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soupking
10-25-2015, 06:33 PM
Hey. I've been around a while now. I would say my UAS is and was about as bad as it gets. I started out with a couple imports from a local store. Then I progressed to midrange stuff, to high level production stuff, onto custom blinged out incredible stuff. I still own a range of all.

When I first got into this I wound up with two Fleas and a koa Fluke concert; all long since sold. I flipped them to "move up" to Hawaiian production ukes. For no good reason, except that I'm nuts. Hawaiian ukes are basically unbeatable to me, too, in terms of pretty much everything. Owning one is a treasure, because having something so special is a rare occurrence elsewhere for me. It's the one thing I really like, so it's one of the only things I spend money on.

Anyway, I ordered another koa concert Fluke. Love it. It's perfect. Nice shape to grab onto, Made in the USA, sweet sound, and just ready to play without fault. I've purchased three directly from Magic Fluke over the years, so I know this to be so.

I still have customs, and production ukes. The koa model Fluke is also quite a premium, price wise, but I've had the base ones, too. These things should be *the* recommendation for the beginner. I'm posting a video with this Fluke- of a couple verses of "Hobo's Lullaby"- to show the extent of my "talent." I have the Zaza book, and Roadmaps, and Pikillo or whatever it's called, but at the end of the day, I'm too damn lazy for finger style, or even chord melody for that matter-- all I really wanna do is bang out a couple chords and sing terribly, 'cause that's what soothes my soul.

Custom instruments are one-of-a-kind, and awesome in every way, but the longer I play, the more I realize that I let myself get into a territory that was absolutely unnecessary… for me. A Fluke is all I need, as you'll soon discover.


https://youtu.be/JWC2gwKtvVg

mountain goat
10-25-2015, 06:41 PM
Totally agree Matt.

I got me reso and me Kala and I's a (sorta) happy man now...though i am really sad I let some go...well,like 100-ish. Especially recently. But who the F needs a 3000 dollar uke to busk with in your bedroom and then chip when you're drunk.

One of those fleas you sold to me -the batik one - and I loved that damn thing. played like a buttery bun...like you, sold it to pursue higher callings which, when all's said and done, weren't worth it. The dream uke to end all of em just doesn't exist, don't believe anyone who tells you that folks.

Enjoy that bugger mate and hang onto her. Sounds really, really nice.

bird's eye view of my ukelele
10-25-2015, 08:22 PM
just strumming. and singing. and singing. and strumming. it's just the best, isn't it?!

igorthebarbarian
10-25-2015, 08:31 PM
Lovely playing - and singing too!

Completely agree about not needing anything too fancy to have fun. At the end of the day, that's really what it's all about, right?

Also completely agree that a Flea or a Fluke should be *theeeeeee* perfect starter uke (assuming you can afford it). I am definitely more so in that 200-400 range myself and Flea/Fluke/Firefly are all incredible values for what you get.

librainian
10-25-2015, 08:40 PM
Booli will probably sound off if he catches this thread. He's a fan. I just got my first fluke through the marketplace here and it's my "take it everywhere" instrument. Am am starting to appreciate the fluke design and how it feels, particularly how the angled body and neck meet at the 12th fret. I can't describe it exactly but it makes strumming, picking and fretting up the neck so natural and fluid. I can play it for hours and I often do.

dsummers
10-26-2015, 01:07 AM
I understand exactly what soupking is saying. I started my uke adventure sometime in 2009. Talk about UAS- I have close to 50 ukes now, customs, vintages, production models, K brands and I don't think I have a bad one in the bunch. I have/had (all concert size) a Lava flea (gave to a cousin), mahogany flea (gave to another cousin for a retirement gift) pistachio flea, Koa flea, and a blue lagoon fluke. All have the hardwood fretboard except the lava flea and the fluke. Although I pull out my my ukes in different phases at different times I constantly keep my fluke on hand. What great instruments magic fluke company produces- always consistent, great sound, great action, love the feel of the neck (right now I prefer the poly fretboard). This week I plan on ordering the adi spruce top concert fluke, all black except the top, poly fretboard, with side fretboard markers only strung with freemont blackline low g. I know people always say they are a great beginner uke, but in my opinion they go way beyond a beginner uke and can hold their own with some of the best of them- disclaimer is I am a novice at best, but I do know what sounds I like. I always tell people who are curious about ukes that if they get one go for a flea or fluke first and if they get UAS they will probably go full circle and realize as I have they are amongst some of the best made. The people at magic fluke company are really nice and a pleasure to do business with.

ukuleleden
10-26-2015, 01:57 AM
I bet your experience resonates with many of us here in pursuit of wanting to own or try so many different designs and price points from a host of premier brands or popular models. I can't tell you enough how much I agree with you about the Fluke and Fleas. Add to that the Firefly Banjo Ukulele that brings out the George Formby in me, LOL!

So as I wait on my order for the Custom Koa Tonor Fluke build to be completed and shipped, you have provided a great video to watch another Fluke Afficianado enjoying one which helps with the anticipation of my own Fluke arriving soon.

Oh, and with all the talk about Uke sizes in the other thread, I think there is room for a Concert Flea or even a long neck Soprano in my future if I don't buy that new Martin Soprano I have had my eye recently...

Keep strummin', singin', and whistling and enjoy that Fluke of yours! So much fun!

JustinJ
10-26-2015, 03:21 AM
I could not agree more. Ukes are not commodities. They are meant to be played. I've run into troubles with acquisition syndrome in other hobbies. It's never a good feeling when you've overspent. You look at all the things you bought and realize you're no better off.

I enjoyed your playing. Hell, we're in this for the fun. Thanks for the reminder. Sometimes I loose sight of that in my quest to get better.

Play the uke you have. You'll be much happier for it.

PereBourik
10-26-2015, 05:48 AM
Carried my concert Flea across Northern Spain on the Camino Santiago. She never complained, was nearly always in tune, and was up for whatever. Fleas, and be extension Flukes are great ukulele offering value way beyond their cost.

mm stan
10-26-2015, 01:06 PM
Aloha Matt,
Fleas and flukes work fine for strummimg the first chords and price wise cannot beat in their
Level. But if youre playing more complicated things and farther up the neck they dont
Have enough resonation and substain, clarity.. but it certainly has volume
Plus the neck is quite thick in the transitions for more complicated stuff
But its a great value to me and certainly a fun uke.

soupking
10-26-2015, 01:25 PM
Thanks for all the comments, everyone. Yeah, all I know is I sure enjoyed Jon wailing on that Batik concert Flea on all those videos of yore. As far as the up the neck business, perhaps it's so, but I wouldn't know either way haha and don't much care. Sounds damn good to me, even with those dreadful Aquilas (gasp!) :rolleyes: -- Matt

soupking
10-26-2015, 01:40 PM
Here's a link to Flea Market Music Jukebox, and there are some cool tracks that Jim recorded with concert Flukes, under the yellow tab marked "Jim Beloff Songs/Recordings." Sounds great to me... Heck, if a koa concert Fluke is good enough for Jim, it's certainly good enough for me. Numbers 1 and 17 are great, both on Flukes.

https://www.fleamarketmusic.com/jukebox/Default.asp

connor013
10-26-2015, 01:48 PM
I read these threads, scratch my head, and think "I should be learning something." Hmmmmm.

Fluke sounds great, Matt.

Andy Chen
10-26-2015, 02:34 PM
I loved the Fluke that I had, but I find myself liking the Outdoor tenor way more. The Outdoor's trebles sound sweeter and it has better sustain to my ears.

Intonation and playability in both are excellent up to 14th fret and beyond.

Recstar24
10-26-2015, 02:39 PM
What are your thoughts on plastic vs hardwood fretboard? A part of me is drawn to the plastic because plastic is cool and you won't have to worry about fret ends sticking out due to cold and humidity - also, technically the setup can be perfect since its plastic and machine created which probably is the reason they are so well regarded for intonation and playability. However, the hardwood fretboard looks so cool! Will it be setup and intonate as well as the plastic board?

mm stan
10-26-2015, 02:44 PM
I disagree. The fleas I've played have all had exceptional note separation, best ones I played sounded amazing with aquila strings. More complicated things? Up the neck? nup...resonance and clarity, tick. Maybe it's just that most folks don't have a trained ear that can pick up such things as you're saying, but they sure sound way better up the neck than many expensive customs I've had the displeasure to know or try. And I always found the necks smooth as silk. Each to their own I suppose Bruddah.
It was unfair comparing to my customs, believe me i know and i do have a good ear :)

JustinJ
10-26-2015, 03:31 PM
It was unfair comparing to my customs, believe me i know and i do have a good ear :)

Hi Stan,

We often hear what we want to. There is a lot of research on people's expectations. We spend money on things and then justify it by seeing or hearing something special in our purchase item.

I think there is an implicit assumption that a custom uke = better uke than others. I'm sure there are great customs as there are factory made. Also there are poorly made customs just as they're are poorly made factory ukes. I think it's poor thinking to automatically discount a uke because it's not a custom. And after all it's the player that makes an instrument sound good. I have a barber who has played Jazz guitar for 70 years. In his barber shop he has an old Yamaha acoustic in the corner. He picks that thing up and makes it sing. I do not sound anywhere as good as him on it.

Have you seen the brain games with the Chocloate Cake https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7VEWTbe5lU ? Take a listen as people eat the same cake but then talk up how great the expensive cake is versus the cheaper cake.

stevepetergal
10-26-2015, 03:37 PM
I love the Magic Fluke instruments. I've played dozens and all have been great. The sound, the playability, the intonation are all fantastic.

SoloRule
10-26-2015, 03:59 PM
Just ordered one. Can hardly wait.
This one seems like a fun fun fun instrument that I can actually take it any where without worrying about the outside temperature. A member just told me John King played the Fluke which means it is good enough for even finger style. So excited.

mm stan
10-26-2015, 04:28 PM
Hi Stan,

We often hear what we want to. There is a lot of research on people's expectations. We spend money on things and then justify it by seeing or hearing something special in our purchase item.

I think there is an implicit assumption that a custom uke = better uke than others. I'm sure there are great customs as there are factory made. Also there are poorly made customs just as they're are poorly made factory ukes. I think it's poor thinking to automatically discount a uke because it's not a custom. And after all it's the player that makes an instrument sound good. I have a barber who has played Jazz guitar for 70 years. In his barber shop he has an old Yamaha acoustic in the corner. He picks that thing up and makes it sing. I do not sound anywhere as good as him on it.

Have you seen the brain games with the Chocloate Cake https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7VEWTbe5lU ? Take a listen as people eat the same cake but then talk up how great the expensive cake is versus the cheaper cake.
Um I did say its a FUN UKE, I did not discount it at all.. :)
any uke can be a fun ukulele whatever the price is, it one of the first things you learn grasshopper :)
as you said there are gems in any level ukulele, you just need to find them....
BTW I do own one for 5 years, and it does get alot of playing time....

igorthebarbarian
10-26-2015, 04:45 PM
I had a lava black Flea with a plastic fretboard that developed a notch / small notch in the nut
Caused it to ping when moving/ bending the strings.
The wood fretboards are niiice and definitely worth the extra money IMO



What are your thoughts on plastic vs hardwood fretboard? A part of me is drawn to the plastic because plastic is cool and you won't have to worry about fret ends sticking out due to cold and humidity - also, technically the setup can be perfect since its plastic and machine created which probably is the reason they are so well regarded for intonation and playability. However, the hardwood fretboard looks so cool! Will it be setup and intonate as well as the plastic board?

Recstar24
10-26-2015, 04:47 PM
I had a lava black Flea with a plastic fretboard that developed a notch / small notch in the nut
Caused it to ping when moving/ bending the strings.
The wood fretboards are niiice and definitely worth the extra money IMO

Thanks. Looking at the new adi spruce flukes which come with the hardwood fretboard. Would get the pegheds as well.

mm stan
10-26-2015, 05:46 PM
Stan, you've misunderstood me. I wasn't comparing fleas etc to your custom ukes. I was talking about ukes I've owned and tried myself. And yes, I know you have a good ear, hence my comment. I don't have a good ear so things you notice I - and probably others - simply wouldn't. I can't even tune a uke to itself. These days I seriously question why I ever bothered to pay elephant bucks for really expensive ukes.
Aloha mountain goat, i was just replying to justins comment. But i do enjoy all level of ukes in general, often like
Most people...lots of factors make a good ukulele though, but intonation and tone is foremost, then playability and
Comfort, cost..generally speaking if you have the financial assets to try alot of them through upgrades..Happy strummings my friend.. :)

jollyboy
10-26-2015, 05:50 PM
Yeah, I think I might treat myself to a concert Fluke at Christmas :) Either that or a Kala cedar-top. Haven't quite decided which yet.

soupking
10-26-2015, 05:56 PM
Hey, Stan, I think Jon and I are of the same point of view- we are financially able to and we have tried a lot, but this goes against our newfound impressions- for who knows how long haha. I hope I'm speaking correctly for you Jon, anyway. For me, I have no ear, and my current line of thinking, after having squandered thousands in trying so many, is that it really wasn't worth it to me. I guess I'm trying to say for me, I wish I would've just held on to the first three Magic Fluke Company ukuleles that I owned all at the same time. Instead I went on a years-long mission that- again, for me- just wasn't even really worth it. I think I can be comfortable with a Fluke, were it to be my only ukulele- it just hits every important factor for me as an owner, which I listed in the first post. Cheers.

mm stan
10-26-2015, 06:39 PM
Aloha Matt,
Yes Ive always said play what works for you....as its a priority and your enjoyment that counts to you most... sure everyone has favorites,
I do too.. I even like my first ukulele and play it often. everyone has UAS and I must say I do like the Journey and don't regret it, it was very enlightening
Ive talked to jon about his full circle of level of ukuleles he had before...you can enjoy any ukulele if it has intonation, tone and the comfort you prefer..
when comparing ukes, you cannot appreciate both ukes... often you see one as better... I rather play each one separately and enjoy them both.. Happy Strummings Matt, Keep Strumming them strings :)

JustinJ
10-27-2015, 03:20 AM
Hi Stan,

I was not necessarily saying about a fluke only making a statement about customs in general and perceived tones.

I'm a very auditory person probably just like you. I can imitate language accents and hear when instruments are a little flat or sharp. It makes it hard when I'm listening to some music. I hear the people off beat and the instruments out of tune. My post to you was more about perception. If you spend a lot of money on something, it's hard to criticize your purchase. You're going to hear things that are not on that instrument. The real test comes through blind testing.

I have an expensive uke myself. So I'm not criticizing anyone for spending money on ukes or instruments. I'm only pointing out that you do not need a custom uke or expensive uke to have a nice sounding instrument.

In fact, practicing the uke you have and getting better will make you more happy than a new uke purchase.

Recstar24
10-27-2015, 03:51 AM
somewhat related but not involving the fluke...I've got a $2000 custom, an almost $3000 custom, have a Mya Moe coming in March, and am on the build list for an Ono which will be a little under $1000. I also have a $300 Mainland Cedar Tenor and get plenty of musical satisfaction through it. In fact, this Sunday may be my first ever uke performance in public (church, peace salaam shalom), and I plan on using the Mainland as that scenario backing up singers, there's something about it that just fits a little better than my customs.

EDIT: My point is just because something isn't as pricey as something else doesn't mean it is lacking in quality or that it cannot fit a specific purpose or musical need.

Sanfe
10-27-2015, 05:46 AM
I have a pink flea which I didn't see still offered. It was a great ukulele until the strings pulled the top off from the bridge side of the body. I guess it couldn't handle the heat here where I live. I sent it to FMM and they fixed it. But when it came back, it lost a lot of the brightness that I loved about it. I dunno, maybe they added extra glue so it wouldn't peel off again.

I also have a red Fluke which is alright.

They're my outdoor ukuleles that I take to pool parties and on bike rides with my kids. The action is sort of high on both, but that don't stop me.

dsummers
10-27-2015, 05:55 AM
Well I just dropped an order to magic fluke company today- concert fluke, spruce top, poly fretboard with side markers only (3,5,7,10,12), Grover 4B friction tuners, all black neck and Freemont blackline low g string set. As usual Beth and Phyllis are great to with.

Recstar24
10-27-2015, 06:18 AM
What are all of your thoughts on the use of friction tuners? Personally I don't like them...part of what has been holding me off is the fact that I would want/need to upgrade to the pegheds, plus tenor size, and its already getting the cost pretty up there. I wish they offered a stock Grover geared option...

Dan Uke
10-27-2015, 07:25 AM
What are all of your thoughts on the use of friction tuners? Personally I don't like them...part of what has been holding me off is the fact that I would want/need to upgrade to the pegheds, plus tenor size, and its already getting the cost pretty up there. I wish they offered a stock Grover geared option...

They are not that bad. I assume they don't offer the grover option since they would have to reconfigure the head and drill holes for the screw vs. the pegheds that replace the friction. I am fan of the flea as well.

soupking
10-27-2015, 08:23 AM
They're a bit more finicky to use, yes, but once the uke is in tune you rarely need to adjust. I've personally never had a problem using them so I've never worried about it. They're quality enough. PegHeds are a waste of money for the Fleas/Flukes... for me.

Fleacia
10-27-2015, 09:01 AM
Aye laddy, I miss my Flea! Had 2 great Flukes at different times, but let's face it, the Flea was cuter to me. Either way they can't be beat. We can give logical reasons as you have, and they're all true. Still there's something else about them, beyond durability, etc, that is wonderful even if you can't quite put your finger on it. Enjoy! :)

Fleacia
10-27-2015, 09:06 AM
What are all of your thoughts on the use of friction tuners? Personally I don't like them...part of what has been holding me off is the fact that I would want/need to upgrade to the pegheds, plus tenor size, and its already getting the cost pretty up there. I wish they offered a stock Grover geared option...

Agree, the price can quickly get into "wow" territory for what you're physically getting. I don't like friction tuners in general. But never minded or had trouble with them on the Flukes and Fleas. Strangely enough, the one time I had PegHeds, I first yanked off a button somehow, then ended up reinstalling the stock friction pegs. Not saying that's a common experience - I haven't heard of anyone else doing that - but it was my experience.

PereBourik
10-27-2015, 11:15 AM
My Flea is my travel uke. I had a tuner snag on an airport x-ray machine and break off. FMM sent me a replacement at no charge, even postage. Dead simple to replace, too. I'm not a big fan of friction tuners, but I have a couple of KoAlohas with friction tuners too. Just squeeze 'em, don't turn 'em. That adjustment screw has a sweet spot.

ukuleleden
10-27-2015, 11:55 AM
Thanks. Looking at the new adi spruce flukes which come with the hardwood fretboard. Would get the pegheds as well.


Excellent choice! While I was at the Magic Fluke Co. headquarters I compared many different configurations of the fleas and flukes and agree that the pegheads and the hardwood fretboard are worth the extra cost if it fits into your budget. Though if frugality is paramount, there is certainly nothing wrong keeping with the standard composite fretboard and regular tuners. They apparently work just fine and the majority of all flukes and fleas seem to be sold with the composite fretboards and regular tuners with much success.

ukuleleden
10-27-2015, 12:02 PM
I have a pink flea which I didn't see still offered. It was a great ukulele until the strings pulled the top off from the bridge side of the body. I guess it couldn't handle the heat here where I live. I sent it to FMM and they fixed it. But when it came back, it lost a lot of the brightness that I loved about it. I dunno, maybe they added extra glue so it wouldn't peel off again.

I also have a red Fluke which is alright.

They're my outdoor ukuleles that I take to pool parties and on bike rides with my kids. The action is sort of high on both, but that don't stop me.

Probably the only part that's most resistant to weather extremes are the polycarbonate and laminate areas. Everything else such as glue and anywhere there is bracing or bridges with joins certainly will be subject to any harsh environments. The folks at magic fluke HQ seem to be pretty good about standing behind their products if issues arise. It's good to hear that they stood behind yours.

ukuleleden
10-27-2015, 12:05 PM
Agree, the price can quickly get into "wow" territory for what you're physically getting. I don't like friction tuners in general. But never minded or had trouble with them on the Flukes and Fleas. Strangely enough, the one time I had PegHeds, I first yanked off a button somehow, then ended up reinstalling the stock friction pegs. Not saying that's a common experience - I haven't heard of anyone else doing that - but it was my experience.

I suppose that goes with just about anything where you can make custom choices. I've seen certain models come with what would otherwise be optional upgrades and certainly they are priced in to the product. I suppose starting from the base product and making significant changes does increase the cost overall . I you feel the upgrades are worthy, then you are probably getting a decent value.

ukuleleden
10-27-2015, 12:07 PM
Well I just dropped an order to magic fluke company today- concert fluke, spruce top, poly fretboard with side markers only (3,5,7,10,12), Grover 4B friction tuners, all black neck and Freemont blackline low g string set. As usual Beth and Phyllis are great to with.

Congratulations! Sounds like a terrific build.

Robtjm
10-28-2015, 03:48 AM
Love my koa Flea! Bought it at a NY Ukefest. It is a second owing to a very slight concavity in the top. I tend to think of this sort of thing as an enhancement rather than a flaw. Its an indication of a possibly lighter than usual build, and a possibly better than usual sound. I think that's the case with my Flea. It came with friction tuners, and down the road I substituted peg heads... because I thought it deserved them.

Robtjm
10-28-2015, 03:53 AM
And I meant to say, I do think the Flea or Fluke is the perfect beginners instrument. Its easy and satisfying to play. And if after a while the player decides either to move up or to give it up, its easy to sell.

ukuleleden
10-28-2015, 02:29 PM
Here's a link to Flea Market Music Jukebox, and there are some cool tracks that Jim recorded with concert Flukes, under the yellow tab marked "Jim Beloff Songs/Recordings." Sounds great to me... Heck, if a koa concert Fluke is good enough for Jim, it's certainly good enough for me. Numbers 1 and 17 are great, both on Flukes.

https://www.fleamarketmusic.com/jukebox/Default.asp

Those tracks 1 and 17 sure do highlight the nice Koa fluke tone and it's clear definition. They are both great examples you linked to underscore a reason for the many kudos that the Flukes (and Fleas) deservingly receive.

Keep enjoying yours!