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View Full Version : Solid-topped Fleas: Do they need special care (more than the laminate Fleas)?



hendulele
09-02-2017, 09:18 AM
Hi folks,

I'm considering a Koa or Spruce Flea for my next purchase. I've owned a laminate Flea and have a laminate Fluke and a Firefly. I like the wooden fretboard on the Firefly and wonder if the Koa or Spruce tops need more protection from variations in humidity than the regular Fleas?

Thanks!

LimousinLil
09-02-2017, 12:26 PM
Hi folks,

I'm considering a Koa or Spruce Flea for my next purchase. I've owned a laminate Flea and have a laminate Fluke and a Firefly. I like the wooden fretboard on the Firefly and wonder if the Koa or Spruce tops need more protection from variations in humidity than the regular Fleas?

Thanks!

Hi Rick,

I have a walnut Flea (in fact, it was the first uke I ever acquired) and I have never given it any special treatment; although, to be honest, I've never given any special treatment to ANY of my ukes! I think it's just as bomb-proof as the laminate ones, though. Hope this helps!

hendulele
09-02-2017, 12:29 PM
Thank you, Val!

Booli
09-02-2017, 12:40 PM
I'm not sure what the official word is from MFC, but in the winter I've erred on the side of caution and have kept my solid-koa topped tenor Fluke in a case with a home-made humidifier, which is a sandwich-size ziploc bag with a dozen holes punched in it and a wet sponge, inside the soundhole, suspended from the strings...and in 3 yrs have had no issues.

Otherwise when low humidity is not a concern (~25% RH in winter, right now, a comfortable 50% RH on Sept 2), the koa Fluke is out at arms reach all the time.

Might be worth an email to MFC to get a statement from them. If you do contact them, please report back here, and I will link this thread in the Magic Fluke Company Appreciation thread (http://goo.gl/MYu6WV) in case other folks have this question in the future.

http://www.magicfluke.com/Contact-s/1844.htm

or

sales@magicfluke.com

or

The Magic Fluke Company
292 South Main Street
Sheffield, MA 01257

(413) 229-8536

besley
09-03-2017, 05:46 AM
It will be interesting to see what the folks at Magic Fluke have to say about this. But my take would be that it depends on how the top is fastened to the body. On a typical guitar or uke the problem is that when the top is allowed to dry out, it shrinks. And since the top is firmly glued in place along the perimeter, something has to give, and it cracks in the middle to relieve the stress. Now on an instrument with a composite sides and wood top, if the top is not firmly glued in place, but just inset, then it would seem that as the top shrinks, it may just get smaller all around.

So does anybody know how the top on a fluke is mounted?

Ukecaster
09-03-2017, 08:46 AM
IMO, same as any other solid top uke, guitar etc., if you don't want want cracks, keep in the case & humidify.

hendulele
09-03-2017, 03:27 PM
I'm not sure what the official word is from MFC, but in the winter I've erred on the side of caution and have kept my solid-koa topped tenor Fluke in a case with a home-made humidifier, which is a sandwich-size ziploc bag with a dozen holes punched in it and a wet sponge, inside the soundhole, suspended from the strings...and in 3 yrs have had no issues.

Otherwise when low humidity is not a concern (~25% RH in winter, right now, a comfortable 50% RH on Sept 2), the koa Fluke is out at arms reach all the time.

Might be worth an email to MFC to get a statement from them. If you do contact them, please report back here, and I will link this thread in the Magic Fluke Company Appreciation thread (http://goo.gl/MYu6WV) in case other folks have this question in the future.

http://www.magicfluke.com/Contact-s/1844.htm

or

sales@magicfluke.com

or

The Magic Fluke Company
292 South Main Street
Sheffield, MA 01257

(413) 229-8536

Hi Booil,

Here's what I got from Phyllis:

>>Good question since both the spruce and koa are solid soundboards. Here is what my husband and Magic Fluke instrument creator says:

“9 times out of 10 not a problem as long as you take care to keep your Flea away from drying/hot air heat sources.”<<

I may end up sticking with a laminate Flea, possibly with a wooden soundboard (but maybe not), since I also may want to use it as my beach/camping uke.

As to besley's comment, from what I've seen from the website, the tops are glued onto the body.
Wonderful response time from Dale and Phyllis, even so. They're good people!

igorthebarbarian
09-03-2017, 04:36 PM
Here's what I got from Dale a few years ago regarding this same subject. I have a Koa Flea soprano and a Spruce Fluke concert (also just sold a Koa Fluke tenor). I've not done anything other than have them on the floor next to the couch in my apartment.
I've had no issues with any of them. They're great and the ukes that I play the most Day-to-day. My friend's 5-year old just left and he liked the Flea the best but he was a little rough with it- no problems (thankfully)!

"We have had very little problems with the solid wood tops however if the environment is extremely dry, less than 20% humidity, you may want to consider some humidification. On the other hand, extreme changes like we have here in N.E. can be more of a problem with swings of high humidity in the summer to very low with dry heat in the winter.

Dale"

Booli
09-03-2017, 07:10 PM
...Isn't it amazing to be able to ask a question about your uke and get an answer direct from the company owners and uke designer. Not the front end sales team hired by a foreign company to run a sales and marketing plan, but the actual owners.

Yes, and another reason why I am a big fan of MFC, not just for their ukes, but for the folks making them and running the business behind it.

maki66
09-03-2017, 09:09 PM
Here's what I got from Dale a few years ago regarding this same subject. I have a Koa Flea soprano and a Spruce Fluke concert (also just sold a Koa Fluke tenor)....

Dale"

Hey Dale, you sold your koa Fluke tenor to my buddy. It looks GORGEOUS, and sounds AMAZING!