always think I paid several hundred for it. I knew it was a keeper when I first played it after I set it up. It is one I will probably always keep.

v30
07-20-2013, 01:42 PM
BW is posting some really cool looking ukes on ebay lately....some pinapple like shapes and some that resemble mandolins. They look really neat. Oh, there is also a neat looking little coconut backed one. I've never purchased from him but who know, maybe one of these days.