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View Full Version : Thinking of buying a Firefly Banjo ukulele



addicted2myuke
06-04-2013, 10:55 AM
I recently played out with several other players at an outdoor venue and noticed several players had flea ukuleles. They were purchased in Massachusetts, so I went to the site and began to look around at other cool looking ukes. Among them was A firefly Banjo ukulele that has the ease of a uke and the sound of a banjo. I really like the idea of that. Has anyone here played one or anything similar? Here's the link to the site so you can take a look. They are inexpensive but look cool.
I'm itching to buy another ukulele and want something different. Thanks for your comments.

http://www.fleamarketmusic.com/store/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=263

PhilUSAFRet
06-04-2013, 11:11 AM
I recently gave feedback to another post about this banjo uke. I played one last November. I already have a "heavy" concert sized banjo uke with full resonator, so I wasn't in the market for one...........buuuuuuuuuut..........It was cute as hell, light as a feather, loud, and had a great "banjo ukey" kind of sound. If I did have one, it I probably would play it tons more than my big, heavy one. I liked it a lot better than it's primary competitors. For the right deal, I may still pick one up

SailingUke
06-04-2013, 11:35 AM
I love mine, but want a tenor scale if they ever make one !!!

addicted2myuke
06-04-2013, 11:46 AM
They come with friction tuners instead of geared tuners. I have only played once on a uke with friction tuners and had a hard time keeping it in tune, although it was an antique uke which may have been the reason. Do you have a problem with the friction tuners?

SailingUke
06-04-2013, 12:10 PM
They come with friction tuners instead of geared tuners. I have only played once on a uke with friction tuners and had a hard time keeping it in tune, although it was an antique uke which may have been the reason. Do you have a problem with the friction tuners?

I like friction tuners. If you adjust them and know how to use them they are fine.
PegHeds are an upgrade option if you're one that dislikes friction tuners.
I have some ukes with really cheap friction tuners and even they work.

Raygf
06-04-2013, 12:58 PM
I ordered a concert neck Firefly on May 11 and just got a tracking number yesterday. It will be here tomorrow. I have played other banjo ukes and love the idea of a banjo sound and not the weight. Here's James Hill playing one. I'm planning on working on claw hammer style this summer. Looking forward to it!

I have a tenor Fluke with standard Grover tuners and a concert neck Surf Flea with upgraded Grover tuners that both work well. No problems. Pegheds are excellent, but, for me, an extra and unnecessary expense. I love them on my Glyph custom tenor. If you have the extra $69, go for it. You won't be sorry.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLR3_Ob_MSk

strumsilly
06-04-2013, 01:13 PM
I have had 2 and they are great fun,well made, and light, which is a big plus.

ukeeku
06-04-2013, 01:34 PM
Liked it when I reviewed, still liked it when I saw it at NAMM with the cool heads and poly fretboard
http://ukeeku.com/2011/04/24/magic-fluke-co-firefly-banjo-uke-full-review/

mm stan
06-04-2013, 01:46 PM
I played one at HMS last week....it sounded great, even though I am not into Banjo's....set up real nice this one...

connor013
06-04-2013, 01:57 PM
I had one of the very first (#16 if my memory serves) and thought it was OK. The light build was a plus, the tone was good, but I just don't care for the necks.

I also had a Gbson UB-1, which was a bit heavier, a bit louder and fuller, and -- in my opinion, anyway -- a lot easier to play. You'll have to be patient, though, if you want a deal on one.

And of course, here's the shameless plug for the "baritone" (really a tenor banjo) uke I have in the marketplace: http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?79827-Baritone-Banjo-Uke&highlight=Baritone+banjo

Seeing as we're neighbors and all, you're welcome to swing by and have a go at it.

I love having a banjo uke around, even if it isn't a regular player. My wife, however, really dislikes the tone. That was my only reason for selling the earlier ones and for selling this one.

(Having just re-read this post, it occurs to me that a) my wife is very patient with me, and b) I'm not a very quick learner. :))

ksiegel
06-04-2013, 03:28 PM
I have Firefly S/N #22, with rosewood fretboard and Peghed tuners, soprano-ish size . (Slightly longer scale than std soprano, like all Fluke products.)

I ordered it after playing two of the prototypes for about an hour at the Magic Fluke shop, in Sheffield, MA.

I love it.

It doesn't mean that I don't want another banjo uke - I've got a 1920s Stella as well, but I still wouldn't mind another one or two... And now that there is a concert scale Firefly, well....



-Kurt

PTOEguy
06-04-2013, 08:12 PM
I've enjoyed mine immensely. However, there are a couple of things I'd do different.

I've found that my concert neck flea is a little better size for me, so I should have waited to buy a concert neck Firefly.

Second thing is I've got the wood fretboard on the Firefly, which I find easier to play when I'm looking for visual cues, but otherwise I like the plastic fretboard on my flea every bit as much.

Finally, the friction tuners on my flea and on my daughter's flea give me no trouble tuning. The Firefly is a bear to get in tune - I don't know if it is the shorter scale length, the different strings, something inherent in banjoleles, the friction tuners or the hardwood fretboard, but it takes me a lot longer to get in tune.

kyote
06-04-2013, 08:55 PM
Has anyone put a pickup on one of these? They sure are perdy :D

igorthebarbarian
06-04-2013, 09:05 PM
To original poster - yes, the Firefly's are awesome. Very easy to play like any of the Flea products. Solid and reliable. Good value for the money.

To piggyback on the post, does anyone know of a good hardcase for the Firefly?

PTOEguy
06-05-2013, 03:59 AM
I bought one of the ones mentioned in this thread - http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?80306-Deal-on-concert-Uke-Case-Hardshell-25-expires-soon&highlight=case+deal - Concert size

It fits pretty tight around the drum and there isn't much room for the tuners - I think a more generous sized concert case would work just fine - for instance, one of the foam core cases that doesn't come in so much around the neck. Also, I believe Elderly has banjolele cases, and Flea Market music offers a Fluke case with a foam insert designed to fit a Firefly if you want to be sure and get something that fits.

If you're interested in pictures of how it fits in the case I have, let me know and I'll post some.

Ambient Doughnut
06-05-2013, 04:58 AM
I've got one and like everything about it EXCEPT the neck! It's kind of flat in profile and doesn't really suit me. I imagine it's a similar shape to fleas/flukes though so if you like them I'm sure it's fine.

addicted2myuke
06-05-2013, 11:51 AM
Thanks to everyone for all your answers. I'm going to make it a day trip, and drive out to Sheffield which is 3 hours from me, and try them out.

ksiegel
06-05-2013, 01:07 PM
Thanks to everyone for all your answers. I'm going to make it a day trip, and drive out to Sheffield which is 3 hours from me, and try them out.

It is worth the drive!

Sheffield, while only about 70 miles from me, was about a 2 hour drive. (About 90 minutes when I went home, because I drove back through Great Barrington, but the trip out was all secondary and tertiary roads.)

Be warned, you will want to play a lot of ukes - I did, and ended up walking out with a Fluke Tenor, and ordering the Firefly. And I was very close to getting a Flea, as well...


-Kurt

PTOEguy
06-29-2013, 10:01 PM
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Firefly (soprano neck) in concert case from Musician's Friend - fit is tighter than I'd like both around the pot and at the tuners. However, a more generously proportioned concert case should work just fine.

Kayak Jim
07-02-2013, 02:46 AM
I'm glad for this this thread since I've been curious about banjo ukes but the two I've tried (Gretsch and Dixie) weren't too impressive, and I especially didn't care for the weight.

How does the head stay tight without adjusters? I have a djembe and in the humid summer months the head slacks right off. Maybe because it's synthetic and not hide?

And banjoles with resonators are much louder that normal ukes. How does this one compare in volume to a normal uke (whatever "normal" uke volume is)?

Finally, what do folks think about the strings offered- Bella Banjo Uke strings with wound third. Are these the strings supplied on the uke (description just says "Bella")?

Raygf
07-02-2013, 03:12 AM
I'm glad for this this thread since I've been curious about banjo ukes but the two I've tried (Gretsch and Dixie) weren't too impressive, and I especially didn't care for the weight.

How does the head stay tight without adjusters? I have a djembe and in the humid summer months the head slacks right off. Maybe because it's synthetic and not hide?

And banjoles with resonators are much louder that normal ukes. How does this one compare in volume to a normal uke (whatever "normal" uke volume is)?

Finally, what do folks think about the strings offered- Bella Banjo Uke strings with wound third. Are these the strings supplied on the uke (description just says "Bella")?

The head is a Remo hand drum. I have had a set of Remo hand drums in my classroom for over 15 years and they have held up to lots of playing. Magic Fluke recommends you keep the bridge turned flat onto the head when not in use to relieve pressure on the head and reduce stretching when not in use and for storage. I just got mine and don't see me doing that any time soon. It's in heavy rotation right now. What a blast and light as a firefly.

fernandogardinali
07-02-2013, 04:13 AM
Not being able to change the head is a big issue to me. I think calfskin heads sound MUCH better on banjo ukes.

PS: Have you seen this one? http://www.kleinette.com/

I'm a HUGE Janet Klein fan, but I wouldn't buy that uke without trying it first.

Tikiden
11-30-2013, 06:47 PM
I added the Firefly to my collection today. I went with the concert size in walnut with the up-charge rosewood fretboard, as noted in my amended signature. Next up will be the fluke and a flea to round things out nicely.