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View Full Version : NUD custom tenor gypsy jazz style uke from Bruce Wei.



kohanmike
07-16-2014, 08:34 PM
I just received the first of two custom ukes I ordered from Bruce Wei in Vietnam, and I have to say, this uke is really damn good, I'm very glad I ordered it.

It's a gypsy jazz style inspired by the Selmer/Maccaferri "Grande Bouche" guitar that was used by Django Reinhardt in the late 30s-early 40s (he only had three fingers on his fret hand). It's made of a solid curly maple top, solid Indian rosewood body, solid walnut neck, rosewood rosette and binding, and he even added a light color purfling with the binding which I didn't even request.

It's really beautiful in person with it's glossy finish. The build quality and seam work are really clean and solid. The bridge is custom made with holes that guide the strings to the hand carved tailpiece that matches the style of the Selmer/Maccaferri. The bridge was inspired by an old uke I saw hanging on the wall of McCabe's. I also asked him to make space under the saddle so I could install a pickup and preamp/tuner.

My over-all experience with Bruce was very good. He always responds to my emails quickly, and his English is fine (not like Simon from East-Start). Of the five builders I contacted about a gypsy uke, he responded immediately with a digital drawing of the uke, no one else did, one builder never got back to me at all. Bruce's price was half of the others, and he did it in less then half the time.

I'm extremely happy with the way it came out, the sound is very good, and I know over time it will get better. Next on the agenda is a gloss black, pearl binding mandolele with pearl fret inlay (see below, my submission design).

Just to reiterate from my last Bruce Wei post, those ready made ukes listed on his eBay site are not the good build quality of his custom ukes, don't judge his custom work by the work of those other builders who sell on his eBay site. Also, the builder on his site who made the cheapest and lowest quality ukes no longer sells on Bruce's site, that builder now uses a separate eBay site.

Here are photos and a quick sound sample (of my poor playing). I'm open for questions and further information.

http://www.fairfax67.com/images/Gypsy me.jpg


http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/Audio No Pressure.m4a

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/Audio Truman Sleeps.m4a

Next one coming, gloss black mandolele with pearl binding:
http://www.fairfax67.com/images/Mandolele black.jpg

tangimango
07-16-2014, 09:15 PM
Wow , thats one beautiful uke. Congrats. Sounds beautiful

kohanmike
07-16-2014, 09:27 PM
Thanks guys. Can't wait for the next one, and I'm corresponding with him now about a custom u-bass. I love UAS.

chefuke
07-16-2014, 10:05 PM
Looks and sounds very good! I am Happy for you that it worked out.

RAB11
07-16-2014, 10:40 PM
Stunning uke Mike. Glad it worked out for you in the end

stevepetergal
07-17-2014, 02:19 AM
It's amazing. Great tribute design and fantastic execution. Mr Wei is clearly someone we must consider when thinking about having a custom uke made.

Doc_J
07-17-2014, 02:25 AM
Wow Mike, that looks and sounds great. The fit and finish appear excellent. Your faith in a Bruce Wei was justified. Gypsy jazz ukes are pretty cool. Enjoyed your sound samples.

Let us know how it's sound develops over time.

I do have a couple questions. Is the neck bolted on? How is the weight, compared to your other ukes?

Bao
07-17-2014, 03:50 AM
Looks very nice and I'm glad you like it!

PhilUSAFRet
07-17-2014, 04:01 AM
Gorgeous, hope the setup is as good as the overall appearance. I could be coerced into getting one of those! Go ahead, coerce me..........please! LOL
Wonder if he'd do one in concert size. My guess is probably not, but you never know.

anthonyg
07-17-2014, 05:11 AM
Very nice.

Anthony

kohanmike
07-17-2014, 10:01 AM
Is the neck bolted on? How is the weight, compared to your other ukes?

I don't think the neck is bolted, but I can ask Bruce. The uke is well balanced, not heavy at all.


Gorgeous, hope the setup is as good as the overall appearance. I could be coerced into getting one of those! Go ahead, coerce me..........please! LOL Wonder if he'd do one in concert size. My guess is probably not, but you never know.

Setup is very good, I asked him to lower the action a little. He will build anything you want, I'm in the process of working up a u-bass with him to the exact size I ask, cutaway, 18 frets (Kala U-Bass has 16), 21" scale (Kala is 20"), 31" overall so it will still fit in a baritone gig bag (Kala is 29"). In fact, the black mandolele that's coming, I asked to make the body true tenor size, and he did down to the millimeter.

Dan Uke
07-17-2014, 10:26 AM
Congrats on the new uke!

tburkhart
07-17-2014, 11:02 AM
As a huge fan of gypsy jazz guitars... This is stunning!!!

kohanmike
07-17-2014, 12:43 PM
Congrats on the new uke!

Thanks Dan. Since I saw you yesterday, I meant to email you that I received it, but I kept getting distracted, mainly by this uke. It's not as detailed as yours, but it sure sounds good, and very pretty in it's simpler way.

bonesigh
07-17-2014, 04:57 PM
I sent Bruce an email about 2 weeks ago. Haven't heard from him. Glad he does good work and hope he eventually gets back to me.

kohanmike
07-17-2014, 07:09 PM
I sent Bruce an email about 2 weeks ago. Haven't heard from him. Glad he does good work and hope he eventually gets back to me.

The first time I sent him an email, he never answered. When I tried again I think I used a different address. Now he responds very quickly. I'll PM you the address I use.

PhilUSAFRet
07-18-2014, 03:48 AM
The first time I sent him an email, he never answered. When I tried again I think I used a different address. Now he responds very quickly. I'll PM you the address I use.

Me too!.................

Edgeguy
07-18-2014, 06:34 AM
Congratulations on the uke. It's great that it worked out for you.

kohanmike
07-18-2014, 08:42 AM
Me too!.................

Done Phil.

kohanmike
07-18-2014, 03:17 PM
Neglected to mention the price, the gypsy style was $780 including shipping (was going to be $750 with a standard mandolin tailpiece, he charged me $30 to make the Selmer/Maccaferri style). The gloss black mandolele is $420 including shipping.

katysax
07-18-2014, 03:24 PM
Looks good. However, I would caution people to wait six months and see how the wood holds up. The custom Mexican guitar I had looked absolutely gorgeous and was useless in six months.

silveraven
07-18-2014, 05:28 PM
Looks good. However, I would caution people to wait six months and see how the wood holds up. The custom Mexican guitar I had looked absolutely gorgeous and was useless in six months.

kohanmike, I'm looking forward to you doing a long-term test on this uke! Please let us know how it is after playing with it for a time (wood opening up etc.). ;)
I'm glad that it has worked out for you so far. Congratulations! :)

kohanmike
07-18-2014, 06:12 PM
kohanmike, I'm looking forward to you doing a long-term test on this uke! Please let us know how it is after playing with it for a time (wood opening up etc.). ;) I'm glad that it has worked out for you so far. Congratulations! :)

Yep, I have a lot of confidence that it will hold up to time, it is very well built and I have a good humid controlled cabinet.

kohanmike
06-17-2018, 08:05 PM
Inadvertently saw this thread and thought I would reply to the last requests about longevity. It's been about 4 years since I got this uke and it's even better than when I received it. At first I found it had good tone, but the projection and resonance was not as good as I like. In this time, the uke seems to have broken in and has much better presence. The build quality is great, no issues what-so-ever, I do keep it in a humidified shelf I made, and play it in rotation with my 7 other ukes every couple of weeks.

I've been playing with a group of acoustic guitarists Sundays in a park and I was surprised that few of them never heard of a Selmer Maccafarri gypsy jazz Django Reinhardt guitar.

8 tenor cutaway ukes, 3 acoustic bass ukes, 8 solid body bass ukes, 7 mini electric bass guitars

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children's hospital music therapy programs. http://www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos (https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos)

Jerryc41
06-17-2018, 11:59 PM
Wow! A couple of beauties.