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kohanmike
06-08-2014, 08:58 PM
I've been seeing a few posts lately about ukes bought from Bruce Wei Arts eBay auction site. After winning a tenor mandolele a few months ago (not very good), I found out some pertinent info directly from Bruce a couple of weeks ago while corresponding with him about making me a custom ukulele.

During our correspondence, I mentioned that I was disappointed with the mandolele I bought, thick top with dull sound (even with a string change), very poor binding seams, poor fret installation, the only nice thing is the color/finish. His response was that the U series ukes are not his construction, they are made by other builders and he allows them to be sold through his eBay site (but he does stand behind them). He concentrates on custom builds only.

The UTT series is what he calls "B" grade, simple bracing, heavy tops, whatever material is on hand, not a lot of attention to detail. The two letter U series are better construction, and higher priced. (The other letter series are apparently other builders of various qualities.) I asked if I could get a mandolele built better and he said he would do that himself in about 30 days.

I've posted this info in other threads, but thought I would do Bruce a service by clarifying things specifically. There have been a few posts from UU members who have Bruce's custom builds and they say they are very happy. So I'm going ahead and ordering the custom, a tenor gypsy jazz Django/Selmer Maccaferri "Grande Bouche" style uke, to be ready in about 60-70 days. The mandolele should be done in a couple of weeks (I'm adding the tailpiece shown and a preamp/pickup).

http://www.fairfax67.com/images/Gypsy custom 72.jpg
http://www.fairfax67.com/images/Mandolele mahogany.jpg

coolkayaker1
06-08-2014, 09:05 PM
You are a brave man, brother kohanmike.

jcarlos
06-08-2014, 09:28 PM
i've bought several from his store, most were good on arrival only two were bad on arrival but fixable. It makes sense if he's a reseller but I really do think he needs to start branding them or at least adding a sticker on the inside so the buyer knows who made it. If he posts a uke that catches my eye I don't mind getting it to try it out, out of the ones that I ordered from him, if I didn't end up liking them, i just sold them off.

Im interested in seeing how your custom one comes out. I have one that looks like yours that I ordered about a year ago and its cracked since then, has a tailpiece and floating bridge similar to the design you asked for.

coolkayaker1
06-08-2014, 10:09 PM
i've bought several from his store, most were good on arrival only two were bad on arrival but fixable. It makes sense if he's a reseller but I really do think he needs to start branding them or at least adding a sticker on the inside so the buyer knows who made it..

If someone else really is making it (i.e.we believe the Wei multiple-tier-of-construction excuse for shoddiness).

The logical side of me demands that I ponder this: if my proud family name was on every ukulele, it was my brand, and I knew how to construct beautiful ukuleles, personally...would i let the numerous "duds" we've read about out of my shop?

No.

jcarlos
06-08-2014, 10:10 PM
If someone else really is making it (i.e.we believe the Wei multiple-tier-of-construction excuse for shoddiness).

Ponder this: if your name was on a ukulele, and you built beautiful ukuleles yourself, personally, so you knew good from bad...would you let the numerous "duds" we've read about out of your shop?

Yea, I would still sell them, but I would mark them down and make sure people knew they were defective, most companies call them B stock. I've bought a couple of Lanikai B stock ukes that needed to be fixed and had no problem with them since I knew exactly what I was getting. If it really is a different shop making these for Bruce Wei then I would like to know which ones are made by his shop and which ones aren't.

coolkayaker1
06-08-2014, 10:23 PM
To me, B stock is a blemish. Not heavy top wood, "simple bracing", poor attention to detail and a "dull sound" as described by kohanmike.

But I respect your thoughts, jcarlos.

anthonyg
06-08-2014, 10:50 PM
Yes there are different builders making ukulele's for Brucewei's shop and yes they are of differing qualities. I can tell by looking at them and any ukulele starting at a VERY low starting price is a sign that its a lower quality instrument. However, I have a cheaper quality baritone from Brucewei. It has faults but MAN does it sound good.

Here is one of my original songs on a very cheap brucewei.


http://youtu.be/fAePoMHnb8o

The instrument needs some work. I'm going to spend some money because it deserves it. I'm sitting on a high quality 8 string baritone as well. It needs some work to but it has a GREAT sound waiting to come out.

Anthony

tangimango
06-09-2014, 12:09 AM
How much would that custom tenor gypsy jazz going for?

QUOTE=kohanmike;1535173]I've been seeing a few posts lately about ukes bought from Bruce Wei Arts eBay auction site. After winning a tenor mandolele a few months ago (not very good), I found out some pertinent info directly from Bruce a couple of weeks ago while corresponding with him about making me a custom ukulele.

During our correspondence, I mentioned that I was disappointed with the mandolele I bought, thick top with dull sound (even with a string change), very poor binding seams, poor fret installation, the only nice things is the color/finish. His response was that the U series ukes are not his construction, they are made by other builders and he allows them to be sold through his eBay site (but he does stand behind them). He concentrates on custom builds only.

The UTT series is what he calls "B" grade, simple bracing, heavy tops, what ever material is on hand, not a lot of attention to detail. The two letter U series are better construction, and higher priced. (The other letter series are apparently other builders of various qualities.) I asked if I could get a mandolele built better and he said he would do that himself in about 30 days.

I've posted this info in other threads, but thought I would do Bruce a service by clarifying things specifically. There have been a few posts from UU members who have Bruce's custom builds and they say they are very happy. So I'm going ahead and ordering the custom, a tenor gypsy jazz Django/Selmer Maccaferri "Grande Bouche" style uke, to be ready in about 60-70 days. The mandolele should be done in a couple of weeks (I'm adding the tailpiece shown and a preamp/pickup).

http://www.fairfax67.com/images/Gypsy custom 72.jpg
http://www.fairfax67.com/images/Mandolele mahogany.jpg[/QUOTE]

kohanmike
06-09-2014, 08:45 AM
Yea, I would still sell them, but I would mark them down and make sure people knew they were defective... If it really is a different shop making these for Bruce Wei then I would like to know which ones are made by his shop and which ones aren't.

I created this thread for that reason, to inform everyone that the item numbers, UTT etc. indicate the builder and quality level.


I have one that looks like yours that I ordered about a year ago and its cracked since then, has a tailpiece and floating bridge similar to the design you asked for.

Are you talking about the mandolele or the gypsy style? My mandolele is going to have a fixed bridge, and I'm going to add the tailpiece myself. Actually, the gypsy style is also a fixed bridge. On both ukes I'm having him route the saddle space a little deeper so I can add a pickup and preamp myself, which I've done to most of my ukes.


How much would that custom tenor gypsy jazz going for?

He's charging me $780 delivered with a money back guarantee. I've researched a few other builders in North America and they're two to three times the price, and some do not match the exact look of the original gypsy jazz guitar I'm after. Here are the details (his drawing that I embellished with details, I'm a graphic designer):

http://www.fairfax67.com/images/Gypsy uke full drawing.jpg

consitter
06-09-2014, 09:50 PM
Considering your last situation, all I can say is this:

"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

Not saying this to hurt your feelings at all, but reminding you that you can't control or get much satisfaction if problems occur overseas. However, if you continue in this endeavor, best of luck to you.

kohanmike
06-10-2014, 06:51 AM
"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Not saying this to hurt your feelings at all...

It seems that you have not read all the details of my posts regarding the bad mandolele I bought NOT built by him, and the new one he is building. After multiple correspondence with Bruce about his capabilities, and feedback from other UU members who have one of Bruce's custom builds, I'm confident he will do a good job. He did give me a money back guarantee in writing. I am one who sees a half full glass of water, not a "nay sayer" type.

hawaii 50
06-10-2014, 07:01 AM
You are a brave man, brother kohanmike.

pretty sure if the builder builds in a shop where he keeps the relative humidity 35-45% the uke should not develop cracks when it gets to drier climate...as I know the humidity pretty high in Vietman

Dan Uke
06-10-2014, 07:05 AM
Mike, have you seen or heard an instrument made by Bruce? Also, how do you know it's made by him? I would hate for you to spend time and money and have no guaranties except for a money back guaranty, which you can never be too sure of, especially a foreign country

coolkayaker1
06-10-2014, 07:14 AM
Mike, have you seen or heard an instrument made by Bruce? Also, how do you know it's made by him? I would hate for you to spend time and money and have no guaranties except for a money back guaranty, which you can never be too sure of, especially a foreign country
Here, here...agree. Can you imagine the return shipping costs and nail-biting about the promised refund. My heart is too weak for all that.

That said, you seem confident in Mr. Wei, kohanmike, and trust his word that he sold you a ukulele that he didn't build the first time (pray that he is taking that one back for refund, btw) and he's going to personally build you a stunner the second time, so go for it. We all--consitter nongdam, me, the others--wish you only great success. Post thoughts and photos when you get it. Cool beans!

kohanmike
06-10-2014, 07:19 AM
I'm actually reserving my final judgement for when I receive the mandolele. If I like it I'm going ahead with the gypsy, if not, I don't order it.

hoosierhiver
06-10-2014, 07:43 AM
I doubt Bruce Wei makes anything, I think he just buys them from several different sources that make them out of small shops or homes in Saigon. Google "Bruce Wei images" and see what comes up, there is no way he could build such a variety and quantity of instruments himself.

kohanmike
06-10-2014, 08:21 AM
He tells me he only makes the custom jobs, the already made ones sold on his eBay site are from other builders. He said he allows those builders to sell through his site, so it doesn't seem like he buys them. I believe people until they give me a reason not to.

mds725
06-10-2014, 08:34 AM
pretty sure if the builder builds in a shop where he keeps the relative humidity 35-45% the uke should not develop cracks when it gets to drier climate...as I know the humidity pretty high in Vietman

Cracks can also develop if the wood isn't sufficiently dried before being used to build. kamaka dries its koa for years; KoAloha puts its wood in a drying kiln before building. If wood continues to dry after it's put under the stress of being an instrument, it will shrink and cracks will develop. This can be ameliorated somewhat by humidification, but there's a reason why the most reputable builders dry their wood before building with it.

RichM
06-10-2014, 08:53 AM
I do know one person who ordered a "custom" uke from Bruce Wei. In truth, it looked like a pretty standard tenor uke that had custom inlay in the fretboard. I have no idea who actually built it (and I'm sure neither does he), but Bruce took the money. :)

In terms of quality, I would say it's comparable to a mid-priced Kala or Ohana, and the price was about the same. So you could say he got a good deal, since he got a custom uke for the price of a factory model. Or you could say he took a lot of risk for something that was no better than a factory uke.

I imagine someone will say both things. :)

haole
06-10-2014, 09:01 AM
Hope you get a good one this time, Mike.

coolkayaker1
06-10-2014, 09:13 AM
He tells me he only makes the custom jobs, the already made ones sold on his eBay site are from other builders. He said he allows those builders to sell through his site, so it doesn't seem like he buys them. I believe people until they give me a reason not to.

Then you believe hoosierhiver.

kohanmike
06-10-2014, 11:06 AM
Coolkayaker1, I hope you're being facetious, I'm not talking about someone who is speculating, I'm talking about from the horses mouth.

stringy
06-10-2014, 11:47 AM
To me, B stock is a blemish. Not heavy top wood, "simple bracing", poor attention to detail and a "dull sound" as described by kohanmike.

But I respect your thoughts, jcarlos.



ITA! "B" quality should have nothing to do with the quality or playability. It means a surface flaw or scratch.

hoosierhiver
06-10-2014, 12:44 PM
I've been to Vietnam several times and have bought instruments there.
I firmly believe all of the "Bruce Wei's" come from shops like these.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOhoGDBnS0c

bborzell
06-10-2014, 02:37 PM
Bruce Wei comes up for discussion on UU, Mandolin Cafe as well as JazzGuiitar every so often. The essence of the posts on the other sites pretty much mirrors what we see here. Some folks are willing to roll the dice and some of them end up with a decent instrument. Others end up with either a sub par player or something that slowly self destructs.

My take is that quality control is generally poor both from construction as well as wood seasoning. I rather doubt that many of Wei's suppliers have climate controlled building environments for either construction or wood drying. This not to say that Wei can't deliver a well built instrument from appropriately dried stock; rather that the likelihood of that happening is much lower than I am willing to invest in.

haole
06-10-2014, 03:35 PM
Here's the thing that bugs me about Bruce Wei; he doesn't stand behind the instruments he sells under HIS name on ebay yet he's willing to take the money. Maybe he got into some contract that he can't get out of, fine. Then why doesn't he at least fight to improve quality if his name is going to be on them? While I've never played one of his instruments I sure have read enough negative reviews that makes me not want to buy anything associated with him. It feels to me like he just wants to swindle people who perceive they're getting a great deal on a quality instrument.

It seems tempting to cut out the middleman and go right to the manufacturer in order to save a buck, but from what I've gathered on UU and other musical instrument sites, there are so many things that can go wrong and you can never be sure of what will show up at your doorstep.

I'm guessing that if you're a dealer/distributor and you order a whole bunch of instruments, the guys you're dealing with overseas are more likely to follow your instructions and do a decent job on everything because there's more money to be made. But if you're a dude off the street looking for a bargain on a single instrument, the manufacturer really doesn't have much of an incentive to do a good job because the money is small and there isn't much you can do if you get a crap instrument other than return it at your cost (assuming they even bother to answer your emails). Or you could be dealing with an honest manufacturer and an honest miscommunication can lead to a screw-up. It's hard to tell, and you probably won't know either way until you really need to get ahold of customer service.

One of the benefits from buying from a reputable dealer and sticking with a brand that stands behind its products is that most of the hard work is already done for you. Brands like Kala and Mainland and Ohana that import ukes from overseas have negotiated with the better factories to have instruments built to a high standard, and the ukes pass through a facility in the US to root out the vast majority of the duds before they even make it into stores. If they get a bad batch, they handle the communications with the factory, and it's in the factory's best interest to listen to the distributor that's paying to have all those instruments made. That's part of the reason there's a markup -- they handle it all so you don't have to.

It's really up to the buyer to decide if the trade-off is worth the risk.

hoosierhiver
06-10-2014, 04:44 PM
I have to admit, I wouldn't mind picking up that bass body & neck at the :58 mark. I think it would make a fun project.

You can get lucky and get great deals if you go there and look around, but haole's comment is pretty accurate from my experience.

paullchter
06-10-2014, 06:14 PM
I got one from him....and it was terrible! Unfixable said Dusty Strings in Seattle and also Aaron Keim. I emailed Bruce about the problems and never heard back from him. Live and learn!

kohanmike
06-10-2014, 08:13 PM
Ease up everyone, this is my decision and my money. I like what Bruce is telling me, and I'm not just jumping in, I've had thirty emails with him over the last five months, very specific to his work; the details of the ukes I want, the quality, materials, construction, etc. He was the only one who on initial contact, immediately sent me a complete drawing of the ukulele I want. One other said he would send me specs and never did, another took three months to reply to my email, two others do not duplicate the exact style I want.

Like I said, I believe what Bruce tells me until he gives me reason not to. He readily answered my complaint about the first mandolele, he said it was not his work, that it was lower quality in the bracing, construction, finish, he didn't misrepresent anything. I asked if he could make me a good one to my measurements (the first was a little too big) and he said yes, $290 delivered. If it comes out good, I'm going to order the gypsy.

bborzell
06-10-2014, 08:35 PM
Ease up everyone, this is my decision and my money. I like what Bruce is telling me, and I'm not just jumping in, I've had thirty emails with him over the last five months, very specific to his work; the details of the ukes I want, the quality, materials, construction, etc. He was the only one who on initial contact, immediately sent me a complete drawing of the ukulele I want. One other said he would send me specs and never did, another took three months to reply to my email, two others do not duplicate the exact style I want.

Like I said, I believe what Bruce tells me until he gives me reason not to. He readily answered my complaint about the first mandolele, he said it was not his work, that it was lower quality in the bracing, construction, finish, he didn't misrepresent anything. I asked if he could make me a good one to my measurements (the first was a little too big) and he said yes, $290 delivered. If it comes out good, I'm going to order the gypsy.

It is your decision and your money and you are also announcing this decision to the UU community. You should not be surprised to hear that some folks do not share your faith in this instrument supplier. As I mentioned earlier, I have followed purchases of Wei instruments (guitars, mandolins an ukes) for several years and there has been a significant number of buyers who ended up regretting having rolled the dice.

Here is a guitar thread from 5 years ago:

http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=147872

There are new uke playing folks coming to UU every day. They often seek feedback about the experiences that others have had with specific instruments, dealers, builders and marketers. Your faith in Wei is not the sum total of how some others have experienced dealing with him. This thread pretty much had to draw out impressions that differ from yours. I'm a bit surprised that you are taking issue with that fact.

I really hope that you end up with a great instrument.

kohanmike
06-10-2014, 08:51 PM
Guess I thought that I would get more support from the community rather than dissent. Will have to be more reserve in the future expressing my thoughts and actions.

Patrick Madsen
06-10-2014, 09:30 PM
Mike, you have my support for sure. I know you are very thorough with many inquiries before making a decision. Your mandolele build is a good example of you checking it out before buying a more expensive instrument from him

I trust you can understand why a few others were more than pessimistic with their personal dealings with his brand. Would hate to see you be more reserved in anyway and share your enthusiasm with any build coming your way.

OldePhart
06-11-2014, 02:28 AM
Guess I thought that I would get more support from the community rather than dissent. Will have to be more reserve in the future expressing my thoughts and actions.

Mike, you are absolutely correct that it is your money and your decision. The "problem" as I see it is that your enthusiasm can be mistaken for expertise by newcomers and we are trying to save both you and them some grief. You may have the spare cash to throw good money after bad, but many others simply don't.

Let's be brutally honest, I remember when you used to list your collection in your sig that you had acquired a fair number of cutaway tenor ukes with pickups - all of them fairly mediocre low-to-mid-range ukes seemingly purchased for their appearance rather than their playability or tone. There is nothing really wrong with that - it's your money and your space and if having a lot of inexpensive eye-candy on display makes you happy go for it. I'm more of a quality over quantity kind of guy but that's me and you're you.

However, without a single really good uke in the list one has to question how you are going to even know if you got a good deal from Bruce? What experience do you have to evaluate the playability, tone, sustain etc? You're about to throw $800 to a man with a horrible reputation in the hope that you get something of value in return...the experience of many indicates that the odds of that happening are questionable, at best. That's fine for you, as you seem to be able to afford it, but what happens when you get something that is nice visually and crow about it without having the experience to really evaluate whether it is a good instrument?

I'll tell you what happens, beginners think, "wow, I can get a great custom uke at a low price" and follow your lead. That's not speculation...I've seen it happen right here more than once over the last four years...and with builders who didn't have the terrible reputation Bruce does.

To illustrate my point...I seem to recall you being very happy with the mandolele purchase for quite a while, when you initially got it. You posted over and over about it in many threads. Now, we find out that you realized it was junk and returned it. If I remember correctly it was a pretty cheap purchase and no big deal...but now you are talking about throwing real money at the same person.

I would urge you to take that $800 and buy a good used "K-brand" or a new Pono pro-classic or something like that so you know what a good uke really sounds and feels like. Then, with that knowledge, if you want to gamble with Bruce fine, you will at least have enough experience to know if the instrument is not worth bragging about - so as not to mislead other beginners.

Okay, novel over. Whatever you decide I really hope that it does work out for you and you get the instrument of your dreams. I also hope that you will think about the impact on others who may see your post count and believe you are an expert.

John

mm stan
06-11-2014, 02:48 AM
Aloha Mike...
I hope you well man...800.00 is alot of money and hope it works out for you...before you send your money, contact Tudorp here, he used to buy and fix up
BW instruments to resell.....I am sure others here are just concerned for you...
I am not for cutting any luthier down and he may make some good ukes, Good Luck Man...

OldePhart
06-11-2014, 03:20 AM
Aloha Mike...
I hope you well man...800.00 is alot of money and hope it works out for you...before you send your money, contact Tudorp here, he used to buy and fix up
BW instruments to resell.....I am sure others here are just concerned for you...
I am not for cutting any luthier down and he may make some good ukes, Good Luck Man...

That's an excellent point. I thought about that but couldn't recall his screen name. I haven't seen anything posted by him in a while...I know he had health problems...I hope he's okay.

Anyway, this interesting because it also seems to speak to Bruce's veracity...because it seems what he is telling Mike is exactly the opposite of what he told Tudorp a couple of years ago. He told Tudorp that he made the instruments but he was an artist not a luthier and didn't have the ability/experience to make them good instruments. So that was their deal was Tudorp would cull the instruments and set the ones with potential up to be playable. As I recall the results were spotty and in any event Tudorp was taking all the risk and not making enough money at it to pay himself minimum wage.

Mike, if you really want to do your thorough research you might want to search for posts from 2 or 3 years ago by Tudorp. I don't recall all the details but I think there were a relative handful of fairly decent instruments that came out of that deal, though some developed problems later, as I recall. In any case, none were particularly great deals even after Tudorp lost money making them playable for others.

John

anthonyg
06-11-2014, 03:41 AM
I think some of you are getting out of hand. Now would I spend $800 on a custom instrument from Brucewei? Actually, I would probably get one hand made from a local luthier. No where near as fancy but nice instruments. Anyway, its up to mike.

Honestly ALL my Brucewei instruments have sounded great. All of them needed a little setup work but this is EXACTLY the same as going to my local music store and buying a ukulele for a lot more money to begin with and THEN spend more on a setup. I've played Kamaka's and Kinelea's that while good instruments, they just didn't grab me. I've played an US made Martin Tenor that just didn't grab me either. I've never had a Brucewei split that wasn't a result of outside forces. I fell on one, one I gave my brother he stored it too close to a heater and one instrument which I fitted steel strings to eventually split but it wasn't designed for steel strings anyway.

I've had a little neck warpage on a couple which wasn't great and some of them had saddles placed without enough compensation but I've seen these issues on expensive instruments as well.

Honestly, if you buy these instruments the trick is that you have to treat them as if they were EXPENSIVE instruments. I think the biggest issue is that people buy them cheaply and treat them cheaply. If you want to treat an instrument cheaply then just buy a plywood instrument to begin with.

Anthony

Edgeguy
06-11-2014, 03:51 AM
I agree with you it is your money and choice, but there are a lot of red flags being waved and you need to consider them. I would look for a nice used uke that is being sold on this site one would surely come up that would catch your eye. Also, you keep mentioning the money back guarantee. How long is this good for, because it seems that they generally arrive in great shape but then tend to develop cracks after a year or so.

Good luck in this process, and I look forward to your review of it if you get one.

anthonyg
06-11-2014, 04:01 AM
I've owned Brucewei instruments for 4 to 5 years now. The ONLY ones that split or cracked were damaged by external forces that could damage ANY instrument. Now not every one of my brucewei's sounds exactly the same but my best ones kick the butts of more expensive instruments. With time of course. They all sounded a little dull when they arrived.

Anthony

coolkayaker1
06-11-2014, 05:16 AM
Let's face it...based on this thread (and the other epic thread about Mr. Wei in the recent past), what would drive me away from buying a B Wei ukulele? His inconsistency, and the fact that I cannot play it before buying it (which becomes important because his return policy is in Vietnam).

Not to mention that any resale of Mr. Wei's product in the USA is in the sub-basement, making the actual cost of ownership of the instrument the cost of the instrument itself (say, $500), and not the cost minus what I can get for it in resale (e.g Pono new $650 - resale $450 = actual cost of ownership $200; high-end custom (e.g. Moore, DaSilva, etc.) new $3500 - resale $3150 = actual cost of ownership $350).

So, Mr. Wei's ukuleles not inexpensive; they can be among the most expensive to own!

It's quite elementary from my standpoint. YMMV

equina
06-11-2014, 05:17 AM
Hello Mike,

I know sometimes we can be tactless when we tell the truth, but I'm sure everyone meant well. Nobody likes to see anyone wasting a lot of money on an unplayable uke, that's why some take the trouble to voice out their concerns.

I have some friends who custom-made their ukes in Asia, and one of them bought from Bruce Wei, though I'm not sure whether he custom-made it. All these Asian-made ukes have intonation problems. The Bruce Wei uke had the worst. The rest had intonation problems from the 12th frets onwards. Many of them were thick and heavy, and their tones were muted. It seems that some Asian makers were good guitar builders but when it comes to ukes, they overbuilt them. There are exceptions, of course, one of them is Big Island (http://www.bigislandukulele.com/). I believe they have tenor ukes with cutaways.

I would rather spend a few hundred more, say between $1,000 to $2,000, to get a more guaranteed blue-chip uke than to waste a few hundred dollars on one with questionable quality.

BTW, some Asians like to talk big--"Yes, it can be done", etc, etc,--but when you look at the quality, it leaves a lot to be desired. They *may* think they are telling you the truth, because they believe their crap ukes are good quality. This is most probably due to the fact that they themselves have never played really good quality ukuleles before.

Hope you don't take our feedback negatively. We are just concerned, that's all.

bborzell
06-11-2014, 05:49 AM
And, this is the essence of all Bruce Wei threads on guitar, mandolin and uke sites. It stands to reason that someone who sells instruments from different builders is going to have a range of build and wood quality pass through his hands on the way to people who are thousands of miles away.

There are people who have bought Bruce Wei guitars who are satisfied with what they received. The same can be said for mandolins and ukes. But, what cannot be denied are the legions of reports from folks who have parted with real money only to receive instruments that they would not have given a second look to had they happened upon them in a shop.

In the early days, the complaints were that Wei was simply obtaining cheaply made instruments and hiring children to do inlay work. Some of the threads over the years have included photographs of kids working on Wei instruments (not just inlays, but actual construction, too).

As time went on, Wei found builders who could create instruments that reflected better build quality. I am sure that this is why we read reports from folks who stand by their Wei purchases. But, the fact that Wei has sold some instruments that are decent players does not obviate the long established history of unreliable instruments he has sold around the world. And, a large number of folks who have ended up with seriously subpar instruments never heard from Wei again. But, it is a big world with billions of people, many of whom discover a calling to play stringed instruments.

So called "natural free market" forces that are believed to cull out producers of inferior products don't work when there is a never ending supply of new customers who are interested in obtaining quality at "it looks too good to be true" prices. If someone lucks out, then Wei has someone who can sing his praises. Those who end up writing checks and receiving junk post threads that eventually fade into the ether and Wei continues to crank out his wares.

I share John's view that new folks deserve to have a balanced perspective when it comes to parting with their cash. In my view, buying a Wei instrument has always been a crap shoot. Some folks will win, but just like in Vegas, the house typically has the better odds.

iamesperambient
06-11-2014, 09:41 AM
I've been seeing a few posts lately about ukes bought from Bruce Wei Arts eBay auction site. After winning a tenor mandolele a few months ago (not very good), I found out some pertinent info directly from Bruce a couple of weeks ago while corresponding with him about making me a custom ukulele.

During our correspondence, I mentioned that I was disappointed with the mandolele I bought, thick top with dull sound (even with a string change), very poor binding seams, poor fret installation, the only nice thing is the color/finish. His response was that the U series ukes are not his construction, they are made by other builders and he allows them to be sold through his eBay site (but he does stand behind them). He concentrates on custom builds only.

The UTT series is what he calls "B" grade, simple bracing, heavy tops, whatever material is on hand, not a lot of attention to detail. The two letter U series are better construction, and higher priced. (The other letter series are apparently other builders of various qualities.) I asked if I could get a mandolele built better and he said he would do that himself in about 30 days.

I've posted this info in other threads, but thought I would do Bruce a service by clarifying things specifically. There have been a few posts from UU members who have Bruce's custom builds and they say they are very happy. So I'm going ahead and ordering the custom, a tenor gypsy jazz Django/Selmer Maccaferri "Grande Bouche" style uke, to be ready in about 60-70 days. The mandolele should be done in a couple of weeks (I'm adding the tailpiece shown and a preamp/pickup).

http://www.fairfax67.com/images/Gypsy custom 72.jpg
http://www.fairfax67.com/images/Mandolele mahogany.jpg


Just my personal taste but i like ,my ukuleles to be shaped like ukuleles in their traditional figure 8
or pinepple style bodies. I would def not want a ukulele designed to look like a mandolin, in that instance id just
get a mandolin (too bad i can't stand how they sound in most cases). The jazz guitar design is cool but i would
also not want that on a ukulele either.

stringy
06-11-2014, 11:34 AM
Mike, you are absolutely correct that it is your money and your decision. The "problem" as I see it is that your enthusiasm can be mistaken for expertise by newcomers and we are trying to save both you and them some grief. You may have the spare cash to throw good money after bad, but many others simply don't...........

Okay, novel over. Whatever you decide I really hope that it does work out for you and you get the instrument of your dreams. I also hope that you will think about the impact on others who may see your post count and believe you are an expert...........

John


I agree. My biggest concern was all the mis-information posted because "Simon said so". That Simon guy was NOT telling the truth. We can all have different opinions and that is fine, but when posts are stating "facts" that have been proven to be false it presents a problem. New posters/players may not realize that.

stevepetergal
06-11-2014, 12:38 PM
Let's face it...based on this thread (and the other epic thread about Mr. Wei in the recent past), what would drive me away from buying a B Wei ukulele? His inconsistency, and the fact that I cannot play it before buying it (which becomes important because his return policy is in Vietnam).

This is close to what I think is the real problem with Wei instruments. Let's say he really does have other people build his lesser quality instruments. Even if his are far superior, they are still worth no more than the lowest end instrument sold under his name. One bad apple, you know.

I don't personally care much about resale value. But, I wouldn't spend 500 bucks for an instrument that was practically worthless (even if I could play it first).

OldePhart
06-11-2014, 01:05 PM
I don't personally care much about resale value. But, I wouldn't spend 500 bucks for an instrument that was practically worthless (even if I could play it first).

Bingo! This pretty much hits the nail squarely on the head (and in far fewer words than I used).

I have said many times that I could care less about appearance, brand name, and reputation - if I can get great playability and tone from a fence post with barbed wire nailed to it then I'll happily play that - but I'm bloody well not going to pay a couple of days wages for it, either!

John

consitter
06-11-2014, 03:07 PM
Guess I thought that I would get more support from the community rather than dissent. Will have to be more reserve in the future expressing my thoughts and actions.

Actually, it's because we care. Your last endeavor, while not a debacle, but by your own admittance, fell short of your expectations. You emailed the man in charge repeatedly, and kept your self informed.

We, as a group, just don't want you to either get gypped, or be disappointed once again. But you are correct, it's your money, and by seeing the collection of ukes you own, you have plenty of it. I apologize for offending you with my last post. I will leave you alone about it, because in truth, I don't know you at all, and I have WAY too many problems of my own to try to give somebody else advice.

Alloalexandre
06-11-2014, 04:08 PM
Hi Mike, I bought two ukulele from Bruce. One I paid 60$, another one 200$. I bought them via ebay which is a good thing because Bruce does not want negative reviews and will then be more willing to refund you if you are not satisfied with the ukulele you got.

The first ukulele I bought ( the $200 one) had a warped neck when I got it. I had it repaired by a local luthier ($60) but it warped again within a month. It is unplayable. Luckily, I waited before posting my review on ebay and Bruce refunded me the full amount after I proved him the uke was unplayable. I was disapointed because the ukulele I had bought was beautiful, had a side soundport and the neck was great.

So, I thought perhaps it was badluck and then saw another ukulele I liked and paid $60. Upon reception, I was disapointed because the neck was buffy and not even close in term of finish quality of the former ukulele. I did not really like the ukulele but gave this time a positive review to Bruce because I had paid $60 for it. Guess what, a few weeks later, the ukulele was unplayable..again, a warped neck.. :-(.

Now, at that point, I thought that caring for a wood ukulele was a lot of work and was not willing to pay $$$ to buy a good one because I was afraid of the warping of the neck but thanks to Matt Dalhberg, my ukulele teacher, who told me he never had a ukulele with a warped neck. He said, I will enjoy playing much more with a great sounding ukulele and as mentioned in another post, the resale value of a high quality instrument is much better, therefore the risk was limited.

I was still not sure but finally decided to follow his advice and Ended up buying a Luis Feu De Mesquita and I love it!!

Now, I want to buy another one because I would like one strung with a low g but my wife says I already bought 3 ukulele and that I have too many...even though I tell her two of them are unplayable!!!

From time to time, I am still tempted on bidding on Bruce's ukulele but so far, I resisted the temptations, knowing that i lost the bid twice! I Hope that mandoline ends up being to your expectations!

stevepetergal
06-11-2014, 04:41 PM
Guess I thought that I would get more support from the community rather than dissent. Will have to be more reserve in the future expressing my thoughts and actions.

Sorry you feel that way. You've got my support. I get that you found a builder who can make you a great instrument at a reasonable price. I know he can. I simply find it too scary for me. I admire your faith in your builder. It's all good.

That being said, I think we all expect a serious review of your instrument when it arrives. Let us know we might order from Mr Wei with your kind of confidence, and we all benefit.

Hammond
06-11-2014, 05:21 PM
I see the community on UU is caring other members as brothers & sisters. Otherwise, they wouldn't even bother to type so many words and spend so much time.

I understand you may feel bad, but the truth always not nice to hear. And it ONLY come from the people who truly care (care of you, me, other beginners, and all members here).

The conflict point is. You have been told something, that is opposite to what the community heard in the past.

We truly wish you get a great deal. And looking forward your happy result.

But we also do concern. Not just being cold blood, standing aside and watch how you to be disappointed. Watch other beginners to read and follow your thread, let them to be disappointed too. Then we regret we have been silent.

anthonyg
06-11-2014, 05:36 PM
I'm getting the impression that Brucewei has become EVERYONES favourite whipping boy. First things first. Its the seller Inlaidartist who has a really bad reputation. Brucewei's reputation isn't that bad and while his instruments are not perfect I think he's being hammered for faults that you ignore on other, more expensive instruments.

After a while of biting your lip and not criticising other instruments you take your frustration out on Brucewei.

Now I'm not claiming that they are perfect and that I haven't had my own issues. Its just that I've seen exactly the same faults on other, more expensive instruments which people ignore or even if the faults are mentioned people still recommend them anyway.

I've had/seen Kala, Gretsch, Lanikai, Cole Clark and Koaloa ukulele's with the saddle incorrectly placed and therefore suffering from poor intonation. I've seen Gretsch and other mainstream brand instruments in shops with seriously warped necks. I've measured various instruments up in shops and the nuts weren't in the right place.

Sure, many of these instruments were made from kiln dried timber and they sounded harsh and brittle because of it.

As usual a LOT of complaints come from people who haven't bought a Brucewei themselves.
Now as I said. I'm not personally going to buy an $800 ukulele from Brucewei. I will spend the money with a local luthier first but again some of the comments on this thread are getting out of hand.

Anthony

Hammond
06-11-2014, 05:57 PM
I'm getting the impression that Brucewei has become EVERYONES favourite whipping boy. First things first. Its the seller Inlaidartist who has a really bad reputation. Brucewei's reputation isn't that bad and while his instruments are not perfect I think he's being hammered for faults that you ignore on other, more expensive instruments.

After a while of biting your lip and not criticising other instruments you take your frustration out on Brucewei.

Now I'm not claiming that they are perfect and that I haven't had my own issues. Its just that I've seen exactly the same faults on other, more expensive instruments which people ignore or even if the faults are mentioned people still recommend them anyway.

I've had/seen Kala, Gretsch, Lanikai, Cole Clark and Koaloa ukulele's with the saddle incorrectly placed and therefore suffering from poor intonation. I've seen Gretsch and other mainstream brand instruments in shops with seriously warped necks. I've measured various instruments up in shops and the nuts weren't in the right place.

Sure, many of these instruments were made from kiln dried timber and they sounded harsh and brittle because of it.

As usual a LOT of complaints come from people who haven't bought a Brucewei themselves.
Now as I said. I'm not personally going to buy an $800 ukulele from Brucewei. I will spend the money with a local luthier first but again some of the comments on this thread are getting out of hand.

Anthony
Yes every brand / builder do have bad cases, no perfect in the world. But please consider, if there is 2 of 10 buyers complaint on brand A, and 6 of 10 buyers complaint on brand B. Will you say brand B is just doing the same as brand A, so they should share the same level of recommendations.

Please do not take these as offended. I understand you have positive experience like to share, then others have heard bad things and like to remind, before its too late. To take the advise or not, its subjective.

But as my previous post said, we do not want to be silent and regret not telling something we know we should warn.

greenie44
06-12-2014, 01:56 AM
Actually, it's because we care. Your last endeavor, while not a debacle, but by your own admittance, fell short of your expectations.

Bingo! I was part of the Alida group, and am very happy with the outcome. It was an interesting experience and I now have a really fun and highly playable uke for several hundred dollars less than a comparable one. But, from the very beginning, I knew that I might be flushing $200 down the toilet. This, if anything, encouraged me to enjoy the experience even more, and made the payoff even better.

Of course, another way to look at the very same experience would be to say "It's not as good as a Kamoa, and there is stain missing on the sound hole". This is also factually correct, but results in less satisfaction.

In this case, it seems like there are two things pushing your expectations higher - correspondence with Bruce Wei and the high price. Although the first might be a valid expectation indicator, the second probably encourages higher expectations, which may not be met.

If the $800 will not magnify any disappointment, or set your expectations too high (it isn't going to be a Collings), you should go for it. If not, maybe you are setting yourself up for a fall.

Yours as a caring comrade.

Walden
06-12-2014, 04:56 AM
I wish they were sold by some other means than eBay auction. I was planning to buy a certain design one time, but by the time I had the money he no longer had any of them up for auction.

coolkayaker1
06-12-2014, 08:23 AM
I wish they were sold by some other means than eBay auction. I was planning to buy a certain design one time, but by the time I had the money he no longer had any of them up for auction.

He'll build you a custom at any time. Or the kids in his sweatshop will, I should say.

SteveZ
06-12-2014, 09:46 AM
Buying blind domestically always brings with it a certain amount of Caveat Emptor risk. Buying blind internationally magnifies the risk, especially if any warranty service requires shipping the warranted item back to the international source. The risk gets even greater when any recourse for vendor failure must be through foreign courts or administrative agencies. The risk becomes abominable when local Customs Service may refuse admission of the item because the item is suspected to contain prohibited substances.

Have not previously dealt with Vietnam-based instrument-makers, mainly because of negative reviews on other forums. Would much rather deal with makers which are positioned to honor warranties without my having to return- ship the item internationally. There are a lot of good international makers in the world who have already established themselves within my domestic marketplace regarding Customs regulations, warranty service and overall customer relations. I'm sure that, in time, there will be Vietnam-based instrument makers established in my domestic narket, just as Chinese, Indonesean and Filipino have so evolved. However, until that happens, I plan to abstain from Vietnam-based instruments.

Now, that's just me. I admit to being old and curmudgeony. Anyone who wants to experiment with Vietnam-based instruments may be doing all of us a future service, as Vietnam may become the next instrument low-price mass-producer, replacing China just as China replaced Korea and Japan. Many of us have expressed our reservations regarding Vietnam-based instrument purchases, and the reservations have been made in good faith. If the thread's originator chooses to still go ahead, it's his choice and I wish him well. I also hope he shares his experiences as they may affect some future purchase of mine. I thank him for originating this thread and making me think about this subject more than I may have otherwise.

anthonyg
06-12-2014, 01:41 PM
And yet AGAIN, someone who has never dealt with Brucewei weighs in with their opinion. Brucewei backs his instruments and will offer refunds if they are faulty.

This is getting old folks.

Anthony

bborzell
06-12-2014, 02:44 PM
And yet AGAIN, someone who has never dealt with Brucewei weighs in with their opinion. Brucewei backs his instruments and will offer refunds if they are faulty.

This is getting old folks.

Anthony

I would think that bad purchase outcomes from folks who have purchased Wei instruments for many years is pretty old, too. I don't understand how you apparently choose to ignore real purchase history reports simply because you are satisfied with your purchases.

The preceding post that seems to have prompted your lament of a comment from someone who has not purchased from Wei stands out in my view as one of the most cogent statements about buying sight unseen. Nobody needs to either get burned or be happy about Wei's business practice in order to express an opinion about the risk of paying for something simply on faith.

OldePhart
06-12-2014, 02:53 PM
Okay, I have to step back in again in spite of trying very hard not to become a regular in this thread. The one thing I've noticed is that those who sing the praises of questionable instruments seem to have one thing in common...we never seem to see videos from them backing up their claims to this or that being a great instrument. There may be a few exceptions but I check the videos forum pretty regularly and I can't think of any off the top of my head.

If you want to sing the praises of any maker then quit "running your mouth" and get out there and post some vids so we can judge for ourselves; not only the instrument in question but your ability/experience to even evaluate an instrument! (The preceding sentence and the following paragraphs are NOT directed at any particular member, just a general comment to all that one should "put up or shut up" so to speak.)

I remember seeing a youtube video a few years ago of a young lady just going on and on about how lovely her new Kiwaya was because it had a compensated bridge saddle and therefore superior intonation. She never really played it, just talked it up. Some sharp-eyed viewer (not me) noticed and commented on the fact that when she had changed strings she had turned the bridge saddle 'round backwards, thus making the intonation poorer than normal rather than better.

Over and over I see people give the excuse that "well, my playing is not good enough to post a video yet" and then they go on to sing the praises of some instrument or maker. I've got news for y'all, if your playing is not good enough to post a video then how the heck can you have enough experience to evaluate the playability/tone/overall quality of an instrument???????????????????????????????????????? ??????

I'm not saying I'm a great player...but when I make a claim I will back it up with video!

John

stringy
06-12-2014, 03:34 PM
OldePhart


Your post is abso freakin lutely true.

lakesideglenn
06-12-2014, 03:48 PM
Okay, I have to step back in again in spite of trying very hard not to become a regular in this thread. The one thing I've noticed is that those who sing the praises of questionable instruments seem to have one thing in common...we never seem to see videos from them backing up their claims to this or that being a great instrument. There may be a few exceptions but I check the videos forum pretty regularly and I can't think of any off the top of my head.

If you want to sing the praises of any maker then quit "running your mouth" and get out there and post some vids so we can judge for ourselves; not only the instrument in question but your ability/experience to even evaluate an instrument! (The preceding sentence and the following paragraphs are NOT directed at any particular member, just a general comment to all that one should "put up or shut up" so to speak.)

I remember seeing a youtube video a few years ago of a young lady just going on and on about how lovely her new Kiwaya was because it had a compensated bridge saddle and therefore superior intonation. She never really played it, just talked it up. Some sharp-eyed viewer (not me) noticed and commented on the fact that when she had changed strings she had turned the bridge saddle 'round backwards, thus making the intonation poorer than normal rather than better.

Over and over I see people give the excuse that "well, my playing is not good enough to post a video yet" and then they go on to sing the praises of some instrument or maker. I've got news for y'all, if your playing is not good enough to post a video then how the heck can you have enough experience to evaluate the playability/tone/overall quality of an instrument???????????????????????????????????????? ??????

I'm not saying I'm a great player...but when I make a claim I will back it up with video!

John
Right on John...
Cheers!

lakesideglenn
06-12-2014, 03:51 PM
Why anybody would buy these pretty little pieces of crap from half-way around the world is beyond me when there are soooo many other options!

anthonyg
06-12-2014, 04:22 PM
John and everyone, I have posted YouTube video after Youtube video after YouTube video of songs I'm playing on Bruceweiart or even Taisamlu ukulele's. With a little setup work, and in most cases some time they sound GREAT.

Here I go again,

This song is recorded with my first ever brucweiart ukulele, a tenor, which is about 5 years old now. Its a gem. It took some expensive luthier made ukulele's to beat it,


http://youtu.be/vBfX5phWWYU

This is a cheap Bruceweiart baritone. It has faults but it sounds great, I've already posted a song from this ukulele in this VERY thread. Here's another,

http://youtu.be/nFOI3tWLg3o

Here's one using an 8 string Tenor from Taisamlu,

http://youtu.be/T06R2UkVxug

Here's an early video of another Bruceweiart tenor. I've since given this instrument to my brother. This is a live video with a reentrant tuned uke. The sound is very dry compared to the others though.

http://youtu.be/vP_LkBUSwX4

Almost all of my uploaded video's are using Bruceweiart ukuleles.

EDIT: and of course there is my review video of 12 ukuleles. The majority of which are vietnamese but there are some Australian and Chinese ukuleles in the review too,

http://youtu.be/m-FmrzMAOYg

Anthony

OldePhart
06-13-2014, 02:44 AM
Anthony, my thread wasn't directed specifically at you, but I will say that none of the videos you cite do much to improve my opinion of the instruments being played.

You are certainly a better player than I, but the nature of the videos does little or nothing to speak to the quality of the instruments. The quality of the recordings is excellent and I give you kudos on that, but with multi-tracking, post processing, etc. any usefulness as an evaluation of the instruments is out the window.

These aren't videos of instruments being played. With one exception they aren't even videos, just still images with a soundtrack. The recordings are all done with multi-mic setups that remove any clues about the volume or unprocessed tone of the instrument. They're great recordings - but one can make a $30 Woodi plastic uke sound good by using great recording techniques.

What matters is how that instrument is going to sound if one picks it up and plays it. Even with all the fine recording techniques and processing/mixdown, I'm not really that impressed with most of the ukes in those videos. But then, I have a little experience with doing recording and mixing and know what to listen for. Someone without that experience might think the recordings proved that they were good ukes.

It's difficult enough to evaluate an instrument from YouTube videos, what with the compression and AGC that they apply. When you use a mixed and processed, multi-microphone track as well, the videos become absolutely useless.

If you really want to illustrate the merits of an instrument, sit down in front of a web cam and play it raw into the built in microphone. If possible, shut off the audio AGC (most web cams / apps don't give you that ability, but a few do). Is this going to sound pretty? Nope, a bit rough, in fact. But, it will be more representative of how the instrument is going to sound in person than are your videos.

With a "raw" video the viewer gets useful cues. How loud is the instrument compared to the voice? How loud is it compared to background noise, how quickly does background noise swell during a demonstration of sustain, etc. Most importantly, how does the instrument sound without that subtle little dab of compression and reverb? A tiny little dab of compression and reverb can make a crap instrument sound quite good - especially to the untrained ear. Some folks have enough experience to spot that kind of thing but many don't.

All of those cues are stripped from your videos - I'm not saying that was done intentionally, I'm sure you just want to make great audio tracks. But, those kind of tracks say more about the recording skill of the person making them than about the quality of what was recorded.

In short, all that your videos demonstrate is a fair amount of skill as an audio/recording engineer. They don't do anything to help evaluate the merits (or lack thereof) of the instruments being played.

John

anthonyg
06-13-2014, 03:30 AM
John, Your going to believe what your going to believe. Its just time for those who haven't bought a brucewei ukulele to stop critiquing them and bagging them. My microphone technique is a single supercardoid condenser at close range. Its very good at picking up detail and character.

There is no such thing as a microphone that doesn't have some influence on the recording let alone what influence ANY recording will have on an instrument. My recording setup is fairly transparent.

No, a cheap instrument with a little reverb and compression will NOT sound like an expensive instrument. If it did then ALL recording pro's would be using the cheapest instrument that they can lay their hands on. Just like singers hey. Any tone deaf amateur can sound like Mariah Carey with a little sound processing!

It just doesn't work like that.

EDIT: Oh, and there is just NO such thing as an uncompressed recording. The VERY nature or recording a signal compresses it. The storage and playback mediums just can't handle an uncompressed signal. Some recording use compression better than others and a good mixer/producer considers carefully what influence compression will have but there is always compression.

Anthony

Captain Simian
06-13-2014, 04:51 AM
I feel at this point everyone is beating a dead horse and the discussion could take an incredibly ugly turn at any moment. People are taking things personally or are making statements that seem like bait for a bigger disagreement. It would be best to lock this thread and let it die.

coolkayaker1
06-13-2014, 06:21 AM
I feel at this point everyone is beating a dead horse and the discussion could take an incredibly ugly turn at any moment. People are taking things personally or are making statements that seem like bait for a bigger disagreement. It would be best to lock this thread and let it die.

Cap, question: are you just a new UU Mod, or do you dictate over the entire world wide web?

Captain Simian
06-13-2014, 06:36 AM
Cap, question: are you just a new UU Mod, or do you dictate over the entire world wide web?

Exactly one of the points I was trying to make.

greenie44
06-13-2014, 07:40 AM
Well, I have been enjoying reading this thread, and picking up a lot of interesting points of view, but really folks, could everyone cool down?

OldePhart
06-13-2014, 07:51 AM
Anthony, I won't bother answering each point where you put words in my mouth. I think the folks here are smart enough to spot the straw men.

I will repeat my challenge that you managed to ignore - if you want anyone to believe your rather fantastic claims it's really simple, just sit down in front of a web cam and play/talk/and maybe sing live to the camera without doctoring the result. That will shut me up and, provided the instruments sound decent, even win an apology. :)

Otherwise, I'm done with this thread. I've said my piece and most of these folks are smart enough to see which end is up, anyway.

Have a nice day, in any case,
John

bborzell
06-13-2014, 08:01 AM
Historically speaking, this thread has gone the way of most Weiart threads. If there is a stringed instrument forum on the web, it will have its share of threads where people either complain to high heaven because they lost money on an instrument that is either unplayable or otherwise not much fun to try to get decent sound out of or others will chime in and say they are satisfied with their Wei purchases. After both positions get expressed, it becomes a baseline tennis match where the conclusion only comes when someone makes an unforced error or the audience leaves.

Weiart might well have improved their overall quality over the years. But, reports of warped parts are not just concerning older builds. While I have no doubt that some of Wei's instruments will satisfy some people (including some instruments that might satisfy a large number of people), my point remains the same. A uke supplier who has had a long history of selling instruments that have been sub par in both materials as well as construction does not deserve my consideration given the existence of so many other suppliers and builders who have not built their business on the backs of folks who paid good many only to get something that turns out to be much less than what they expected for their investment.

Anybody who buys these instruments today has my wish for good luck and sincere hope that they get what they expect. You might just luck out. I am happy to make this my last post; my neck is getting sore anyway.

SteveZ
06-13-2014, 08:12 AM
This thread is a perfect example of how certain makes of instruments tend to do better in some markets than others, and how differences in markets can impact folk and their opinions.

My frame of reference is more that of mandolins, not ukuleles, but the basic concept remains the same. Certain Chinese-made mandolin brands (The Loar and Kentucky come to mind) tend to do better in the North American market than elsewhere in the world, mainly because there are reputable US/Canadian vendors who quality inspect, set up the instruments prior to delivery and handle warranty issues at the US facilities. That has resulted in most "problem" instruments never reaching the consumer and great after-the-sale service when needed. This "middle-man" marketing and distribution system has worked very well. Conversely, other non-US made mandolin brands (with a couple exceptions) at best have a cult following, due mainly to poor pre-delivery services and no US-based warranty services. As a result, every instrument-related problem is magnified because of customer frustration in dealing with front-and-back end delays, communication difficulties and the like. The North American customer doesn't want to deal with transcontinental shipping and communications issues (too many time zones and customs/legal hassles) unless there is absolutely no choice, and having many domestic choices reinforces that type of customer reaction.

I am not too familiar with the Australian musical instrument market, but by population size alone (US/Canada @ 350Million; Australia @ 24Million) the product competition and subsequent customer services would seem to indicate different customer-vendor approaches and expectations.

Vietnam-made stringed instruments (whether Bruce Wei or any Luthier Alley maker) have not been commercially successful in North America because the Vietnam-based makers have followed a business philosophy which does not match well with the North American market. It only takes a few customer-broadcasted and uncorrected mistakes to turn off a particular market, and a marketplace with high competition and many choices is not too forgiving. That's what the successful China-based makers learned and have adapted accordingly.

The day may come when Vietnam-made stringed instruments have more than a cult following in North America, but no matter how good their product is, it will take the Vietnamese to adapt to the North American marketplace, not the other way around.

In the meantime, those who have personal success with the Vietnam-made instruments, here's hoping that success is something the Vietnamese build upon. It took other nations a decade or two to work out the market kinks.

anthonyg
06-13-2014, 02:43 PM
Sitting down in front of a webcam is NOT a good way to record an instrument and get a good representation of its sound. If you really had want to hear this I listed the 3rd option which was to a camcorder and was recorded dry. My recording technique is MUCH more neutral than this.

You could also run my 12 ukulele review video which has all ukulele's, Australian, Chinese and Vietnamese recorded in exactly the same manner. And just to note, recording without any reverb at all just isn't natural and doesn't replicate what your ear hears.

And again, Its time for those who have never bought a bruceweiart ukulele to stop making statements like they know what they are talking about. Now I've been critical of bruceweiart ukulele's in the past and probably will be in the future but its a matter of knowing what you are talking about and keeping things in perspective.

When you buy a bruceweiart ukulele you need to, change the strings, give it a setup if required (usually does) and give it a bit of time to come to life. This is normal for ANY ukulele. Even though bruceweiart ukulele's are cheap they need to be cared for like they are EXPENSIVE ukulele's. I think this catches many out.

I've seen exactly the same faults in spades in more expensive ukulele's and people say nothing.

Especially K brand Hawaiian ukulele's. I think someone put their finger on it earlier in this thread. Its about resale value. NO ONE is going to give a Hawaiian ukulele the review it really deserves because its an expensive instrument and they want to maintains its value so they can flip it. After feeling dirty for having to do this they mercilessly critique Bruceweiart instruments which they haven't even bought!

Yes the Bruceweiart instruments starting from a 99c bid are a bit hit and miss. I don't buy them anymore but even some of them have been OK.

Anthony

bellgamin
06-13-2014, 09:53 PM
I bought 2 baritones from BW. They are made of very beautiful wood. I have a chair that is made of very beautiful wood. The chair can't make pretty music. Neither can the ukes.

chefuke
06-14-2014, 01:22 AM
I bought 2 baritones from BW. They are made of very beautiful wood. I have a chair that is made of very beautiful wood. The chair can't make pretty music. Neither can the ukes.

I am sure with a set of drumsticks that chair could sound fantastic - I brought seven ukes from Wei and after two years ended up keeping one - it was a fun Ride with lots of learning and to make some of the inferior finished ukes sound good helped me to build cigarbox ukes and setting up other more expensive ukes I would have not dared to touch beforehand. Overall you always get what you pay for - i had 400$ kalas that sounded duller than any Wei's and 300$ Riptides that could not match any vietnamese build i owned - win some, loose some.

ichadwick
06-14-2014, 01:35 AM
I wrote a review of the BW uke I got:

http://www.vintageukemusic.com/ukuleles/bruce_weiart.htm

To summarize: pretty but not a substantial instrument for serious players. Wood has not fared well in my climate (cracks and shrinkage). I have a notion to remove the neck and make a tin-can reso from it.

SteveZ
06-14-2014, 04:02 AM
If nothing else, this thread has intrigued me enough to see if I can pick up a bargain BW for experimentation. If it is a "sow's ear," then the tools go to work to see what it can become. If it's a "silk purse," then it should just take set-up time and effort. If it's something in between (as most instruments are), then we'll see what happens.

Being a retired old coot, I've got the time to have fun with such instrument-tinkering. Should be interesting.

coolkayaker1
06-14-2014, 05:05 AM
I'm sorry if I missed it in this thread, but question: has anyone actually used Mr. Wei's return policy and shipped a ukulele back for a refund? How did it go? Thanks.

anthonyg
06-14-2014, 05:22 AM
I've received a partial refund because of faults in an instrument. You don't ship them back. You negotiate what its likely to cost to repair. He's good about it. Providing photographic evidence of the fault is enough. The shipping cost isn't refundable though.

Anthony

coolkayaker1
06-14-2014, 05:28 AM
I've received a partial refund because of faults in an instrument. You don't ship them back. You negotiate what its likely to cost to repair. He's good about it. Providing photographic evidence of the fault is enough. The shipping cost isn't refundable though.

Anthony

Oh, I see. Thanks Anthony. That is a reasonable policy if one can live with the fault. But, I suppose if the fault is one that is a dealbreaker--like very poor intonation regardless of adjustment--he refunds the entire price (minus shipping)?

anthonyg
06-14-2014, 05:42 AM
Oh, I see. Thanks Anthony. That is a reasonable policy if one can live with the fault. But, I suppose if the fault is one that is a dealbreaker--like very poor intonation regardless of adjustment--he refunds the entire price (minus shipping)?

Depends on what you mean by "very poor". I have a couple of brucewei ukes where the saddle is out by a couple of mm so intonation isn't great. I'm going to have to have some special saddles made and I didn't ask for a refund. When you don't pay that much for the instrument in the first place I think its just being rude. The Vietnamese instrument makers have to make a living.

Lets put things in perspective. I played an American made Martin tenor in a shop today. The intonation was all over the place. Flat on the A string and sharp on the E string. Quite a bit out too. Its an expensive instrument and I DO expect better from Martin. Why on earth would I get up in arms about a fault on a cheap instruments that all to common on an expensive instrument.

Anthony

coolkayaker1
06-14-2014, 05:50 AM
Why on earth would I get up in arms about a fault on a cheap instruments that all to common on an expensive instrument.

Anthony

Because, in my example, on this earth, the fault makes it unplayable rubbish.

If anyone else has experience with any B. Wei refunds, please let me know. I wanted simply to understand how much risk one is taking by trying one of his instruments, even with his "full money back guarantee". That's all.

chefuke
06-14-2014, 11:23 AM
I purchased a soprano with the bridge glued at the wrong place - after a brief exchange of images and possible solutions I got a concert of my choice for free and I got to keep the soprano (after placing the bridge at the right place it was a useful instrument and my niece is loving it).

bborzell
06-14-2014, 11:50 AM
Depends on what you mean by "very poor". I have a couple of brucewei ukes where the saddle is out by a couple of mm so intonation isn't great. I'm going to have to have some special saddles made and I didn't ask for a refund. When you don't pay that much for the instrument in the first place I think its just being rude. The Vietnamese instrument makers have to make a living.

Lets put things in perspective. I played an American made Martin tenor in a shop today. The intonation was all over the place. Flat on the A string and sharp on the E string. Quite a bit out too. Its an expensive instrument and I DO expect better from Martin. Why on earth would I get up in arms about a fault on a cheap instruments that all to common on an expensive instrument.

Anthony

Oh, now I get it. Wei's ukes are on a quality par with Martin. Had you stated that from the beginning, I wouldn't have wasted all those keystrokes.

Sorry that I pulled myself out of my self imposed bailout of this thread, but it is my impression that your posts on this topic are of more benefit to Bruce Wei than to new folks looking to buy a reliable instrument.

CeeJay
06-14-2014, 12:03 PM
Because, in my example, on this earth, the fault makes it unplayable rubbish.

If anyone else has experience with any B. Wei refunds, please let me know. I wanted simply to understand how much risk one is taking by trying one of his instruments, even with his "full money back guarantee". That's all.


Hey ,mate ...you ripped into me for saying far less than this :rulez:;)....do you have to get a special permit .....LOL




I'm just messing with you.....I never have enjoyed a thread like this quite so much on UU....not too saccharine when some of you get your danders up eh ??

coolkayaker1
06-14-2014, 12:52 PM
I purchased a soprano with the bridge glued at the wrong place - after a brief exchange of images and possible solutions I got a concert of my choice for free and I got to keep the soprano (after placing the bridge at the right place it was a useful instrument and my niece is loving it).

I see, chefuke. That makes sense.

stevepetergal
06-14-2014, 01:01 PM
I bought 2 baritones from BW. They are made of very beautiful wood. I have a chair that is made of very beautiful wood. The chair can't make pretty music. Neither can the ukes.

No music? Well, those chairs must really be cheap.

stevepetergal
06-14-2014, 01:07 PM
That's it! I've placed a bid. I'm trying one of these babies out.

Neal
06-14-2014, 01:21 PM
Right now I feel bad that the OP has had to be reminded that his choices in the past, as well as the perceived future choice, have been made into a subject of ridicule. This is not a good thing, but it's the "internet", where every person with a fake name can come on and make as much fun of a person as much as they want, sort of a smorgasbord of passive-aggressive insult.

I have no love for the sort of instruments that are being made or promoted by folks like BW or Antonio Tsai, it's the humidity and the lack of control that forces those instruments into failure when they import to drier climates, but geez guys, show some compassion to a guy in school, learning just like everyone else. I've made bad choices uke-wise, guitar-wise, money-wise, wife-wise, and paid my tuition just like anyone. I don't need, nor would it be productive, to be hit over the head like some of you have done to the OP.

Idunno, I'm usually way wrong in most of my posts, so this is probably just another one. And I've read every post. Some good and decent lessons on the validity of purchasing from this seller, as well as the country of origin at this time, but some really made me cringe at the brutality of the "soft attack" in the guise of a helping hand.

CeeJay
06-14-2014, 01:47 PM
Right now I feel bad that the OP has had to be reminded that his choices in the past, as well as the perceived future choice, have been made into a subject of ridicule. This is not a good thing, but it's the "internet", where every person with a fake name can come on and make as much fun of a person as much as they want, sort of a smorgasbord of passive-aggressive insult.

I have no love for the sort of instruments that are being made or promoted by folks like BW or Antonio Tsai, it's the humidity and the lack of control that forces those instruments into failure when they import to drier climates, but geez guys, show some compassion to a guy in school, learning just like everyone else. I've made bad choices uke-wise, guitar-wise, money-wise, wife-wise, and paid my tuition just like anyone. I don't need, nor would it be productive, to be hit over the head like some of you have done to the OP.

Idunno, I'm usually way wrong in most of my posts, so this is probably just another one. And I've read every post. Some good and decent lessons on the validity of purchasing from this seller, as well as the country of origin at this time, but some really made me cringe at the brutality of the "soft attack" in the guise of a helping hand.

I don't see it the way that you do . What brutality is there in a "soft attack" ?

If someone wrote

" Look . You want to buy from some obscure emporium in the Far East who renownedly sells trash that has to be re-assembled or re-configured or turned into joss sticks to become a valid object , then fine ...it's your buck. Just for crying out loud don't involve us in it again ...like the last East Fart venture which I followed with increasingly lowering jaw.."..then I could understand your point .

But I haven't seen any posts like that ................oh ......well .......um ...not until this ..but was by way of example of what people haven't written and no offence was meant.........look I've bought two Russian motorbikes ....and they really are shiiiiite...so what do I know about obscure .....oh no ,not again....

SteveZ
06-14-2014, 01:57 PM
What the heck. I live in FL, so lack of humidity is not a problem. Besides, the worst case scenario is I get a musical cadaver to autopsy or "Franken-uke" into something good, or best case scenario is I get a unique-lookng instrument to add into the stable.

This thread has really intrigued me enough to look at the internet review history of BW products. Most of the negative reviews go back 6-10 years. I'm willing to gamble a little to see if the 2014 product is any better than the 2007 product. If it's a gamble, it can't be any worse than the state lotto (and that has been a dry hole). I should at minimum get my entertainment value of the exercise, and it's all fun anyway.

CeeJay
06-14-2014, 02:03 PM
What the heck. I live in FL, so lack of humidity is not a problem. Besides, the worst case scenario is I get a musical cadaver to autopsy or "Franken-uke" into something good, or best case scenario is I get a unique-lookng instrument to add into the stable.

This thread has really intrigued me enough to look at the internet review history of BW products. Most of the negative reviews go back 6-10 years. I'm willing to gamble a little to see if the 2014 product is any better than the 2007 product. If it's a gamble, it can't be any worse than the state lotto (and that has been a dry hole). I should at minimum get my entertainment value of the exercise, and it's all fun anyway.

Can I get an Amen ?.....what about an 'Ey then ?......I now go to the BW site....

stringy
06-14-2014, 02:21 PM
If someone wrote
" Look . You want to buy from some obscure emporium in the Far East who renownedly sells trash that has to be re-assembled or re-configured or turned into joss sticks to become a valid object , then fine ...it's your buck. Just for crying out loud don't involve us in it again ...like the last East Fart venture which I followed with increasingly lowering jaw.."............


Oh snap! Now I have to wipe the coffee off my monitor!!!! ROTFLMAO!
:agree:

flailingfingers
06-14-2014, 03:01 PM
[QUOTE=
" Look . You want to buy from some obscure emporium in the Far East who renownedly sells trash that has to be re-assembled or re-configured or turned into joss sticks to become a valid object , then fine ...it's your buck. Just for crying out loud don't involve us in it again ...like the last East Fart venture which I followed with increasingly lowering jaw.."..[/QUOTE]

CeeJay, thank you for saying what has needed to be said. Also thanks to coolkayaker1 and Oldephart for fighting the good fight. On the positive side, this thread and the East Fart venture have been the most wonderfully entertaining for quite a while. I can't stay away. As the saying goes,"When the thread gets weird, the fun factor is off the charts."

Neal
06-14-2014, 03:02 PM
I don't see it the way that you do . What brutality is there in a "soft attack" ?

If someone wrote

" Look . You want to buy from some obscure emporium in the Far East who renownedly sells trash that has to be re-assembled or re-configured or turned into joss sticks to become a valid object , then fine ...it's your buck. Just for crying out loud don't involve us in it again ...like the last East Fart venture which I followed with increasingly lowering jaw.."..then I could understand your point .

But I haven't seen any posts like that ................oh ......well .......um ...not until this ..but was by way of example of what people haven't written and no offence was meant.........look I've bought two Russian motorbikes ....and they really are shiiiiite...so what do I know about obscure .....oh no ,not again....

See? I am wrong, all that stuff bringing up the poor guys questionable purchase history (not by ceejay) making him sound the impulsive dufus was just me projecting I suppose. Carry on, wrong again. Man, I wish I'd think before I posted.

stevepetergal
06-14-2014, 03:43 PM
....look I've bought two Russian motorbikes ....and they really are shiiiiite...so what do I know about obscure .....oh no ,not again....

I say we hijack this thread and talk about the Russian motorcycles. They are GARBAGE.

CeeJay
06-14-2014, 03:52 PM
I say we hijack this thread and talk about the Russian motorcycles. They are GARBAGE.

Oh no ..they are not garbage .....that is recyclable and has a fundamentally useful future ....One dnepr and one ural = two russian motorcycles are actually total ..
can I swear on here ...well I am going to Total ****ing Arsewiping Shit....and I do not know why I bought a second .....10 years apart though but...

I must be a Twat or a brucewei acolyte or similar ....what I say is once bitten .....do not stick your arm in for another bite ..... I know ....

I have a Kawasaki as well now it makes me feel so much better...

Ukuleleblues
06-14-2014, 04:32 PM
Logged in, can't believe it still lives. Just my observation, please don't kill it, it is a testament.

anthonyg
06-14-2014, 04:34 PM
I should clarify here that my aim was not to have you all go out and buy Bruceweiart ukulele's. If you want to try one out then that's just fine. Its just that all these people who were criticising Bruceweiart ukuleles who hadn't bought one was pushing my buttons.

They are cheap. They are not perfect. The double standards of expecting perfect quality from cheap instruments and ignoring blatant faults in expensive instruments was getting to me to.

Anthony

flailingfingers
06-14-2014, 04:43 PM
Oh no ..they are not garbage .....that is recyclable and has a fundamentally useful future ....One dnepr and one ural = two russian motorcycles are actually total ..
can I swear on here ...well I am going to Total ****ing Arsewiping Shit....and I do not know why I bought a second .....10 years apart though but...

I must be a Twat or a brucewei acolyte or similar ....what I say is once bitten .....do not stick your arm in for another bite ..... I know ....

I have a Kawasaki as well now it makes me feel so much better...

I think you are being unfair to Russian motorcycles. It seems to me your experience is outdated. I have been in touch with a Russian distributor (over 3,261 emails) and I am assured the quality problems in the past have been totally rectified. The unfortunate circumstance involving the discovery by US Customs of hashish in the down tubes of a FEW motorcycles has been dealt with and all is clear for problem-free importation. All we need is for 350 of us to commit to purchase ( small, reasonable down payment) and the wheels will be set in motion so to speak. Worse case: you have a nice coffee table.

CeeJay
06-14-2014, 04:49 PM
I think you are being unfair to Russian motorcycles. It seems to me your experience is outdated. I have been in touch with a Russian distributor (over 3,261 emails) and I am assured the quality problems in the past have been totally rectified. The unfortunate circumstance involving the discovery by US Customs of hashish in the down tubes of a FEW motorcycles has been dealt with and all is clear for problem-free importation. All we need is for 350 of us to commit to purchase ( small, reasonable down payment) and the wheels will be set in motion so to speak. Worse case: you have a nice coffee table.
Look shh the trouble is ....the real trouble is ...that I really do own one of these things .....and am trying to bring it back to life Tovarich......believe me ...when they go they rival a ukulele for fun ....in fact balalaiaka...ukulele...the russians are onto something .....it could be the hash in the downtubes ...photoes will follow,,

now must go to bedski ...4 AM in England...did we win football game competition round?

Nickie
06-14-2014, 05:38 PM
LOL, you guys kill me....I must have "wasted" an hour reading all of this glorious claptrap...I do have to say that although we might bicker a little here on UU, I bet if we were all jamming together we'd get along fine....you are all a great group of folks!
and I played a very nice Vietnamese ukulele today that I enjoyed a lot....the workmanship is unquestionable....and the sound was quite lovely, and it was light and easy to play...I wouldn't trade my Ohana for it, but the quality was just as good....if not, maybe even a little better...
And I happen to love the way the 'Django' uke looks...although I prefer the traditional ukulele look....it is very appealing....
I'm pretty sure I'll never order another custom uke unless it's from one of our loyal posters here....

coolkayaker1
06-14-2014, 08:04 PM
That's it! I've placed a bid. I'm trying one of these babies out.

That's pure lunacy! (Not really...I just like saying the word lunacy and an opportunity comes up so rarely).

chefuke
06-14-2014, 08:09 PM
I think you are being unfair to Russian motorcycles. It seems to me your experience is outdated. I have been in touch with a Russian distributor (over 3,261 emails) and I am assured the quality problems in the past have been totally rectified. The unfortunate circumstance involving the discovery by US Customs of hashish in the down tubes of a FEW motorcycles has been dealt with and all is clear for problem-free importation. All we need is for 350 of us to commit to purchase ( small, reasonable down payment) and the wheels will be set in motion so to speak. Worse case: you have a nice coffee table.

Funny stuff!
However if you ever owned an old Ural you would know that they where a copy of the old Bmw's and real Old school machinery - with upgraded electrics they are nearly unbeatable for rough, remote locations - Simple men could keep them going with lots of love, fretting and religious service schedules - most of todays soft and weak consumers have little to no understanding for a piece of agricultural machinery that can go where there's little or no roads at all.

chefuke
06-14-2014, 08:11 PM
That's it! I've placed a bid. I'm trying one of these babies out.

Good on ya mate - enjoy the ride.

mm stan
06-14-2014, 08:54 PM
Have you guys noticed Mike has not responded in the last five pages or so....haven't you guys beaten him up enough, I think the message has gotten
across what more can be said....they should close this thread already... please

anthonyg
06-14-2014, 09:02 PM
I hope this in not an offence but Mike told me privately that he was not going to be involved in this thread a few days ago but it wasn't his intent to have it closed. If it was I hope he would inform a moderator himself.

Anthony

The Big Kahuna
06-14-2014, 09:46 PM
"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."


"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, oh...that's me again, isn't it."

anthonyg
06-14-2014, 10:02 PM
You have to be careful about where your going with this line of thought as you can say exactly the same thing about expensive Hawaiian K brand ukulele's. Now I really don't want to go down that road but I do hold expensive instruments to higher standards than cheaper instruments.

Yes I've had some issues with bruceweiart instruments but not really any more than I've had with Chinese ukulele's which were being sold for a fair bit more and I've seen the same issues on VERY expensive ukulele's as well where MY tolerance is less.

Value for money is really quite good, the issues aren't as bad as some are making out and they sound better than $300-$400 ukuleles that you buy in the shops.

They are not however perfect.

Anthony

stevepetergal
06-15-2014, 01:11 AM
Hey Anthony. I want you to know someone is on your side. I get that you love Bruce Wei's ukuleles. I'm very happy for you. I, for one, think that's the only thing that matters.

I listened to all your songs and your review. I too thought the song videos made it almost impossible to hear how the instruments sound. But, the review video was informative. Now, I've started bidding on Mr. Wei's ukuleles because of this thread. Please keep that in mind when I say that your videos don't really make the Wei ukuleles sound very good at all. They sound like 30 dollar ukuleles to me. Thumpy sounding with very short sustain. And, you have them (most) tuned so low they sound less like ukuleles than substandard guitars. I have to guess at what they might sound like with conventional (American?) tuning. Your videos make it seem more like a crap-shoot than it already is. But I am rolling those dice. I watched a couple of other people's reviews that were more flattering to the instruments.

The problem for us in the U.S. is that we pay 60 non-refundable dollars for shipping an instrument that feels like a gamble. That sixty dollar cost is much higher than a lottery ticket with the exact same downside (all that dough out the window) and none of the possible payoff. I think for this thread not to point that out, even emphasize it, to the community would be neglectful and irresponsible. So, we hear that the instruments can be quite good, but we also hear there are problems. That's how it works. How it should work.

I promise to give a sincere review when mine arrives. Flattering or not.

stevepetergal
06-15-2014, 01:46 AM
I think you are being unfair to Russian motorcycles. It seems to me your experience is outdated. I have been in touch with a Russian distributor (over 3,261 emails) and I am assured the quality problems in the past have been totally rectified. The unfortunate circumstance involving the discovery by US Customs of hashish in the down tubes of a FEW motorcycles has been dealt with and all is clear for problem-free importation. All we need is for 350 of us to commit to purchase ( small, reasonable down payment) and the wheels will be set in motion so to speak. Worse case: you have a nice coffee table.

The hash in the frames was the UPSIDE.

anthonyg
06-15-2014, 03:07 AM
Thanks. We'll I should state. I'm playing most bruceweiart ukulele's low G and detuned 2 or 3 semitones. As far as I'm concerned what I have recorded is VERY close to what they sound like to me when I play them. It is low but a LOT of dynamics from the instrument is coming through. Personally I think that they have quite a bit of sustain unless I'm deliberately damping the string for a rhythmic sound.

Anthony

flailingfingers
06-15-2014, 03:16 AM
Hey Anthony. While I most certainly respect and even admire your effort to return this thread to a discussion of Bruce Wei ukuleles, I feel it necessary to point out that this thread has been hijacked in the direction of Russian motorcycles. Please respect that. While I love ukuleles (my signature photo is of my sister, age 4 and myself, age 7, holding ukes. We were living on Oahu attending Pearl Harbor Elementary) I am really intrigued by Russian motorcycles. As has been mentioned, they are solid, of the earth and manly to the extreme. They are so honestly, brutally handsome that the question of whether they run is of little consequence. They also have large hollow spaces within the frame that allows for post-purchase creativity. This is exciting stuff. Bringing it all back together, I intend to purchase many Russian motorcycles and sit on them and play my ukulele.

anthonyg
06-15-2014, 03:23 AM
There's a shop about 800 metres from where I live that sells the odd Russian motorcycle or 2. Side car rig of course. None the less. We are talking ukulele's.

Anthony

flailingfingers
06-15-2014, 03:35 AM
Anthony,
You win. No more Russian motorcycles from me. Your earnestness and sincerity is awesome. Truly. You are beautiful.
John

stevepetergal
06-15-2014, 03:39 AM
Hey, wait a minute. Bruce Wayne makes ukuleles?

CeeJay
06-15-2014, 05:30 AM
There's a shop about 800 metres from where I live that sells the odd Russian motorcycle or 2. Side car rig of course. None the less. We are talking ukulele's.

Anthony

They are ALL odd .....Russian motorbikes ...I even wrote a song about mine.......so they can be a muse as well as amusing......ooops have to be careful Iamesperambient doesn't like funny me ...I have to be solemn and seriousss........

later

The Big Kahuna
06-15-2014, 05:31 AM
http://www.thebigkahuna.co.uk/batman.jpg

OldePhart
06-15-2014, 08:53 AM
Funny stuff!
However if you ever owned an old Ural you would know that they where a copy of the old Bmw's and real Old school machinery - with upgraded electrics they are nearly unbeatable for rough, remote locations - Simple men could keep them going with lots of love, fretting and religious service schedules - most of todays soft and weak consumers have little to no understanding for a piece of agricultural machinery that can go where there's little or no roads at all.

The problem with the old Urals was just that they were WWII era (aproximately) BMW tooling - and the tooling never really got updated. That may have changed in the last few years as Russia has tried (seemingly with very limited success) to modernize their manufacturing industry. However, the big issue for Urals was that they used tooling that was not just old technology, but also worn out. Add the rather low incentive for workers to build a quality product and you have the history of the Ural.

It's funny because this twist in the thread really is more germain to the original topic then a lot of people realize. Buying a Ural is kind of like taking a chance on a lottery - occasionally a decent one does pop up and if you have the expertise to put a lot of sweat and love into one you can actually have a decent machine. However, for the average purchaser, especially one without mechanical experience or tools, the odds are strong that they are throwing money away.

John

RAB11
06-15-2014, 09:15 AM
http://www.thebigkahuna.co.uk/batman.jpg

:rotfl: :biglaugh:

chefuke
06-15-2014, 06:39 PM
[QUOTE=OldePhart;1538503]The problem with the old Urals was just that they were WWII era (aproximately) BMW tooling - and the tooling never really got updated. That may have changed in the last few years as Russia has tried (seemingly with very limited success) to modernize their manufacturing industry. However, the big issue for Urals was that they used tooling that was not just old technology, but also worn out. Add the rather low incentive for workers to build a quality product and you have the history of the Ural.



It's funny because this twist in the thread really is more germain to the original topic then a lot of people realize. Buying a Ural is kind of like taking a chance on a lottery - occasionally a decent one does pop up and if you have the expertise to put a lot of sweat and love into one you can actually have a decent machine. However, for the average purchaser, especially one without mechanical experience or tools, the odds are strong that they are throwing money away.


Thanks For translating John.

Its interesting how we tend to judge people so easily - we are all very different but share one thing - the love for the ukulele.

It great to be part of other people's ukulele rides like folks buying ukes that are out of my reach and share their music and passion - its equally interesting to follow folks on the opposite spectrum taking a chance on a third world bargain.

Has anyone considered to compare modern ukulele history with the early days?
Is it possible that the ukulele purists in the 1920's equally rubbished the first mainland ukes?
And in that context would it be possible that constructive feedback and professional advise towards the luthiers in vietnam would result in more evolved ukuleles? Judging by some of the details on these vietukes it seems the makers have quite an eye for detail and seem to take some pride in their work. Considering their history as makers being short aren't they progressing rapidly in a more promising direction?

mds725
06-15-2014, 08:42 PM
Six pages and the only thing about this thread that's caused me to wonder about the future of humanity is the number of times the plural word "ukuleles" appears with an apostrophe.

CeeJay
06-16-2014, 01:09 AM
Six pages and the only thing about this thread that's caused me to wonder about the future of humanity is the number of times the plural word "ukuleles" appears with an apostrophe.

With an apostrophe.....? Catastrophe ! Well ,beggar me....seriously ...sorry this can go on all day...

RichM
06-16-2014, 01:52 AM
I've avoided participating in this thread because of how contentious it's become. However, I did recently purchase a ukulele from Bruce Wei, and I'm happy to report out on my experience. First of all, I'll note that the one I purchased was identified as a UTT, which I've since learned are instruments sourced from other builders, as opposed to built by Mr. Wei. Secondly, I'll not that I paid the princely sum of $24 for it, but of course, $60 additional for shipping. My feeling was that I wasn't expecting much, and $84 seemed a reasonable roll of the dice that I might get something playable. But if I didn't, I would accept that was my problem, as one can't expect much from a $24 ukulele (heck, my plastic Woodi uke cost more!).

I received my uke in 10 days, which seems reasonable enough from Vietnam. It was well-packed, in a sturdy box and well-protected inside. The uke itself seems structurally sound and I would qualify the fit and finish as "talented amateur." The critical stuff, like joins, neck attachment, etc. were well-executed, but the cosmetic attributes has some visible flaws, such as binding ends that didn't exactly meet up, flaws in the wood, and a couple areas of blotchy stain. None of them deal-breakers, but probably would not be acceptable on an instrument from a major manufacturer. Overall, however, I was pleased with the visual aspect; the most important aspects were well-executed.

Some of my biggest surprises were in the details; I purchased an archtop ukulele, which I assumed from the photos was a flattop styled like an archtop. I was pleasantly surprised to discover it was a true archtop, with what appear to be carved, rather than pressed, top and back. I was also surprised-- nay, downright shocked--to see excellent fretwork and a very well-shaped and slotted bone nut. These are little details I would expect to be sloppy in a cheap uke, and these were very, very well done. Guitar-style tuners seem cheap, but they do the job.

Playability was surprisingly good out of the box. Action was good; intonation was slightly off, but this uke has a floating bridge, so getting the bridge properly place took only a few minutes and then intonation was spot-on. Tone is on the quiet side, but sweet and focused. Probably too quiet for a uke jam, but great for living room playing and records very well.

Overall, I feel pretty good about my $84 investment; I got a unique, playable ukulele with an unusual style. I don't think I would have paid a whole lot more than that for it, but I feel it was very good value for money. However, I do realize that I was gambling, and I got lucky.

So there you have it: one uker's experience, worth every penny you paid for it. :)

CeeJay
06-16-2014, 02:13 AM
I've avoided participating in this thread because of how contentious it's become. However, I did recently purchase a ukulele from Bruce Wei, and I'm happy to report out on my experience. First of all, I'll note that the one I purchased was identified as a UTT, which I've since learned are instruments sourced from other builders, as opposed to built by Mr. Wei. Secondly, I'll not that I paid the princely sum of $24 for it, but of course, $60 additional for shipping. My feeling was that I wasn't expecting much, and $84 seemed a reasonable roll of the dice that I might get something playable. But if I didn't, I would accept that was my problem, as one can't expect much from a $24 ukulele (heck, my plastic Woodi uke cost more!).

I received my uke in 10 days, which seems reasonable enough from Vietnam. It was well-packed, in a sturdy box and well-protected inside. The uke itself seems structurally sound and I would qualify the fit and finish as "talented amateur." The critical stuff, like joins, neck attachment, etc. were well-executed, but the cosmetic attributes has some visible flaws, such as binding ends that didn't exactly meet up, flaws in the wood, and a couple areas of blotchy stain. None of them deal-breakers, but probably would not be acceptable on an instrument from a major manufacturer. Overall, however, I was pleased with the visual aspect; the most important aspects were well-executed.

Some of my biggest surprises were in the details; I purchased an archtop ukulele, which I assumed from the photos was a flattop styled like an archtop. I was pleasantly surprised to discover it was a true archtop, with what appear to be carved, rather than pressed, top and back. I was also surprised-- nay, downright shocked--to see excellent fretwork and a very well-shaped and slotted bone nut. These are little details I would expect to be sloppy in a cheap uke, and these were very, very well done. Guitar-style tuners seem cheap, but they do the job.

Playability was surprisingly good out of the box. Action was good; intonation was slightly off, but this uke has a floating bridge, so getting the bridge properly place took only a few minutes and then intonation was spot-on. Tone is on the quiet side, but sweet and focused. Probably too quiet for a uke jam, but great for living room playing and records very well.

Overall, I feel pretty good about my $84 investment; I got a unique, playable ukulele with an unusual style. I don't think I would have paid a whole lot more than that for it, but I feel it was very good value for money. However, I do realize that I was gambling, and I got lucky.

So there you have it: one uker's experience, worth every penny you paid for it. :)

Rich M ..you got any pictures ...sounds a good deal for about 18 (ish) quids worth of uke ! Plus the delivery costs ....

No real contentiousness in this thread, surely ? Perhaps some light - hearted banter.........

coolkayaker1
06-16-2014, 02:41 AM
I wonder how they can actually make and ship a ukulele for $84 US?

hoosierhiver
06-16-2014, 02:49 AM
I wonder how they can actually make and ship a ukulele for $84 US?

Vietnam is a very poor country. I think part of the reason they are known for making instruments out of green wood is that these small shops can't afford to buy some nice wood and sit on it for months while it dries, they've got kids to feed.

kvehe
06-16-2014, 03:09 AM
I actually have an $80 US one that I received in February 2013 - $20 bid plus $60 shipping. My thought process was exactly like RichM's, above. I was intrigued by the appearance, and thought it was worth the gamble at the price. It arrived well-packed in less than two weeks, but the brace visible at the level of the sound hole had sheared off horizontally and was rattling around inside the body, and there was a crack in the back, right along the center. I just put it in a closet, where it remains to this day. I should dig it out and see what shape it's in now.

OldePhart
06-16-2014, 03:57 AM
Vietnam is a very poor country. I think part of the reason they are known for making instruments out of green wood is that these small shops can't afford to buy some nice wood and sit on it for months while it dries, they've got kids to feed.

Yes, also, most people don't realize that what they charge in shipping more than covers their actual cost of production and shipping...at least if Vietnam is following the business model that the China pioneered. Well...that's not completely true the model was really pioneered by Japan back in the 60's but that was pre-internet so a little less direct.

Anyway, China set out with a policy to dominate certain markets, like the North American market. The way they did that was to subsidize shipping (as well as production, in many cases). It may cost us $60 to ship something back to a business in Vietnam or China, but it cost that business almost nothing to ship because of subsidies provided to exporters.

So, the internet-era model is that you recoup your costs and even a little profit in the non-refundable "shipping" of the item. You are going to get very few returns because of the prohibitive cost of return shipping, and even if you offer refunds without returns you aren't actually losing anything. Any "price" that you don't refund is pure profit. Guys like BW act like agents to get enough exports going to quality for the subsidies (for those who are wondering why BW "lets substandard builders use his account"). As Mike points out, the real builders aren't villains...they're just trying to feed families. They also aren't "luthiers" by any stretch of the imagination - they're basically folk artists making whatever happens to be popular at the moment. Let musical instruments lose their popularity and they'll ride the wave of the next thing...turning out fruit bowls or jewelry boxes or what have you.

John

SteveZ
06-16-2014, 04:21 AM
Yes, also, most people don't realize that what they charge in shipping more than covers their actual cost of production and shipping...at least if Vietnam is following the business model that the China pioneered. Well...that's not completely true the model was really pioneered by Japan back in the 60's but that was pre-internet so a little less direct.

Anyway, China set out with a policy to dominate certain markets, like the North American market. The way they did that was to subsidize shipping (as well as production, in many cases). It may cost us $60 to ship something back to a business in Vietnam or China, but it cost that business almost nothing to ship because of subsidies provided to exporters.

So, the internet-era model is that you recoup your costs and even a little profit in the non-refundable "shipping" of the item. You are going to get very few returns because of the prohibitive cost of return shipping, and even if you offer refunds without returns you aren't actually losing anything. Any "price" that you don't refund is pure profit. Guys like BW act like agents to get enough exports going to quality for the subsidies (for those who are wondering why BW "lets substandard builders use his account"). As Mike points out, the real builders aren't villains...they're just trying to feed families. They also aren't "luthiers" by any stretch of the imagination - they're basically folk artists making whatever happens to be popular at the moment. Let musical instruments lose their popularity and they'll ride the wave of the next thing...turning out fruit bowls or jewelry boxes or what have you.

John

There are folk who expect that no matter what the price, the instrument must be studio-ready once the wrapping is off. Then there are folk (including me) who expect to "customize" any instrument on arrival. That custom effort ranges from a minor set-up, through full changes in the action, to whatever else a tool kit of various files, knives and such will allow. Have not ever attempted to build a ukulele, mandolin or guitar (insufficient work s pace), but tinkering with them is entertainment almost as much as playing them. There is a lot of satisfaction to "customize" and have the results turn out well. Did it with cars in my youth, motorcycles in later life, and stringed instruments over the past few years. It's fun.

This thread has made me look at the BW products as fairly-finished stock ripe for customizing. The price is right, the basics (and more) have been done and it is intriguing to see what the final outcome will be. A BW "project" is now on the list of upcoming instrument-entertainment endeavors.

Again, if the expectation is for perfection out of the box, then one should indeed look elsewhere. If the expectation is for a customizing-eligible object which has promise to become something unique with a little effort, then.....

CeeJay
06-16-2014, 04:56 AM
If I buy something then I expect it to do what it says on the tin...if I buy a stringed musical instrument I will buy it from a shop and ask that it is "setup"....
I am neither a Luthier , Ukulele Tech nor desire to be one .....I can if absolutely necessary adjust the bridge on floating bridge instruments ....but if it came to getting a set of files out and scraping away at bits of metal,bone,plastic or wood then not for me....good luck and respec' to those who do such things ....you are the guys that chaps like me come to to have it done ....some of the instruments talked about are in excess of 100 ...that's not small change ....and then after being prompted in a review one contributor on You Tube says ..."well after a year the bridge fell off".....Me ...I would be bouncing and demand a full refund never mind a new bridge and a nice voice telling me how to glue it back on ......

I have a 10 quid Lazy Palm that I bought 4 years ago...it has the original strings on it and the paintwork is a little bit chipped.......but it still is all in one piece.......the extra cost was a 50p parking charge for me motorbike ....(not the russian one you understand )......


BUT.....if you have the wherewithal, the skills ,the knowledge and the stamina to keep fiddling (sorry) with Mr wei and ilks strum boxes then I am happy for you and please enjoy the adventure....me ..I like ukuleles and instruments to do what it says on the tin ......

Russian bike I can take a punt on 'cos at least I know where the dealer lives :cool:

bborzell
06-16-2014, 05:28 AM
Yes, also, most people don't realize that what they charge in shipping more than covers their actual cost of production and shipping...at least if Vietnam is following the business model that the China pioneered. Well...that's not completely true the model was really pioneered by Japan back in the 60's but that was pre-internet so a little less direct.

Anyway, China set out with a policy to dominate certain markets, like the North American market. The way they did that was to subsidize shipping (as well as production, in many cases). It may cost us $60 to ship something back to a business in Vietnam or China, but it cost that business almost nothing to ship because of subsidies provided to exporters.

So, the internet-era model is that you recoup your costs and even a little profit in the non-refundable "shipping" of the item. You are going to get very few returns because of the prohibitive cost of return shipping, and even if you offer refunds without returns you aren't actually losing anything. Any "price" that you don't refund is pure profit. Guys like BW act like agents to get enough exports going to quality for the subsidies (for those who are wondering why BW "lets substandard builders use his account"). As Mike points out, the real builders aren't villains...they're just trying to feed families. They also aren't "luthiers" by any stretch of the imagination - they're basically folk artists making whatever happens to be popular at the moment. Let musical instruments lose their popularity and they'll ride the wave of the next thing...turning out fruit bowls or jewelry boxes or what have you.

John

What? You say I can get a a Bruce Wei fruit bowl? All my Christmas shopping in one fell swoop.

OldePhart
06-16-2014, 06:33 AM
What? You say I can get a a Bruce Wei fruit bowl? All my Christmas shopping in one fell swoop.

No, you missed out on those. You'll have to wait for the next wave of fruit bowl popularity...however, if you advertise on Craig's list that you want to buy cracked and warped wooden fruit bowls you'll probably get lots of offers... LOL

John

kkimura
06-16-2014, 06:41 AM
No, you missed out on those. You'll have to wait for the next wave of fruit bowl popularity...however, if you advertise on Craig's list that you want to buy cracked and warped wooden fruit bowls you'll probably get lots of offers... LOL

John

How's the intonation on those fruit bowls?

(sorry, I couldn't resist)

Icelander53
06-16-2014, 06:51 AM
A really interesting and informative thread IMO. I feel like I've learned some things and from other discussion forums I've belonged to I'd say no one here was really out of hand or excessively rude in making their points. I'm glad it didn't get shut down.

Here's my take and how I have played the game. I did a lot of research and then went in knowing it was risky buying overseas. I never spent more than I could write off to experience and not ruin my day, month and year. I've been very satisfied so far. Less so with some major brands bought in the US so it's always somewhat of a crap shoot. But I'd say never gamble with more than you can comfortably afford to lose. Then enjoy the ride because half of the fun is taking the risk and scoring. But in all gambling, losses will be part of the game. Try to be a good sport about it.

RichM
06-16-2014, 07:09 AM
A really interesting and informative thread IMO. I feel like I've learned some things and from other discussion forums I've belonged to I'd say no one here was really out of hand or excessively rude in making their points. I'm glad it didn't get shut down.

Here's my take and how I have played the game. I did a lot of research and then went in knowing it was risky buying overseas. I never spent more than I could write off to experience and not ruin my day, month and year. I've been very satisfied so far. Less so with some major brands bought in the US so it's always somewhat of a crap shoot. But I'd say never gamble with more than you can comfortably afford to lose. Then enjoy the ride because half of the fun is taking the risk and scoring. But in all gambling, losses will be part of the game. Try to be a good sport about it.

It's sort of like the old story about the blind men and the elephant; each had a different description of the elephant, depending on which part of it they were touching. For those who rolled the dice and got a good instrument, Bruce Wei provides surprisingly good value money. For those who got a defective or just badly made instrument, Bruce Wei sells junk.

In the end, the evidence appears to be there that Bruce Wei at least *sometimes* sells junk. That's the red flag for me. I don't doubt there are good instruments to be had; I got one that exceeded my expectations, but I kept my expectations low. As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I have played at least one Bruce Wei custom ukulele (not mine), and I considered it good quality for money-- translated to, it was similar quality to a decent import like Kala or Ohana, and cost a similar amount. Honestly, for the same money, I'd buy a Kala from HMS or Mim, knowing that I'm almost certainly going to get a reliable instrument out of the deal.

hawaii 50
06-16-2014, 07:10 AM
I have many high end ukes that I like and will never sell...when I am old (which is soon)...:) will be gifted to players who will appreciate the ukes like me....been saying this forever...

out of 11 ukes I have they all are different and all have a story behind them...which makes them more special to me...

but I had one lemon... when I was ordering it 2 1/2 years ago, I was new in the Uke world...everyone was and still are raving about their ukes...but to me it was all hype...IMO

all I needed was one person to speak the truth but no one did, I think they were all emabarrased and did not want to admit they made a mistake too... I never would of gone through with it if someone had said something...
I lived and learned...it was a big mistake...Lol

now since there so many builders out there...I try to get to know the builder and go with my instincts...if I can trust them or not....

my 2 cents

The Big Kahuna
06-16-2014, 07:14 AM
I could buy a Chibson, or I could buy a Gibson. I'd go for the Gibson. Every time.

"You can't polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter" is something of a cliche these days, but that doesn't make it any less true.

hoosierhiver
06-16-2014, 07:33 AM
I could buy a Chibson, or I could buy a Gibson. I'd go for the Gibson. Every time.

"You can't polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter" is something of a cliche these days, but that doesn't make it any less true.

I prefer Givsons, http://www.givson.com/home.html

The Big Kahuna
06-16-2014, 07:44 AM
I prefer Givsons, http://www.givson.com/home.html

MY EYES!!!!


YOUR VALUABLE ADVICE IS ALWAYS SOLICITED

Ok...STOP BUILDING SHIT LIKE THIS!

hoosierhiver
06-16-2014, 07:48 AM
MY EYES!!!!



Ok...STOP BUILDING SHIT LIKE THIS!

I love the warning, "Beware of Imitation"

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-16-2014, 07:50 AM
I prefer Givsons, http://www.givson.com/home.html

Haha! They say "Beware of Imitations"! They need to hire a new PR guy.

Icelander53
06-16-2014, 07:54 AM
It's sort of like the old story about the blind men and the elephant; each had a different description of the elephant, depending on which part of it they were touching. For those who rolled the dice and got a good instrument, Bruce Wei provides surprisingly good value money. For those who got a defective or just badly made instrument, Bruce Wei sells junk.

In the end, the evidence appears to be there that Bruce Wei at least *sometimes* sells junk. That's the red flag for me. I don't doubt there are good instruments to be had; I got one that exceeded my expectations, but I kept my expectations low. As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I have played at least one Bruce Wei custom ukulele (not mine), and I considered it good quality for money-- translated to, it was similar quality to a decent import like Kala or Ohana, and cost a similar amount. Honestly, for the same money, I'd buy a Kala from HMS or Mim, knowing that I'm almost certainly going to get a reliable instrument out of the deal.

Well I agree. When I mentioned doing research that would include all customer feedback and reviews. On Amazon I allow 10% negative feedback to be my baseline. Lets face it, a certain amount of negative feedback is unwarranted or unreasonable. But once you get over that 10% negative feedback that's a major red flag to me. Also there has to be plenty of feedback to go on. So for myself I would never have considered a purchase from this seller. I just like the odds stacked in my favor.

I recently bought two Alulu ukes from Taiwan. Feedback here and on ebay for the seller was pretty darn good so I took the risk. Both instruments are really decent IMO, for myself and friend who got the other one. She likes it better than her new Pono which cost a heck of a lot more. So... there that is but as I said I do a lot of research and like to have really great odds going in.

mketom
06-16-2014, 02:08 PM
I prefer Givsons, http://www.givson.com/home.html

Are they the same people who make Marvin ukuleles?

CeeJay
06-16-2014, 02:51 PM
RichM,

Hi I left a comment at the 'cloud about the uke and had a quiet snort at the post here ....you record in any way, with any set up that you wish ,no issues on that score...sweet looking machine there...You may have won the dice toss. Nice one.

I can't diss anyone for their singing ...you've heard my croaking in Season 110 - Art and Artists 10 cc's "Art For Arts Sake"

Icelander53
06-16-2014, 03:47 PM
Looks like it's been removed. Maybe you scared him off. I wanted a chance to hear what "rubbish" sounds like. :music: I guess it would take a brave man to post something that sounds that bad. If indeed it sounds bad.

Hammond
06-16-2014, 04:07 PM
That is weird.:confused: Are there some posts disappear? Or just me confused with other threads..

coolkayaker1
06-16-2014, 04:08 PM
Vietnam is a very poor country. I think part of the reason they are known for making instruments out of green wood is that these small shops can't afford to buy some nice wood and sit on it for months while it dries, they've got kids to feed.

I see, Mike. I'll bet you're right. That understood, even with limitations of space, resources, etc., why wouldn't they dry some wood out, refine the building process a bit (select only the best children to build them :-o) and make them more consistently good and charge, say, $120 instead of $84? I mean, that's how businesses grow.

I enjoy hearing about these from owners, like RichM, Kathryn and others.

Icelander53
06-16-2014, 04:14 PM
That is weird.:confused: Are there some posts disappear? Or just me confused with other threads..

No there was a post there and I responded to it and now it's gone. It seemed a little harsh but I'll never know for myself if that type of criticism was deserved. I seriously would have liked to hear the instrument.

Hammond
06-16-2014, 04:16 PM
US$20 may be only enough for us to get a few meals. But in Vietnam its enough to feed a family for weeks. So this is possible for them to make profit by selling at that low price.

But the risk is still higher than buying a proper import uke.

Hammond
06-16-2014, 04:22 PM
No there was a post there and I responded to it and now it's gone. It seemed a little harsh but I'll never know for myself if that type of criticism was deserved. I seriously would have liked to hear the instrument.
That's the reason I feel weird because I want to listen that record track again then I couldn't find the post.

CeeJay
06-16-2014, 04:30 PM
Have I pissed him off ?

How? ....he played a decent track of paper moon at soundcloud .........I put a favourable comment there ......I had a chuckle at what he wrote here about shoving the mic up the fundemantal of anyone who disliked his chosen ....bugger me it's all there ....if I offended him I give up !!

Oh and the uke was very nice looking ...two f holes arch topped and cutaway ....it was nice !!

Icelander53
06-16-2014, 04:30 PM
So if you heard it did you think the instrument was "rubbish"? Just curious. I've actually heard very few if any ukes I would label "rubbish". Even beginner ukes have some merit IMO. So I wanted to see what I thought about such a negative evaluation. Just for my own edification.

Icelander53
06-16-2014, 04:32 PM
Have I pissed him off ?

How? ....he played a decent track of paper moon at soundcloud .........I put a favourable comment there ......I had a chuckle at what he wrote here about shoving the mic up the fundemantal of anyone who disliked his chosen ....bugger me it's all there ....if I offended him I give up !!

Oh and the uke was very nice looking ...two f holes arch topped and cutaway ....it was nice !!

I was referring to whoever called the instrument rubbish. But when I went to hear the instrument in question the audio had been removed.

Hammond
06-16-2014, 04:32 PM
Yes on the risk part.
Yes. We cannot hide the risk and praise them so high. Because someone new to the uke world may read this kind of threads then fantasy about those ukes on ebay, if they are not getting as lucky as those who praise and sing, disappointed on their very first buy, at least they knew the risk.

coolkayaker1
06-16-2014, 04:36 PM
Yes. We cannot hide the risk and praise them so high. Because someone new to the uke world may read this kind of threads then fantasy about those ukes on ebay, if they are not getting as lucky as those who praise and sing, disappointed on their very first buy, at least they knew the risk.

I think you've said it well, Hammond. That's a reasonable point, yes.


How's the intonation on those fruit bowls?

(sorry, I couldn't resist)

That was pretty funny.


Hey, wait a minute. Bruce Wayne makes ukuleles?

You'll find out if you buy one. Do post your thoughts when you receive it, Stevepetergal. (Did you really order one?)

Icelander53
06-16-2014, 04:38 PM
I think that's important. One of the positive functions of this site IMO is the reviews of sellers and instruments. If there is a red flag on a seller or a brand I sure would appreciate knowing about it. I think I have the skills to evaluate all the reviews and come to my own conclusions and then decide to risk it or not. But without those reviews positive or negative I don't have much to go on. I've been really appreciative of much of the advice I've gotten here on sellers. And I've been willing to post my positive and negative experiences for others to evaluate.

Hammond
06-16-2014, 04:46 PM
I think that's important. One of the positive functions of this site IMO is the reviews of sellers and instruments. If there is a red flag on a seller or a brand I sure would appreciate knowing about it. I think I have the skills to evaluate all the reviews and come to my own conclusions and then decide to risk it or not. But without those reviews positive or negative I don't have much to go on. I've been really appreciative of much of the advice I've gotten here on sellers. And I've been willing to post my positive and negative experiences for others to evaluate.
Yes but now it seems, if the information that has possibility to risking the BW's reputation, it disappear. I sense some only want the absolute positive.

Maybe I sense wrong.

chefuke
06-16-2014, 04:51 PM
I was referring to whoever called the instrument rubbish. But when I went to hear the instrument in question the audio had been removed.

Thats a shame. I thought the uke did sound pretty decent.

chefuke
06-16-2014, 04:54 PM
I see, Mike. I'll bet you're right. That understood, even with limitations of space, resources, etc., why wouldn't they dry some wood out, refine the building process a bit (select only the best children to build them :-o) and make them more consistently good and charge, say, $120 instead of $84? I mean, that's how businesses grow.

I enjoy hearing about these from owners, like RichM, Kathryn and others.

Thats exactly what they have been doing - a steady increase in quality and finish over the last four years - feedback on ebay and online comments seem to back that up.

Fred Ukestone
06-16-2014, 05:34 PM
Feedback on ebay is normally an immediate response from the buyer once they receive the ukulele. It looks nice and fancy out of the box so I'll praise the seller. The problem with BW ukes appears to be that they warp and split over a period of time. Does ebay allow purchasers to update their seller/item reviews if their views change after a year or more? If this was allowed I'm certain that the BW reviews would be more negative than positive.

I think this thread should be buried in the garden for 30 years and then re-opened to see if BW has become one of the major suppliers of quality ukuleles. I can clearly remember that nobody would touch Japanese cars when they first hit the marketplace.

Alloalexandre
06-16-2014, 05:55 PM
I agree with Fred!

From my standpoint, they have not improved at all. I bought two ukuleles from Bruce in the past year...one that I paid $200-225. The first week, the uke was pretty good...then the week after, I had a few buzzes, a month later, the uke was unplayable. I had it repaired...for $60....warped again two weeks later. :(

My BW ukes are the two biggest mistakes I made ....especially because I bought them when I started my ukulele journey.

The issue I have with this thread is that I know it creates some curiosity over BW instruments....people saying in their head...what if I am lucky and get a great deal! Also, Some BW ukuleles are beautiful...and people wants a great sounding instrument and a beautiful one....but let me remind you one thing...a beautiful ukulele that stays in a closet....is not a beautiful ukulele.

Oh...and I gave two positive reviews to Bruce on Ebay! :confused:

chefuke
06-16-2014, 07:20 PM
I agree with Fred!

From my standpoint, they have not improved at all. I bought two ukuleles from Bruce in the past year...one that I paid $200-225. The first week, the uke was pretty good...then the week after, I had a few buzzes, a month later, the uke was unplayable. I had it repaired...for $60....warped again two weeks later. :(



My BW ukes are the two biggest mistakes I made ....especially because I bought them when I started my ukulele journey.

The issue I have with this thread is that I know it creates some curiosity over BW instruments....people saying in their head...what if I am lucky and get a great deal! Also, Some BW ukuleles are beautiful...and people wants a great sounding instrument and a beautiful one....but let me remind you one thing...a beautiful ukulele that stays in a closet....is not a beautiful ukulele.

Oh...and I gave two positive reviews to Bruce on Ebay! :confused:

That does sound awful indeed - I might be very mistaken to assume that the quality overall improved over time.
There seem to be quite a few different builders he deals with and it could be pure coincidence/luck that the ukes I purchased in that time frame (all from the same builder - the one with the same little inlay on the fretboard) appeared to be better finished - its also possible that my eager consumer eye improved to spot a good one.

bellgamin
06-16-2014, 08:00 PM
Oh...and I gave two positive reviews to Bruce on Ebay!Me, too. The problem with Ebay reviews is the fact that the rating format is mainly concerned with delivery issues & the ukulele's conformance to advertised specifications (size, shape, wood used, etc).

BW's advertisements mention the uke's size, wood used, etc -- but make no mention of the uke's quality as a musical instrument. Ergo, you can't honestly say that BW failed to deliver according to advertised specs. Plus, Ebay's format gives much too little space or incentive for adequately describing a product's qualitative faults.

anthonyg
06-16-2014, 09:24 PM
Bruceweiart instruments ARE humidity sensitive but so are EXPENSIVE Hawaiian ukuleles. I still contend that many people buy Bruceweiart ukuleles and treat them with less care than they would an expensive ukulele but honestly brucweiart ukuleles need exactly the same care as an expensive ukulele.

2 bruceweiart ukuleles that I bought have made their way to Melbourne(Sea side city). I gave one to my brother and I sold one cheap to a friend. The one I gave to my brother was fine in Canberra( 140km inland) which has a drier climate but my brother hung in on a wall near a heater and its suffered some minor splits. The one I sold to a friend he has stored away from direct heat and he lives just over the road from the beach. It actually came good. In Canberra the neck had a slight back bow and I recommended that my friend buy another one that I offered him but he wanted the one he picked for its looks. Anyway it came good in Melbourne and has no issues now.

I've had necks move around and then come back to a decent position on their own.

I don't buy the cheap bruceweiart ukulele's anymore. I'm sitting on an 8 string baritone to see how it develops and so far so good. It will need a little fretwork at some point but for the money I paid I think it will become an outstanding instrument.

When you buy bruceweiart ukuleles you need to change the strings, don't let them get to dry all of a sudden and that it will take time for them to find their voices.

Nothing unusual here.

Also, I DO expect higher standards from expensive instruments than I do from cheap instruments. I'd like to see bruceweiart put an end to the 99c starting price auctions and focus more on reliability but he's just responding to his buyers.

Anthony

Icelander53
06-16-2014, 11:11 PM
Feedback on ebay is normally an immediate response from the buyer once they receive the ukulele. It looks nice and fancy out of the box so I'll praise the seller. The problem with BW ukes appears to be that they warp and split over a period of time. Does ebay allow purchasers to update their seller/item reviews if their views change after a year or more? If this was allowed I'm certain that the BW reviews would be more negative than positive.

I think this thread should be buried in the garden for 30 years and then re-opened to see if BW has become one of the major suppliers of quality ukuleles. I can clearly remember that nobody would touch Japanese cars when they first hit the marketplace.

You make a valid point. However if you do your research and are patient you'll come across a few updates as we have seen here. I use several sources to make evaluations whenever possible. Unfortunately we usually won't have access to a actual instrument or someone we know personally who has experience. So we have to use what is available and use due diligence. Researching products is an acquired skill just like playing a ukulele. Time practice and mistakes are part of the game. Again I say don't gamble more than you can afford to lose and keep your sense of humor.

Lets say the two ukes I just bought from Taiwan develop serious problems within the next few months. Well I'm out $500 bucks. If I went to college to learn a skill I'd pay tuition and books and time and effort and so would consider the costs the price of the gained knowledge. I'll know a lot more about ukuleles then when I started out and was wooed by a pretty face. The next step for me then is to post my findings and help others to learn and if possible avoid my mistakes (however unlikely as few learn from the mistakes of others lol). I feel that's my contribution to the cause and very important. I recently posted a negative review of a seller's performance and had to take some flack for it here as it was a favorite son. But in the end I did my duty as I see it and feel it was worth it.

Anyway like I said I'm glad for threads such as these. I would like to say to the person who called the instrument "garbage", please explain why you think it is rather than just drop a bomb and then drop out of the discussion.

bborzell
06-17-2014, 04:36 AM
This is not a comparison between Hawaiian instruments that are "humdity sensitive" and Bruce Wei instruments that are "humidity sensitive". It is rather a comparison between instruments that are made with seasoned wood vs. those made with green wood. To suggest that Hawaiian instruments are as apt to move, warp or crack as Wei's instruments is simply wrong. Hawaiian builders of any merit use seasoned woods and build in humidity controlled environments. Seasoning wood brings it down to a moisture content that reduces the chance of undesirable post construction wood movement to a minimum and building in controlled humidity continues that caution.

Anyone seriously suggestioning that that same attention to wood choice, handlng and humidity controlled construction comes with Wei's instruments is coming from a totally indefensible position. Off all the rhetoric produced by this thread, this Hawaiian vs. Wei comment takes the cake.

RichM
06-17-2014, 05:05 AM
Some on this thread have wondered why I took down the sound sample I posted last night. As I said earlier in this thread, I had avoided posting because the thread had become contentious, and I didn't feel like getting mixed up in that. Last night, I took the time to record a song and share it with the group. A member of this thread immediately pounced and pronounced it "rubbish," with no reasons why. I have enough negativity in my life, and simply don't need to deal with angry people taking out their aggressions on a web forum. So I took down my post and chose to no longer be part of this thread. I'm only posting now because I know I caused some confusion.

I am neither a supporter nor a detractor of the seller in question in this thread. Personally, I wouldn't invest any money with him that I wasn't willing to lose, as I believe I have seen enough credible feedback that he doesn't always deliver playable instruments. Nevertheless, threads like this are useful is showing both sides of the story.

SteveZ
06-17-2014, 05:38 AM
Bruceweiart instruments ARE humidity sensitive but so are EXPENSIVE Hawaiian ukuleles. I still contend that many people buy Bruceweiart ukuleles and treat them with less care than they would an expensive ukulele......

There's a lot of market truth here which bears notice. A lot of makers of wooden stringed instruments recommend case-installed humidifiers. With other instruments (guitars, mandolins, etc.) those instrument-centric forums tell tales of $400-$3,000 instruments from very respected makers which develop cracks due to climatic circumstances. It's the nature of things.

Are some instruments more climate-sensitive than others? Of course they are. High humidity brings rust (piano innards take it tough where I live). Dry humidity is rough on finely cut and glued wood. Temperature extremes (the old expansion-contraction physics) are brutal if no compensation exists in design or manufacture. It's just the way of things. From following this thread, apparently BW is the only low-priced instrument vendor whose product may develop humidity cracks, need set-up and the like.

All of the above impact cost and life-cycle. Expecting a low-cost instrument not fully protected from climatic variances to last long is unrealistic, regardless who makes it. Bottom line is you get what you pay for, and the expectations for a $40 (give or take some) instrument should match the price. I bought a $33 Diamond Head soprano and I don't expect it to outlive me, be set up so as to meet my quirks, have perfect tone/intonation, all the finish spot-free and all glued joints to look Stradivarius-like. If I want sharper looks/finish/workmanship/materials at the same price, there's probably a trade-off elsewhere, just like there is in any other purchase choice.

There's been a lot of chuckles at the expense of Bruce Wei, a merchant who has found a market for attractive-looking instruments at basement prices to two specific customer groups: 1) folk who live in high humidity areas and feel comfortable doing certain "apprentice luthier/tech" work; and 2) folk looking for an unbelievable bargain. Overall. BW "yeas" have been with "Group 1 folk, which is really not surprising.

I must be a rare bird, because I see a $40 (give or take some) purchase of anything from a vendor half a world away without a warranty-servicing facility in my home country as a "caveat emptor," luck-of-the-draw, no real warranty purchase which any fixes (if I care to do them) will be on my additional dime. It's a risk - affordable for some, not affordable by others. My outlook is a simple one, the more I spend and the greater the maker's product hype, the higher are my expectations and standards. This is "impulse" money level.

I don't have a BW instrument - yet. Living in a warm, high humidity area and comfortable doing some tech work, a BW instrument of some kind sounds intriguing. If I lived in a "North of Mason-Dixon Line" or humidity-challenged location, I'd pass on a BW product as an environmental non-fit. Being where I am gives it potential. I can afford the cost, even if the instrument arrives in pieces, and have no expectations other than "this could be a fun project." After all, isn't all of this supposed to be "fun" ? Just because it's not "fun" for some doesn't mean it isn't "fun" for others. Nothing in any of this is life-or-death level stuff, and the amount of money involved is at the three-pizza level (depending on toppings). Lighten up.

CeeJay
06-17-2014, 06:11 AM
Yes ,alright ,but were do you stand on Russian Motorbikes and the Bruce Wei of Life Art Bowls ?

Icelander53
06-17-2014, 06:18 AM
Some on this thread have wondered why I took down the sound sample I posted last night. As I said earlier in this thread, I had avoided posting because the thread had become contentious, and I didn't feel like getting mixed up in that. Last night, I took the time to record a song and share it with the group. A member of this thread immediately pounced and pronounced it "rubbish," with no reasons why. I have enough negativity in my life, and simply don't need to deal with angry people taking out their aggressions on a web forum. So I took down my post and chose to no longer be part of this thread. I'm only posting now because I know I caused some confusion.

I am neither a supporter nor a detractor of the seller in question in this thread. Personally, I wouldn't invest any money with him that I wasn't willing to lose, as I believe I have seen enough credible feedback that he doesn't always deliver playable instruments. Nevertheless, threads like this are useful is showing both sides of the story.

Well I think that's an unfortunate choice on your part but I will have to honor your right to do so. Whenever you post about anything that is a matter of opinion contentions may arise. If you aren't up for that possibility then I'd avoid almost all posting here. I really would like to have had the opportunity to decide for myself what kind of quality we are talking about here. I almost certainly wouldn't be agreeing with the person who referred to it as "rubbish". Those kinds of comments are usually the result of unbalanced perspective IMO. Especially when dropped without the reasoning that inspired it.

I'd like to ask you to do us the favor and put it back up and let it stand on it's own merits. You don't have to let other peoples comments upset you especially if you don't consider them valid (yes I know, harder said than done). But here we are trying to decide how to proceed with these types of purchases and you hold a valuable bit of information. I really hope you'll put it back up because I'd just like to hear how you play and sing anyway as I'm in the learning phase and love to get those kinds of comparisons. I know personally only one other uke player so it's fun and often inspiring. But beyond that I'd like to see what sound quality we are talking about for the kind of money you are paying

Anyway I think it would be really cool to hear it. I mean hey you've rode it out this far and in the grand scheme of things it's a blip on the cosmic radar.

SteveZ
06-17-2014, 06:19 AM
Yes ,alright ,but were do you stand on Russian Motorbikes and the Bruce Wei of Life Art Bowls ?

That's easy - have ridden Urals and they remind me of 1990's HD Sportsters in that they could rattle the fillings out of your teeth if over 30mph. Much prefer Yamaha and Victory bikes.

The Life Art bowls are like everything ranging from toilet paper to various "unmentionables" with HD, NFL or MLB logos - if you can merchandize it and people will buy it, why not!

CeeJay
06-17-2014, 06:23 AM
That's easy - have ridden Urals and they remind me of 1990's HD Sportsters in that they could rattle the fillings out of your teeth if over 30mph. Much prefer Yamaha and Victory bikes.

The Life Art bowls are like everything ranging from toilet paper to various "unmentionables" with HD, NFL or MLB logos - if you can merchandize it and people will buy it, why not!

Cool, just checking ....do you want my Ural ?...my second one:deadhorse:

CJ

coolkayaker1
06-17-2014, 06:24 AM
Okay, since RichM brought it up after everyone has moved on, every ukulele recorded sample is going to sound listenable--they are, for what it's worth, four fishing lines strung at a tension to play GCEA. So it's all about subjective depth of tone and intonation.

Anything--sound sample, text, link, etc.--placed on a forum website is up for opinion (that's why it was posted, so we could hear how it sounded, for better or worse). Every single reply on any thread is, in the end, opinion. I appreciate what Icelander is saying there; he is right on.

In my opinion, and I stated this on the reply (I even stated, it's only my opinion--no one elses) it sounded like rubbish. I'm likely at one end of the bell curve; on the other, someone who adores the sound. Most will be in the middle, certainly. I think it may one of the poorest sounds of a ukulele I have ever heard (although my Koloha is up there). Was it GCEA? Sure. Was it a ukulele sound? Yes. Was it any good? No. Intonation (or tuning) off, tinny, thin sounding. All within the limitations of recording (which make bad ukes sound better, and great ukes sound worse--regression to the mean). I would never buy a BW ukulele based on the sound of the Bruce Wei ukulele. Others will say it was good (I doubt anyone would say it's “fantabulous”).

I openly complimented the poster's singing, and his playing technique. I never said anything derogatory about the poster (in fact, the opposite: complimentary!). Never one ill word. I had no idea that he had so much personal pride and sensitivity wrapped up in Bruce Wei’s ukulele sound.

For what it’s worth, if I ever post a photo, sound file, or image of my ukulele and anyone wants to tell me it’s the ugliest instrument they have ever laid eyes upon or heard—the absolute worst: rubbish and a half, rubbish tenfold, poop on a stick!— I take no offense whatsoever. It’s a ukulele, it’s not me. (If you tell me my playing or my photography is good, that is me and we’re friends for life!)

The sound of a BW ukulele may be appealing to many. Most, perhaps. To me, one opinion only, anyone who ventures into Bruce Wei territory after this thread (and the last epic thread some months ago with a similar finding) is a gambler. Sometimes gambling is fun, but in the end, the house always wins. The house of Mr. Wei. :o) Indeed, as many have posted, you get what you pay for as long as it’s playable; unfortunately, many of his ukes rapidly become unplayable, meaning one does not get what they pay for.

One or two of you made a great point: It is particularly sad to see a new ukulele player’s enthusiasm dampened when they spend some decent cash—a hundred bucks or so is a lot to a new player—and then have a cold bucket of water on the head when the thing sounds poor or deteriorates rapidly. What a shame.

P.S. Long posts are seldom read, as is any post more than about five or six down the thread. lol. So I have no illusions that all this will be read. LOL. That said, I enjoyed post #169 from SteveZ. That pretty much sums it up (for me). Oh, and bborzell's comment, as always: same page.

Icelander53
06-17-2014, 06:26 AM
Steve Z I think you have the right perspective here. Many of us with some play money love to take a gamble now and then and dream the dream of the super deal and bragging rights that go along with it. The wood ukes I have bought from overseas go into a climate controlled closet when not being played. While a couple of hundred isn't a fortune I have a small collection and it adds up. Actually this thread has made me aware that I will need to properly care for these instruments if I want to hope they will hold up well.
Cause hey, I really like them. They sound very nice to my ear and compared to the two Pono's in the stable I think they hold their own quite well and show great bang for the buck. Plus they truly are fine looking instruments. I mean downright beautiful to my eye. That is as long as they don't develop unforeseen issues.

Icelander53
06-17-2014, 06:39 AM
Okay, since RichM brought it up after everyone has moved on, every ukulele recorded sample is going to sound listenable--they are, for what it's worth, four fishing lines strung at a tension to play GCEA. So it's all about subjective depth of tone and intonation.

Anything--sound sample, text, link, etc., placed on a forum website is up for opinion (that's why it was posted, so we could hear how it sounded, for better or worse). Every single reply on any thread is, in the end, opinion. I appreciate what Icelander is saying there; he is right on.

In my opinion, and I stated this on the reply (I even stated, it's only my opinion--no one elses) it sounded like rubbish. I'm likely at one end of the bell curve; on the other, someone who adores the sound. Most will be in the middle, certainly. I think it may one of the poorest sounds of a ukulele I have ever heard (although my Koloha is up there). Was it GCEA? Sure. Was it a ukulele sound? Yes. Was it any good? No. Intonation (or tuning) off, tinny, thin sounding. All within the limitations of recording (which make bad ukes sound better, and great ukes sound worse--regression to the mean). I would never buy a BW ukulele based on the sound of the Bruce Wei ukulele. Others will say it was good (I doubt anyone would say it's “great”). I openly complimented the poster's singing, and his playing technique. I never said anything derogatory about the poster (in fact, the opposite: complimentary!). Never one ill word. I had no idea that he had so much personal pride and sensitivity wrapped up in Bruce Wei’s ukulele sound.

For what it’s worth, if I ever post a photo, sound file, or image of my ukulele and anyone wants to tell me it’s the ugliest instrument they have ever laid eyes upon or heard—the absolute worst— I take no offense whatsoever. It’s a ukulele, it’s not me. (If you tell me my playing or my photography is good, that is me and we’re friends for life!)

The sound of a BW ukulele may be appealing to many. Most, perhaps. To me, one opinion only, anyone who ventures into Bruce Wei territory after this thread (and the last epic thread some months ago with a similar finding) is a gambler. Sometimes gambling is fun, but in the end, the house always wins. The house of Mr. Wei. :o) Indeed, as many have posted, you get what you pay for as long as it’s playable; unfortunately, many of his ukes rapidly become unplayable, meaning one does not get what they pay for.

One or two of you made a great point: It is particularly sad to see a new ukulele player’s enthusiasm dampened when they spend some decent cash—a hundred bucks or so is a lot to a new player—and then have a cold bucket of water on the head when the thing sounds poor or deteriorates rapidly. What a shame.

Well thanks for putting down your reasons for your rather strong comment. That really does help to clarify things. Makes me want to hear it all the more to see if I agree with you. I very much agree that there is really no reason to take these things personally as long as they are not directed at the person themselves. Of course we easily become attached to our possessions and then think they reflect us personally. IMO it's the sign of a mature ego when you can hear these comments without getting the panties in a bunch. I can (sometimes lol)

In the end I'd still buy overseas as my experiences have been very good so far. However I really wouldn't be buying from this guy as the red flags are flying all over the place. And that's good to know because I love to buy ukes. So far I've been very happy but again I do a lot of homework before buying.

coolkayaker1
06-17-2014, 06:54 AM
Steve Z I think you have the right perspective here. Many of us with some play money love to take a gamble now and then and dream the dream of the super deal and bragging rights that go along with it. The wood ukes I have bought from overseas go into a climate controlled closet when not being played. While a couple of hundred isn't a fortune I have a small collection and it adds up. Actually this thread has made me aware that I will need to properly care for these instruments if I want to hope they will hold up well.
Cause hey, I really like them. They sound very nice to my ear and compared to the two Pono's in the stable I think they hold their own quite well and show great bang for the buck. Plus they truly are fine looking instruments. I mean downright beautiful to my eye. That is as long as they don't develop unforeseen issues.

Ice, forgive me, I tried to scroll back but couldn't find it: how long have you had your Wei instruments? A poster below had issues within a couple months, which is sad. If you've had yours for a while, that's a good sign, although it does seem like you're careful with the climate-controlled closet. Isn't it also humid where you live (perhaps not) in Oregon? That helps, too. It's nice that you like it and did not suffer ill consequences to date.

Icelander53
06-17-2014, 07:06 AM
I don't have them. I stated in my earlier comments that I buy overseas but have not bought from him nor would I due to the negative feedback. My instruments were from Taiwan. My only comments were that I would risk overseas purchases under certain circumstances.

I live on the edge of the High Desert in Southern Oregon and it won't rain now for the next several months. It gets quite dry in the 100+ heat of our summers.

I'm just in the learning phase. It could well be that these instruments that I speak highly of today may well fail me several months down the line. I will have lived and learned. But I did get feedback from several long term (years) owners of them that spoke highly of how they have held up so I'm staying hopeful. BTW these ukes are Alulu solid Acacia. Both are real beauties to the eye and pleasing to the ear. So far so good but I've only had them for a little over a month. I took them into a Luthier and he gave them his ok on the look of the sound quality and construction.

Dan Uke
06-17-2014, 08:07 AM
Anything--sound sample, text, link, etc.--placed on a forum website is up for opinion (that's why it was posted, so we could hear how it sounded, for better or worse). Every single reply on any thread is, in the end, opinion.

Right on Steve. If you don't want to be critiqued, then don't post...I am not talking about RichM's post as I didn't see it but talking in general. If you want to be encouraged and feel good, then go to Seasons of the Ukulele...some of the best times I've had on this forum.

I write stupid stuff and post bad videos and have no problems with people telling me I'm wrong, bad, etc. It's all an opinion anyways and my own opinion should be the most important. Yeah, I could be more tactful in some of my comments but I guess it depends on what I responding to, my feelings at that moment, and who knows what else. UU is a much better website when we have topics like this.

RichM
06-17-2014, 09:21 AM
Garry Trudeau, artist and writer of Doonesbury, once said, ""America is the only country in the world where failing to promote yourself is regarded as being arrogant."

I'll amend that to say, "Internet forums are the only place where saying you don't wish to be part of a discussion makes you the topic of that discussion."

Have fun! :)

Icelander53
06-17-2014, 10:08 AM
I've been deeply involved with internet debate forums for the last nine years now. Almost without exception when people who are posting say they no longer will post in a discussion do so because their imagined outcome didn't materialize. If you post long enough you might come to realize that's often going to be the case. ;)

OldePhart
06-17-2014, 10:21 AM
...P.S. Long posts are seldom read, as is any post more than about five or six down the thread. lol. So I have no illusions that all this will be read...

You're absolutely right, Steve...I didn't read it...

John

bborzell
06-17-2014, 11:27 AM
You're absolutely right, Steve...I didn't read it...

John

Read what?

flailingfingers
06-17-2014, 01:07 PM
what happened to the Russian motorcycle hijack?

CeeJay
06-17-2014, 02:10 PM
what happened to the Russian motorcycle hijack?


Here ...you leave my russian motorcycle and it's numerous quirks and ticks and twists and turns and general "will not go" out of this....and if you do see Jack ,say "Hello" to him from me as well would you ? Ta .

Ta Ra

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-17-2014, 02:35 PM
Being the owner of a Ural is on my bucket list. There's just something about them that I've lusted after for a long time. And after owning a handful of near flawless Kawasakis it would be fun to work on something for a change. I'll probably wait until I quit building ukes though for obvious reasons.
Sorry, I couldn't resist participating in the complete highjacking of this thread. The URAL made me do it. For some reason I always seem to be the last poster before the mods choose to close a thread. I can almost hear their footsteps coming down the hall now........

wickedwahine11
06-17-2014, 02:47 PM
Being the owner of a Ural is on my bucket list. There's just something about them that I've lusted after for a long time. And after owning a handful of near flawless Kawasakis it would be fun to work on something for a change. I'll probably wait until I quit building ukes though for obvious reasons.
Sorry, I couldn't resist participating in the complete highjacking of this thread. The URAL made me do it. For some reason I always seem to be the last poster before the mods choose to close a thread. I can almost hear their footsteps coming down the hall now........

Well now I can't close it! Quit building ukes Chuck? Noooooooooo!

On to the other posts in this never ending thread, I actually was tempted to close it when things were getting particularly contentious. I just remind everyone of the forum's one golden rule:don't be a jerk. And really, this thread probably should die a long overdue death at this point. I won't kill it but am not sure what else there is to say on the topic. :)

CeeJay
06-17-2014, 03:25 PM
Well now I can't close it! Quit building ukes Chuck? Noooooooooo!

On to the other posts in this never ending thread, I actually was tempted to close it when things were getting particularly contentious. I just remind everyone of the forum's one golden rule:don't be a jerk. And really, this thread probably should die a long overdue death at this point. I won't kill it but am not sure what else there is to say on the topic. :)

What Topic ?...we bunnies is just having fun now....this seems to be getting into a bantering and lively fun filled fred ......thread.... all I will add is this....if you get a Ural Mr Moore ....Please do keep a Kawasaki to hand ...so that you've got something to go down to the ural dealers on when it does its thang ...which is "will not go today Tovarich"

When they do go and when mine does and I engage reverse gear in car parks and fly the chair on quiet country lanes the thrill is beyond anything else, go round corners sideways ...stamp on the back brake to execute a 90 degree snap stop and then drive forward into the chosen parking space ....


I'm getting me spanners out again tomorrow.........*sigh*

chefuke
06-17-2014, 06:13 PM
Being the owner of a Ural is on my bucket list. There's just something about them that I've lusted after for a long time. And after owning a handful of near flawless Kawasakis it would be fun to work on something for a change. I'll probably wait until I quit building ukes though for obvious reasons.
Sorry, I couldn't resist participating in the complete highjacking of this thread. The URAL made me do it. For some reason I always seem to be the last poster before the mods choose to close a thread. I can almost hear their footsteps coming down the hall now........

And there I was thinking Kwakas are only ridden by girls.68004

bborzell
06-17-2014, 08:37 PM
Having worked in shops and grown up with motorcycles starting with one of the original AMA factory BSA Gold Star singles in the '60s, I have ridden pretty much everything I could get close to from then until 2008 or so when I sold my last two bikes, a BMW R1150RT and a 900 Triumph Thunderbird. My list of oddities included a 1960 Japanese Lilac 250cc Transverse V-Twin, a Triumph Speed Twin, a 250 MV Agusta, a 250 Parilla, a Yamaha TD-1B road racer and a Ural which I rode both with and without a sidecar. If I had the chance to choose between fully functional versions of either the Lilac or the Ural today, I would choose the Lilac.

The Ural handled like a wheelbarrow. To add insult to injury, in 2006 Christian Neuhauser, who was Editor of Roadrunner magazine drove a Ural with a sidecar from a merge lane onto a freeway and right under a tractor's following trailer, killing him instantly. Christian was a seriously experienced rider of all manner of motorcycles. At the time there was speculation that the combination of the Ural with the sidecar made for unfamiliar handling, leading to the loss of control. Having ridden a both a solo and sidehack Ural, I am of a different opinion. The only worse handling motorcycle that I have ever ridden was the Kawasaki 500cc H1 triple cylinder two stroke that seemed to have hinges in the frame. That was when (late 60s) Kawasaki knew a lot about straight line speed, but pretty much nothing about turning. As bad a poorly implemented handling package as the Kawasaki was, the Ural was a close second. At least it was nowhere near as fast as the H1.

The only way that a Ural makes it into my bucket list is after I am certain that I have less than 24 hours to live. And, even then, I think that I would prefer to go out on the H1.

chefuke
06-17-2014, 09:55 PM
Having worked in shops and grown up with motorcycles starting with one of the original AMA factory BSA Gold Star singles in the '60s, I have ridden pretty much everything I could get close to from then until 2008 or so when I sold my last two bikes, a BMW R1150RT and a 900 Triumph Thunderbird. My list of oddities included a 1960 Japanese Lilac 250cc Transverse V-Twin, a Triumph Speed Twin, a 250 MV Agusta, a 250 Parilla, a Yamaha TD-1B road racer and a Ural which I rode both with and without a sidecar. If I had the chance to choose between fully functional versions of either the Lilac or the Ural today, I would choose the Lilac.



The Ural handled like a wheelbarrow. To add insult to injury, in 2006 Christian Neuhauser, who was Editor of Roadrunner magazine drove a Ural with a sidecar from a merge lane onto a freeway and right under a tractor's following trailer, killing him instantly. Christian was a seriously experienced rider of all manner of motorcycles. At the time there was speculation that the combination of the Ural with the sidecar made for unfamiliar handling, leading to the loss of control. Having ridden a both a solo and sidehack Ural, I am of a different opinion. The only worse handling motorcycle that I have ever ridden was the Kawasaki 500cc H1 triple cylinder two stroke that seemed to have hinges in the frame. That was when (late 60s) Kawasaki knew a lot about straight line speed, but pretty much nothing about turning. As bad a poorly implemented handling package as the Kawasaki was, the Ural was a close second. At least it was nowhere near as fast as the H1.

The only way that a Ural makes it into my bucket list is after I am certain that I have less than 24 hours to live. And, even then, I think that I would prefer to go out on the H1.

Amazing array of rides! I would have loved to try the Lilac and the MV.
I got my passion for bikes from my grandad. He had a motosacoche 850 with a sidecar. Learned on a condor 580 and owned a ktm 250 a 1982 suzuki katana 750 and my favorite the kawasaki z550 turned racebike - did one season in the post classics in New Zealand and put it on hold due to the new business. My appreciation for Urals stems from 68009being a swinger on a vintage Ural offroad outfit in Switzerland. 68008

How about this custom Ural? I want one!

coolkayaker1
06-18-2014, 12:47 AM
One has to sit back and wonder what brand of motorbike Mr Bruce Wei rides.

wickedwahine11
06-18-2014, 01:33 AM
One has to sit back and wonder what brand of motorbike Mr Bruce Wei rides.

Alright, I guess I lied. At least that comment brought it back to the original post (kinda). And with that, the thread is officially done. Not b/c of you but just b/c this thread no longer has any rational relation to the ukes originally discussed.