3/30/2016

2015 Bruce Wei "Redington" Acacia Parlor Guitar




After doing a bit of business with Vietnam's Bruce Wei in the form of ukuleles, my friend Rick Redington picked this up from that maker as well. When he told me about it I gave my customary sigh when anyone mention's Bruce Wei's stuff, as while a lot of it is probably okay when it lives in humid Vietnam, the instruments come over here and become wall art, more often than not -- necks get twists, frets pop out, they were never, ever setup at the factory -- and all that sort of stuff. Fortunately, Mr. R. didn't go for a fancy-looking figured-wood neck and this guitar came over, more or less, in decent shape.

It did, however, need a bunch of adjustment: the frets got a level/dress, the saddle slot was filled and I had to recut a new one to get it to play in tune (it wasn't compensated or in the right place for even the high E string), and it needed a general going-through. That said, for the prices these run (even with the $40 upcharge to get your name on the headstock), you get a pretty cool box to then pour a bit more money into to get it playing right. In addition to the other stuff, I also installed a K&K pickup so he could use the guitar for a show tonight.

I'll be honest: I've actually seen a bunch of Bruce Wei instruments up here in Vermont and they all have the same "out of the box" issues or variations on them, so despite the fact that they (generally) have a good-enough sound, be prepared to spend a bit more to get them truly dialed-in so they're enjoyable.


This is a 13" lower bout guitar with a tight waist and it looks, at a glance, like a 1920s or 30s German-made parlor or something like a dolled-up Oscar Schmidt. It's x-braced and has solid acacia (similar in tone to koa and mahogany) back and sides with a mahogany neck and rosewood fretboard and bridge.


The bone nut needed reslotting and lots of adjustment, of course. Note the nice rosewood headstock veneer.


The Bruce Wei instruments are best-known for their profuse inlay and the nice "diamond-studded" rosette and...


...tree-of-life pearl fretboard inlay are good examples of a lighter format of the usual over-the-top work.



Do you see the original, filled, "straight saddle" slot in front of the new one? It's a pretty bridge but that was criminally off-target in the way I'd expect of 1920s/30s boxes. The pins are hand-cut bone ones, though, and the "herringbone" center strip on the top is a nice touch.

I did this work on-the-quick today to get this going.



Though the finish is satin, the whole thing is very eye-catching.


The classical guitar tuners are an odd choice for a steel-stringer, however.


The binding is rosewood as well.






1 comment:

Rick Redington said...

Another brilliant bit of doctoring my man Jake Wildwood! This thing has reached the potential it had in the beginning and would have been a shame to become a wall hanger. You have to hear it live sometime! Thanks Again Jake!