PDA

View Full Version : New Bruko No. 6 - Not What I Expected



delray48209
12-17-2013, 08:17 AM
Yesterday I received a new Bruko No 6 from Uke Republic. To be honest, when I unboxed the Bruko and started playing, I was highly disappointed. The first thing I noticed was the action was rather high. Not unplayable but, the action was higher than most ukes I own and play. The sound is definitely different from all the rest of my sopranos. Not bad, just different.

Yes, as everyone has posted on this site, It's built very good. After playing it for a few hours, I was determined to send it back the next day. However, the next day, after picking it up and playing it for a while, things starting to settle down. So, I've decided to keep it because it is a very unique soprano in every sense.

I wonder how difficult/costly it would be to have the action lowered? It looks like the entire bridge would have to be removed in order to lower the strings. Has anyone had the action lowered on their Bruko?

Best Regards,
Frank

dismount
12-17-2013, 09:24 AM
Frank, let me tell you my story. My 6 Bruko came from uke republic also. Same concerns as you, wanted to send back then wanted to sell it for 100.00. Put it away, gave up on it. I changed the strings to living waters and a little better but still didn't like it. Do whatever you need to do with it but I kept playing it when I could stand to and man it finally opened up or I just came to love it. Crisp loud and even sound, one of my go to Ukes when playing in public. I don't think people give it time smooth out. Just sayin. Phil

Bill Mc
12-17-2013, 09:27 AM
Frank, right you are on both observations, the action on a Brüko is high and the sound is unique to the extent that it is in a class by itself. I've adjusted the action on all six of my Brükos and they are comfortable to play with good intonation. One advantage of a slightly high action is no buzzing and the ability to attack the strings with force so be careful what you wish for if you want very low action on your Brüko. Smart move to let the instrument settle in before making a rash decision about its worth. There is often the inclination to pass harsh judgment about an instrument after playing it for just a couple minutes. If the instrument came with the stock Pyramid strings you might consider changing them to Fremont Blacklines. My opinion is that they complement the Brüko nicely. Check with a local luthier for a price on adjusting the action.

delray48209
12-17-2013, 09:42 AM
I think you two are right on the money with this ukulele. Astonishing that it has opened up a lot since playing it for several hours. I've decided not to return it, because I think there is some magic hidden in this little box.

coolkayaker1
12-17-2013, 10:03 AM
I have purchased many Brukos directly from Herr Pfeiffer in Germany, and they're all high action. Why they will not lower them at the factory given the overwhelmingly mentioned high action, I don't know. If I bought a Bruko from a uke dealer in the USA, I'd ask them to lower the action as part of my purchase, or I'd return it, post haste.

Tootler
12-17-2013, 10:45 AM
I have two Brukos, a concert and a tenor and didn't particularly find the action high on either, at least not at the nut. It is a little high towards the bridge. I certainly don't find it uncomfortable to play there, though I don't play up the neck much. The intonation at that end is still good. Maybe a few cents sharp but marginal.

I like the stock pyramid strings. I realise most don't but they suit the Bruko sound IMO. You definitely need to give them time to settle in. My concert is turning out to be real beauty. Two people (both guitarists) have commented - positively - on its sound recently. The tenor is newer and I have it in Bb tuning and so I don't play it quite as much so it's not yet had time to settle in properly.

I tried a No 6 Soprano at a uke fest last October. I really liked it and was very tempted to buy one but got the tenor instead. I will likely buy one sometime in the future but just at the moment, I need to shed some ukes I'm not playing before I get more.

It's clear the Brukos are an acquired taste, but give them time and they are a great uke. Well made, superb finish and good intonation and they have their own unique sound.

ukemunga
12-17-2013, 11:08 AM
I am far, far from an expert but it is my understanding that a higher action produces more volume. If this is the case perhaps this is the reason they are produced this way.

delray48209
12-17-2013, 11:53 AM
I think my initial problem with the Bruko is that I'm a light strummer/picker. The bruko definitely likes to be strummed/pick harder.

dismount
12-17-2013, 12:05 PM
arrrh.. it be a mans uke

OldePhart
12-17-2013, 12:22 PM
Most KoAloha ukes also come from the factory with what I consider a pretty high action at the bridge. Not unplayable, just higher than I like. Andrew at HMS has pointed out that it is easier to lower the action at the saddle than raise it, which is probably why some manufacturers choose to err towards being higher rather than lower.

Also, if you play vigorously you will appreciate the higher action. I used to have all of my ukes set very, very low. MGM characterized it as "dangerously low" when he was setting up Kiwaya longneck for me once. However, after I started working on my right hand technique and doing more rolls and triplets and pattern picking and such I came to appreciate a little higher action and have actually raised the action a little on a couple of my ukes.

John

connor013
12-17-2013, 12:29 PM
arrrh.. it be a mans uke

If a K brand wants to be played on the beach at sunset, a Bruko wants to be played over a trashcan fire.

Paul December
12-17-2013, 12:55 PM
I have purchased many Brukos directly from Herr Pfeiffer in Germany, and they're all high action. Why they will not lower them at the factory given the overwhelmingly mentioned high action, I don't know. If I bought a Bruko from a uke dealer in the USA, I'd ask them to lower the action as part of my purchase, or I'd return it, post haste.

+1
High action is a deal breaker for me.
I consider too high of an action as not-properly-set-up. Once you lower it yourself (at your own cost) other problems like buzzing frets might reveal themselves. You won't then be able to then return it :(

delray48209
12-18-2013, 10:49 AM
Off came the Pyramids and on went the D'Addario Nyltech. What a difference!

PeteyHoudini
12-18-2013, 12:28 PM
Off came the Pyramids and on went the D'Addario Nyltech. What a difference!

I find that the Pyramid strings have a thrash "brittle" sound! It is not the sweetest sound but loud and punk! hehe I have two Brukos in my collection (a custom soprano) and its action is very low. My other black Bruko's action is a little higher but not an issue for me.

Petey

delray48209
12-18-2013, 01:24 PM
I find that the Pyramid strings have a thrash "brittle" sound! It is not the sweetest sound but loud and punk! hehe I have two Brukos in my collection (a custom soprano) and its action is very low. My other black Bruko's action is a little higher but not an issue for me.

Petey

Great description of the Pyramid strings. Very brittle sounding.

we tigers
12-18-2013, 06:47 PM
My custom Bruko came with two saddles: the normal one and a considerably lower one. Upon arrival I changed the saddle, put soft SouthCoast Soft light medium strings on, and it was a perfect little uke. The number 6 doesn't have a saddle but a one piece bridge, but it is possible to lower it a bit.
I actually don't mind a little higher action. I'm a bass player and my basses
Also have a little higher action. It gives more tone. And once
You've played with the LaBella James Jamerson flatwound it all doesn't matter anymore.

Give the 6 a chance and see what the higher action can give you in return. More volume and tone, a stronger left hand, and a distinctive sound that has a character and charm of its own.

Pundabaya
12-18-2013, 10:19 PM
As long as the intonation is correct, action is a preference. It's another 'ukulele quirk' where high action is deemed unacceptable, whereas in other string instruments it is seen as something that some players prefer. Guitar players who play a lot of slide, or just like playing really hard will often have a high action. Bass players who play slap, or like to really dig into the strings like their actions high. It's something to file alongside 'you must strum at the twelfth fret' in the 'ukulele myths' draw. Bruko's actions are higher than average, that's not a bad thing, that's a good thing.

bazmaz
12-19-2013, 08:20 AM
I despise the pyramid strings that Bruko use - no idea why they do as most reviews I read say the same thing.

I have Worth Browns on mine - the action is great and I love it.

One thing it isn't is the nicest tone you will find - it kind of has its own voice. BUT.... it is also one of the cheapest all solid wood ukes you will find.

Tone wise, I much prefer the Ohana SK25 soprano, which is about the same money - but the Bruko has the looks and charm that few other ukes have I think

Skrik
12-19-2013, 09:16 PM
One thing it isn't is the nicest tone you will find

Chacun à son goût.

I love mine: tone, high action, the works.

coolkayaker1
12-20-2013, 03:00 AM
I've bought and sold a lot of ukes. Bruko's action is stratospheric compared to any--Koaloha, Ohana, Martin, Kiwaya, etc.--that I have owned. Playing it, as such, is prone to string bending out of tune because of the nosebleed distance from string to fretboard being telephone pole-to-street. And no, it's not something that one can train themselves out of with practice and skill any more than one can practice themselves into avoiding loose stools after a milkshake when they are lactose intolerant.

I know. I've tried and failed with both Brukos and malted frappes.

bazmaz
12-20-2013, 07:37 AM
My action is fine

EDIT - sorry that was a little short... Coolkayaker - I think you probably know how many ukes have been through my hands - honestly, my 6 is just fine, and I own a Koaloha, a Kiwaya and have played all the others you mention.

Maybe I got a good one

coolkayaker1
12-20-2013, 11:11 AM
Barry, you do know ukes, so if you say your action is fine, then I'm sure you're right.

You must have gotten an instrument that Herr Pfieffer made for one of his own family members. He takes the circus tightrope action down for people he loves.

The rest of us bastard stepchildren remain Flying Wallendas.

delray48209
12-20-2013, 11:42 AM
The Bruko No 6 is the first ukulele I purchased online (Uke Republic) without playing it first. What a mistake that was. I have determine the Bruko No. 6 is unique, is built well, but the playability and sound sucks. So, I will take this as a lesson to never buy a uke without first playing it.

Tootler
12-21-2013, 03:44 AM
I tried a No 6 at a dealers back in October, I was not conscious of the action being particularly high. In fact, I nearly bought it. The only reason I didn't was because I bought a tenor instead.

If the action is as bad as you say it is, then intonation will be poor. In that case, surely you have grounds for sending it back for attention/replacement.

Paul December
12-21-2013, 06:12 AM
The Bruko No 6 is the first ukulele I purchased online (Uke Republic) without playing it first. What a mistake that was. I have determine the Bruko No. 6 is unique, is built well, but the playability and sound sucks. So, I will take this as a lesson to never buy a uke without first playing it.

Have you contacted the dealer? If so, is he willing to work with you :confused:

delray48209
12-21-2013, 07:11 AM
Have you contacted the dealer? If so, is he willing to work with you :confused:

I purchased the Bruko from Uke Republic. Their website indicates that one has only 5 days to make a return. Well, to be honest, 5 days is really not enough time to do a fair evaluation. And, I changed the strings hoping it would make a difference, it didn't. It cost me an additional $20 for shipping. I really don't feel like dropping another $20 to have it shipped back. So, I'm pretty much stuck with it. Dissatisfied customer I am.

bazmaz
12-21-2013, 11:39 AM
@coolkayaker - sorry - if you read my review you will know that the reviewed model 6 is actually my second one. As i recall, my first one, that I sold, action was not an issue either. I feel like I a swimming against the tide here. can assure you I am not on the payroll - I just like mine!

Hippie Dribble
12-21-2013, 12:36 PM
couple of Bruko soprano reviews

Cherry (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyFUXkpo6Ac)
Custom Maple (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQoGkT9hq8U)

High actions? Check. Lots of other great aspects to compensate however. I've owned maybe 7 or 8 of em in the past. Enjoyed each of them for a time and eventually sold them on. Despite a number of requests for a lower action they arrived at essentially the same height everytime. Not a huge issue, but frustrating, given I lack the werewithal to do my own set-up work. I've since stopped buying them in favour of other makers though continue to respect the name.

Kayak Jim
12-21-2013, 12:37 PM
I purchased the Bruko from Uke Republic. Their website indicates that one has only 5 days to make a return. Well, to be honest, 5 days is really not enough time to do a fair evaluation. And, I changed the strings hoping it would make a difference, it didn't. It cost me an additional $20 for shipping. I really don't feel like dropping another $20 to have it shipped back. So, I'm pretty much stuck with it. Dissatisfied customer I am.

Isn't adjusting the action part of setting up a uke? Sounds like the Brukos come with high action from the factory so the dealer (Uke Republic in this case) should be lowering it to something that is generally acceptable. That's the argument used against buying a drop shipped Asian uke anyway.

coolkayaker1
12-21-2013, 12:53 PM
couple of Bruko soprano reviews

Cherry (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyFUXkpo6Ac)
Custom Maple (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQoGkT9hq8U)

High actions? Check. Lots of other great aspects to compensate however. I've owned maybe 7 or 8 of em in the past. Enjoyed each of them for a time and eventually sold them on. Despite a number of requests for a lower action they arrived at essentially the same height everytime. Not a huge issue, but frustrating, given I lack the werewithal to do my own set-up work. I've since stopped buying them in favour of other makers though continue to respect the name.

My sentiments precisely, Jon. Thank you.

Bill Mc
12-21-2013, 01:14 PM
@coolkayaker - sorry - if you read my review you will know that the reviewed model 6 is actually my second one. As i recall, my first one, that I sold, action was not an issue either. I feel like I a swimming against the tide here. can assure you I am not on the payroll - I just like mine!


Bazmaz, I'll swim a bit with you then. As stated I own 6 Brükos and like them all for their one-of-a-kind sound and wonderful craftsmanship at an affordable price. I do agree that the stock action is a tad high and I have adjusted the action on each of my Brükos that make them easy to play with excellent intonation. This includes carefully adjusting my #6 with its one piece bridge. The frustration of those who want a ukulele to come with a fairly standard action is understandable to me as not everyone is willing to risk adjusting the action on a new instrument or feel that they should have to make any adjustment. As for positive or negative comments here about the tone of the #6, those are purely subjective on both sides of the discussion and prospective buyers ought to decide for themselves. There is no accounting for taste - that includes mine and others.

Paul December
12-21-2013, 01:35 PM
Isn't adjusting the action part of setting up a uke? Sounds like the Brukos come with high action from the factory so the dealer (Uke Republic in this case) should be lowering it to something that is generally acceptable. That's the argument used against buying a drop shipped Asian uke anyway.

Exactly, that's why I only buy from well established sellers here who properly set-up their instruments. Otherwise you can save a few bucks and buy from a drop-shipper.
Personally I don't buy the argument that some people like high actions. Even if that were true, they should be the ones requesting it since they are clearly in the minority.
Simply sounds like this Bruko wasn't properly set up before it went out, so the seller should cover the cost of shipping.

hmgberg
12-21-2013, 01:53 PM
These Brukos come standard with a one-piece bridge. In other words, there is no separate saddle to remove and lower. I seem to recall reading, however, that you can special order a two-piece bridge.

There are trade offs involved with action height. Obviously, you want your ukulele to be playable, but action too low can adversely affect the tone and especially the volume. I like mine set at 3/32" at the 12th. Some people think that is high.

coolkayaker1
12-21-2013, 06:42 PM
my Bruko custom concert and baritone both came from Germany with two piece bridges without even requesting it. But, the white bone piece was glued into the wooden bridge! Doh! I wanted to slip it out and sand the bottom carefully, but instead ended up having to use extreme caution and a sanding block to sand the top of the bone nut ( if it's bone at all).

So, nope, those Bruko makers are bound and determined to keep the action weather balloon high.

hmgberg
12-22-2013, 01:01 AM
my Bruko custom concert and baritone both came from Germany with two piece bridges without even requesting it. But, the white bone piece was glued into the wooden bridge! Doh! I wanted to slip it out and sand the bottom carefully, but instead ended up having to use extreme caution and a sanding block to sand the top of the bone nut ( if it's bone at all).

So, nope, those Bruko makers are bound and determined to keep the action weather balloon high.

I'm pretty sure the 6 comes with a one piece bridge though, Steve. I should have been more clear when I said "these Brukos." I think the saddles in vintage Martins are also glued, but it's a small amount of glue and they can be popped out with some effort. I don't know if you tried that on your Brukos? Also, an alternative to sanding the saddle down from the top is to slot it using nut files.

It does seen that Bruko prefers to keep the action on the high side, though.

Pundabaya
12-22-2013, 01:04 AM
My Bruko's action is fine, Baz. I've seen a couple of others, and they were fine too. They're higher than the current average. They intonate well.

Bill Mc
12-22-2013, 04:27 AM
my Bruko custom concert and baritone both came from Germany with two piece bridges without even requesting it. But, the white bone piece was glued into the wooden bridge! Doh! I wanted to slip it out and sand the bottom carefully, but instead ended up having to use extreme caution and a sanding block to sand the top of the bone nut ( if it's bone at all).

So, nope, those Bruko makers are bound and determined to keep the action weather balloon high.

None of the saddles on my Brükos were glued in - just fitted very snugly in the slot requiring careful extraction with needle nosed pliers with padded tips. Then lay the saddle flat on a piece of 220 sandpaper and a couple of passes will allow the saddle to fit nicely for future extraction when adjusting the saddle.

delray48209
12-22-2013, 05:28 AM
The Bruko I received from Uke Republic has a one piece bridge and saddle. It also has a wooden nut. I'm assuming Uke Republic decided not to do their advertised setup because it would be much more work intensive than setting up a traditional two piece saddle and nut.

I also sent them an email advising of my dissatisfaction. No response as of this date.

hmgberg
12-22-2013, 05:56 AM
Would someone please tell me the action at the 12th fret on their Bruko 6 so I know how high we are talking about? I'd appreciate it.

dismount
12-22-2013, 07:35 AM
Would someone please tell me the action at the 12th fret on their Bruko 6 so I know how high we are talking about? I'd appreciate it.

mine measures .134 ths or about 1/8th inch

byjimini
12-22-2013, 08:25 AM
I always thought ukes came with high action so you could lower it to what you were comfortable with. Obviously it would be a lot of fuss for you to make it higher.

I didn't have any problems with mine when it came, hell it was even in tune when I unzipped the bag. I think for £130, it's an absolute steal.

dismount
12-22-2013, 08:32 AM
Well, you either love them or hate them. Thats what I read before ordering mine. Hated mine for 1st 4 months not now.

hmgberg
12-22-2013, 09:27 AM
mine measures .134 ths or about 1/8th inch

Thanks! That is a tad higher than I set my action. I typically try for 3/32". 1/8" is a bit high for a modern uke, but pretty common on many of the older ukes.

coolkayaker1
12-22-2013, 02:59 PM
I always thought ukes came with high action so you could lower it to what you were comfortable with. Obviously it would be a lot of fuss for you to make it higher.
eal.

That would certainly be true if it wasn't one piece, all wood, and glued on tighter than the bark on a tree

Bill Mc
12-22-2013, 05:55 PM
Would someone please tell me the action at the 12th fret on their Bruko 6 so I know how high we are talking about? I'd appreciate it.]

I don't know what it was when I bought it but it was a tad high. I lowered it to .0905 - a hair under 3/32". That is just perfect.

delray48209
12-23-2013, 11:53 AM
I received an email message from Mike, the owner of Uke Republic, regarding the purchase of my Bruko. Mike was very nice in stating that he would be happy to refund my purchase upon return. Mike explained the build and said he would recommend changing the strings to Freemont Black mediums, of which he offered to send me free of charge. I've decided to keep the Bruko and try Mike's suggestion regarding the string change. I want to publically thank Mike of Uke Republic for his timely response and recommendation. Uke Republic is a class act business in which I look forward to doing business with again.

dismount
12-23-2013, 12:02 PM
I received an email message from Mike, the owner of Uke Republic, regarding the purchase of my Bruko. Mike was very nice in stating that he would be happy to refund my purchase upon return. Mike explained the build and said he would recommend changing the strings to Freemont Black mediums, of which he offered to send me free of charge. I've decided to keep the Bruko and try Mike's suggestion regarding the string change. I want to publically thank Mike of Uke Republic for his timely response and recommendation. Uke Republic is a class act business in which I look forward to doing business with again.
I second that. Mike wants u to enjoy your purchase.

Paul December
12-23-2013, 02:11 PM
I received an email message from Mike, the owner of Uke Republic, regarding the purchase of my Bruko. Mike was very nice in stating that he would be happy to refund my purchase upon return. Mike explained the build and said he would recommend changing the strings to Freemont Black mediums, of which he offered to send me free of charge. I've decided to keep the Bruko and try Mike's suggestion regarding the string change. I want to publically thank Mike of Uke Republic for his timely response and recommendation. Uke Republic is a class act business in which I look forward to doing business with again.

Word of advice, return it.
Read your own posts about it...
...are you really going to start liking it after a string change? Yea, it may sound a bit better, but the poor playability will be the same.
Cut your losses.