Bruko Stumpy Sopranino Ukulele

My Prototype Brüko

Brueko short type 5 Ukulele
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Brueko prototype Ukulele
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Bruko type 5 Soprano at Lardy's Ukulele Database

Standard Type#5
with a wooden bridge

It has Aquila piccolos and g~C~E~A octave tuning



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Brüko "Stumpy"

This is a Prototype; one of only three made by Brüko in 2010 to test out the Sopranino scale. Its a bit of a cop out as they have used an ordinary soprano body and just put a really short neck on. This does give it an odd disproportionate look but it works quite well sound wise as the bigger body does give more volume. Of course this only proves useful if you go very high with the tuning otherwise its just sounds like a hard to play Soprano. The Ukulele itself is based on the type#5 Soprano with a solid mahogany body and a contrasting all maple one piece neck. I say based on; the body to look at, is a standard type #5 Soprano body it is only the neck and the bridge that look different. The neck is made exactly the same as a type#5 but is considerably shorter, (23cm [9in] as oppose to 28cm [11in] for the standard neck), and as it still has 12 frets to the body the frets are much closer together. The bridge on mine is one of the galalith saddle ones that they have as a custom upgrade over the standard one piece wooden bridge and is positioned much higher up on the body than normal to fit with the much shorter 25cm, [97/8in], scale, (the other of the 3 prototypes I have seen had a standard wooden bridge but in a similar place) I guess this means the bracing on the soundboard is different so the body itself is different too but that's not a difference you can see.

I'm not sure what Brüko were testing when they made these prototypes, (though it is possible that the different bridges on the models was part of this testing process?) but a couple of things work very well on this one. First, a problem that you generally have with more usually proportioned Sopraninos is the closeness of the bridge to the bottom of the lower bout. This make it easy, when holding that as you would a larger ukulele, to have your strumming arm interfere and deaden the sound, (it can sometimes happen with Sopranos too, depending on the design), thus you have to hold them at a funny angle to play them making them even trickier to play than just the small space on the fretboard. Not a problem with this one and its big open, "chinny" lower bout, you strumming are gets nowhere near the bridge so you only have to concentrate on getting the fingering right, (and the space up there is tight!)The other issue it overcomes is, with their very small lower bouts, most Sopraninos are very quiet acoustically. Here though the bridge is not ideally placed the bigger lower bout put out a lot more volume. For playing seriously, though still not easy, this is much more accommodating that any of my other Sopraninos. the down side though it the overall look of the thing. Sopraninos generally have appeal on the "aw isn't it sweet and so tiny" front that get people to overcome the other deficiencies. This, with its "stumpy" neck and "Desperate Dan" lower bout doesn't have that cute appeal if fact to my mind it looks a little thuggish, like the deformed, super strong and frightening to look at, baddy sidekick you see in so many horror movies, but like the Toxic Avenger, or Sloth in the Goonies, underneath the outward appearance is a heart of gold.

And of course like all Brüko Ukuleles this one is beautifully made, using quality woods to the high craftsmanship that Germany is famous for. I couldn't fault the build in any way.

When Brüko did this Aquila hadn't made their Piccolo strings, but luckily Brüko did make the scale length on this short enough to take them and they work really well going an octave higher than the usual Soprano but giving much more volume and tone that the iUkes the strings were made for.