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View Full Version : Fluke fingerboard suggestion, Should I get the rosewood or stay with plastic.



ps6000
05-10-2009, 05:44 PM
I am going to pull the trigger and get myself a tenor Fluke. My only question now is with the fingerboard. Should I get the plastic or the rosewood? Any suggestions are appreciated!

One of the reasons I like the idea of the Fluke(and flea) is the durability. Is the instrument less durable with rosewood? I don't intend to play low G if that makes a difference. How much does it affect the tone? I have been looking for audio samples that show the difference.

Thanks!

Craig
05-10-2009, 05:51 PM
I am going to pull the trigger and get myself a tenor Fluke. My only question now is with the fingerboard. Should I get the plastic or the rosewood? Any suggestions are appreciated!

One of the reasons I like the idea of the Fluke(and flea) is the durability. Is the instrument less durable with rosewood? I don't intend to play low G if that makes a difference. How much does it affect the tone? I have been looking for audio samples that show the difference.

Thanks!
I once owned a Tenor and Concert Fluke and Soprano Flea that all came with the plastic fretboard. I sent them all to Flea Market for the rosewood upgrade. I do play using the low G, but I'd still have done it anyway. The rosewood feels better on my fingers. However, I can't say that I've noticed a tonal difference.

JT_Ukes
05-10-2009, 05:57 PM
When I bought my concert Flea a year ago , for purely monetary reasons, I went with the plastic. I loved it, played great.

The about a year later i decided to try bending a string.. and heard a "click"

Yep, there was a groove in the fret, shallow, but a groove.

FMM offers free replacement, but I went with the rosewood upgrade. It's awesome. Plays great, nicely finished and looks better.

So, if it's not a money issue, go with the rosewood. if not, the plastic is great too. Maybe I got a bad one, maybe I just rock that hard when I play, I still used it with the notches for two months with no problems.

Both fretboards play beautifully and the intonation was/is spot on with both.


As for tonal difference, I changed strings when I changed the fretboard, so my vids won't help there, but the fretboard should have little or no effect on the tone, as it doesn't vibrate at all. it;s teh strings and sound board and body that effect the tone/sustain of the instrument.

hope I helped some.

JT

ps6000
05-10-2009, 06:08 PM
Thanks for the quick answers. Ready for more questions?

So after purchasing a fluke you can have fmm put a rosewood fingerboard on? Or can you "bolt" it on yourself? How much is the upgrayedd?

haole
05-10-2009, 06:29 PM
FMM does the upgrade; I think it's $75. I have the rosewood fretboard on my Flea, but would've been happy with plastic too. The frets are hard to see on the plastic, though, and there aren't enough fret markers. Either option is good; Flukes rock.

JT_Ukes
05-10-2009, 06:48 PM
It's 85 dollars for the upgrade. You ship it to them, they do the work and they pay return shipping.

So basically 10 dollars more than if you ordered it with the Rosewood in the first place.

It's quick too.

JT

Pippin
05-10-2009, 09:08 PM
If it were me, I'd just buy it with the rosewood in the first place.

ps6000
05-11-2009, 02:30 AM
Everyone, Thanks for the suggestions! I am going to try and find one with rosewood... and a pickup. Looks like if I go with plastic I won't be punching myself though.

jkevinwolfe
05-11-2009, 02:39 AM
You've opened a new can of worms with the pickup. If you get them installed buy Flea Market when they're built, I was told by the their quality control guy/ repair guy that they can build the pickup in before they install the bridge. With piezos this gives the best sound, since they work best under pressure.

Once the bridge is in, you can't remove it. I installed very nice Barcus Berry Insider under the strings just in front of the bridge in my Flea. But it's still not as full sounding as when the factory builds them in.

beeejums
05-11-2009, 03:05 AM
I'm happy with the plastic... I'm going to get some automotive touch-up paint when I get around to it and paint the frets silver, and then I'll be 100% happy.

I do feel just a little jealous when I see the rosewood fretboard... but it doesn't matter that much to me. If you don't intend to play low g, it's purely aesthetics, I think.

JT_Ukes
05-11-2009, 03:26 AM
If you don't intend to play low g, it's purely aesthetics, I think.

Unless. like my experience, you get fret wear.

Just sayin'

ichadwick
05-11-2009, 03:34 AM
I've had two Flukes with the plastic fretboard and they're fine. But it does limit you to unwound strings. On the other hand, plastic isn't susceptible to humidity and environmental issues. It's a toss-up, I suppose.

I'd like one of each. The plastic I plan to keep and take with me when I travel because it's more durable. The rosewood I will likely (when I get it) play more at home and string it with wound Aquilas.

dominicfoundthemooon
05-11-2009, 04:07 AM
in my case i wanted as much of the uke to be plastic as could be. i might be wrong in this. but the less wood.. to me.. meant less humidity problems.. if you notice in my uke names i call this one hard times.. i take my flea in the car, to the bars, around the town.. it has already been dropped a few times.. bumped.. i got it for this reason. i leave the koaloha in the case and at home most days.. the flea is durable and sounds great for the price.. i plan on taking it to the beach this summer.. and if it gets sand in it.. well thats cool! i got mine used 130.. i am sure upgrades are nice..

cpatch
05-11-2009, 04:33 AM
If you don't intend to play low g, it's purely aesthetics, I think.
Low G shouldn't play into the picture, since you can get an unwound low G (Worth, for example).

UKISOCIETY
05-11-2009, 04:40 AM
You've opened a new can of worms with the pickup. If you get them installed buy Flea Market when they're built, I was told by the their quality control guy/ repair guy that they can build the pickup in before they install the bridge. With piezos this gives the best sound, since they work best under pressure.

Once the bridge is in, you can't remove it. I installed very nice Barcus Berry Insider under the strings just in front of the bridge in my Flea. But it's still not as full sounding as when the factory builds them in.

I've compare plastic and rosewood fretboards on the flea and can't discern a difference. But the rosewood is much prettier. I ordered my flea with a pick-up and it sounds great. That's all I can add to this discussion. And, since I believe in economical posting, I'll stop. :D

hoosierhiver
05-11-2009, 06:25 AM
My experience with them is limited, but one thing I like is the plastic fretboard always seems to have perfect low action without any buzzing. With the rosewood fretboard, I suppose there is a chance of the frets heaving out a little or some warping.

mwalimu
05-11-2009, 06:57 AM
I think the intonation is better with metal frets. I can also see them.

JT_Ukes
05-11-2009, 07:43 AM
I think the intonation is better with metal frets. I can also see them.

The intonation on my plastic fretboard was spot on, and as they are all made from the mold, they all should be.

sukie
05-11-2009, 07:46 AM
I've compare plastic and rosewood fretboards on the flea and can't discern a difference. But the rosewood is much prettier. I ordered my flea with a pick-up and it sounds great. That's all I can add to this discussion. And, since I believe in economical posting, I'll stop. :D

I think the plastic fretboards are fine. Use nailpolish or something to mark the frets if it bothers you.

I shall end my post quickly also. I can always add another post if need be.:D

russ_buss
05-11-2009, 07:50 AM
i have both and they both play just fine. i haven't had the problems with the plastic frets wearing down and i've had my fluke for over a year (plus i'm the second owner).

the rosewood does look nicer but i can't tell a difference in sound. they both sound fine, and as JT has mentioned, the intonation is spot on regardless of the material.

UKISOCIETY
05-11-2009, 07:54 AM
i have both and they both play just fine. i haven't had the problems with the plastic frets wearing down and i've had my fluke for over a year (plus i'm the second owner).

the rosewood does look nicer but i can't tell a difference in sound. they both sound fine, and as JT has mentioned, the intonation is spot on regardless of the material.

I've had mine for many year and there's no wear on the frets that I can detect. That's all I can add to this discussion. And, since I believe in economical posting, I'll stop.

sukie
05-11-2009, 08:44 AM
Worth stringz sound great on a flea too!

short post, huh?

Oswegan
05-11-2009, 09:12 AM
Mine has plastic.

The nice thing about the rosewood is you can see what youre doing better because of the metal frets.

Renaissance-Man
05-11-2009, 09:26 AM
I've got both the plastic and rosewood fret boards, on my Flea and Fluke. They're equally satisfying to me.

Link
05-11-2009, 09:29 AM
The black frets have never bothered me. I love the plactic fretboard. I may actually prefer it to wood.

ps6000
05-11-2009, 10:30 AM
I bought a Fluke tenor with the plastic board. If I don't like it I will change it out. I like the idea that at lease that part of the (fl)uke is waterproof.

Thanks for all the thoughts!

:D

Renaissance-Man
05-11-2009, 10:32 AM
You'll love it! Don't give it another thought. :)

experimentjon
05-11-2009, 10:53 AM
Good choice! I have a tenor with plastic fretboard. I love it, and although I haven't tried the rosewood fretboard, I like it, because its something markedly different from the other ukes that I have which are more traditional. I've also had no problems yet with fret wear.

cashew
05-11-2009, 11:56 AM
My fluke tenor has a plastic fretboard... Truth be told, I prefer it to metal, as there is no chance of the ends of the frets jabbing me in the fingers if its not perfectly filed..(its also why my concert kala is my other favorite, theres some sort of overlay that is bonded over the edges that makes it buttery smooth.)

Sparrow
05-11-2009, 04:22 PM
I have a plastic-fretboard Flea that I've been playing for over 5 years. There's noticeable fret wear in a few spots, which causes the strings to buzz when they're played in those spots. I'm going to send it to FMM to have it replaced with a new plastic one.

I also recently got one with a rosewood fretboard, and I've noticed 2 differences from the plastic one: The metal frets are raised higher, which makes it a bit harder to play. You have to press harder on the fretboard. And second, the sound is a bit softer and less "plinky." My theory is that this is because of the all-wood bridge, which probably absorbs more vibrations than the plastic bridge.

I was initially disappointed with the rosewood, because it sounds different and is a bit harder to play, but I'm getting used to it. Now, having played both for a while, I would say that each has its advantages. The plastic is a bit easier to play, but wears over time.

As for the factory-installed pickups, I got the B&B passive pickup, and highly recommend it. The sound is very natural, and it's well worth the $60. I used it at a gig a few weeks ago and it sounded great (plugged into a PA without a preamp). I would never get another Flea without one.

UkeNinja
05-12-2009, 12:02 AM
Frankly, I really don't understand all this talk about "not being able to see the frets". Practice more, so you don't have to count 1-2-3-4-5 every time you want a chord other than wit da open stringz? And whitish nail polish is the perfect answer for worn off fret marks, or painting more / bigger / groovier fret markers on the fretboard.

Fret wear: had /have it on my Mango Fluke, and this thread got me thinking. There is a good chance that beginning players in particular experience this, because they squeeze the lemon juice out of every chord. Plus, every jam start with, comes back to, and ends with the 0003 C-chord: the saem frets are used over and over without much variation. It is my wild guess that more experienced (and more relaxed) players will have less of this problem...

Personally, my Fluke still cries tears of wood resin when I play. Need...to...relax grip...

ps6000
05-15-2009, 05:44 AM
Just got my fluke today!!!!
Now I start the search for decent strings.

Without opening another string thread...

I am leaning towards Worths, any suggestions?

Ukulele JJ
05-15-2009, 07:46 AM
Just got my fluke today!!!!
Now I start the search for decent strings.

Actually, I found that I quite liked the Hilos that came with my Flea.

Yay for your new uke! :shaka:

JJ

JT_Ukes
05-15-2009, 08:55 AM
aquilias really made my flea ring.