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View Full Version : The Ultimate Fluke?



Icelander53
06-01-2014, 09:53 PM
Is it? I have a black tenor with a hardwood fretboard strung in Low G with La Bella strings. It's really pretty. I've had it a fairly long time now and I still can get that WOW! feel when playing it. The sound is simply amazing to my ears, at times anyway. I'm used to the large neck now and have come to prefer it.

So anyway I have always looked longingly at the Fluke with the solid Koa top. With all the bells and whistles it would be running about $450 without any electronics. Not a fortune but still that's some change.

But I have not heard how it sounds. Has anyone here taken that leap into the solid Koa top Fluke??? If so please, would you tell me if it really sounds a lot better???

As a retired old man with too much time on his hands and not enough ukes, I'm desperate to know. (sounds pretty pathetic when I put it like that)

Andy Chen
06-01-2014, 10:55 PM
I don't know the answer but given that much of the sound comes from the back as well, I suspect the improvement in sound is minimal.

Icelander53
06-01-2014, 10:57 PM
I've heard that most of the sound comes from the tops on ukes and minimal from back and sides. But that's what I'm wondering as well. Is there actually any real improvement for that extra cash outlay.

DownUpDave
06-01-2014, 11:10 PM
I've heard that most of the sound comes from the tops on ukes and minimal from back and sides. But that's what I'm wondering as well. Is there actually any real improvement for that extra cash outlay.

Most traditional uke manufactures have all laminate models and solid top with laminate back and side model. This is a more expensive upgrade. Most people agree the solid top models have an improvement in sound quality. Acoustic steel string guitars follow the same trend. It should be the same with a fluke or flea.

I really think you should buy one and then you can tell us for sure. This of course is completely counter to our discussion about UAS!!!

what name
06-02-2014, 12:59 AM
I can only wonder, having never heard one. I love Flukes and Fleas. I believe in solid tops in most instruments, but with the Fluke I suspect it would not be as pronounced of a difference. This is because I think the laminated pine tops are amazing among laminated tops, and also because I believe the molded backs add a distinguishable signature to the sound. To me, a Fluke or Flea sounds like a Fluke or Flea, and I suspect that having a solid top would not modify the sound much. Again, I can only speculate. Somebody here can answer with experience.

billten
06-02-2014, 01:20 AM
I can't speak to the koa top, but i do very much notice a difference between the mahogany lam top and the pine lam top. I have both and the mahogany one is a lot warmer, same strings and size. Another thing to consider is the bridge and saddle. The two piece bridge does also definitely make a difference in the sound. I would love to try a koa topped fluke, i'm certainly a huge MFC fan.

ScooterD35
06-02-2014, 05:48 AM
Well... I have what I suppose would be considered The Ultimate Fluke, a Tenor Koa Fluke with Rosewood fretboard, Peghed tuners and a hardshell case to boot.

While I don't have a birch-topped Fluke to compare it to, it does have a more open, complex tone than my Tie-Dye Flea and my wife's Aloha Red Flea (both have laminate Birch tops).

It also clearly has more volume and better sustain.


Scooter

DaveY
06-02-2014, 06:15 AM
About six years ago when I started playing ukulele I was in the Magic Fluke / Flea Market worldwide headquarters trying out their ukes, and when I tried a Flea koa top I heard a really significant difference. And this is back when my ear was even less sophisticated than it is now.


I can't speak to the koa top, but i do very much notice a difference between the mahogany lam top and the pine lam top. I have both and the mahogany one is a lot warmer, same strings and size.

And then a few months ago I was trying Fleas and Flukes at Magic Fluke's new place, and I mentioned to the owner/inventor that the mahogany top sounded better. He chuckled a little, which I could only interpret as meaning that I was misinformed. (He's a very helpful and professional guy; I mean nothing at all against him.) But yeah, I thought the mahogany sounded better than what I think is now a birch top, no longer pine (but of course the mahogany sounded nothing like the solid wood koa).

peaceweaver3
06-02-2014, 07:47 AM
I agree that a Fluke or Flea with any top, will always have a signature sound. However, I also think there are differences, or qualities of that Fluke/Flea sound. For reference, I've had a walnut lam top tenor Fluke, and concert and tenor Fleas with lam pine, birch and walnut tops. + a couple soprano Fleas in pine.

My subjective experience is this. The birch and pine are both bright and have less sustain. The walnut is darker, warmer - though I haven't had a mahogany lam top, I suspect they are similar.

Having said that, I want the koa top Flea! I don't know if I'd notice a sound difference; there are some Youtube videos of one, but I can't tell from those. Yet I still want one. They're not offered in tenor scale though, except perhaps if you call. That and I don't have the cash in hand are the only reasons I don't have one. :D

MFC folks say the lam tops have little if any sound difference. I disagree but again, that's my opinion.

BTW the walnut tenor Fluke had the most sustain and the warmest, most mellow sound. I passed it on because I prefer the Flea shape. And being a Fluke to begin with, it was more mellow even before the walnut top. I actually wanted to brighten it up a little.

Something else I ponder... Would the solid top take away from the sheer go-anywhere-do-anything quality of the Fluke/Flea? At least where I am, it would need a humidifier in winter. And for that reason I'd play it less. Maybe the koa top is one of those things that looks good on paper, but doesn't work, practically speaking. But it's only me speculating, and should I have the chance, I'll still get one!