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Skottoman
06-26-2009, 10:08 AM
For my 40th Bday I booked a trip to Ireland, Spain, and France to see some good friends. My wife bought me a black Flea, and a silver and black sharpie to take on my trip.

What a great experience travelling with a uke is. I played in the pubs of Ireland, the Pyrenees mountains of Spain, and the streets of Lyon France. I had all my friends sign it, and draw on it. It has English, Spanish, Catalonian, Polish, Irish, and French on it.

I will remember and treasure it. Anyone else done something like this? Great momento. Sorry for the bad pix...

Cheers,
Skottoman

ritzer012
06-26-2009, 10:10 AM
that is an awesome idea and i couldnt think of a better souvenir!

iamsam
06-26-2009, 10:12 AM
1st of all your wife is awesome.
2nd your trip sounds equally if not more awesome.
3rd I'm envious of both. :)

RevWill
06-26-2009, 10:15 AM
That is awesome! What a memento!

Ukulele JJ
06-26-2009, 10:36 AM
That's brilliant!

If you keep playing it, I suspect the stuff on the back of the neck might rub off. :( I wonder if there's some sort of protectant you could use that wouldn't affect the playability?

(Or you could just "retire" that one and get yourself another Flea for playing!)

JJ

Skottoman
06-26-2009, 10:48 AM
Yeah, some of the sharpie on the neck has already started rubbing off, but I think that adds to the character. I already have a concert flea, so I really don't need to play this one much.

I thought about spraying it with some sort of fixative, but would be afraid to ruin it. It's just perfect as it, with smears and all. And more smears would give it even more character. I would have left food spilled on it if it happened, because i want it to show where I was. heh.

At first I thought it would be a pain to travel with because i travel really light, (1 backpack), but it was pretty easy, and a joy to just play in the streets and see what people did.
Cheers,
Skottoman

Skottoman
06-26-2009, 10:58 AM
These are the only photos of the Travel Flea on it's adventure.... Kinda wish I had more...
Cheers,
Skottoman

haole
06-26-2009, 11:00 AM
That's amazing! What a great idea for travel! I need to do this.

iamsam
06-26-2009, 11:03 AM
quickly spray a clear coat on there before it fades any more!

Skottoman
06-26-2009, 11:27 AM
Well, as long as I don't really play it, it won't fade any more. But I'll look into a clear coat at some point. For now, it's retired from it's journey, and will be pulled out for show and tell. :)
Cheers,
Skottoman

Ukulele Jim
06-26-2009, 11:37 AM
What a brilliant idea! I do believe I might steal that idea someday...

Skottoman
06-26-2009, 12:04 PM
Please do steal the idea! :shaka: I think everyone who ukes should do something like that if they travel. Could be a different uke, but I think the basic soprano flea is the best for it. If I did it again, I would probably get the natural wood color flea, and use multicolored sharpies. I thank my wife for the idea, it was a great 40th bday present I'll always remember. Plus it gives a good conversation piece and is fun to get people to sing along with. I was in the Pyranees mountains playing Bob marley songs with Spanish friends singin... "One love.... One heart... Let's get together and feel alright".

Hard to beat that!

Cheers,
Skottoman

Pueo
06-26-2009, 01:03 PM
That is a wonderful idea! I wished I had thought of that (or my wife had thought of that) when we went to Europe, it would have been a lot of fun. I definitely will steal this idea on our next trip.

CoffeeMate
06-26-2009, 01:14 PM
Very :cool: Sounds like an amazing trip. The idea is brilliant, your married to one smart cookie

KC8AFW
06-26-2009, 03:27 PM
That is so awesome. I would definately protect it...sharpies will fade and wear over time (even if you don't play it). I recomment this:

http://www.krylon.com/products/fusion_for_plastic/

Skottoman
06-26-2009, 04:32 PM
I guess if I were to "coat" it, I should de-string, and mask off the fretboard. Also just mask off the tuners, and spray the whole thing... plastic and all...
Cheers,
Skottoman

cocohonk
06-26-2009, 06:44 PM
It looks amazing, and a great idea! Must have been loads of fun to travel with a uke.

I think the silver sharpie looks great against the black. But then again, I'm also a bit biased.

micromue
06-27-2009, 05:00 AM
Great Idea! I always take a different uke for travelling. Most times I am carrying one of the basic Bruekos with me, especially the flat ones. Right now I am thinking about buying a black flea and pimp it with some cool stickers for my trip to japan this autumn. Tré cool!

Never forget: Ukes are made for traveling!

Skottoman
06-27-2009, 06:48 AM
Yeah, I thought about getting a Kala Travel Uke, but the flea is pretty indestructible, and stood up well to being tossed around. The black was great for writing on, and got a lot of looks everywhere I went. The wife did a great job on the present!

Highly recommended!
Cheers,
Skottoman

Ahnko Honu
06-27-2009, 01:11 PM
I guess if I were to "coat" it, I should de-string, and mask off the fretboard. Also just mask off the tuners, and spray the whole thing... plastic and all...
Cheers,
Skottoman

Definitely remove the strings, and restring after clear coat dries. I'd want to preserve the signature as they were first written without wear.
This is a great idea but for those on a budget like myself, and you plan on it being a hall-hanger after your return maybe a more economical alternative might me a Black Makala. ;)
http://cgi.ebay.com/MAKALA-sparkle-black-SOPRANO-UKULELE-aquilas-HEAR-VIDEO_W0QQitemZ270416684129QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_D efaultDomain_0?hash=item3ef6172461&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=65%3A10|66%3A2|39%3A1|240%3A1318|301%3A0 |293%3A1|294%3A50
http://i7.ebayimg.com/02/i/001/22/98/ca4a_1.JPG
Another option too to the silver paint pen would be gold, nice contrast on the black body.

LazyRiver
06-27-2009, 03:58 PM
I love that idea. Thanks for sharing it with us. It makes want to run out and get flea. The travel sticker idea sounds cool, too.

-- Al

Skottoman
06-28-2009, 03:32 AM
Another option too to the silver paint pen would be gold, nice contrast on the black body.

I also took a gold and white paint pens. I tested them on the neck, and the gold tended to rub off. Plus while someone was shaking the gold pen, it spewed all over the Irish pub we were in, getting on our poor friends white pants. Thus the gold paint pen was sacrificed.:( The white paint pen was used for the dots on around the sound hole and some other places.

The main problem with the paint pen, is that it takes some time to dry, and when being mobile, (or drinking in a pub), that could lead to a mess.

So the sharpies seemed to be the best and cleanest way, even though some smeared.

If I clear coat the entire uke, should I use satin, or gloss? Prob satin? Do you think there is any danger of the sharpie ink 'melting' due to clear coat paint?
Cheers,
Skottoman

KC8AFW
06-28-2009, 05:50 AM
Again, I recommend the Krylon Fusion because it is specifically formulated to be used on plastic. Some of the other paints will "bead up" and won't adhere to the plastic.

Remove the strings and mask off anything you don't want painted (fretboard, bridge, tuners, etc...). I would remove the tuners, if possible. Find something to hang your uke by the headstock. Now, here's the most important part...from at least a foot away, lightly spray the first coat to get just a fine mist of paint on your uke. Yes, the paint will re-liquify the solvent-based ink of the sharpie, but if you use light coats it won't smear or run.

Let that first coat dry to the touch (30 minutes or so), then do it again. Make sure you get 5 or 6 light coats of paint on it (being sure to let it dry between coats)to protect the writing...then you can put 1 or 2 heavier coats to get a nice looking finish. And by heavier, I mean just enough that it looks "wet", but not enough that the paint runs.

Also...keep that can moving. You don't want to spray in one spot, because it will make the paint run. Start you spray pointed away from the uke and "sweep" across it. That will help to get a nice even coat. Let it dry completely before you touch it (3 or 4 hours...the directions on the can will tell you), then put it someplace safe to let the paint cure for about a week.

You could get a scrap piece of plastic and write on it with a sharpie and practice painting it to get your technique down.

Hope this helps.

Skottoman
06-28-2009, 06:14 AM
Wow! Thanks for all the good technique!
I'm still a little hesitant to mess up my momento, but I will get some of the krylon and think about it.
Thanks!
Skottoman

Skottoman
07-27-2009, 03:24 PM
Just to update this if anyone was curious, or doing the same thing...

I de-strung, and de-tuner'd, and masked off the bridge and fretboard of my Lava Flea Travel Uke. Then I bought some Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic.

http://www.krylon.com/products/crystal_clear_acrylic/

I said it works on plastic, and that it did. I hung my uke in my basement, and gave it about 6 light coats all over. The finish says gloss, but I was afraid to do too thick a coat so it has ended up with a nice satin/gloss finish. Somewhat orangepeeled, but it is even so it looks nice. I let it dry for a week. Used about 3/4 of the can.

The texture is a little different, but it covered nicely. I restrung with the original strings...(Hey, they traveled with me as well), and it is ready to go.
Of course the strings sound like crap now, I think new strings would make it sound better, or maybe it's the clearcoat, but it is not as bright sounding.

I don't mind, as it is now back to it's original playable condition with a coating on it so my momento signatures will be saved! :)
WOOHOO!!!
Cheers,
Skottoman

EDIT: The strings are settling in now and sound fine, just mellower than my Tiki Concert Flea. Love this little uke!

EDIT #2: Not sure I'll be able to keep these strings. Just sound very dull to me... Is this normal for re-strung strings?

BrotherUke
07-27-2009, 03:57 PM
That's just fantastic. What a memento. I'll bet if you send it to Fleamarket they will clear coat it for you. They have a Flea/Fluke museum on their site http://fleamuseum.blogspot.com/ and I'd bet this would be a candidate for a posting there.

gabzuke
07-28-2009, 03:07 AM
WOW id love to do that
but i need to get a flea first haha

RevWill
07-28-2009, 03:55 AM
That's just fantastic. What a memento. I'll bet if you send it to Fleamarket they will clear coat it for you. They have a Flea/Fluke museum on their site http://fleamuseum.blogspot.com/ and I'd bet this would be a candidate for a posting there.

I'll second that. This is a superb idea!

Skottoman
07-28-2009, 05:01 AM
I have submitted my TRAVEL FLEA to the fleamuseum, and they seem to be wanting to post it!
Woohoo!

GO TRAVEL FLEA!!!
Cheers,
Skottoman

UkeNinja
07-28-2009, 05:55 AM
That is a pretty friggin' cool Flea you have there. Very cool! Love the story, thanks for sharing and for putting some good pics with it. Great stuff.

Only one thing to do...
:nana::nana::nana::nana:

BrotherUke
07-28-2009, 05:59 AM
I have submitted my TRAVEL FLEA to the fleamuseum, and they seem to be wanting to post it!
Woohoo!

Cool:cool:

I'll be seeing Jim Beloff at a uke workshop this Thursday night. I'll be sure to bring this to his attention.

dominicfoundthemooon
07-28-2009, 06:47 AM
is that a matallic sharpie?

Skottoman
07-28-2009, 07:59 AM
It was a regular silver sharpie. I guess it's metallic. Worked pretty well. Better than the paint pens I tried.

If I were to do it again, I might get a natural colored flea, and use all sorts of colored sharpies....

Hell, I just might do it again for another trip! Someday I may have a complete collection of signed TRAVEL FLEAS!

Cheers,
Skottoman

pebbleInDaPacific
07-28-2009, 09:39 AM
That is awesome! even the way the writing is laid out, they should market a flea with that design and call it the "signature" uke. showcase that baby on your wall! looks great!

Skottoman
07-29-2009, 01:41 PM
YAY! My Travel Flea is now part of the FLEA MUSEUM!!!

Listed as the Graffiti Flea!
WOOHOO!!!

http://fleamuseum.blogspot.com/2007/07/grafitti-flea.html

KC8AFW
07-29-2009, 01:57 PM
YAY! My Travel Flea is now part of the FLEA MUSEUM!!!

Listed as the Graffiti Flea!
WOOHOO!!!

http://fleamuseum.blogspot.com/2007/07/grafitti-flea.html

That is totally "Rock Star"! :music: Congrats!!!

cocohonk
07-29-2009, 08:54 PM
Oh, wow! That's awesome. A uke as a travelogue of sorts is really a great thing to do.

Your travel uke is actually one of the reasons why I AM lusting after a lava flea. :D

Drewkulele
07-30-2009, 04:48 AM
YAY! My Travel Flea is now part of the FLEA MUSEUM!!!

Listed as the Graffiti Flea!
WOOHOO!!!

http://fleamuseum.blogspot.com/2007/07/grafitti-flea.html

Hey, Scott, we're totally thrilled to be able to showcase your excellent Graffiti Flea on the Flea Museum website, so, thank you so much for showing it to us!

And, if anyone else here has a Flea (or a Fluke) they've customized in any way, don't be shy, let us know about it and, who knows, your uke could be the next addition to the Flea Museum, too!

See ya,
Drew
Visit the Fluke Museum, too: http://FlukeMuseum.blogspot.com

portlandjosh
02-04-2010, 07:31 PM
What a great story. Love this, thanks so much for sharing.