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View Full Version : NUD: Finally joined the club... Koa Tenor Fluke!



Pirate Jim
04-20-2019, 12:02 PM
I've hankered after a Fluke for a long time but the selection on these shores is always limited (rarely see the solid tops or wood fretboards) and I could never justify the cost of importing, taxes, etc. I was delighted to discover two things yesterday:


A koa tenor Fluke for sale
A uke specialist store 20 mins from my house!


So today I went to The Uke Room and picked up the Fluke from Matt who runs it. Fantastic little shop, amazing selection of instruments there and Matt is very knowledgeable when it comes to ukes. (Possibly other things too, who knows?) Special mention to the KM Ukuleles soprano there - first time I've seen on of Kev's in the, er, wood and I came close to buying that one too.

As for the Fluke, many many many of you own them and now I see what all the fuss is about. It sounds pretty much as I expected, which is a good thing, although the koa top gives it more definition than I was expecting from a polycarb back instrument. It's a lot lighter than I thought it would be. It plays sooo easily, that's been the really surprising thing - this should be the instrument given to beginners, it's just a breeze to play. I'm filing this in the "instruments I should have bought years ago" category.

Couple pics below. I remember reading a post where someone said that their Fluke follows them around the house. This one has certainly done that today - so easy to pick up and drop onto its base.

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Jerryc41
04-20-2019, 12:39 PM
Congratulations! Magic Fluke makes very nice instruments, and they're wonderful people.

You might be aware that after a bit of use, you will see scratches in the finish where your fingers hit the top as they strum. I have yet to see an older Fluke, including a koa tenor in our group, that does not have scratches there. A newcomer brought a Flea to our session today, and the printed pineapple design was completely gone from above and below the strings. Now, in all fairness, he plays with a pick, which is much harder on the surface than fingers.

There is a wide assortment of "stick-ons" available, some of which are transparent and virtually invisible.

Enjoy it!

John boy
04-20-2019, 06:17 PM
Wow, what a cool uke! Congratulations, Pirate Jim, what great pick-up for you. I'm curious, how well does that shape of uke sit in your lap when you play sitting down? Is it hard to balance?

kerneltime
04-20-2019, 08:16 PM
Congratulations!! I have the spruce top tenor and love it!

kohanmike
04-20-2019, 09:53 PM
Good on ya mate. The leader of my uke group, Cali Rose, is very keen on Magic Fluke, knows them very well and always touts their ukuleles. I was thinking about buying a beater uke that I could leave lying around when I saw a walnut plastic fret Fluke listed in the Marketplace for $150 shipped, so I bought it. Turns out it had the wrong saddle, so Cali called Magic Fluke and got me three saddles from them for $10 shipped. Made a big difference.

I always use a strap, so I added strap buttons at the neck heal and the upper corner of the flat bottom, but that made the Fluke awkward to play, rotating the top towards me because of the curve of the back, so I moved the button to the lower end of the bottom and that made all the difference.

If you have any problems with the tuners, I highly recommend the soon to be released Graph Tech Ratio Tune-a-lele when they come to the UK, $30 US for a set. I just did an evaluation of them on my Fluke and they're excellent.

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/Fluke strap button.JPG

This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly West near the Beverly Center
9 tenor cutaway ukes, 5 acoustic bass ukes, 11 solid body bass ukes, 9 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 34)

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers

Jerryc41
04-21-2019, 12:44 AM
Good on ya mate. The leader of my uke group, Cali Rose, is very keen on Magic Fluke, knows them very well and always touts their ukuleles. I was thinking about buying a beater uke that I could leave lying around when I saw a walnut plastic fret Fluke listed in the Marketplace for $150 shipped, so I bought it. Turns out it had the wrong saddle, so Cali called Magic Fluke and got me three saddles from them for $10 shipped. Made a big difference.

I always use a strap, so I added strap buttons at the neck heal and the upper corner of the flat bottom, but that made the Fluke awkward to play, rotating the top towards me because of the curve of the back, so I moved the button to the lower end of the bottom and that made all the difference.

If you have any problems with the tuners, I highly recommend the soon to be released Graph Tech Ratio Tune-a-lele when they come to the UK, $30 US for a set. I just did an evaluation of them on my Fluke and they're excellent.


This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly West near the Beverly Center
9 tenor cutaway ukes, 5 acoustic bass ukes, 11 solid body bass ukes, 9 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 34)

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers

That was a good deal, especially with the wooden neck. I'm looking forward to those Ratio tuners. I hope they are making thousands of them because there will be demand. The trick will be fitting them to the uke without leave a mess behind from the original tuners.

frolicks
04-21-2019, 04:12 AM
I completely share Pirate Jim‘‘s experiences and joy about finding a solid top Flea or Fluke in Europe. I was hoping to find a Koa or spruce top model for some time, but they are really rare to find in the EU. Or they are quite expensive. And ordering directly from the US is no option, either. It has become even more expensive with all this crazy custom tariffs idiocy going on recently.

So I was very excited to find a used Flea soprano with a koa top and wooden fretboard about six months back. It‘s a wonderful little instrument and really fun to play. I have really large hands (and I‘m talking junkbox top-like large here), and usually soprano isn‘t my first choice for a uke. Therefore I ordered a Flea with a tenor neck a few years back. It has the standard plywood top, though. But this little koa soprano surely is an easy player. And I agree it‘s the perfect instrument for beginners, safe for the direct tuners, maybe. I don‘t have any issues at all with them, but I know quite a few people who have.

Anyway, to make a long story short: I absolutely share Jim‘s joy.

Pirate Jim
04-21-2019, 05:04 AM
Thanks for the lovely responses all!

Jerry, appreciate the wear warning - I remember reading similar in Baz's review. I don't mind wear, luckily, I fall in the "they're to be played not looked at" camp and I think decent wear shows a well loved instrument!

John boy, the shape is definitely a bit odd at first but after a little experimenting I've found a comfy spot both sitting and standing. I can see why people get the grip strips with them though - it does have a tenancy to rotate if my posture is poor. Still, only had it a couple of days so I'm sure that will improve!

Mike, thanks for the strap tip - I do like a strap but I love the ability to stand it on end so I might pop a pin in on the back of the bottom corner rather than on the bottom itself. Will keep an eye out for those tuners too, ta!

Frolicks, nice to know it wasn't just me. I wonder why MFC don't have a better presence in the EU? The Hawaiian made brands do so it can be cost effective for US manufacturers.

kohanmike
04-21-2019, 07:30 AM
That was a good deal, especially with the wooden neck. I'm looking forward to those Ratio tuners. I hope they are making thousands of them because there will be demand. The trick will be fitting them to the uke without leave a mess behind from the original tuners.
In case you were addressing the first sentence at me, mine has a plastic fretboard. I should mention that the Ratio tuners extend over the edges of the head slightly, doesn't bother me at all but some people won't like it. They also require opening the hole slightly, I overdid one a bit and had to add tape around the ferule to keep it in place. They also have two small screws to hold them in place. They're very precise and well built.

This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly West near the Beverly Center
9 tenor cutaway ukes, 5 acoustic bass ukes, 11 solid body bass ukes, 9 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 34)

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers

UkingViking
04-21-2019, 07:42 AM
Welcome to the Koa Fluke Club :-)

Speaking of straps for a Fluke, I found my own solution with no drilling. See thread below:
https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?132038-Fluke-strap-experiments&highlight=Fluke+strap
It is a bit of work, but it does the job.

When I wanted a Koa Fluke, and couldnt find it in store in the EU, I wrote to a few EU distributors and asked If they would order one for me. I had luck with justecordes.fr, but I guess it was just luck that they were about to order.
It saved me a lot compared to direct import.

cFloor
04-21-2019, 08:08 AM
Congrats on the new uke! I just recently received my first Flea from Magic Fluke and couldn't be happier. They were a pleasure to work with and my instrument came out better than I could have hoped for. Great company!

Jerryc41
04-21-2019, 08:31 AM
Mike, thanks for the strap tip - I do like a strap but I love the ability to stand it on end so I might pop a pin in on the back of the bottom corner rather than on the bottom itself. Will keep an eye out for those tuners too, ta!

Frolicks, nice to know it wasn't just me. I wonder why MFC don't have a better presence in the EU? The Hawaiian made brands do so it can be cost effective for US manufacturers.

Yes, it is nice to stand them on end, but I heard one fall over last week - kinda noisy but no damage.

Magic Fluke is a small operation, and expanding distribution to Europe would be a big move.

Below are pictures of the store outside and their "factory" inside. It's a small, quiet operation.

EDIT: I learned something posting these pictures. I posted a very large picture first, realized my mistake, and posted a smaller version. When I went to delete the large one, I saw that it had been reduced in size automatically. Good to know.

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Pirate Jim
04-21-2019, 10:25 AM
So it might just be a case of supply being limited? Makes sense I guess!

Jerryc41
04-21-2019, 11:09 AM
So it might just be a case of supply being limited? Makes sense I guess!

Production capacity, I would say.

mjh42
04-24-2019, 04:38 PM
Enjoy your new Koa Fluke! I went all out on a spruce top Fluke for my first Uke, concert size, been very happy overall, eventually got the MF strap, it just plan works. A roundish back uke and roundish belly was causing some movement issues while playing and the strap helped enormously with controlling that. My more traditional styled tenor I have not strapped, I just grab on tight with my right arm and it stays right at home. Anyways enjoy the music with your new uke!

M3Ukulele
04-24-2019, 06:10 PM
I upgraded tuners to pegheds. Much nicer. I was under impression all solid Koa Flukes came with pegheds but I guess not. Nice upgrade IMHO. Great looking Koa. I have standard laminate with poly fretboard plays great. Maybe solid top and wooden fretboard some day. Contrats

Pirate Jim
04-25-2019, 01:01 AM
Enjoy your new Koa Fluke! I went all out on a spruce top Fluke for my first Uke, concert size, been very happy overall, eventually got the MF strap, it just plan works. A roundish back uke and roundish belly was causing some movement issues while playing and the strap helped enormously with controlling that. My more traditional styled tenor I have not strapped, I just grab on tight with my right arm and it stays right at home. Anyways enjoy the music with your new uke!

I'd not seen those MF straps before, what a great idea. I too suffer from roundish belly syndrome so a strap will probably become necessary :D


I upgraded tuners to pegheds. Much nicer. I was under impression all solid Koa Flukes came with pegheds but I guess not. Nice upgrade IMHO. Great looking Koa. I have standard laminate with poly fretboard plays great. Maybe solid top and wooden fretboard some day. Contrats

I don't mind friction tuners but I've used Gotoh UPTs before and just think that style are awesome so I may well upgrade at some point. Already wondering if I need a second Fluke to string low G...

bacchettadavid
04-25-2019, 05:17 AM
Matthew Stead, the Uke Room's proprietor, is a first-rate chap. If I didn't live on the other side of the pond, he'd be on my short list for reliable 'ukulele vendors.

CPG
04-25-2019, 05:34 AM
Sweet uke!

Pirate Jim
04-26-2019, 01:20 AM
Matthew Stead, the Uke Room's proprietor, is a first-rate chap. If I didn't live on the other side of the pond, he'd be on my short list for reliable 'ukulele vendors.

I also got him to do a setup on another uke (picked it up yesterday) and he did a stellar job. He also let me play a whole host of K brand ukes, including my first ever tries of a couple of Kamakas. What an absolute treat it was!