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KYBob
07-21-2014, 10:41 AM
Everyone seems to love there products, but I am having a little trouble getting past all the plastic. A basic flea is about 180 bucks. How do they compare with solid wood ukuleles for around that same price?

Yooke
07-21-2014, 10:53 AM
I don't have one, but I do like the idea of a plastic fingerboard and that it stands on its own, other than that pretty expensive for me..

stevejfc
07-21-2014, 11:01 AM
I've taken a thumping in this forum for my opinion regarding Magic Flukes...................I find them underwhelming. However, it shoud be noted that this opinion is not shared with many others...........which in it self says something for Fleas and Flukes. On the plus side, they are sturdy......which makes for a good beach or camping uke.

stevepetergal
07-21-2014, 11:03 AM
The Flukes and Fleas are really great instruments. They compare very favorably to similarly priced wooden ukuleles. The thing they offer is durability. If you have questionable conditions or the ukulele might be mishandled, you can hardly do better anywhere. They offer a comprehensive array of options as well. Yes they're made mostly of plastic/plastic-like material. But the sound is still very good. The sound is not really the same as a wooden uke, but it's a very full-bodied sound. They do not, by any means, sound cheap. They play very well, and the intonation is consistently excellent.

A little aside: I currently have a Blackbird Clara ukulele, on loan. It is mostly plastic-like material and costs about $1,100. To me, the Fleas and Flukes seem like a BARGAIN!

Tigeralum2001
07-21-2014, 11:07 AM
Personally, I think of them like people think of Ovation guitars. Some view them as cheap guitars made of less than ideal materials. Others think they sound great and are inexpensive, too.

I fall on the side of "it would be a beater, not one to buy for great sound quality." But that is certainly a great niche to have. Much better than the outdoor uke or Bugsgear, IMHO.

gouacats
07-21-2014, 11:17 AM
My reasons for buying my Flea:

1 - great intonation and action out of the box. I found both of these to be true.
2 - durability. I plan in taking mine Jeeping, camping, etc.
3 - I don't have to worry about weather conditions. For me this is a big deal. I live in AZ and the humidity can get to 10%. I don't want to have to worry about a solid top instrument. If it lives in a case or a cabinet, it won't get played...that's just a fact of life for me, personally.

When I looked at these factors, the Flea made a lot of sense...I bought a cheaper uke at first, because I didn't want to spend the extra $ on the Flea. After messing with the Oscar Schmidt for a year or so, I sold it and got the Flea and have been very happy.

For me, it ended up being the best, durable uke that I could afford (Blackbirds being out of my dollar range!).

Edit - I should note that the OS uke I wasn't happy with isn't the OU4 in my signature. We've been pleasantly surprised with that one.

ksiegel
07-21-2014, 12:24 PM
I visited magic Fluke, with no intention of buying - I just hadn't had an opportunity to play any of their instruments, and they were a mere 90 minute drive away.

I played about 25 instruments, between Flea, Fluke, and the (then) new Solid Body, and kept going back to one Fluke Tenor. Easy to play, warm tone, marvelous tuners (Peghed). I bought it before I left.

I also played two prototype banjo ukes (the Firefly uke). They wouldn't let me buy either of them, so I ordered one before I left, and they built and shipped it within 3 weeks.

I have a lot of other ukes, but those two go with me to festivals or any time the weather is questionable.I have taken the Tenor Fluke on more airline trips than I have any reason to want to recall, and the hardshell case fit in every overhead bin with ease.

I have a lot of other ukes - because they all sound different, and some just work better on certain songs -but the Fluke and Firefly are in my top 6.


-Kurt

brimmer
07-21-2014, 12:43 PM
I think they are nice ukes. As noted above, they are durable, intone well, and sound good. And they are very easy to play. My Flea gets tossed in the car whenever I go camping. Its also the only uke that I leave laying around the house (and let my kids play without asking). Personally, I have never felt tempted to upgrade the tuners or the fretboard. It pleases me to think of how much use I have gotten out of an instrument that I've had for over six years and that cost me less than $160.

M3Ukulele
07-21-2014, 12:54 PM
I started with a all solid wood Ukulele - Pono AT and loved it. I kept looking for a travel Ukulele. I read all the Fluke/Flea threads... was tempted..... went on holidays without. When I came back ....... I bought a Fluke because I missed playing when I was on holidays and taking by Pono through the extreme temperatures changes was NOT an option. At base price with friction tuners and poly fretboard $219.00 I thought why not.

Having had the Fluke for a month....... I really like it. Does it sound as good as my Pono AT - No but it does sound good in its own way. It is very funky and of course rugged. Last two weekend trips ..... I took the Fluke....... Put it in my backpack. Its rugged, travels well, sounds good. Intonation is spot on. I did paint the frets so my aging eyes could see the fret. I also HATED the Grover 2B tune so in the first month..... I upgraded to Peghegs and now this is a very serious instrument because I can keep it in tune, fine tune it and enjoy it............. I play both now, and have a $1200 custom coming. I will play all three. They all have their place and they all sound different.

I'm at the stage now where I will start trying different strings to "find" the sound I like best for the Fluke. Already know what makes my Pono AT sing to me. It all a journey.

My .02 cents worth.

Pundabaya
07-21-2014, 02:20 PM
You've got to remember that when you're comparing that Fluke or Flea to similarly priced solid wood ukes that the Flukes/Fleas are made in the good ol' US of A not the far east. So yes, they're a little expensive for what they're made out of, but you're paying American wages. Also I've found my Fluke to compare very well with those soiid wood ukes.

If they were made in the far east they'd be half the cost and a total no brainer,but they're not and are still good value for a take-anywhere uke with good setup, intonation and sound quality. And you're supporting a great company.

haole
07-21-2014, 02:26 PM
From my experience, they're worth the asking price. Made in USA, super durable, great intonation, and a surprisingly good sound. Still not quite as rich as a decent solid-wood uke in terms of sound, but they have their own unique vibe. Sure, they cost four times as much as a Dolphin, but to me they sound and play four times better and they're still travel-friendly.

The options do tend to make them as expensive as better-sounding ukes, but they aren't necessary. The plastic fretboard is fine and will tolerate wet, sandy fingers at the beach. The stock friction tuners are good quality and I've never felt like I needed to upgrade to pegheds.

My Flea has probably gotten more playing time than my Kamaka and KoAloha combined because it's the uke I feel most comfortable taking outside the house and leaving on a desk. It gets more compliments and attention than any of my other ukes, and doubles as a pretty good percussion instrument. Also, customer service is awesome. Totally worth it, in my opinion.

bunnyf
07-21-2014, 03:25 PM
I can't say that they are the best sounding ukes made in their price range but I do think they are a good value. I have a basic concert, friction tuners plastic fretboard. I picked it up used, with flea bag, in perfect condition for about $125...money well-spent. Super durable, it goes with me camping, to the beach, on the boat and in the car.

bunnyf
07-21-2014, 03:26 PM
P.S. Wish they made a baritone.

Icelander53
07-21-2014, 03:41 PM
I have a Fluke with wood fretboard in low G tuning and I get som serious compliments on the sound. Not my playing though. :(

Andy Chen
07-21-2014, 03:56 PM
Yes they're made mostly of plastic/plastic-like material. But the sound is still very good. The sound is not really the same as a wooden uke, but it's a very full-bodied sound. They do not, by any means, sound cheap. They play very well, and the intonation is consistently excellent.

I have to agree with this. I am no wood purist (although some wood boards are gorgeous) since I live in a country with perpetual 90% humidity. For me, the only considerations for a good instrument are sound and playability.

If there were a cardboard uke that sounded good, played well and would last, I would pay a decent price for it.

kwall
07-21-2014, 04:35 PM
People either love them or hate them. I wasnt a huge fan of the fluke or flea but love the fire fly. It is one of those you need to try it for yourself to decide. the pros is they are fun coloured, made in America (with quality and eco friendly etc)and DURABLE.