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Thread: NUD: Bruko Mahogany Baritone

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
    Posts
    4,692

    Default NUD: Bruko Mahogany Baritone

    Here it is! I've only had it a few days and still haven't played it that much yet, so here are just a few initial impressions.
    IMG_0413.jpgIMG_0415.jpgIMG_0416.jpgIMG_0420.jpgIMG_0421.jpg

    As far as I could find, this is the only in-production (i.e. not vintage) "mid priced" uke with a 19" scale, which was a big motivator in getting this uke. I think it is more comfortable than the now-standard 20+" baritone scale. Mele makes one for twice the price, and the Kamaka HF3-L is over 3 times the price, so you can't get better bang-for-the-buck than this.

    The fit and finish lives up to its billing. Very "clean" and smooth uke. I guess you'd call it a "satin" finish - not glossy at all. There are a couple of *extremely* slight discolorations in a couple of spots that let you know this is an "organic" hand-made instrument, not something out of a 3D printer (not that there's anything wrong with that ).

    Specs:
    Scale: 19"
    Body: Solid mahogany top/back/sides
    Neck/headstock: Maple/rosewood/maple
    Tuners: Schaller geared mini-tuners
    Fretboard: Rosewood
    Bridge/nut: Jacaranda
    Saddle: Plastic - compensated!
    Pickup: Passive
    Strap button: Pickup button and 2nd one on bottom of neck
    Strings: Pyramid fluorocarbons

    The rosette is a very thin ring of rosewood/maple/rosewood mirroring the neck. (Actually, I think it is plastic, but could easily be passed off as wood.)

    I got an Ohana gig bag from Mim that fits very well. I still need to get a humidifier, but I don't think the uke is in immediate danger since I'm in hot-n-humid NC. Also picked up the strap from Sherrin's Treasures.

    The tuners are awesome. While the friction tuners on the soprano work, these are just easier to use.

    The action is about 3mm, a little higher than the tenor Mim set up for me. It's definitely playable as-is, but I may take it down a little further when I change out the strings. (Really my only peeve I have with the uke as I did ask for lower. Maybe it changed crossing the Atlantic - seriously.)

    Regarding the strings, it came with two unwound trebles and two wound bass strings. I'm pretty sure these are the ones. They actually sound pretty good. I will do some sound samples with them before changing so I can remember what they sound like. I would describe the sound as bright, loud, guitar-like. Which is why I'll be swapping them out soon. First up will be a custom Living Water set that I'll try linear Bb or A. More on that later.

    A word about dealing with Bruko. Overall, it was a good experience dealing with Bruko, so I would not hesitate to send other players their way. The only word of "caution" I would relate is to stay patient. Several times it was days between emails, but I gather it's because they're too busy building ukes to be tied to the computer. So I can't fault them for that. And looking back it was actually only 11 days from when I first said I definitely wanted it to delivery day (and part of that was also working out the soprano) and then another week of delivery time from Germany to U.S. I guess it just felt longer at the time due to UAS fever.

    The other thing I would relate about baritones is that they are only available with a mahogany body. That's fine by me, but if you're looking for something brighter, you'll have to get a tenor. (Or my soprano - it's still for sale!)

    Sound samples and videos will be coming later.

    Jim
    Last edited by Jim Hanks; 06-04-2013 at 02:58 PM. Reason: Fixed bridge/nut wood
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127
    Pelem, A, EJ45LP

    !Flukutronic!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
    Posts
    4,692

    Default

    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127
    Pelem, A, EJ45LP

    !Flukutronic!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Philadelphia, Pa.
    Posts
    617

    Default

    Enjoy your new Brüko Jim. I'm a fan of Brükos in particular the sopranos. One thing is for certain however, if you want low action on a Brüko you've got to do it yourself. Asking seems to make not a whit of difference in the set up and that includes even custom models.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
    Posts
    4,692

    Default

    Thanks for the confirmation Bill. The only reason I mentioned it is that I did ask and was told it would not be a problem. A minor quibble as it should be easily remedied - but does feel like I shouldn't have to.
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127
    Pelem, A, EJ45LP

    !Flukutronic!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Philadelphia, Pa.
    Posts
    617

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hanks View Post
    Thanks for the confirmation Bill. The only reason I mentioned it is that I did ask and was told it would not be a problem. A minor quibble as it should be easily remedied - but does feel like I shouldn't have to.

    Yes, I distinctly remember coolkayaker (Steve) advising you to request a lowered action. Having requested the same on a few occasions to Brüko I suspected the futility of any such request on your part. Fortunately there is room on the Brükos to lower the action with some effort. I need a another ukulele like a proverbial hole in the head, but I'm considering a Brüko cedar top soprano but have not decided on other details. We shall see....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Central IL & Fox Valley, IL
    Posts
    7,504

    Default

    Hi, Jim and Bill. Excellent review, Jim. Spot on, I agree. I also saw on your soprano thread that US Customs did not pinch you for the package--excellent news. It cost me $25 for one baritone just for the US Customs charge. Those dirty birds!

    I, actually, did own an all blonde figured maple baritone Bruko that I bought on eBay (I think it was from Dave on UU that sold it to me) and I thought I wouldn't play baritones, so I resold it. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I now see how rare they are (although I think Bruko would make a custom bari, no?)

    As to the action, if both Jim and Bill asked for lower and Bruko didn't actually do it, that's not right. It's not easily done now because they glue in the saddle to the bridge (or at least they did on my custom soprano). Why, oh why? I thought they'd have just lowered it for you, Jim. Knowing what I know now from you both, if I was to order again (and I might), I'd ask for a non-glued saddle, period. I'll take care of it from there.

    It certainly is lovely, Jim. I think to this day that, like you said, there is no better a solid body baritone for the price than Bruko. The build is amazing. Just have to wonder--do European's like strings like tight ropes for the fingers? That action would make the Great Wallendas dizzy! --- Steve

    Niagara_Falls_Tightrope_Wallendas-074dd.jpg
    Last edited by coolkayaker1; 06-03-2013 at 09:01 PM.

  7. #7
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    Oct 2009
    Location
    San Francisco CA USA
    Posts
    11,518

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    Ooooooh. Pretty baritone! Congratulations!!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    2,023

    Default

    Good looking Bari, Jim. I had resolved to not order a walnut Bruko soprano until just reading this review. So make that semi-resolved. I'd probably have already taken you up on your soprano in the Marketplace if I was in the US already.

    As for the saddle, I remember some one or two people mentioning to request both lowered action and unglued saddles. It does sound like a frustration otherwise.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Honolulu, Hawaii 5min away from waikiki
    Posts
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    Congrats on you new Aquirement...have fun and enjoy...Happy Strummings...
    Making music is a gift in itself, and when you can share it ....it is your gift to others

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
    Posts
    4,692

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    Quote Originally Posted by coolkayaker1 View Post
    I, actually, did own an all blonde figured maple baritone Bruko that I bought on eBay (I think it was from Dave on UU that sold it to me) and I thought I wouldn't play baritones, so I resold it. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I now see how rare they are (although I think Bruko would make a custom bari, no?)

    As to the action, if both Jim and Bill asked for lower and Bruko didn't actually do it, that's not right. It's not easily done now because they glue in the saddle to the bridge (or at least they did on my custom soprano). Why, oh why? I thought they'd have just lowered it for you, Jim. Knowing what I know now from you both, if I was to order again (and I might), I'd ask for a non-glued saddle, period.
    Just to follow up on a couple of things, Steve. First, 3mm is not crazy high. I know a lot of people like it that way or even higher. Both the soprano and the baritone are the same height and I have heard other stories of crazy action - so this probably *is* low action to them.

    I did ask about the saddle and was told it is not glued. I guess I'll find out when I change strings.

    About the custom bari. Out of curiosity, I had asked about cherry or cedar and I saw another UU member asking about spruce recently. I was basically told "no", they couldn't do a non-mahogany bari at this time. No explanation - guessing they don't have big enough wood in stock?
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127
    Pelem, A, EJ45LP

    !Flukutronic!

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