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View Full Version : UAS + Flea + Firefly banjo uke



CountryMouse
12-13-2011, 03:10 AM
I just got a cute Lanakai soprano banjolele...and now suddenly I've found I'm going to have some extra money, enough to buy a Flea or a Firefly! EEEEEP!

One of the groups I'm in here on UU is the 'Ukulele Whore-ders ... and with good reason (see my .sig). :eek:

I've wanted a Poiple soprano Flea (now being called Grape) for at least a year. Now could be my chance.

But I've also been really bitten hard by the banjo uke bug. Shouldn't I spend more time with my new little banjolele before adding another to the stable? AND...how would I attach a strap of some sort to the Firefly? I have (need) straps on *all* my ukuleles.

So...probably the Flea? Or wait? I am not interested in expensive hardwood ukuleles--I prefer low-maintenance ukes. I LOVE my two Makala Dolphins. I have two Flukes. Shouldn't I have two Fleas? heh. Both Flukes are concert; my denim Flea is a concert. I want a soprano Flea.

Whatever I do, I should wait until after Christmas, as I don't want to mess up anyone's ideas of what they might be getting me, although I seriously doubt anyone will be spending *that* much on me. We all set a $50 budget for presents for each other.

Intervention/enabling/advice all appreciated! :D

Mousie

SailingUke
12-13-2011, 06:01 AM
I love banjo ukes, but one is enough in a nice collection of ukuleles (imho).
Why not go with a resonator, kind of between uke & banjo uke.

CountryMouse
12-13-2011, 06:50 AM
I love banjo ukes, but one is enough in a nice collection of ukuleles (imho).
Why not go with a resonator, kind of between uke & banjo uke.

Actually, TCK (Dave) says he has SIX banjo ukuleles! ;)

Aren't resonator ukuleles LOUD? My Lanakai banjo ukulele is not that loud, more mellow.

Also, I need to stay around (or under) $200 on my purchase.

Thanks!

Mousie

PhilUSAFRet
12-13-2011, 09:09 AM
Yeah, why not wait....Kala reso ukes coming out any day. Street price should be around $249

janeray1940
12-13-2011, 09:53 AM
AND...how would I attach a strap of some sort to the Firefly? I have (need) straps on *all* my ukuleles.


Good question, and I hope you get some answers! It's one of the reasons that's kept me from getting one - I can't quite figure out how to hold it comfortably without a strap.

And yes, I'll admit to needing a strap on all of my ukes too. I finally even gave in and had a strap button installed on my Kiwaya thinline last night. Fortunately the luthier didn't laugh *too* hard at my request :)

SailingUke
12-13-2011, 10:09 AM
Good question, and I hope you get some answers! It's one of the reasons that's kept me from getting one - I can't quite figure out how to hold it comfortably without a strap.

And yes, I'll admit to needing a strap on all of my ukes too. I finally even gave in and had a strap button installed on my Kiwaya thinline last night. Fortunately the luthier didn't laugh *too* hard at my request :)

Lori's UkeLeash, works great with my Firefly.

flutinggnee
12-13-2011, 10:19 AM
I second the uke leash. They work great!

janeray1940
12-13-2011, 10:52 AM
Lori's UkeLeash, works great with my Firefly.

Can strap buttons be installed on the Firefly? Thought about the Uke Leash but I can't deal with anything being tethered to my person (tactile sensitivity issues here), and I don't wear belts so the belt-loop way of attaching it is out.

CountryMouse
12-13-2011, 12:12 PM
Yeah, why not wait....Kala reso ukes coming out any day. Street price should be around $249

I've been watching some videos on YouTube to get an idea of what a resonator ukulele sounds like...more metallic? Louder?

Mousie

CountryMouse
12-13-2011, 12:16 PM
Can strap buttons be installed on the Firefly? Thought about the Uke Leash but I can't deal with anything being tethered to my person (tactile sensitivity issues here), and I don't wear belts so the belt-loop way of attaching it is out.

I'm with you. I beta-tested the Uke Leash, but I found it uncomfortable. And I also don't have any belt loops to attach to.

I use Velcro to attach straps to my Flukes and Fleas. Would it work on the Firefly? See this: http://dominator.ukeland.com/index.php?title=6_11_2005&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

Mousie

mm stan
12-13-2011, 12:17 PM
Aloha Mousie,
I cannot get that link...

zac987
12-13-2011, 12:23 PM
I'm sorry, but I can't really recommend the Firefly to anyone. Ir's a drum that can't be tuned attached to a neck for $200 if I recall correctly. You could do that much cheaper by yourself lol. What I like about banjos is that there is so much you can change to make it sound different. You can't really do much with this thing. I don't think it's possible for it to stay in tune forever (the drum), also.

/end snobbery lol

CountryMouse
12-13-2011, 12:24 PM
Aloha Mousie,
I cannot get that link...

It's on Dominator's site: dominator.ukeland.com In the archives it's 6/11/2005 OUTFITTING MY FLUKE WITH A MANDOLIN STRAP

Mousie

janeray1940
12-13-2011, 12:27 PM
I'm with you. I beta-tested the Uke Leash, but I found it uncomfortable. And I also don't have any belt loops to attach to.

I use Velcro to attach straps to my Flukes and Fleas. Would it work on the Firefly? See this: http://dominator.ukeland.com/index.php?title=6_11_2005&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

Mousie

That might work, although it would end up being off-center a bit because of the hardware that holds the tailpiece on. You can see a detail of what I'm talking about here (http://www.fleamarketmusic.com/store/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=263) ("tailpiece detail").

I keep wondering if the fastener that holds the tailpiece on can be swapped out for a strap button somehow. Yeah, I could ask at the shop where I spend far too much time, but if the answer was YES then I'd have to buy the darned thing :) Curse you, UAS!

CountryMouse
12-13-2011, 12:28 PM
I'm sorry, but I can't really recommend the Firefly to anyone. Ir's a drum that can't be tuned attached to a neck for $200 if I recall correctly. You could do that much cheaper by yourself lol. What I like about banjos is that there is so much you can change to make it sound different. You can't really do much with this thing. I don't think it's possible for it to stay in tune forever (the drum), also.

/end snobbery lol

Hmm. Well, I've seen some good reviews of it too. I'm not looking for something to tinker with, just something to play. And something lightweight. I also like the quality of ukuleles that come from Flea Market Music.

Thanks for your input, though. :)

Mousie

CountryMouse
12-13-2011, 12:30 PM
That might work, although it would end up being off-center a bit because of the hardware that holds the tailpiece on. You can see a detail of what I'm talking about here (http://www.fleamarketmusic.com/store/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=263) ("tailpiece detail").

I keep wondering if the fastener that holds the tailpiece on can be swapped out for a strap button somehow. Yeah, I could ask at the shop where I spend far too much time, but if the answer was YES then I'd have to buy the darned thing :) Curse you, UAS!

Maybe you should phone Flea Market Music to find out about the fastener for the tailpiece and such. They would know their own product pretty well to be able to advise you. Let me know what you find out! And thanks!

Mousie

ksiegel
12-13-2011, 12:47 PM
I think a Firefly is a wonderful banjo uke. One of the two I have - although I wouldn't say no to another banjo uke, if the right one, at the right price came my way.

Can a strap button be attached? I'm not sure, but I'd just call Magic Fluke and ask them. Dale and Phyllis are great folks, and so are their staff.

The Magic Fluke Company, LLC
292 South Main Street • Sheffield, MA 01257
800-459-5558
Outside U.S., call: 413-229-8536

Remember: They are on East Coast (US) Time.




-Kurt

CountryMouse
12-13-2011, 12:53 PM
I think a Firefly is a wonderful banjo uke. One of the two I have - although I wouldn't say no to another banjo uke, if the right one, at the right price came my way.

Can a strap button be attached? I'm not sure, but I'd just call Magic Fluke and ask them. Dale and Phyllis are great folks, and so are their staff.

The Magic Fluke Company, LLC
292 South Main Street • Sheffield, MA 01257
800-459-5558
Outside U.S., call: 413-229-8536

Remember: They are on East Coast (US) Time.




-Kurt

I'm glad to hear you like your Firefly. I guess I'll do that and phone them.

My conundrum is: do I get a Firefly and make my very new Lanakai feel sad and neglected? Or should I get the poiple/grape soprano Flea that I've been wanting for over a year?

Hmm.

Mousie

Lori
12-13-2011, 01:24 PM
You might check with Phyllis and Dale on this, but you might be able to put a loop of cord through the Firefly tailpiece, and then use a Uke Leash as a full strap.
The Firefly is very light, and opened backed, so you might find that the female form may work to your advantage.
The rim of the Firefly is compressed cardboard (I believe), not wood, so I am not sure if drilling a hole for a strap button is a good idea. The velcro idea might work.

–Lori

CountryMouse
12-13-2011, 01:44 PM
You might check with Phyllis and Dale on this, but you might be able to put a loop of cord through the Firefly tailpiece, and then use a Uke Leash as a full strap.
The Firefly is very light, and opened backed, so you might find that the female form may work to your advantage.
The rim of the Firefly is compressed cardboard (I believe), not wood, so I am not sure if drilling a hole for a strap button is a good idea. The velcro idea might work.

–Lori

This is a really good idea! My only worry (which Phyllis and Dale can advise me on) is putting any stress on the tailpiece. If that's not a good idea, then I'd have to go the Velcro route.

Uke Leashes are wonderful--I just am not comfortable myself with one. If I wore clothes with belt loops, it would be a different story. :)

Mousie

SailingUke
12-13-2011, 02:06 PM
I think you could also attach to the truss in the body, it is wood.
The Firefly is VERY light, it does not take much to hold it.

janeray1940
12-13-2011, 02:32 PM
This is a really good idea! My only worry (which Phyllis and Dale can advise me on) is putting any stress on the tailpiece. If that's not a good idea, then I'd have to go the Velcro route.

Uke Leashes are wonderful--I just am not comfortable myself with one. If I wore clothes with belt loops, it would be a different story. :)

Mousie

It does sound like a great idea! Mousie, please let us know what you find out if you do contact them.

CountryMouse
12-13-2011, 04:19 PM
I think you could also attach to the truss in the body, it is wood.
The Firefly is VERY light, it does not take much to hold it.

Okay, I have done a lot of searching online for some kind of graphic to show me what the truss is. I know what the coordinator rod is in my Lanakai banjolele (that's what they call it). But I don't know what/where on the Firefly the truss is exactly. Help?

Thanks!

Mousie

CountryMouse
12-13-2011, 04:23 PM
It does sound like a great idea! Mousie, please let us know what you find out if you do contact them.

I wasn't planning on contacting them about the strap on the Firefly, at least not now, as I hadn't even decided if I was going to *get* a Firefly now. I'm trying to decide between a soprano Flea and a Firefly. I *just* got my Lanakai banjo ukulele. Shouldn't I spend more time with it first? I guess I'm answering my own question.

Or the other answer is: wait and see what's out there. Don't buy anything right now.

Mousie

ksiegel
12-13-2011, 04:54 PM
Not a problem - I have my 1920s Stella banjo uke also, and I play them both.

As a matter of fact, the only ukes that don't get much play in this house are the Epiphones, and the Republic - all concert size.

Hmmm, indeed....


I'm glad to hear you like your Firefly. I guess I'll do that and phone them.

My conundrum is: do I get a Firefly and make my very new Lanakai feel sad and neglected? Or should I get the poiple/grape soprano Flea that I've been wanting for over a year?

Hmm.

Mousie



Of course, MY personal thought is, if you've been waiting for a poiple flea for over a year, get it now.

The Firefly will be around later.




-Kurt

CountryMouse
12-13-2011, 05:23 PM
Not a problem - I have my 1920s Stella banjo uke also, and I play them both.

As a matter of fact, the only ukes that don't get much play in this house are the Epiphones, and the Republic - all concert size.

Hmmm, indeed....





Of course, MY personal thought is, if you've been waiting for a poiple flea for over a year, get it now.

The Firefly will be around later.




-Kurt

I think you're right. I didn't even see this last portion of your post until I'd already thought this: "The Firefly is new and will be around for a while. They'll have time to work out any kinks in the design if there are any problems. My Lanakai needs some love and attention before I bring in a second banjo ukulele. And...what if they decide to stop making the poiple/grape Flea? They might do that when they bring out new designs in the Spring."

Also, I was looking around at all kinds of other ukuleles, but I keep coming back to Flea Market Music because Fleas and Flukes are nearly indestructible. I worry about the need for a hard case and humidifier and special care a solid-wood ukulele would need. I like the polycarbonate fretboards of the Fleas and Flukes because I never have to worry about low humidity and frets working their way up and out at the sides. The action is always right, right out of the box. Is that true with the Firefly? Or did you have to make any adjustment?

I have two Flukes. My Flea needs a partner. :) Seriously, my Island Design (floral) Fluke is very feminine; my red Cowboy Fluke is a guy; my Denim Flea is probably a boy. I have these gorgeous flowery inlay stickers (from Jockomo in Japan) that I bought over a year ago to put *on* a poiple/grape Flea!

So I guess in about a week I'm going to order the (now being called) Grape Flea (soprano). I need to get that extra strap I have down to the shoe repair place to get him to stitch on the Velcro!

When I *do* get a Firefly, I'll probably have more questions for you. :)

Thanks!

Mousie

Shazzbot
12-13-2011, 06:16 PM
I'm sorry, but I can't really recommend the Firefly to anyone. Ir's a drum that can't be tuned attached to a neck for $200 if I recall correctly. You could do that much cheaper by yourself lol. What I like about banjos is that there is so much you can change to make it sound different. You can't really do much with this thing. I don't think it's possible for it to stay in tune forever (the drum), also.

/end snobbery lol

You got the snobbery part right.
If you can make a banjo uke that sounds as good and plays as easily as the Firefly, you should open up for business.
I got mine last week and I'm enjoying the heck out of it.

zac987
12-13-2011, 07:05 PM
You got the snobbery part right.
If you can make a banjo uke that sounds as good and plays as easily as the Firefly, you should open up for business.
I got mine last week and I'm enjoying the heck out of it.
Having a different opinion does not offer you justification to be disrespectful towards me. I didn't say anything mean to anyone, I was just offering CountryMouse my opinion on a product. No need to bash me.

Paul December
12-13-2011, 07:12 PM
It is my understanding that if you remove the resonator off the Lanikai (or Gold Tone) and shove a rag into it, you'll have the sound of a Firefly :eek:

(the) Indigo Getdown
12-13-2011, 07:24 PM
I bought a Firefly a few months back, and personally, I love mine. It's a nice little bang-for-your-buck banjolele that sounds terrific and travels very well. If you like the magic fluke ukes, definately consider grabbing one down the line when the banjo-uke feve strikes again :)

csibona
12-14-2011, 11:04 AM
I played a firefly and liked it. It is very light weight and sounds like a banjo ukulele. I didn't buy a firefly, I bought a vintage banjo ukulele whose sound I like and I like playing an old instrument.

CountryMouse
12-15-2011, 06:29 AM
AAAAHHH! I just saw the aNueNue U900 bear pineapple ukulele (ads and YouTube reviews, plus threads here on UU)! UkeRepublic has them! Now I'm drawn to that...and may have to put both the soprano Flea and the Firefly on the back burners!

Oh, UAS, how cruel you are!

Mousie

Shazzbot
12-15-2011, 07:45 AM
So many ukuleles.
So little time.
and/or $$

Jnobianchi
12-23-2011, 05:49 PM
AAAAHHH! I just saw the aNueNue U900 bear pineapple ukulele (ads and YouTube reviews, plus threads here on UU)! UkeRepublic has them! Now I'm drawn to that...and may have to put both the soprano Flea and the Firefly on the back burners!

Oh, UAS, how cruel you are!

Mousie

:D - One is enough? Oh, Sailing Uke! you do have a good one, but I had nine at one point - narrowed it down to five now. :)

Seriously, I've always had more banjo ukes than ukes. However, I'm with Csibona - Vintage is more enjoyable to me. I've got five vintage, no new. I haven't liked any of the new ones enough to buy one, though I did like the Firefly and Mainland very much of the new crop.

save some money, and look for a good Gibson UB1 ($400-550); they come up all the time on eBay and if the hardware is clean and the neck and pot have no issues, snap it up. I also have UB2, a Ludwig Wendell Hall, and a couple of Stromberg Voisinets. Can't beat the old sound, and feel, in my book. :)

ksiegel
12-23-2011, 07:09 PM
Here;s my latest YouTube posting - done on the Firefly.


http://youtu.be/UhZ7bgXTFls

It is also part of the "My Favorite Train Song" thread...



-Kurt
The pun of which I missed, because the only Train song I can think of is "Save Me San Francisco"....

SailingUke
12-23-2011, 08:07 PM
Super Nice Kurt !!!
Happy Hanukah

Jnobianchi
12-24-2011, 10:30 AM
Great, Kurt!