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Joyful Uke
08-03-2016, 06:39 AM
Aside from the shape, is there a difference between the Flea and the Fluke for the concert size? Concert size could be either shape, according to the website.

I was disappointed to see that the Tie Dye Flea doesn't seem to be available anymore, (wish I had gotten that when I first saw it), but it is available as a Fluke.

I know that I'm OK with the shape of the Flea, but have never tried a Fluke.

stevejfc
08-03-2016, 07:05 AM
I'm sure you'll hear from Booli, as he is kind of the resident Flea/fluke expert. Having played both, and owning a Fluke (tie Die by the way), I feel that the Fluke has a somewhat bigger and bassier voice than the Flea. The Flea sounded more traditional ukulele to me. I found the Flea a bit more comfortable to hold as the bottom edges of the Fluke sometimes poke. Either way, unless you're going to use as a beater (leave in the hot/cold car, play in the beach), upgrade to a wood fingerboard and geared tuners. The plastic fretboard and friction tuners leave a lot to be desired.

Sanfe
08-03-2016, 07:08 AM
Aside from the shape, is there a difference between the Flea and the Fluke for the concert size? Concert size could be either shape, according to the website.

I was disappointed to see that the Tie Dye Flea doesn't seem to be available anymore, (wish I had gotten that when I first saw it), but it is available as a Fluke.

I know that I'm OK with the shape of the Flea, but have never tried a Fluke.
If you live in L.A., I have both. The two flukes I have sound different from each other, and the Flea sounds different from the two Flukes. But it all depends how much you're going to listen to the details.

Captain Simian
08-03-2016, 07:19 AM
To, the Flea is a little brighter than the Fluke. I suspect it's because the Flea's rounder shape helps reflect the sound better than the Fluke with their sharper corners.

There's a tie dye flea on eBay, not sure if it's a concert or soprano.

PTOEguy
08-03-2016, 07:32 AM
When I bought my kids ukuleles, one son got a flea and one got a fluke (both concert). Fluke has a larger volume body - and thus a richer, deeper tone - although the difference isn't huge. The Fluke base is a little wider, so it is more stable when set upright on the base. I don't notice much difference in weight, probably because larger body size of the fluke is offset by a shorter neck needed to reach concert scale.

Also - here's a review that includes comparisons of fluke and flea. http://www.gotaukulele.com/2010/10/fluke-ukulele-review.html

Finally - I'd contact the folks at Magic Fluke - they have a statement under the fluke that they don't show all the color combinations on their web site. Plus, I've worked directly with them before and they are great to work with.

Joyful Uke
08-03-2016, 07:35 AM
To, the Flea is a little brighter than the Fluke. I suspect it's because the Flea's rounder shape helps reflect the sound better than the Fluke with their sharper corners.

There's a tie dye flea on eBay, not sure if it's a concert or soprano.

I was wondering about the sharp corners on the Fluke. Seems like it might not be comfortable, as stevejfc mentioned.

I never think about eBay for some reason. Took a look, and it's a soprano. I wonder why they dropped the tie dye Flea. Maybe I should email them and ask about it.

I think that the upgraded tuners would be a good idea. What would be the advantage of the wood neck over the standard neck?

Joyful Uke
08-03-2016, 07:37 AM
When I bought my kids ukuleles, one son got a flea and one got a fluke (both concert). Fluke has a larger volume body - and thus a richer, deeper tone - although the difference isn't huge. The Fluke base is a little wider, so it is more stable when set upright on the base. I don't notice much difference in weight, probably because larger body size of the fluke is offset by a shorter neck needed to reach concert scale.

Also - here's a review that includes comparisons of fluke and flea. http://www.gotaukulele.com/2010/10/fluke-ukulele-review.html

Finally - I'd contact the folks at Magic Fluke - they have a statement under the fluke that they don't show all the color combinations on their web site. Plus, I've worked directly with them before and they are great to work with.

Contacting them seems like the right idea. Thanks.

And thanks for the flea vs. fluke review. I'm off to go look at that now.

Booli
08-03-2016, 08:24 AM
I'm sure you'll hear from Booli, as he is kind of the resident Flea/fluke expert. Having played both, and owning a Fluke (tie Die by the way), I feel that the Fluke has a somewhat bigger and bassier voice than the Flea. The Flea sounded more traditional ukulele to me. I found the Flea a bit more comfortable to hold as the bottom edges of the Fluke sometimes poke. Either way, unless you're going to use as a beater (leave in the hot/cold car, play in the beach), upgrade to a wood fingerboard and geared tuners. The plastic fretboard and friction tuners leave a lot to be desired.

aye - checking in here just now

Lots of good advice here already that mostly matches my own experience, and you might want to check out all of the previous resources where I've contributed to this topic, which are linked to in this post:

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?119495-Fluke-advice&p=1829543#post1829543

I have both Flukes and Fleas...currently...and will be selling a TENOR Flea soon, which they do not offer currently on their web site. Last I checked when I spoke with them was that a TENOR Flea was a special order item, but that was over a yr ago and not sure if they still offer it...

I will confirm that the Fluke body has more low-end frequencies than the Flea. I tried low-g on several Fleas and was not satisfied with the sound, whereas low-g on a Fluke sounds nice like any normal wood uke.

Having said that, you CANNOT use wound strings, i.e., wound low-g on one of these with a plastic fretboard as your will chew down the frets real fast, just think of metal vs. plastic...so if your intent is low-G either get the upgrade for the wooden fretboard, or use an unwound 0.0358" fluorocarbon string for your low-G as comes with most fluoro sets.

The Flea 'sounds' more like a pineapple uke, and can sound nice and bright with the lighter Martin M600 concert strings and the Fluke has a fuller tone overall, with more potential for different tone, depending upon the strings. The Fluke can sound bright OR warm depending upon strings, the Flea is pretty much 'The Flea' and to my ear sounds muted with nylon or Aquila strings (I have tried THEM ALL).

Had I to do-over, after the Lava concert Flea and Koa tenor Fluke, (acquired in that order) as per my linked threads above, instead of getting 2 TENOR Flea next, I would likely have gotten a CONCERT and TENOR Fluke as I personally prefer the sound of the Fluke at the tension of tenor scale, and to me, the Flea, is like it's little brother, and tension and tone on the Lava concert Flea with the Martin M600 strings is crisp, bell-like and very dulcet and easy to play.

Intonation is EXCELLENT out of the box on all of them and the quality control and consistency from one instrument to the next is quite amazing, considering these are built by hand, one at a time by the handful of folks at The Magic Fluke Company, and not by machines on an assembly line in a chinese factory.

Also, if you want an UNDERSADDLE pickup, get the upgrade from MFC at the time of order, for after the fact there's no way to do the install yourself with the one-piece molded bridge, and with the two-piece saddle/bridge you will be drilling holes right into the top bracing underneath and likely will kill the tone.

I have confirmed this with a mirror and having said all that, installing a surface transducer pickup yourself, later on is easy-peasy, but unless your fingers are like 8" long you will never be able to attach the pickup to the bridge plate, but it works well and sounds good placed just behind the top brace that is near the bridge-side of soundhole.

I HIGHLY encourage you to examine the links included in my post referenced above.

Any other questions - I am happy to share what I've learned hands on with 4 of their instruments now...

BTW: Reason for selling the tenor Flea is because I have too many ukes that are unplayed (more than a dozen), am now forced by my CFO to adhere to the one-in/one-out rule (one just came in), AND will be moving soon to a MUCH SMALLER home or apartment. I love the Flea and Fluke ukes, but cannot justify redundancy at this time.

Joyful Uke
08-03-2016, 08:42 AM
Lots of good advice here already that mostly matches my own experience, and you might want to check out all of the previous resources where I've contributed to this topic, which are linked to in this post:

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?119495-Fluke-advice&p=1829543#post1829543]

Thanks, Booli. For some reason, I don't do well at searching for previous posts on UU, (though I often stumble on other interesting things in the process.) I am heading off to take a look at your links.

I appreciate you sharing your experiences with the Fleas and Flukes.

It doesn't look like tenor Fleas are available anymore, but tenor Flukes are.

It might be in your other links, (I didn't check yet - but will), but I'm wondering about the size differences between the Flea and the Fluke.

Thanks again for your input.

Booli
08-03-2016, 09:34 AM
Thanks, Booli. For some reason, I don't do well at searching for previous posts on UU, (though I often stumble on other interesting things in the process.) I am heading off to take a look at your links.

I appreciate you sharing your experiences with the Fleas and Flukes.

It doesn't look like tenor Fleas are available anymore, but tenor Flukes are.

It might be in your other links, (I didn't check yet - but will), but I'm wondering about the size differences between the Flea and the Fluke.

Thanks again for your input.

I'm glad to help.

Keep in mind that whether soprano, concert or tenor the BODY size of the Flea or Fluke does NOT change, only the scale length and thus neck length.

Also, I'm pretty sure that the neck/freboard/headstock on Flea vs. Fluke are identical in as much as I cannot tell them apart, and I'm very particular about how an instrument feels...

So really it comes down to:

1. scale length
2. sound: Flea (with less bass) or Fluke (with fuller tone range)
3. shape: (comfort to hold) (I use a strap on all mine, unless I am laid back with my feet up)
4. upgrades: (wooden fretboard, PEGHEDS, which if any pickup) or not

Here is a summary chart from MFC:
http://i.imgur.com/YnxCNhW.png

:)

PTOEguy
08-03-2016, 09:48 AM
I'm sure you'll hear from Booli, as he is kind of the resident Flea/fluke expert. Having played both, and owning a Fluke (tie Die by the way), I feel that the Fluke has a somewhat bigger and bassier voice than the Flea. The Flea sounded more traditional ukulele to me. I found the Flea a bit more comfortable to hold as the bottom edges of the Fluke sometimes poke. Either way, unless you're going to use as a beater (leave in the hot/cold car, play in the beach), upgrade to a wood fingerboard and geared tuners. The plastic fretboard and friction tuners leave a lot to be desired.

I'm a fan of the plastic fretboard - my firefly banjo uke had a wood fretboard and I liked the feel and intonation of the plastic fretboard better. Although if you want to use wound strings, the wood fretboard is the only option. Agree that the friction tuners can be a bit challenging.

Joyful Uke
08-03-2016, 10:25 AM
I'm glad to help.

Keep in mind that whether soprano, concert or tenor the BODY size of the Flea or Fluke does NOT change, only the scale length and thus neck length.

I hadn't realized that. Another thing to ponder.

You're a wealth of information!

Have you tried both the plastic and wood necks? Intonation is very important to me, so I do wonder about any difference in intonation - but also would like to try low G, which would make wood the way to go. Hmmm. Many things to think about.

Booli
08-03-2016, 11:08 AM
...Have you tried both the plastic and wood necks?

Yes, both...(FYI the NECK is wood, it is only the fretboard that is either wood or plastic)

I have the rosewood fretboard on the Koa Tenor Fluke and Walnut w/birch rosette Tenor Flea

and

polycarbonate fretboards on the Lava Concert Flea and Hibiscus Red Tenor Flea.


...Intonation is very important to me, so I do wonder about any difference in intonation

Intonation is about as close as you're gonna get about +/- 1 cent, all the way from fret 1 to fret 12 on all 4 of mine. In fact, when I first got the Lava concert Flea, after playing it exclusively for about 2 weeks, going back to my other ukes, I could NOT play them because the intonation was so poor (but I did not know this previously) and then forced myself to learn how to perfect doing the compensation at both nut and saddle on ALL my other ukes, to make them playable.

Intonation that is off by +/- 3 cents is so grating to me that I cannot listen to it now, so whatever your hearing perception is CURRENTLY, it will in fact become MORE DISCRIMINATING and thus IMPROVED when you play an instrument with better intonation, such as a Fluke or Flea, but be prepared, there IS NO GOING BACK, and you will be forever tormented by instruments that are not tuned well or intonated well on unto the future.

I was warned about this by fellow UU brother OldePhart (John) many yrs ago here on UU, but did not think it was real, but it IS real.

To me, bad intonation is like fingernails on a chalkboard while simultaneously you die the death of a thousand cuts

...once you 'cross over'...(like being bitten by a vampire or werewolf LOL)...you are kinda now cursed with better hearing...

...but the benefit is also that you can tune a uke to itself, almost perfectly BY EAR, since your hearing perception and acuity has improved. So for me there is definitely an upside. However, like most things YMMV.


...but also would like to try low G, which would make wood the way to go. Hmmm. Many things to think about.

There are LOTS of options in string sets for UNWOUND low-g as well as singles from Aquila (REDS), Fremont, Worths and PhD strings.

For WOUND low-G yes, you need to the rosewood fretboard. Over a short time you will chew ruts in the 'frets' that are molded into the polycarbonate fretboard, as well as wear little valleys in the other parts that are not the frets...then you need to send the uke back to MFC to get the fretboard replaced, which IIRC they will cover the parts and labor but you pay shipping both ways, so new fretboard, installed by the maker for ~$40 or so is not bad, but can be avoided.

HOWEVER in 3 yrs, and LOTS of play time, I see zero wear on my Lava concert Flea with the polycarbonate fretboard, and I started with Aquila Nylguts, then Worth Brown CL and now have had Martin M600 strings on it for over a year as the strings of choice. The RED Tenor Flea also shows zero wear on the frets after 1 yr.

Martin strings are getting installed on more of my ukes over time because they have longer sustain and better intonation than ALL the other more than dozen brands, and more than dozen variations within brands of strings I've tried. - and the tensions seems about right where it takes little effort to fret the strings - but I digress....

rappsy
08-03-2016, 11:20 AM
I was wondering about the sharp corners on the Fluke. Seems like it might not be comfortable, as stevejfc mentioned.



This is where I had my problems. For me, the design of the Fluke has the corners digging into my arms as I play and I would look down and find nice sized welts. I found the Flea much more comfortable.

Booli
08-03-2016, 11:43 AM
This is where I had my problems. For me, the design of the Fluke has the corners digging into my arms as I play and I would look down and find nice sized welts. I found the Flea much more comfortable.

Using a strap will remove this problem and you wont have to squish the Fluke against your body and depend upon the grip-strips to keep it from sliding away

One of the links embedded in the page I linked to above, will take you to a lengthy discussion about strapping a Flea or Fluke and many solutions offered there by myself and a few other members here...

maybe it's worth a look?

When I am NOT using a strap and also since I am 'blessed' with a 'beer gut' that I cannot remove yet despite my best efforts (and I rarely drink beer any more), the 'beer gut' acts as a convenient 'uke shelf' and provides a nice pocket to support the uke if you lean back a little...but if you are fit and of a more athletic stature, you will likely not have this 'option'. LOL.

stevejfc
08-03-2016, 12:39 PM
Using a strap will remove this problem and you wont have to squish the Fluke against your body and depend upon the grip-strips to keep it from sliding away

One of the links embedded in the page I linked to above, will take you to a lengthy discussion about strapping a Flea or Fluke and many solutions offered there by myself and a few other members here...

maybe it's worth a look?

When I am NOT using a strap and also since I am 'blessed' with a 'beer gut' that I cannot remove yet despite my best efforts (and I rarely drink beer any more), the 'beer gut' acts as a convenient 'uke shelf' and provides a nice pocket to support the uke if you lean back a little...but if you are fit and of a more athletic stature, you will likely not have this 'option'. LOL.
Ok, I'll volunteer to try the beer gut option........purely for scientific purposes of course.

Booli
08-03-2016, 12:52 PM
Ok, I'll volunteer to try the beer gut option........purely for scientific purposes of course.

HA HA - maybe we should apply for a research grant to test the veracity of these claims...

Beer? - check
Ukes? - check
Fun Folks to play with? - check

You can count me in - where do I sign up?

stevejfc
08-03-2016, 12:57 PM
It's amazing how ones' playing improves after a couple beers,................

bnolsen
08-03-2016, 06:20 PM
have to agree with booli. my first good instrument was a concert fluke and it set the standard for intonation for every uke I've had since.

I had a concert flea and concert fluke for a while. My wife and kids preferred the tone of the fluke so I got rid of the flea. I wasn't really playing the fluke much so ended up selling that last year to finance a tenor ukulele which I use for finger picking reentrant.

The fluke is holdable without a strap, you just need to hold it a bit higher i think and cradle it more into your elbow.

Of the 2 a fluke has a more unique sound so it may be a better purchase for variety's sake.

I just wish the fluke had a lanyard hook like the flea does.

ScooterD35
08-03-2016, 08:46 PM
My 50th birthday present from my family was a Tie Dye concert Flea with a rosewood fretboard. I also have a tenor Koa Fluke and a soprano Firefly.

When it comes to instruments from The Magic Fluke Co., you really can't make a bad choice. They really are wonderful instruments, made by some of the nicest people in the Ukeiverse.


Scooter

PTOEguy
08-04-2016, 06:24 AM
When it comes to instruments from The Magic Fluke Co., you really can't make a bad choice. They really are wonderful instruments, made by some of the nicest people in the Ukeiverse.


Scooter

I agree wholeheartedly.

Joyful Uke
08-05-2016, 11:13 AM
In case anyone else was curious:
They hadn't been doing the tie-dye Fleas, (and some other designs as well), but just got a new machine that will allow them to do that again. They haven't yet tried a tie-dye on the new machine, but they assume it won't be a problem. You would just have to call them to place the order, since it's not on the website.

I'm still in the deciding stage for myself, but thought that maybe someone else would be interested in the response I got from them.

ETA:
I noticed that the website says:
"Solid maple or walnut neck; laminate birch, walnut, mahogany, or solid
spruce or koa soundboard."

I didn't realize that there might be a choice in woods with a Flea, so thought I'd mention it, in case anyone else didn't realize that.

They told me that "the Tie Dye would probably come with a walnut neck, unless you prefer the lighter maple neck, your choice. The soundboard would be a birch laminate."

There is lot more to the Flea than I had realized.