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Jim Hanks
06-03-2013, 05:12 PM
Here it is! I've only had it a few days and still haven't played it that much yet, so here are just a few initial impressions.
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As far as I could find, this is the only in-production (i.e. not vintage) "mid priced" uke with a 19" scale, which was a big motivator in getting this uke. I think it is more comfortable than the now-standard 20+" baritone scale. Mele makes one for twice the price, and the Kamaka HF3-L is over 3 times the price, so you can't get better bang-for-the-buck than this.

The fit and finish lives up to its billing. Very "clean" and smooth uke. I guess you'd call it a "satin" finish - not glossy at all. There are a couple of *extremely* slight discolorations in a couple of spots that let you know this is an "organic" hand-made instrument, not something out of a 3D printer (not that there's anything wrong with that :p ).

Specs:
Scale: 19"
Body: Solid mahogany top/back/sides
Neck/headstock: Maple/rosewood/maple
Tuners: Schaller geared mini-tuners
Fretboard: Rosewood
Bridge/nut: Jacaranda
Saddle: Plastic - compensated!
Pickup: Passive
Strap button: Pickup button and 2nd one on bottom of neck
Strings: Pyramid fluorocarbons

The rosette is a very thin ring of rosewood/maple/rosewood mirroring the neck. (Actually, I think it is plastic, but could easily be passed off as wood.)

I got an Ohana gig bag from Mim (http://store01.prostores.com/servlet/mimsukuleles/the-300/Baritone-Ohana-Red-Gigbag/Detail) that fits very well. I still need to get a humidifier, but I don't think the uke is in immediate danger since I'm in hot-n-humid NC. Also picked up the strap from Sherrin's Treasures (http://www.etsy.com/listing/127561350/racing-flames-ukulele-strap-1-wide). :cool:

The tuners are awesome. While the friction tuners on the soprano work, these are just easier to use.

The action is about 3mm, a little higher than the tenor Mim set up for me. It's definitely playable as-is, but I may take it down a little further when I change out the strings. (Really my only peeve I have with the uke as I did ask for lower. Maybe it changed crossing the Atlantic - seriously.)

Regarding the strings, it came with two unwound trebles and two wound bass strings. I'm pretty sure these are the ones (http://www.ukulele.org.uk/product/5/316/Pyramid-Ukulele-Strings-For-Baritone-Ukuleles-Clear-Fluorocarbon-With-2-Wound-Strings.html). They actually sound pretty good. I will do some sound samples with them before changing so I can remember what they sound like. I would describe the sound as bright, loud, guitar-like. Which is why I'll be swapping them out soon. ;) First up will be a custom Living Water set that I'll try linear Bb or A. More on that later.

A word about dealing with Bruko. Overall, it was a good experience dealing with Bruko, so I would not hesitate to send other players their way. The only word of "caution" I would relate is to stay patient. Several times it was days between emails, but I gather it's because they're too busy building ukes to be tied to the computer. So I can't fault them for that. And looking back it was actually only 11 days from when I first said I definitely wanted it to delivery day (and part of that was also working out the soprano) and then another week of delivery time from Germany to U.S. I guess it just felt longer at the time due to UAS fever. :cool:

The other thing I would relate about baritones is that they are only available with a mahogany body. That's fine by me, but if you're looking for something brighter, you'll have to get a tenor. (Or my soprano - it's still for sale (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?81478-FS-Brand-New-Bruko-Soprano-No-6-Special)!)

Sound samples and videos will be coming later.

Jim

Jim Hanks
06-03-2013, 05:15 PM
More pics:
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Bill Mc
06-03-2013, 06:52 PM
Enjoy your new Brüko Jim. I'm a fan of Brükos in particular the sopranos. One thing is for certain however, if you want low action on a Brüko you've got to do it yourself. Asking seems to make not a whit of difference in the set up and that includes even custom models.

Jim Hanks
06-03-2013, 07:16 PM
Thanks for the confirmation Bill. The only reason I mentioned it is that I did ask and was told it would not be a problem. A minor quibble as it should be easily remedied - but does feel like I shouldn't have to.

Bill Mc
06-03-2013, 08:12 PM
Thanks for the confirmation Bill. The only reason I mentioned it is that I did ask and was told it would not be a problem. A minor quibble as it should be easily remedied - but does feel like I shouldn't have to.


Yes, I distinctly remember coolkayaker (Steve) advising you to request a lowered action. Having requested the same on a few occasions to Brüko I suspected the futility of any such request on your part. Fortunately there is room on the Brükos to lower the action with some effort. I need a another ukulele like a proverbial hole in the head, but I'm considering a Brüko cedar top soprano but have not decided on other details. We shall see....

coolkayaker1
06-03-2013, 08:57 PM
Hi, Jim and Bill. Excellent review, Jim. Spot on, I agree. I also saw on your soprano thread that US Customs did not pinch you for the package--excellent news. It cost me $25 for one baritone just for the US Customs charge. Those dirty birds!

I, actually, did own an all blonde figured maple baritone Bruko that I bought on eBay (I think it was from Dave on UU that sold it to me) and I thought I wouldn't play baritones, so I resold it. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I now see how rare they are (although I think Bruko would make a custom bari, no?)

As to the action, if both Jim and Bill asked for lower and Bruko didn't actually do it, that's not right. It's not easily done now because they glue in the saddle to the bridge (or at least they did on my custom soprano). Why, oh why? I thought they'd have just lowered it for you, Jim. Knowing what I know now from you both, if I was to order again (and I might), I'd ask for a non-glued saddle, period. I'll take care of it from there.

It certainly is lovely, Jim. I think to this day that, like you said, there is no better a solid body baritone for the price than Bruko. The build is amazing. Just have to wonder--do European's like strings like tight ropes for the fingers? That action would make the Great Wallendas dizzy! --- Steve

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mds725
06-03-2013, 09:35 PM
Ooooooh. Pretty baritone! Congratulations!!!

devvyleys
06-03-2013, 10:28 PM
Good looking Bari, Jim. I had resolved to not order a walnut Bruko soprano until just reading this review. So make that semi-resolved. I'd probably have already taken you up on your soprano in the Marketplace if I was in the US already.

As for the saddle, I remember some one or two people mentioning to request both lowered action and unglued saddles. It does sound like a frustration otherwise.

mm stan
06-04-2013, 12:04 AM
Congrats on you new Aquirement...have fun and enjoy...Happy Strummings...

Jim Hanks
06-04-2013, 03:09 AM
I, actually, did own an all blonde figured maple baritone Bruko that I bought on eBay (I think it was from Dave on UU that sold it to me) and I thought I wouldn't play baritones, so I resold it. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I now see how rare they are (although I think Bruko would make a custom bari, no?)

As to the action, if both Jim and Bill asked for lower and Bruko didn't actually do it, that's not right. It's not easily done now because they glue in the saddle to the bridge (or at least they did on my custom soprano). Why, oh why? I thought they'd have just lowered it for you, Jim. Knowing what I know now from you both, if I was to order again (and I might), I'd ask for a non-glued saddle, period.

Just to follow up on a couple of things, Steve. First, 3mm is not crazy high. I know a lot of people like it that way or even higher. Both the soprano and the baritone are the same height and I have heard other stories of crazy action - so this probably *is* low action to them.

I did ask about the saddle and was told it is not glued. I guess I'll find out when I change strings.

About the custom bari. Out of curiosity, I had asked about cherry or cedar and I saw another UU member asking about spruce recently. I was basically told "no", they couldn't do a non-mahogany bari at this time. No explanation - guessing they don't have big enough wood in stock?

Jim Hanks
06-07-2013, 05:52 PM
Quick Demo


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiCWjFycBX8

Nickie
06-07-2013, 05:56 PM
Congrats on the new bari....I like the way it looks! Natural....

fromthee2me
06-11-2013, 08:31 PM
I think you've got a nice Bari there. My Bruko Bari has a spruce top with (in german it is called pallisander)what looks like rosewood back and sides tuned lowGCEA. Funny enough they translate pallisander to jacaranda, but jacaranda is a white soft wood, with a purplish blue flower when it blooms, so on that one I am a bit puzzled. I did not have any issues with the action, nor with my Maple longneck soprano (arched back)(now that is a uke, which in my opinion will hold its own accoustically, and is true to the expression "a marmite uke" and sounds a lot like a banjo uke) . So I am still keen to get another Bari which I'll tune DGBE. Temptations..... :drool:

connor013
06-12-2013, 04:43 AM
Oh man, Jim, that's a beauty. Congrats.

I contacted Bruko a while back about a spruce-topped Bari and was told no-go. No explanation, but in all fairness I didn't ask for one.

As for the all maple baritone Steve had (and was foolish enough to sell! heh heh): one day it will be on the market again...:drool: