PDA

View Full Version : Flea or Fluke ukulele



Markr1
06-09-2012, 06:00 PM
I was going to buy a flea or fluke uke from FMM but have since changed my mind. I don't want nor will i have a plastic fretboard. When I do the add ons, gigbag,rosewood fretboard, tenor size, no pickup, shipping it comes to about $400. That's just a little to much to pay for that uke. The price looks really good initially until you start adding on the extras and all of a sudden your paying $150 more then what it is advertised as. That really turned me off. I do want one so I guess I'll start watching eBay and hopefully find a better deal on one. I have nothing against FMM just didn't like the markup after add ons. If I'm getting what is supposed to be a cheap bang around uke then I'm not going to pay that much for it. If I don't find a cheaper one then that then I guess I'll just never have one. I dont mean any disrespect this is just completely my opinion on it.

Hippie Dribble
06-09-2012, 06:07 PM
Totally agree Mark. I had a flea and gave it away, now everytime I get interested about purchasing another, it's the same feeling...baseline price is great but if you want the wooden fretboard and pegheds the original figure gets blown out of the water. My advice? keep watching FMM marketplace and the marketplace here, they do come up from time to time and at pretty reasonable prices sometimes. Thing is they are wonderful sounding ukes, they really are, and as sturdy as they come. All the best on your hunt brother. :)

Markr1
06-09-2012, 06:28 PM
Thanks Jon for the vote of confidence. That was something else I was going to add to the thread was if anyone had a used tenor with the rosewood fretboard and bag for sale at a decent price I would love to buy it. I saw where one sold a little while back that fit my description of what I want on UU for $250. That price is more of what I would expect. Thanks again Jon.
Totally agree Mark. I had a flea and gave it away, now everytime I get interested about purchasing another, it's the same feeling...baseline price is great but if you want the wooden fretboard and pegheds the original figure gets blown out of the water. My advice? keep watching FMM marketplace and the marketplace here, they do come up from time to time and at pretty reasonable prices sometimes. Thing is they are wonderful sounding ukes, they really are, and as sturdy as they come. All the best on your hunt brother. :)

ksiegel
06-09-2012, 06:58 PM
I was lucky - I live about 70 miles away from Magic Fluke, and went for a visit.

They had several factory seconds in the shop, Flea and Fluke, and i played them all, over and over (As well as two Firefly prototypes, which I offered to buy on the spot!).

I kept coming back to one Tenor Fluke - laminated mahogany soundboard, rosewood fingerboard, pegheds, and the older style b-band pickup.

With the hard case and tax, I think I paid $405.

And I have found it worth every penny. That said, Your Mileage May Vary - I would not have bought this instrument, if I hadn't played it for almost an hour first.

While distinctive, I didn't buy the Fluke because it is prety. I bought it because it sounds good, and is comfortable to play.



-Kurt

Markr1
06-10-2012, 06:12 AM
Last night I was bidding on a mint tenor tiki king surf fluke with all the extras including pickup and my high bid was $330 with shipping at $17. I couldn't believe it in the last seconds it got hit on and ended up going for $406 plus the shipping. Even if i had known before that it was going to go for that there was no way i would have bid that high. I was blown away and just knew I was going to get it at my high bid. Oh well I'll keep watching for one I guess and maybe one will eventually show up at what I feel is a fair price.

RevWill
06-10-2012, 06:29 AM
I have a tenor Fluke with an undersaddle pickup and a rosewood fretboard, and I don't regret a single dime I spent on it.

Markr1
06-10-2012, 06:42 AM
I'm sure I would like one if I had it I just think they are overpriced. I dont want a molded fretboard and feel they all should come with wood and gig bag at the starting price. I just feel they are overpriced after you add the extras. I just recently bought a used mint Kanilea super concert deluxe with beautiful curly Koa for a little less then $300 dollars more then what the Flukes with add ones are going for so yes I definitely feel they are overpriced. I'm sure eventually I'll find one at what I feel is a decent price.
I have a tenor Fluke with an undersaddle pickup and a rosewood fretboard, and I don't regret a single dime I spent on it.

Freeda
06-10-2012, 06:59 AM
I've had one with all the bells and whistles in my shopping cart several times but I also have a hard time pulling the trigger, for the same reasons.

Markr1
06-10-2012, 07:35 AM
Thank you Freeda, I thought it was me. I'm glad I'm not the only one that feels that way. I've done the same thing on 2 different occasions in the past 2 days I get it in my cart and see the final price and think to myself wait a minute this just doesn't seem right and I back out.
I've had one with all the bells and whistles in my shopping cart several times but I also have a hard time pulling the trigger, for the same reasons.

Dan Uke
06-10-2012, 07:39 AM
I know you want to support them because of the other thread but there's many ukes you can get in the $400 range.

Markr1
06-10-2012, 07:47 AM
Your 100% right Daniel. I would like to support them but not at what the final price turns out to be when i feel the adds should be included in what the opening price is. I could live without the pickup but not the rosewood fretboard and the bag not being included.
I know you want to support them because of the other thread but there's many ukes you can get in the $400 range.

rocko
06-10-2012, 07:51 AM
Thank you Freeda, I thought it was me. I'm glad I'm not the only one that feels that way. I've done the same thing on 2 different occasions in the past 2 days I get it in my cart and see the final price and think to myself wait a minute this just doesn't seem right and I back out.

I feel the same... Would love one for camping and outdoor use, but the price seems dear.

uke4ia
06-10-2012, 08:26 AM
I've had one with the plastic fretboard for 6 years, that cost about $220 brand new with the gig bag. No problems.

I've considered buying one with the rosewood fretboard (so I could use a wound low G) and a pickup. The price doesn't bother me so much as trying to limit my total number of ukes. I'm a couple hours drive from there. I'd rather drive to their store and spend that money on an instrument that I know will have good intonation, rather than spend the money on shipping costs for a different brand and then have to worry about the setup.

bazmaz
06-10-2012, 08:49 AM
I own both. (and their banjo) both flea and fluke have plastic fretboards - nothing wrong with them, they work flawlessly. Peghed tuners are lovely, but the stock frictions on fleas and flukes are also just fine. They are Grovers and they work too,

I know they are 'expensive' but I put that in quotes - expensive compared to what? Something put together where makers are paid tuppence a day, and are shipped out with zero setup, and have no after sales service,

Flukes are USA made, sustainable materials, made by people who care and never seen one that needed setup.

Depends what you want to spend your clams on - for me, fleas and flukes are no Brainers. Buy one and you know you are getting a well made, great sounding loud instrument.

KimosTherapy
06-10-2012, 09:08 AM
I love my Fluke ... with plastic fretboard. Nothing wrong with them and intonation is spot on. Playability and sound/tone is superb. Great take it anywhere uke!

Shazzbot
06-10-2012, 11:48 AM
I've tested a growing number of ukuleles over the last year and a half.
I still keep going back to my soprano flea, natural color, plastic fretboard, Aquila stings, friction tuners.
The only option I got was the hard case - totally worth it since it's logged thousands of air miles with me.
It is by far the easiest ukulele I have ever played, bar none (so far).
I do have the wood fretboard on my fluke, aesthetics aside - I prefer the plastic on the flea.
This dangling FMM conversation reminds me of the present US debate on abortion.
If you think it's wrong... then don't get one!

fabioponta
06-10-2012, 01:13 PM
I've tested a growing number of ukuleles over the last year and a half.
I still keep going back to my soprano flea, natural color, plastic fretboard, Aquila stings, friction tuners.
The only option I got was the hard case - totally worth it since it's logged thousands of air miles with me.
It is by far the easiest ukulele I have ever played, bar none (so far).
I do have the wood fretboard on my fluke, aesthetics aside - I prefer the plastic on the flea.
This dangling FMM conversation reminds me of the present US debate on abortion.
If you think it's wrong... then don't get one!

Friend, you have made me feel like I need to buy a flea or fluke. What do you say to me: The fluke concert will have more volume than the flea soprano? (I plan to buy one of two with plastic fretboard)

Tootler
06-10-2012, 01:38 PM
I'm sure I would like one if I had it I just think they are overpriced. I dont want a molded fretboard and feel they all should come with wood and gig bag at the starting price. I just feel they are overpriced after you add the extras.

I feel that even the basic instrument is overpriced. I know they have a reputation for indestructability and for overall quality of finish and I have seriously considered getting one to keep in the car, but at the price they are asking, I just can't bring myself to pay that money. I would not be looking for extras, just the basic with the plastic fretboard will be fine for me.



...This dangling FMM conversation reminds me of the present US debate on abortion.
If you think it's wrong... then don't get one!

Can't say fairer than that.

dkcrown
06-10-2012, 02:14 PM
Hey Mark. I had both a concert Fuke and Flea with the rosewood fretboards that I sold when I decided to go with all tenor scales. I replaced them with a tenor flea and fluke, but went with the plastic fretboards and have never regretted it. I have a non wound low G on the fluke. I can take them to the beach or camping and don't worry at all about them. I did go with the pegheads though.

telebob
06-10-2012, 02:14 PM
I love my Flukes: I have the koa top with a rosewood board, but before that I had a mango Fluke with the plastic fretboard. It was my beach baby and quick go-to uke... alas I sold it last year when I wanted another uke. I would take a plastic fretboard Fluke uke over the Kala thinline travel uke (which I have). I have the Firefly banjo uke... and I love to play that little critter (with its plastic fretboard). YMMV... :cool:

jmw
06-10-2012, 02:22 PM
Friend, you have made me feel like I need to buy a flea or fluke. What do you say to me: The fluke concert will have more volume than the flea soprano? (I plan to buy one of two with plastic fretboard)

I hear you - I'm starting to get the itch, too. I played fleas, flukes, and fireflies this weekend at NYC Uke Fest... Every time I walked by the Beloff's tables, I had to pick up an instrument. Personally, I really liked the feel of the plastic fretboard. I probably would have purchased one of the flea seconds, except my husband was with me and was like "I JUST BOUGHT YOU A KOALOHA!" Damn those voices of reason!

Raygf
06-10-2012, 02:26 PM
You are certainly entitled to your own opinion, but I fail to see how this thread builds the ukulele community. FMM and the people at The Magic Fluke Company are decent, reputable, hard working people supporting their families and the families of their employees producing a solid, top quality product and I'm sure they are not getting rich in the process. We all owe a great deal to Jim and Liz for everything they have done to build and sustain today's ukulele community and culture.

I own two tenor flukes (A walnut Fluke SB and one with a plastic fingerboard, my beater.) and a concert Surf Flea with rosewood fingerboard and upgraded Grover 4B tuners. I sometimes perform with the Flea and do not consider it a beater. They are all keepers! Thanks for everything Jim, Liz, Dale and Phyllis. Keep up the good work.

seeso
06-10-2012, 02:28 PM
If fleas and flukes were made of wood, I think there might be a few less complaints about prices. Fleas and Flukes sound great, are very tough, and are 100% made in the USA. They just happen to be made of plastic.

I love my Flea, and would love it even if it were made of cardboard.

Markr1
06-10-2012, 02:47 PM
I don't have a problem with the Fluke or the Flea. I want one. I'm just saying after adding the wood fretboard, Tenor size, Gigbag and shipping it came to over $400 which I felt was to much. This will be my last comment on this thread.

Markr1
06-10-2012, 02:57 PM
I said no more posts from me on this but I do want to add one more. This was a thread and feeling I should have never of started. There are times you should keep things to yourself and not express them. I don't know the makers of the uke and meant no harm to their business at all and hope I haven't done any damage by my posts. I'll be more careful about things like this in the future.
I'm sorry everyone for getting this started.

Hippie Dribble
06-10-2012, 03:07 PM
I said no more posts from me on this but I do want to add one more. This was a thread and feeling I should have never of started. There are times you should keep things to yourself and not express them. I don't know the makers of the uke and meant no harm to their business at all and hope I haven't done any damage by my posts. I'll be more careful about things like this in the future.
I'm sorry everyone for getting this started.
Mark, don't apologise. It's an interesting topic and well worthy of such a discussion as this. This in no way is doing any damage to FMM...they have a wide and very loyal fan base...you and I amongst them. Sometimes it's worth raising such subjects though in a humble and fair way which is exactly what you have done mate. I happen to agree with you on the price issues. I am still contemplating buying a sop/concert flea...mango, rosewood fretboard and colored tuners...but won't do so for a little while until I have the cash. Don't let a couple of different opinions shake you up brother...honestly, we get a bit precious about "building up the ukulele community" sometimes that it can strangle discussion of worthwhile issues. FMM and Jim and Liz have had maximum positive exposure in the past week and this is a great thing. Their instruments sound awesome. There's something wrong if we can't have a thread like this where reasonable though differing opinions are expressed. We shouldn't feel like we have to walk on eggshells just because a view isn't necessarily the prevailing one of the majority...

Dan Uke
06-10-2012, 03:11 PM
I said no more posts from me on this but I do want to add one more. This was a thread and feeling I should have never of started. There are times you should keep things to yourself and not express them. I don't know the makers of the uke and meant no harm to their business at all and hope I haven't done any damage by my posts. I'll be more careful about things like this in the future.
I'm sorry everyone for getting this started.

It's all good. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. It's good to see many supporters speak up and has piqued the curiosity of many who don't have one. This thread did not turn hostile and I'm glad we didn't see any comments about locking the thread, which seems very counterproductive.

Just remember that "Made in the USA" does not automatically mean high quality products.

ksiegel
06-10-2012, 03:13 PM
I said no more posts from me on this but I do want to add one more. This was a thread and feeling I should have never of started. There are times you should keep things to yourself and not express them. I don't know the makers of the uke and meant no harm to their business at all and hope I haven't done any damage by my posts. I'll be more careful about things like this in the future.
I'm sorry everyone for getting this started.

I don't think you've done any damage, Mark - you merely stated your opinion, I've stated mine, and others have stated theirs.

I've got a Cordoba tenor uke. I like it. Others cringe at the brand, regardless of price. I've got a 1950s harmony Uke, which I think has a nice sound - but aI find it hard to play the soprano. Others, who I respect, have been quite vocal in calling the old 1950s harmony ukuleles garbage.

As I said earlier - Your Mileage May Vary, and I would never have bought that Fluke if I hadn't played it first. And I kept going back to it, even though I had not interest in getting a third Tenor at the time...


Never be afraid to state your opinion. I may think you are wrong, but that's why it is YOUR opinion, not mine.



-Kurt

itsme
06-10-2012, 04:15 PM
I played fleas, flukes, and fireflies this weekend at NYC Uke Fest... Every time I walked by the Beloff's tables, I had to pick up an instrument. Personally, I really liked the feel of the plastic fretboard. I probably would have purchased one of the flea seconds, except my husband was with me and was like "I JUST BOUGHT YOU A KOALOHA!" Damn those voices of reason!
You're one lucky lady to have your husband buy you a K brand! :) But I guess husbands don't understand UAS, or at least not most of them.

Mine sorta does. After five tenors, I bought a concert Fluke. Then I decided I should venture into soprano territory for a Flea, just because... well, you know, I didn't have any sopranos and Fleas are so dang cute.

Hubby saw I was watching one on ebay and out of the blue he said "I'll buy it for you for your birthday" and the thing is, we don't usually buy b-day gifts for each other. So this Flea is kinda special for me. :)

SuzukHammer
06-10-2012, 04:29 PM
Mark,
Its ok to express any feelings about any uke. honesty is the best way to keep it all real.

When I first started playing ukes, I thought I'd never buy a Fluke or a Flea. Once I bought a Fluke, I was amazed how much better I could make my chords. THe Fluke sounded great and I love them for their toughness.

I bought 5 of the soundboards for me to paint and send back to have my own personal Flukes made. I just have to find the time to do it and yes, I will go to the rosewood now. Nothing wrong with the plastic. I just want to give the rosewood a chance.

Put me in the: I love Flukes category.

joekulele
06-10-2012, 08:13 PM
My very first uke was a concert Pineapple Flea that I ordered with a plastic fretboard. As it happened, I won a soprano Flea in a contest on FMM that had the rosewood fretboard. After playing both for several more months, I decided I favored the rosewood fretboard over the plastic, so I sent my Pineapple in and had it replaced. Cost then was $75 including return shipping. IMO it was totally worth every cent. I suppose you could say I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Flea Fan.
-joe

bazmaz
06-10-2012, 08:53 PM
Though are they really that expensive? The stock Flea in the UK is about 150. I regularly suggest it to beginners who are looking to move on from the usual Mahalo cheapie they started on and want a proper uke. They tend to be looking at that price range anyway, and at that money it sits alongside the solid top Kalas and Ohana ukes that are sold everywhere.

Sure it is plastic, but for a beginner they get rock solid action intonation and performance that I don't think can be guaranteed with every 150 kala.

Safe choice I think!

Plainsong
06-11-2012, 07:42 AM
Here here! Criticisms that are valid are no insult.

I wish there was a way to justify getting an atomic flea or even a koa one. I had the koa one, and it was like a deluxe Flea. It was so good that the price was reasonable. It was as good as any K-brand, true story. But I loves the design of the atomic flea, and worrying about fretboard cracks in the dry of winter is one less thing.

But I'd have to sell a uke I don't want to sell, so yeah. Sad face.



This BB is for discussing stuff about ukes, including price. Everyone has a valid opinion. The Magic Fluke Company and its owners have certainly done a lot for the uke world since the late 1990s when they introduced the Flea and Fluke range. I suspect they may feel disappointed if people are just buying Fleas and Flukes to be nice to the workers and owners, and they would appreciate a reasonable discussion of their products in the market place, including the price point. I think they would want you to be buying the product for the sound and playability like most makers and not just out of brand loyalty.
One thing about the plastic fretboard is that it is plastic and if you are going to use the uke in a camping type scenario, it is one less bit of wood to worry about. I have a flea with a plastic fretboard and one with a rosewood fretboard. I use the plastic fretboard model when it I am going somewhere that there is a risk of rain and inclement weather. No-one I have shared it with seems to notice that the fretboard is actually plastic until they look closely, so I believe it really makes no difference for the people who seem to be the target market for Fleas and Flukes. But both ukes did cost more than other ukes, even though I did buy them direct off the website, so if you don't have the dollars available when you get to the order form or process, you have a choice, save more dollars or buy something else, the choice is yours and you should enjoy making it.
Bring on more discussion of these great products and lets not be afraid of expressing honest opinions.

Thumper
06-11-2012, 07:59 AM
I'm a huge fan of Fleas and Flukes. For sound, intonation and feel, I haven't seen anything that beats them until you start spending twice as much money. And for me their durability is a huge plus, since I mostly play outdoors and I also fly around the country with my Flea simply stuffed into my checked suitcase.

That said, I am disappointed that they now charge extra for gig bags, which used to be included for free. So essentially they've suddenly bumped the price for getting a uke and a gig bag up by $39, so that even their lowest priced Flea will cost you more than $200. Still, they're such great instruments that I can't view this as a dealbreaker, just a disappointment.

ChrisRCovington
06-11-2012, 08:18 AM
My Fluke was my first real ukulele (I don't really count my cheap Hilo junker). It has a plastic fretboard (I don't know if wood was an option when I got it, it was a gift anyway so not like I could have been picky). It was really great to learn on. The intonation is great, it is loud and easy to play with very low action. It has a booming voice. I also got a Flea which I like a little better because I'm a soprano guy (another gift and another plastic fretboard). They were both great learner instruments and good when I want to play loud or in places I don't want to take a solid instrument (outside to grill, travel, etc). That being said I have grown beyond the Fluke and Flea a little. I'd rather have a nice solid mahogany or koa instrument with a more rich and complex sound. The plastic fretboard is fine but I like wood better has a better feel to it.

Is the instrument worth it? It is a little pricy but it is also made in the USA. Cheaper than most Martin ukuleles made in Mexico. I'm not sure you can get an American made uke for much cheaper that is as well crafted. On the other hand Bruko ukuleles are very nice, made in German, solid wood and cost less.

UKISOCIETY
06-11-2012, 08:26 AM
I've discovered that I don't play my Flea much and finally figured out that i don't like the sound. I think it's due to the strings. I've got Aquila nylgut on them but they seem a bit too "punchy".

Meanwhile, my new red cedar Mainland pineapple is getting a lot of strumming time. AND it has a wood fretboard.

bazmaz
06-11-2012, 08:33 AM
Alan - yeah, I dropped Aquilas on my flea and fluke. My preference on the flea are worth BM's - gave mine a new lease of life!

Thumper
06-11-2012, 08:43 AM
I like Aquilas on my Flea, but not on my Fluke. I ended up with a hybrid set for the tenor Fluke: Worth Clears for the G, E and A, and an Aquila C string. That's been working really well for me - the Fluke absolutely sings, with a purer, more bell-like tone than the Flea. But I love 'em both!

UKISOCIETY
06-11-2012, 09:17 AM
Alan - yeah, I dropped Aquilas on my flea and fluke. My preference on the flea are worth BM's - gave mine a new lease of life!

Excellent. I'll try them. Thanks!


I like Aquilas on my Flea, but not on my Fluke. I ended up with a hybrid set for the tenor Fluke: Worth Clears for the G, E and A, and an Aquila C string. That's been working really well for me - the Fluke absolutely sings, with a purer, more bell-like tone than the Flea. But I love 'em both!

Interesting. Strings are the rabbit hole I've tried not to fall into. I only have so much money!