View Full Version : A visit to the Magic Fluke Company

09-14-2010, 05:21 AM
Hello all. I was going to post this in intros since I'm a noob, but I think it's better here. I got my first uke (LU-21) a couple of weeks ago and found the UU site and forums. I am a lurker by nature, but thought people might be interested in my visit to the Magic Fluke Company 'factory' in New Hartford, CT.

I wasn't planning to buy uke #2 so soon, but I did some research,and realized that the Magic Fluke Company is literally 10 minutes down the road from me. They're going to move soon, so I didn't want to miss my chance to maybe score one of their discounted seconds.

The building is a little yellow house with a mock up of a fluke hanging outside as a sign, but no other obvious identification. There is an office type room in front and small workshop in back. It's obviously not meant to be a retail store. It's organized but not showy. In the front window is a display of pre-made seconds, both flukes and fleas.

The workroom wall (which would have been a living room originally, I think there was ununused fireplace) was lined with workbenches and also had a large central workbench. There were ukes in various states hanging here and there. The bench closest to the door was covered with neat rows of unfinished flea faceplates, and other stations had similar groups of ukulele bits-in-progress. There were 3 or 4 people in the room. They were working at different 'stations', but from the conversation I had with the woman helping me it sounds like they are all multi-skilled and do a bit of everything, it's not like a widget factory where a worker spends all day doing one thing over and over. As a cubicle worker, it kind of looked like a dream job to me. They were smiley and pleasant as I babbled like an idiot, which is what I do around new people. It was obvious they were there to work and not to talk to me :).

It was neat actually seeing a small number of human beings making a beautiful and useful thing that I could potentially buy- that's a rarity these days.

Anyway, there weren't any seconds on display that appealed to me, but we talked about what I wanted (a tenor flea with a rosewood fretboard) and once we narrowed down the color (green), the woman helping me brought out about a dozen 'imperfect' green faceplates for me to choose from. There was a large variation in grain and color, ranging from olive to emerald green, and the imperfections were barely noticable. I chose my favorite (emerald-y, with tiny knots throughout that were really interesting), and she was also able to find an imperfect rosewood fretboard, which had some light indentations near a few fret markers from being misstamped. Barely noticeable. So the upshot is that I was able to semi-customize my ukulele order with hand picked parts that were seconds, allowing me to get a nice discount. I also got geared tuners and they are stringing it low-g for me, to contrast with my high-g soprano. I'm picking it up today.

Anyway, this was long, congrats if you made it to the end. I hope to wait at least a year before picking up any more ukes. Thinking about a Mainland mahogany concert to kind of fill out the collection.

09-14-2010, 05:47 AM
Great story, thanks for sharing.
Congrats on the new Flea (pictures?)!
Welcome to the UU at last.

09-14-2010, 06:01 AM
Thanks for sharing the story of your visit. Made me feel a little like I was there with you....thanks!

BadLands Bart
09-14-2010, 06:09 AM
That's cool!!! Great story and it sounds like you got a great deal as well.

Thanks for sharing!!!

09-14-2010, 07:15 AM
Nice story. I saw a video tour of their facility online somewhere. Sounds like a dream come true....a semi-custom discounted "second". Hope you post pictures for all of us to enjoy.

You have great taste. The Mainland you are saving for is another terrific value....

Oh! Welcome to UU! No need to limit yourself to lurking. We don't bite....

09-14-2010, 07:57 AM
Where are they moving to? Just a different building? The video tour someone did is awesome, I'd love to visit someday. Good work on the custom second. I still love my tenor Fluke!

09-14-2010, 08:31 AM
They're moving to somewhere in MA that starts with an S. Possibly Sheffield? Not super far away by New England standards, but a lot more than 10 minutes.

09-14-2010, 08:33 AM
Is it Springfield? If so.. I have to make a trip there..

09-14-2010, 08:51 AM
I saw a video tour of their facility online somewhere.

I saved a Magic Fluke Factory Tour video to my YouTube account, but when I call it up now, I get a message that says "This video is private." Too bad. It was a pretty cool video.

09-14-2010, 08:55 AM
Welcome to UU. Cool story - thanks for sharing.

09-14-2010, 01:49 PM
how much are fluke/flea seconds?

Ukulele JJ
09-14-2010, 02:47 PM
how much are fluke/flea seconds?

1/60th the price of a fluke/flea minute?

Ah, but seriously folks... great write-up, acanthous! Welcome to UU and congrats on the new uke!


09-14-2010, 07:32 PM
Great story. Did you snap any photos? Phyllis and Dale are great folks who take the time to meet your needs. I just got my concert denim Flea w/ standard fretboard several days back. Phyllis told me they were moving to MA - the Berkshires, as they were expanding. It is likely I will own a Fluke at some point and a Mainland too (I am rendered hampered presently by indecision on which model). I highly doubt it will be a year before you will own yours.:)

09-15-2010, 03:14 AM
I think they're 20% off, although in my case I think that the fretboard may have been more deeply discounted for some reason, so my total discount was a little higher.

09-15-2010, 03:19 AM
Did you snap any photos?

No pics of the workshop, didn't even think of it :) I will take some photos of the new addition and post them when I have the time.

I'm in heavy duty frugal mode right now- I'll have to earn the next uke by showing respect to the ones I have and practicing til my fingers fall off. Which may happen. The tip of my index finger seems to have a permanent numb spot now.

09-15-2010, 03:23 AM
Is it Springfield? If so.. I have to make a trip there..

Definitely not Springfield. When I mentioned it to my mom (back when I actually remembered the name of the city) she said "ah, it's on the way when we drive to Albany" so it's somewhere in the southwestern corner of MA.

They said they'd probably be moving sometime around mid-October, so we should know soon.

Hippie Dribble
09-15-2010, 03:53 AM
thanks heaps acanthous,

and yes, just as Ryan said, it really did feel like we were there with you to. I had a really clear impression in my mind's eye.

Great story, and, of course, being tucked away here in the Tasmanian bush I am INSANELY JEALOUS!!!! .....*calming down*....welcome along to UU, so many wise heads willing to share their wisdom (and good humour) with those of us who need it! Look forward to some more posts.

cheers and see you on the trail, eugene.