Thoughts on a Bruko ukulele

CPG

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I just switched the strings on mine to Worth CMs yesterday and thought I'd share my experience.

When I got it I immediately put Martin M600s on it. Overall, those definitely gave it a more balanced sound then the Pyramids that came on it, but I decided to try a few other things after a while. I had Martin Premiums on for a while. Those things sound great fingerpicked and are really really nice up the neck but strummed they tended to exentuate some of the clangyness. Then I tried worth brown since everyone recommends those. I liked them at first, and they definitely mellowed things out, but after while I started to like them less. Yes, they took out some of the harsh brightness, but they also took out some of the nice sparkle, and sometimes made the uke seem a little too bongy (sorry I'm using lots of stupid subjective words here like "bongy" and "clangy").

I put the CMs on yesterday and though I haven't played them much I think I might like them the best. Yeah, they are bright, but they are more balanced then others I think, and some of the brightness they bring back in somehow makes the uke sound sweeter to me. More pling, less bong. We'll see how I feel after playing it with these for a few more weeks. The funny thing is I bet Worth CMs are probably pretty similar sounding to the Pyramids I originally pulled of of it! LOL!

I could actually see liking a mix of browns and clears on these. Maybe browns for the G and A strings and clears for the C and E strings. I definitely like the C string better with the clear.
 
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fromthee2me

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CPG wrote:

One last thing I'll say. The more I play and hear Bruko's the more I think that they are build to project above all else. I feel like they are a relic from an era without amplification (which is sorta true I guess). I've noticed that sometimes if I record myself practicing (just on my phone mic, for the sake of self evaluation). The Bruko comes through really nicely and a lot of the "clang" doesn't get picked up, where as something that sounds better while I'm playing (say my ks-5 ) can lose some of its definition.

Spot ON, and I like to add that Bruko accompanies certain music genres better than others. Other instruments have evolved as well, for the types of music played in days gone by.
 

Graham Greenbag

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CPG wrote:



Spot ON, and I like to add that Bruko accompanies certain music genres better than others. Other instruments have evolved as well, for the types of music played in days gone by.

Here we might be approaching the key to what a Brüko is all about. What was the design’s original purpose and how can we use what it was designed for and what it is best for now? Only once you properly understand what you have and why it works that way can you get the best out of something; to a greater or lesser degree anything else is just semi informed ‘tweaking’ that might or might not give a useful result.
 

Swamp Yankee

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Here we might be approaching the key to what a Brüko is all about. What was the design’s original purpose and how can we use what it was designed for and what it is best for now? Only once you properly understand what you have and why it works that way can you get the best out of something; to a greater or lesser degree anything else is just semi informed ‘tweaking’ that might or might not give a useful result.

I think the original design came about simply as a means of producing a solid wood product inexpensively that was nevertheless durable, playable, sounded OK, and was attractive (in its own quirky way).

They got there by beefing up the thickness of the fronts, backs, and sides and thereby eliminating the need for glued linings; by using one piece of wood for each ( front, back, and side) rather than by bookmatching; by employing a simple neck joint; by setting frets directly into the neck instead of into a separate fretboard of exotic wood which is overlaid on the neck; and by using a carved bridge/ saddle made from one piece of wood instead of slotted bridge and separate bone or ebony saddle; and a laminated wood nut.

The resulting instrument produces the Bruko tone. Some like it, some don’t. But I think it would be putting the cart before the horse to suggest that Bruko set out with a tone in mind and designed their ukes to produce and replicate that tone.
 
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Graham Greenbag

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I think the original design came about simply as a means of producing a solid wood product inexpensively that was nevertheless durable, playable, sounded OK, and was attractive (in its own quirky way).

That’s a very plausible concept, it’s certainly been a successful product and is well liked by many. If is were possible to know more about the earlier Brükos and their manufacture then I think it would be interesting and likely confirm your theory. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if all that data exists on some German language web site, but sadly I’m not a fluent German reader.
 
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Swamp Yankee

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That’s a very plausible concept, it’s certainly been a successful product and is well liked by many. If is were possible to know more about the earlier Brükos and their manufacture then I think it would be interesting and likely confirm your theory. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if all that data exists on some German language web site, but sadly I’m not a fluent German reader.

In some respects, Bruko ukes remind me of a 1960s German ”Framus” banjo I have. It always seemed to me that the designers re-engineered every element of a banjo and came up with their own version. The resulting banjo is a monstrous thing that might have been equally effective as a bludgeon in the event of a Soviet invasion.

The Bruko is not as “industrial strength” or “military grade” as the Framus banjo... but it does have a similar utilitarian vibe for me.
 
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M3dicat3dV3t

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I could tell you how I like it but UPS are total screwups. It was on it's way buuuuttt UPS some how sent it back to a UPS store from the city it was shipped from. After time on the phone with UPS and emails with the shipper it will be here Tuesday. He is just as pissed as me but he is very cool. Offered me a discount if I buy something from him in the future. Of course when your mad at UPS for their screw up they think you are threatening them
 

Wet-Skunk

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I bought a Bruko when I was in Germany. I bought it solely for my collection. It is a finely crafted instrument. Regretfully I bought the slim version which doesn’t fit in my collection as I tend to only collect standard Sopranos.
 

Ruben Mutiny

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F1CF10FF-452A-4FEB-9198-B81115732DE4.jpg. I’m very fond of my Brükos: a flat, round-backed zebra wood soprano and a number 6. I bought the “zebrano” at the factory after a delightful tour of their facilities by Hubert and Friederike Pfeiffers. I discovered I liked the uke so much that, after returning home, I ordered the #6. They’re plain but beautifully built (better build quality than my Kamaka soprano or Koaloha concert), intone well, and are fun to play. They are a bit loud and percussive, but that’s part of their charm. I replaced the Pyramid strings with Martins.
 

M3dicat3dV3t

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Ok finally got my Bruko #6 and I can say it's ok. It's not my favorite but has that quirkyness and I may change the strings. The friction pegs aren't the greatest, so may go with some planatary tuners
 

CPG

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Ok finally got my Bruko #6 and I can say it's ok. It's not my favorite but has that quirkyness and I may change the strings. The friction pegs aren't the greatest, so may go with some planatary tuners

How's the action? Any idea what strings are on it?

If you are okay with friction tuners in general you might be able to replace them with a nicer friction tuner (like a waverly) for less money and less effort than UPTs.

I'm find with the friction tuners on mine, but its much newer so they might be better than what are on yours, and still I've been thinking about sticking some Waverlys on it.
 

M3dicat3dV3t

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Action is good and the strings are fluorocarbon, not sure on brand. The friction tuners even after tighting the screw they still slip a bit so will look at my options.
 

CPG

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Too bad about the tuners. Hope you find something that works better.
 

jimavery

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The tuners (or rather the plastic buttons) on the earlier one of my Brüko ukuleles eventually deformed to the point where tuning was rather vague. I replaced them with Grover tuners if I recall correctly.

My newer (now I guess two or three years old) Brüko which I play all the time doesn't seem to have that problem, so I guess Brüko (or their supplier) have improved the design now.
 

Graham Greenbag

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Action is good and the strings are fluorocarbon, not sure on brand. The friction tuners even after tighting the screw they still slip a bit so will look at my options.

Until recently I’ve always disliked friction tuners. IIRC the friction tuners on the Bruko are a simple design that uses a flat faced cup and cone as friction surfaces. Recently I purchased a beater with a similar tuner arrangement and they were barely functional. I sanded down the mouldings to remove moulding marks and to make the friction surfaces smooth and level, then I put a fibre washer between the friction surfaces. That simple work transformed tuner performance :) . So far that ‘dirt cheap’ arrangement has worked rather well (with the Stagg heavy nylon strings fitted), so well that I now wonder about selectively fitting similar cheap friction tuners to some of my other Ukes .

In short your problem might be solved by cheap and simple fibre washers.
 
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