Bruko questions

fretie

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Been browsing the Bruko website ...I don’t see much info on these ukes in any of the usual shops...HMS, Mims...
Is the ‘flat’ soprano the same as a Kala thin body?
Would the Bruko flat make a good travel uke?
Can the Bruko be bought in Canada? Do the slimbody sopranos show up for sale used very often?
 

Graham Greenbag

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Been browsing the Bruko website ...I don’t see much info on these ukes in any of the usual shops...HMS, Mims...
Is the ‘flat’ soprano the same as a Kala thin body?
Would the Bruko flat make a good travel uke?
Can the Bruko be bought in Canada? Do the slimbody sopranos show up for sale used very often?

The flat Bruko Soprano is not the same as the Kala thin body.
When I had a (Edit. standard size ) Bruko I thought it tough. The flat ones are slim and the lower bout isn’t wide, if humidity changes aren’t an issue then one would be fine for travel - though not everyone likes the Bruko sound.
Bruko’s are, in my experience, typically bought direct from the factory in Germany or second hand, as far as I know they’ll sell to Canada direct.
Bruko’s are common in Germany but elsewhere second hand sales tend to be infrequent, maybe post a wanted add here on UU.

I hope that my answers are a useful start for you.
 
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ukantor

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The slim, flat Brukos have very shallow sides (naturally enough). This gives a much reduced area where the neck is attached to the body. I have had experience of only two of this type of Bruko, but both failed at the neck joint. I don't know if this is a widespread problem, but two out of two suggests that it might be.

John Colter.
 

jimavery

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Regarding if a Brüko flat body uke is the same as a Kala travel uke, I would say a Brüko is simply not the same as any other! For the best sound, go for an arched back model.

Whether it makes a good travel uke I guess depends on what sort of travelling you do. If I were 'backpacking' (let's suppose; it'll never happen), I'd take something cheaper (any old soprano), otherwise I'm happy taking my Brüko with me on coach holidays and cruises.
 

fretie

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Thanks for these replies!
So, I’m clearly getting the idea that a flat Bruko is not similar to a Kala travel uke but not sure why it isn’t?
 

Graham Greenbag

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Thanks for these replies!
So, I’m clearly getting the idea that a flat Bruko is not similar to a Kala travel uke but not sure why it isn’t?

Ah, that might be down to transatlantic misunderstanding, you originally asked: “Is the ‘flat’ soprano the same as a Kala thin body?”. ‘Same’ and ‘similar’ have different meanings (to each other) in the U.K. , which is where your answers have come from. The similarity is that they are both travel type Soprano Ukes (ie. thinner than standard) but after that they have many differences, just compare their specifications (details on each ‘maker’s’ web site).

If I lived in North America then the Kala would be the simplest way to go and lots of people love them, if I lived in Continental Europe then the Bruko would also attract me.
 
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jimavery

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The point is that a Brüko has such a distinctive sound. I've never heard a Kala travel uke played, but it's a safe bet it sounds a lot different to a Brüko.

This is yours truly strumming my maple thin arched-back soprano Brüko:

 

frolicks

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I‘d like to add: „same“ and/or „similar“ in which respect? I mean, of course, regarding the size, a flat Kala and a flat Brüko are quite similar, of course. But regarding stability, for example, I‘d say they are quite diffferent. Brükos are somewhat notorious for being quite sturdy, as the used wood is quite thick (top as well as the back). Here in Germany, some say, the standard flat-back thin Brüko sopranos would be good for playing table tennis, in case you don‘t have a racket at hand, or you could even bang a nail in a wall, when in need of a hammer. From that point of view, they certainly aren‘t bad for traveling.

Regarding the broken necks ukantor/John wrote about: I heard of a few cases of broken necks on Brükos from a good friend who is into repairing ukes. But in most cases these broken necks had more to do with someone siitting on the poor instruments rather than with to small a joint. I had a flat No 5 (made of mahoggany with the maple neck) and a flat No 2 (all maple) and they both were really sturdy. I used the maple instrument for some time at work - I work in a Kindergarten and I had quite a few kids strumming away on it for hours without any trouble. It certainly took a couple of rough bumps, as you might guess. So I wouldn‘t be worried it all about this.

Well, regarding the sound, the Kala and the Brüko are certainly worlds apart. Totally different sound aesthetics, I say. The Kala Soprano travel has a smooth, mellow tone. The Brükos (and that‘s probably for most, if not all Brüko ukuleles) are famous/notorious for their harsh, percussive sound, often called the „Brüko plong“ here in Germany. While they certainly do have their own distinct sound, for sure, it‘s an entirely different question, if you like it or not.

I‘d recoomend to try to get hold of one before buying one. Or at least try a few videos on the net with an at least decent sound quality to get an idea.

EDIT: jimavery posted his vid while I was still trying to get my thoughts into a decent English... but that‘s the point, the Brüko sound. I found a different video, made by a fellow UU member from Ol‘Germany. The Brüko he is playing has a flat maple body, and a flat back (i.e. not arched), too. You can trust me on this, for I sold him the instrument about two years back....

 
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Dada

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I would like to add another difference: The Brüko is solid wood, the Kala is at least partially laminate I think. Personally, I have tried a Kala Travel, did not buy one, because I did not think the relatively harsh and loud sound would add anything to my uke flock — although different strings would have addressed this. The Brükos usually have a similar hard attack, but their sound is still different. You either hate or love the Brüko sound. I own a #6, but not a flat one. Some people say the flat Brükos have a limited volume compared to the normal ones.
 

fretie

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Ah, now I have a much more specific idea of the differences between not only the build and sound of these two instruments, Kala Thinline and Bruko Flat, but also of the company and builders that make each.
 

jimavery

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Do report back if you decide on either (or both!). There is no right answer.
 

fretie

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Do report back if you decide on either (or both!). There is no right answer.

Actually, I already have a Kala Thinbody soprano that I find very appropriate as a travel uke. However, in wanting to be more supportive of actual luthiers, I would prefer to be playing a handmade travel uke rather than a factory uke. That said, I feel that Kala has done a good job of designing a low profile, affordable travel uke that has a surprisingly good sound and therefore it is not easy to find a comparable uke as an alternative to the Kala. Bruko comes close from what I can tell but I have yet to play one of their ‘flat arched’ sopranos.
 

frolicks

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Nice link, 13down, I completely forgot about Peter's video. I saw it a couple of years ago, when I thought about buying an all-maple Brüko. The black model is just that, the regular all-maple model, just painted fully black. It's not advertised on the website anymore, but I suppose it's still possible to get one.
 

Ruben Mutiny

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I have both a Kala soprano travel uke and a Brüko zebra wood flat soprano with an arched back. I also have a standard Brüko #6. The Brükos have a distinctive sound, which I really like. The build on both is impeccable, and their intonation seems perfect to my ear. I bought my flat uke while on a visit to the Brüko factory (an experience I recommend to anyone visiting Germany — just email the Pfeiffers in advance and they’ll offer you a memorable tour and allow you to sample every uke in the place). I ordered the #6 from the factory. It took several weeks for it to get to NJ, but it arrived safe and sound. As you suggested, although Brükos are reasonably priced, they have the distinctive aura of a luthier-built uke. I have a Kamaka, a Koaloha, a National, and a custom-built Earnest, but I play my Brükos most often.
 
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Wet-Skunk

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I recently sold a slim Bruko. It had an arched back. Rosewood sides and back, spruce top, maple neck with a mahogany stripe down the neck. It was an immaculate work of art. I wasn't too fond of the sound as I found the slim design muted the sound. I bought it while in Germany. I didn't get a chance to go to the factory. We were 50 miles away, and due to family vacation politics, no one wanted to go to the factory...so I ordered it online.
 

fretie

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Reporting back: I ordered the Bruko and had it sent to me from Germany. Understated beauty, the arched back slimbody maple soprano is definitely my new travel uke (I have already listed my Kala thinline up for sale on our local craigslist).

Not only do I love the look and feel of this small factory made uke, I particularly like how it sounds. Strange that quite a few peeps described its sound as rather percussive and suggested it was harsh. Not this soprano and not to my ear; the sound is clear and round and perfect for the relatively quiet playing I do when I travel.

Another winning feature, particularly in contrast to the Kala, is the Bruko’s excellent intonation, very impressive for a soprano.
 

fromthee2me

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I am glad to hear that. I have a longneck solid maple soprano with an arched back ( & 2 Baritones). I kept the soprano, because it has its own character, made out of solid wood, the Pfeiffers are nice people, and the price was not exorbitant..
 

ukulelekarcsi

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A short sidenote on 'factory' made.

I once talked to a violin luthier, who said 'hand made' applies to all musical instruments, save for plastic recorders and triangles. You simply can't make a violin, guitar or drum efficiently without some human doing the fitting, hammering, checking, spraying, stringing, buffing ...

The size of the workshop does usually (but not always) have a direct effect on the quality control. Still, even the cheapest and lousiest ukuleles aren't made in huge and noisy factory halls, but rather modest hangars employing a dozen or so people. So the distinction between a luthier made and a factorymade ukulele is a bad one. Is a Kamaka factory made?

Back on topic, Brüko is essentially a 2 or 3-person workshop, working in batches as well as doing custom work. Their ukuleles are very good value for money, but are rather hard to find outside of Europe (the thinline ones have the same outline size as the full bodies siblings).