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View Full Version : Visited Magic Fluke today



ksiegel
03-16-2011, 12:45 PM
Hey there!

As you all know, meaning I am about to tell you, Magic Fluke Co. recently moved from Connecticut to Sheffield, MA. As that is only about 70 miles from my house, (about 90 minutes, thanks to some slow secondary backroads), I dropped Magic Fluke an email back in December, asking about tours.

Phyllis answered very quickly, and said I was welcome, just check first to make sure that they'd be there.

Today was the day.

I was pleased to meet Dale and Phyllis, and several of their staff (Hi to Beth & Lucy), and told to feel free to look at anything, ask questions, and play any of the instruments that were there. (Oh PLEASE don't throw me into the Brier Patch!)

Phyllis told me that I was really the first non-member of the Fluke family to see the new place, and Dale told me I was welcome to post some photos. Since I forgot my camera, and my cell phone ran out of juice (The GPS sucked down the battery while driving down), I only got to take 3 at the shop.

21617
This was taken in the side hallway, between the office and the shop. I played every one of the ukuleles in the phot0, plus a few not visible. This area is going to be a Retail Area. Just about all of the Flea Market Music books are there, plus loads of others, DVDs (including Mighty Uke and Play By Ear), t-shirts, and tuners.

While I was playing, Dale brought out the prototype banjo Ukulele that was in the NAMM video the UU guys did. So I started to play. And kept playing.

Man, was it sweet! I didn't want to put it down, and told Phyllis I'd buy it on the spot. Then she told me about the waiting list.

Then, Dale bought out a Banjo Uke body/neck that was in the works. Completely different neck at the heel, and he showed me a new tailpiece they had designed - one piece, easier to attach the strings, and makes it easy to adjust the neck angle.

Then, he brought out another finished prototype - darker neck and pot, and a different type of synthetic head. It gave the instrument a much punchier, much louder voice. Here's a shot of the two prototypes:

21618

When I was in the shop, they had the finished ukes lined up, ready for final Quality Assurance and packing when the order was complete. I recognized one customer - but I futzed up the list, because what he's getting is HIS business, not mine! (Hi, MGM!)
21619

I did order a Banjo Uke - after playing them both, I just couldn't resist. Lucy told me that they'd get back to me in early April, because they need to complete the existing orders before mine can get made.

But I didn't leave empty handed! However, I can only upload 5 photos, so that has to wait....

(To Be Continued!)

cletus
03-16-2011, 12:49 PM
What fun! Thanks for sharing.

ksiegel
03-16-2011, 01:17 PM
I played all of the Factory Seconds that were in the hallway, and except for the one that was explained to me, I couldn't see what made the instruments seconds.

Some had Hilo strings, some had Aquila. Most had the polycarbonate fretboard, but there were some rosewood in the mix. The tops were various colors, including at least one signed "Tiki King", as well as natural. Two even had pickups.

As stated, I played all of the 2nds, and several of the first quality that were labeled "Xtra" - they had yet to be spoken for. The soprano sizes were not bad - the scale is, as Dale explained, slightly longer than a true soprano ukulele. That leads to less cramping in my fingers, especially above the 5th fret. (I'm not differentiating between the Flukes and Fleas at the moment, because both were just fine.)

I had pretty much decided that I wanted a concert size, since I've already got two tenors. However, all of the ukes were very nice, but I found I really preferred the rosewood fretboards, and one of the instruments I kept coming back to again and again.

All but one of the sopranos had a polycarbonate fretboard. For that matter, there was but one concert sized Fluke with a rosewood fretboard And that one had the laminated mahogany top, and Peghead tuners, rather than the Grover 2B friction tuners. A serious drool was starting.

Beth gave me a price on the first quality concert model with the Pegheads, and my mind was made up. Since I couldn't have the Firefly Banjo Uke (today), I grabbed the factory 2nd I'd kept coming back to.

This is what I got:
21622
A tenor Fluke, laminated mahogany top,
21623Peghead Tuners,
walnut neck, rosewood fretboard, 21624 bubinga bridge,
21626b-band transducer with preamp, and Aquila strings.
21625 yes, it is a second, but my ears can't tell, and Dale was forthright about why it was a second - the original battery holder didn't work, and the dislodged battery caused to issues with the label, and the battery connector had to be replaced.

So I got the instrument for over 40% off of the New Tenor price, and about 20% less than a new straight acoustic concert size.

How could I not buy it?

If I ever figure out how to make a video, I'll upload a comparison between my Cordoba, Kala, and the Fluke.

Aloha!

-Kurt

ksiegel
03-16-2011, 01:22 PM
Did I mention that Dale, Phyllis, Beth and Lucy were all just super, tremondously friendly, and just a joy to meet? Because if I didn't, I was remiss!


-Kurt

Plainsong
03-16-2011, 01:41 PM
They always strike me as awesome people. I wish Fluke and Flea would take off here. They'd sell like hotcakes.

dkcrown
03-16-2011, 02:49 PM
I have been conversing with Beth via email and on the phone since last December about all the new models and ordering a tenor Fluke with the optons that I was looking for. I finally made up my mind and placed my order last Friday for a new Red Aloha model.

But guess what. Today I changed my mind. I decided to have one custom painted instead. I called Beth and she couldn't have been nicer. Nooooo problem. She is sending a fluke top out to me to be painted and then I'll ship it back to them to be assembled on my new tenor.

Great company.

Sanagi
03-16-2011, 03:16 PM
Flukes are such a great design and I always love to hear that good things are made by good people.

iDavid
03-16-2011, 03:17 PM
do flukes and fleas all have laminate tops, or at least most of them? Is that why they are so durable?

soupking
03-16-2011, 03:21 PM
They only make one solid top koa model. All the rest are laminate. But I'd say it's the overall construction that makes them durable. The plastic backs are just tough, and the beefy, solid necks they use are rugged. Plus, I've had a Flea in all kind of weather conditions, and the tuners are always in tact. They're probably one of the best all-around brands I've played.

Plainsong
03-16-2011, 03:56 PM
It was down to -20C over Christmas, and the trip from indoors to the heated car was enough to make the tuners go wonky. But hey, that's -20C and it was only in a gig bag. :)

Edit - I forgot to add that I did something you'd never do with anything else - I immediate took it out once we were seated at the fireplace. No waiting for it to acclimate or anything. I mean come on, the tuners slipped, but they would! :)

mm stan
03-16-2011, 08:28 PM
Aloha Kurt,
Mahalo for sharing your experiences at the Magic Fluke company..sounds like you had a wonderful time...and Congrats on your new fluke, I agree...who could pass all that up....Happy Strummings, MM Stan

Hippie Dribble
03-16-2011, 10:10 PM
awesome Kurt. Just awesome. fantastic description of the experience, felt like I was there. my favorite thread of the year so far. :)

Mandarb
03-17-2011, 03:07 AM
Sounds like a good time. Congrats on the new uke. Thanks for sharing.

joeybug
03-17-2011, 03:18 AM
:confused: I though Jim and Liz Beloff owned Flea Market Music and did the Flukes and Fleas?? I'm obviously lost somewhere!

Sounds like a great trip, and a nice Ukulele to come away with too! Thanks for sharing :D

ksiegel
03-17-2011, 05:41 AM
Joey, either Dale or Phyllis is Liz Beloff's sibling. I forget which one, but it is in the history of Magic Fluke.

I haven't met Jim or Liz, but if they are half as nice as Dale and Phyllis, they are wonderful people.

-kurt

fitncrafty
03-17-2011, 05:42 AM
It's just gorgeous Kurt!! I am SO incredibly jealous you went!! :) At least I hope to get to see the new uke soon!
Think we need to make an afternoon jam.. maybe get some ukers to meet up at the park on Saturday or Sunday afternoon... It's SO beautiful out there!! yeah!!

congrats again!!

joeybug
03-17-2011, 05:48 AM
Joey, either Dale or Phyllis is Liz Beloff's sibling. I forget which one, but it is in the history of Magic Fluke.

I haven't met Jim or Liz, but if they are half as nice as Dale and Phyllis, they are wonderful people.

-kurt

Thanks for explaining Kurt! I knew there had to be a connection somewhere!

Ambient Doughnut
03-17-2011, 06:23 AM
So there's a waiting list on the banjo ukes huh? They seem to be invisible on the website still. How do you get on it? Short of visiting I mean! :)

Very jealous, sounds like a great day!

Lori
03-17-2011, 09:12 AM
Joey, either Dale or Phyllis is Liz Beloff's sibling. I forget which one, but it is in the history of Magic Fluke.

I haven't met Jim or Liz, but if they are half as nice as Dale and Phyllis, they are wonderful people.

-kurt
Phyllis is Jims sister. Dale invented the Flea/Fluke.
Lori

ksiegel
03-17-2011, 10:19 AM
Thanks, Lori. I knew there was a connection, but I couldn't recall exactly what, other than that someone was someone's sibling, and the rest in on the Fluke website. (g)

By the way, I saw your calendar there - one of the Fleas (blue top) was on the shelf next to the calendar, opened to the page with its photo. Dale mentioned he might have a couple of calendars left at a discount price this far into the year, but he and Phyllis had an appointment and had to leave before I could ask about it.

If you plan on another ukulele calendar for next year, please let me know WAY in advance - my wife buys our yearly calendars in October, and I want to get one into the mix!

-Kurt

ksiegel
03-17-2011, 10:27 AM
So there's a waiting list on the banjo ukes huh? They seem to be invisible on the website still. How do you get on it? Short of visiting I mean! :)

Very jealous, sounds like a great day!

Call them and place your order. Or preorder with some of the UU members who are Fluke dealers. The price is very reasonable, because they've kept the hardware to a minimum (no j-hooks), which also makes the instrument light as a feather. I mean, really - it probably weighs between 2/3 and 1/2 of a soprano flea.

And yeah, it was a great day - the only downside is that my wife (who is at her parents' in California) is a little ticked that I went down without her. When I told her I'd ordered the banjo uke, she said that she'd accompany me when I go to pick it up. And then we'll go outlet shopping, and find the yarn stores.

(I just realized - when the Republic gets delivered tomorrow, I'll have 6 ukuleles, and I have two more on order! I need to go and buy my wife some more yarn!)

-Kurt

Ambient Doughnut
03-17-2011, 11:40 AM
Sounds perfect! I really fancy a banjo uke but put off by the fussy look of a traditional one. These look great.

Best google me a uk supplier - unless any UU suppliers listening?
:)

Plainsong
03-17-2011, 03:42 PM
What about Southern Ukulele Store on ebay? They're in the UK. They won't have any banjo ukes yet but I'd think they're in the queue.

fitncrafty
03-17-2011, 03:52 PM
Call them and place your order. Or preorder with some of the UU members who are Fluke dealers. The price is very reasonable, because they've kept the hardware to a minimum (no j-hooks), which also makes the instrument light as a feather. I mean, really - it probably weighs between 2/3 and 1/2 of a soprano flea.

And yeah, it was a great day - the only downside is that my wife (who is at her parents' in California) is a little ticked that I went down without her. When I told her I'd ordered the banjo uke, she said that she'd accompany me when I go to pick it up. And then we'll go outlet shopping, and find the yarn stores.

(I just realized - when the Republic gets delivered tomorrow, I'll have 6 ukuleles, and I have two more on order! I need to go and buy my wife some more yarn!)

-Kurt

Go here.. to buy the wife new yarn... http://www.discontinuedbrandnameyarn.com/shop/ check out cherry tree hill.. I want to go there too... sigh...

pat rock
03-17-2011, 03:57 PM
This sounds like a blast! I spoke to Dale on the phone when I ordered my Flea and he was super nice. Very cool group. Make sure and let us know when you get the Banjo Uke!

Mraz
03-17-2011, 05:02 PM
Definately going to have to do a review of the banjo uke. Sounds like a very awesome experience! :)

Ambient Doughnut
03-17-2011, 11:46 PM
Ah yeah Southern Ukulele - I'll give them a call thanks! :)

joeybug
03-18-2011, 03:35 AM
Ah yeah Southern Ukulele - I'll give them a call thanks! :)

I do highly recommend them, I've gotten two Ukes from them and both were top service! Ask for Paul, he's the Uke specialist!

KentSantaBarbara
03-18-2011, 07:47 AM
Any word on when the banjo ukulele will be coming out?

Kent

pdxuke
03-18-2011, 07:58 AM
Any word on when the banjo ukulele will be coming out?

Kent

Jim told me end of March.

ksiegel
03-18-2011, 01:58 PM
Any word on when the banjo ukulele will be coming out?

Kent

Lucy at the shop said that mine would probably be ready to ship on or around April 5; they have to fulfill all of the previous orders before they get to mine.

I just don't understand! I graciously offered to accept one of the prototypes, but Dale and Phyllis declined...


-Kurt

whetu
03-18-2011, 02:12 PM
I have been conversing with Beth via email and on the phone since last December about all the new models and ordering a tenor Fluke with the optons that I was looking for. I finally made up my mind and placed my order last Friday for a new Red Aloha model.

But guess what. Today I changed my mind. I decided to have one custom painted instead. I called Beth and she couldn't have been nicer. Nooooo problem. She is sending a fluke top out to me to be painted and then I'll ship it back to them to be assembled on my new tenor.

Great company.

Agreed. Beth handled the second part of our surf flea trade brilliantly, she made it such an easy process - especially at the wrong end of December - and thanked *me* for it! I've only dealt with Beth so far, but I'm not surprised that the rest of them are reportedly just as awesome.

dkcrown
03-18-2011, 03:01 PM
Agreed. Beth handled the second part of our surf flea trade brilliantly, she made it such an easy process - especially at the wrong end of December - and thanked *me* for it! I've only dealt with Beth so far, but I'm not surprised that the rest of them are reportedly just as awesome.

Glad it worked out for you, whetu. How are you liking the pegheads?

ksiegel
03-19-2011, 02:13 PM
Glad it worked out for you, whetu. How are you liking the pegheads?

I can't speak for whetu, but I have Peghead tuners on my new Fluke - and i am LOVING them! So much so that when I saw your post to whetu, I dropped Phyllis an email and asked that the Banjo Uke be upgraded to Pegheads. Thanks for the reminder!

-Kurt

dkcrown
03-19-2011, 02:52 PM
I can't speak for whetu, but I have Peghead tuners on my new Fluke - and i am LOVING them! So much so that when I saw your post to whetu, I dropped Phyllis an email and asked that the Banjo Uke be upgraded to Pegheads. Thanks for the reminder!

-Kurt

Pegheads rule! But they are expensive.

ksiegel
03-19-2011, 02:57 PM
Pegheads rule! But they are expensive.

It's a $69 upgrade on a fluke - $10 less than the rosewood fretboard upgrade.

But I'm impressed with them, and think they're worth it on a new instrument. I don't know if I'd want to pay to have existing tuners replaced with pegheads, and the ancillary work that would entail - but if I can spec pegheads on a new uke, I certainly will.


-Kurt

whetu
03-20-2011, 03:20 PM
Glad it worked out for you, whetu. How are you liking the pegheads?

To be honest I wouldn't have it any other way, pegheds rule. A couple of fellow members in my practicing circle have the standard tuners on their flea/fluke and we've swapped while tuning and... well the standard tuners are fine but nowhere near as good as the pegheds IMHO. And one of said group members has committed to sending her flea back for the upgrade, she likes them that much :)

Ambient Doughnut
03-21-2011, 04:11 AM
Hey, I spoke to Paul at Southern Ukulele who was very helpful but he said he wasn't expecting to see any until August. Ah well, gives me a bit more time to save up...