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Valerie
09-18-2008, 10:35 AM
I came home from school today to find Fluke on my doorstop.

So first thing to say is: Thanks, Deach!!! You are awesome! And the second thing is a review. The truth is I've tried out a Flea before, and was not impressed. But that Flea had some cheapo GHS strings that were really old and dead sounding. Even so, I just didn't much care for the feel of the instrument.

So now, I've got one I can mess around with, change out strings, and see if I can discover what it is about the Fluke/Flea that creates such brand loyalty in uke players.

Here goes: First impressions

The good:

It is a concert fluke, a beautiful red one that reminds me of the ruby slippers in the Wizard of Oz. The stock pictures (http://www.fleamarketmusic.com/store/ProdImages/sm-Fluke-hibiscus.jpg)online really don't do it justice. I'll upload some pics later (my room is a mess right now, as I'm in the middle of study season.)
I love the feel of the neck. It's flat bottomed, rather than rounded and makes fretting really easy- especially bar chords, as I don't have to worry so much about my thumb placement.
The harmonics are very playable at the 12th fret, and semi playable at the 7th. And the intonation is spot on at the 12th fret (and only very slightly off in between- depending on finger placement.) I don't think the intonation could possibly be any better.
Fretting is very easy. The action is much lower than my Lanikai, making hammer ons and pull offs very easy. (Makes me wonder if I should look into having the action on my Lanikai adjusted...)


The Bad
I'm not fond of the feel of back of the instrument- Very slippery. And I was suprised to see that the Fluke actually weighs more than my Lanikai LMF-C. Since so much of the fluke is plastic, I thought it would weight a lot less than it does. It's in no way a heafty instrument- just solid feeling.
The sound is loud, but the sustain is poor, about half the ring-time as my Lanikai. It also doesn't seem to have as rich a tone as my Lanikai- not as full. Of course, this *might* be the strings (hilo)talking and I'll switch those out in a day or two to match it with what I have on my Lanikai. But, truthfully, they arn't bad sounding strings.



So, so far more good than bad. The problem is that the two most important things to me sound and playability are both in different categories....


Anyways, more review to come as I have some time to tinker.


(it really does look awesome! It's a pretty little thing.)

Ame
09-18-2008, 10:53 AM
congrats on the new addition! and thanks for that review. I agree with pretty much everything you've said. :)

it's a uke that you can pretty much just carry around to play whenever, wherever and not worry about hurting it.. haha

russ_buss
09-18-2008, 11:31 AM
congrats on your fluke. red one, how fun! deach is one generous mofo!

your review is scary accurate. i think the string change made a pretty big difference on my fluke. enjoy your new uke!:)

haole
09-18-2008, 11:42 AM
Congrats on your first plastic uke. ;) And great review!

I played a Fluke and a Flea for the first time a few weeks ago, and had similar thoughts. The feel of the plastic back takes some time getting used to, as does the roughly triangular body shape. Oddly, I found the Flea to be more comfortable because of the more traditional shape. Sound is great for mostly plastic, but it (predictably) doesn't feel as "alive" as solid wood all-around. Still, every uke player should have one. And buying an American-made uke for under $400 is near impossible otherwise.

Ukulele JJ
09-18-2008, 12:17 PM
Being a Flea owner, I agree with you on a lot of those points. Very playable, great intonation, but I would like more sustain (also using the Hilos). Still, count me in as one of the "loyalists".

I especially agree about FMM's photos being lousy. It wasn't until I saw the photos of a green Flea on Ukulele Review that I realized how nice-looking they really are. Some of FMM's shots actually make the product look worse.

JJ

NatalieS
09-18-2008, 12:41 PM
Great review! I have a Flea and Lanikai and agree with your comparisons on the two brands. I personally switched my Flea to Worth CM strings and really love the sound. Strings make a big difference in the instrument, IMO.

And I also agree about the action being so nice and low. It makes me want to adjust my Lanikai too, lol!

deach
09-18-2008, 01:12 PM
Glad you like so far but to be fair, your Lani is pretty kick ass!

seeso
09-18-2008, 01:16 PM
I sure dig those Flukes. I've been deached a fluke as well. Don't it feel great?

Valerie
09-18-2008, 01:22 PM
My Lani is incredibly kick ass and I loves it.

But so far I am pleasantly surprised with the fluke. It's better than I expected.

And, being given something by Deach does feel great- I just hope it makes him feel even better. (and he is totally on my X-Mas card list now, bahaha!!!)

deach
09-18-2008, 01:23 PM
My Lani is incredibly kick ass and I loves it.

But so far I am pleasantly surprised with the fluke. It's better than I expected.

Cool. Hope it's a keeper this time.

haole
09-18-2008, 01:42 PM
Just curious -- plastic fingerboard, or rosewood?

Valerie
09-18-2008, 01:44 PM
It is plastic

uke142464
09-18-2008, 02:09 PM
i actually kindof like the plastic ones, because you can slide really easy on it:D

Valerie
09-18-2008, 02:11 PM
I don't mind the plastic either.

Ukulele JJ
09-18-2008, 04:31 PM
I like the plastic more than I thought I would too. The main drawback is that the fretboard is black, and the frets are black, and the strings are black... sometimes I can't see what the heck I'm doing! :cool:

(I also like the friction tuners way better than I thought I would. I've been a geared tuner guy my whole life up until now.)


JJ

haole
09-18-2008, 04:41 PM
I like the plastic, but never had the chance to try the rosewood out so I don't know if it's worth the extra cash to upgrade when I finally get me a Flea. My only complaint with the plastic fretboard is the lack of fret markers, but it shouldn't be too tough to add them...right? :o

sukie
09-18-2008, 05:30 PM
The main drawback is that the fretboard is black, and the frets are black, and the strings are black... sometimes I can't see what the heck I'm doing!


JJ

I couldn't stand my flea not having a marking on the 10th fret. I used some nail polish to mark it. It's much better that way. But then again I'm not a purist.

seeso
09-18-2008, 05:52 PM
I like the plastic, but never had the chance to try the rosewood out so I don't know if it's worth the extra cash to upgrade when I finally get me a Flea. My only complaint with the plastic fretboard is the lack of fret markers, but it shouldn't be too tough to add them...right? :o

http://www.best-decals.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=75&zenid=8d33ad85d2b9bb5f4e88e34edb746a29

Ukulele JJ
09-18-2008, 06:39 PM
I used some nail polish to mark it.


I hear those silver ink pens are good for that too. Especially for adding fret markers along the top of the fretboard on a Flea/Fluke (so you can see 'em when you're playing).

JJ

freedive135
09-18-2008, 06:39 PM
Nice lookin Fluke you have... is it the Lava or the Hibiscus???

I was playin a couple of Flukes last night before my lessons.... If I wasn't aready waiting for a Kala Mango Soprano to come in I more than likey would have a Green Fluke hangin on the wall.

On my Flea it's not the face fret markers I miss it's the one's on the side like on my Kala's.

Ukeguy510
09-18-2008, 07:54 PM
Change the strings and you'll see a big difference. I personally tried just about every string on my Flea (including D'Addarios). I personally like the Worth Clears (medium) and probably won't put any other strings on em ;)

uke142464
09-19-2008, 01:27 AM
I like the plastic, but never had the chance to try the rosewood out so I don't know if it's worth the extra cash to upgrade when I finally get me a Flea. My only complaint with the plastic fretboard is the lack of fret markers, but it shouldn't be too tough to add them...right? :o

i tried one with rosewood after trying one with plastic, after the intro to gently weeps I had already put it back for the plastic lol:D

freedive135
09-19-2008, 08:04 AM
The difference I noticed between the wood and the plastic was the frets are easier to feel on the wood, but as was said the plastic slides nice.

4strings707
09-19-2008, 08:15 AM
http://www.best-decals.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=75&zenid=8d33ad85d2b9bb5f4e88e34edb746a29

fret decals...what a great idea. i wish i thought of that

NotoriousMOK
09-22-2008, 11:36 AM
I've got a flea and a fluke both with the plastic fretboard, they work just fine and are easy to play. The plastic will eventually wear, but in that case, the manufacturer will gladly replace it free of charge.