PDA

View Full Version : Flea and Fluke Ukes



Down Up Dick
08-06-2014, 09:48 AM
Now I'm not being critical, but I'd like to know why the Flea and Fluke Ukes are so popular. Some of them are almost all plastic, and others have plastic parts. Yet they cost $100 to $200. I know that they're very loud, their looks are, of course, a matter of taste, though I think some of them are pretty snazzy. So what is their draw? It's hard to find any in the Market Place. They seem to get snapped up right away.

uke4ia
08-06-2014, 10:02 AM
They're a good uke for the price. They have a good sound, they're ready to sound good when you buy them without needing a setup, they're very durable for bringing anywhere as your travel uke. I've had two Flukes, and I love them. My first one was bought in 2006, and despite the plastic fretboard, the frets and nut haven't worn down and it still plays fine. All I've had to do was re-paint the fret markers a couple of times, because I'd worn off the paint playing it. It's gone to Hawaii with me, and been thrown in the trunk on many a car trip.

When you first see a Fluke or Flea, you see the plastic and automatically think "cheap". Once you've played them, you realize the plastic allows them to make a uke that has a quality intonation that is easily reproduceable, instrument after instrument, at a good price point.

brimmer
08-06-2014, 10:42 AM
We recently had a thread about Magic Flukes. Most of us think they are swell, but some agree with the OP that they're not worth the money.

Dan Uke
08-06-2014, 10:52 AM
We recently had a thread about Magic Flukes. Most of us think they are swell, but some agree with the OP that they're not worth the money.

I agree but they are great buys if you can find them in the used marketplace. To be fair, I think most brands are not worth the price new.

SteveZ
08-06-2014, 12:43 PM
I bought a Flea Soprano used, have done a little bit of work on it, set it up low-G and love it. It has become the "leave it on a living room chair" and "outside on the lawn chair" regular. The sound is acceptable with Reds, stays pretty much in tune, is as durable as an anvil, and just keeps workng.

Is it worth the money? No complants here.

bunnyf
08-06-2014, 12:51 PM
Glad I got mine used, as I think they are a little pricey new. As has been said, they are super durable. I have the most basic one (I can't really see getting upgrades of any kind). All plastic suits my needs for camping, beach, etc.

Icelander53
08-06-2014, 01:07 PM
Good luck finding one for $100.

As to your question, they sound good, play easy, are very durable and made in America by people getting a living wage.

Booli
08-06-2014, 02:09 PM
Good luck finding one for $100.

As to your question, they sound good, play easy, are very durable and made in America by people getting a living wage.

In addition to specifically what Icelander53 said here, and the pros that others have mentioned, for me, the A#1 most important feature is the intonation (and in this price range). The intonation on both my Flea and Fluke is very very good, not perfect, but the best out of my collection.

I do not think that PERFECT intonation on every single fret is even possible on an instrument shorter than about 24" due to the laws of physics.

Some folks do not have the 'ear' or hearing perception for poor intonation and quite frankly, they are better off (bless them - ignorance is bliss).

I simply cannot play (nor listen to) any instrument with poor intonation - it makes me cringe and no longer sounds musical to me when the intonation is far off.

It was not until I got my concert Flea last November 2013 and tenor Fluke in February 2014 that I knew what good intonation was, as in what it SOUNDED like in my own hands.

At the time, I took a leap on the Flea, but the BUILD QUALITY is simply over the top, and fit and finish is impeccable, so after seeing this, I was sold for the Fluke without any hesitation.

For me, the price seems a bit high for all NEW ukes as well, especially if you add the upgrades for anything from Magic Fluke Company, but quality instruments made with care cost more than those made poorly. You actually DO get what you paid for with a Fluke or Flea.

Time and time again, you will see consistently and overwhelmingly positive reviews here on UU and elsewhere on the web about reliability of these instruments, the easy playability, as well as the excellent customer service from Magic Fluke Company.

I do like the way they sound, but they sound DIFFERENT from most other ukes.

Not everyone likes them for all the reasons that I, and a ton of other folks do.

If I could only keep 1 of the 10 ukes (yes- UAS has been strong with this one) that I have acquired in the past 19 months, I would keep only my tenor Koa Fluke and ditch the rest.

-Booli

Icelander53
08-06-2014, 02:27 PM
Ooooh, You've got the Koa. My gf is wanting one but we were wondering if that solid wood top was worth it. Sounds like it is. Does it really sound a lot better than the laminate to your ear?

PereBourik
08-06-2014, 03:31 PM
There is no better VALUE in the uke world than a Flea or a Fluke. There are better ukes and there are cheaper ukes. If you can make the jump, get a Flea.

acmespaceship
08-06-2014, 10:02 PM
Some people enjoy fussing over ukuleles. I don't. I have no friendly neighborhood luthier to fix the setup. I don't know how to adjust the action. I don't know how to compensate a bridge. In the winter I let case humidifiers run dry because I'm busy and I forget. I don't have Saturday free to go gallivanting around to music stores playing all the ukes they have in stock to find the one good one.

This is why I love the Flukes/Fleas. You can buy one online without playing it first because they are consistently well built. They have good action and intonation without tweaking. They survive normal wear and tear. You never have to worry about them and so you can spend more time playing.

Maybe someday after I retire, I'll have the time to treat ukuleles like fetish objects. I'll polish them and try every set of strings on the market, and I'll nestle them lovingly into their plush-lined hard cases with humidifiers I'll fill every week without fail. Until then, I'm too busy to nurture a box with strings. My Fluke takes me as I am, and makes no whiny demands for attention.

Andy Chen
08-06-2014, 10:10 PM
I've said it in a previous thread and I will say it again here: Don't obsess over the fact that they are plastic. Focus on the sound and playability, they are musical instruments, after all. And in these areas, the Fluke is superb. The fact that it is durable and I can take it to the beach are more reasons to recommend it.

For the same excellence in sound and playability, other ukes with more beautiful materials such as figured koa are certainly available. But they wouldn't come at the price of the Fluke and Flea.

Booli
08-06-2014, 11:16 PM
Maybe someday after I retire, I'll have the time to treat ukuleles like fetish objects. I'll polish them and try every set of strings on the market, and I'll nestle them lovingly into their plush-lined hard cases with humidifiers I'll fill every week without fail. Until then, I'm too busy to nurture a box with strings. My Fluke takes me as I am, and makes no whiny demands for attention.


Ha ha -you made me laugh at myself!

It's like some of us have become Golem from J.R.R. Tolkein's 'Lord Of the Rings' and we sit in the corner mumbling 'my precious, I love my precious...' as we bleat with affection for, and sweetly 'pet' and 'stroke' our instruments in an almost unsavory way, not realizing the drool that's making it's way to the floor....while the dulcet tones that emanate from the instrument serve to soothe the angst in one's soul...

BTW, my 'box of strings' has been migrated 3 times so far (it's been steadily growing), and once I test Living Waters and SouthCoasts, I'll be done for a while, having tested over a dozen brands and each flavor and size from those brands, on each uke for no less than 14 days...it's tiring, but I have a few 'forever favorites' for the ukes I own, and a few that I am still searching for...

This is called 'String Changing Obsession' or S.C.O. as coined by fellow UU brother Ukulele Eddie back in Feb 2014 - there is a thread for it here:

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?93141-It-s-like-UAS-only-worse-SCO

According to fellow UU brother Frisbee Fred, you can become infected with this disease of S.C.O., merely by reading about it.

Consider yourself forewarned! :P

pabrizzer
08-06-2014, 11:30 PM
I agree but they are great buys if you can find them in the used marketplace. To be fair, I think most brands are not worth the price new.

I bought mine on the marketplace here at UU from a UU member called nondam.
I'm really pleased with it. It is my cart around and take to work uke but I have done a few vids with it.
When it arrived in Australia from the USA I took it out of the box and played it - it was still in tune!

flyer
08-07-2014, 03:11 AM
The Flukes are very cool, nice sounding instruments. I bought mine for full price many years ago and do not regret it. I have spent much more on guitars and came away disappointed with many. The cost of GAS is much higher than the cost of UAS...so maybe I am just jaded, but ukes, for the most part, even new, are not badly priced from my perspective.

BTW, I recently purchased an acoustic/electric Gretsch 9121, for $219 new it was a bargain as a gig instrument. Sounds great, but the finish not so much. Made in China I think. My next purchase will be a Tenor Flea or Fluke with electric pickup...the search continues...

Down Up Dick
08-07-2014, 04:40 AM
Actually, my wonder only grows! The Fluke/Fleas (and there seems to be a lot of 'em around) are even more beloved and popular than I thought. And they're even more expensive ($250 +) than I stated at the beginning of the thread! An amazing success story to be sure.

DownUpDave
08-07-2014, 04:55 AM
Actually, my wonder only grows! The Fluke/Fleas (and there seems to be a lot of 'em around) are even more beloved and popular than I thought. And they're even more expensive ($250 +) than I stated at the beginning of the thread! An amazing success story to be sure.

Good thing you didn't say you disliked them at the start or you might have been stoned to death and cast out of ukedom. I get it but I am not in love with them, I have tried, but I don't own one yet.

Down Up Dick
08-07-2014, 05:12 AM
I don't plan on gettin' one either, but, next time I'm in a store, I think I'll try one. I already have my next three Ukes picked out, and then I'm done. I'm pretty satisfied with what I have now. But que sera, sera . . .

wrestlingmatt51
08-07-2014, 06:04 AM
The only thing I don't like about my Fluke is the tuning pegs. They're not the best quality, not being geared tuners.

Dan Uke
08-07-2014, 06:47 AM
I bought mine on the marketplace here at UU from a UU member called nondam.
I'm really pleased with it. It is my cart around and take to work uke but I have done a few vids with it.
When it arrived in Australia from the USA I took it out of the box and played it - it was still in tune!

And knowing how good they are are, I bought two more used ones as a gift and one for my kid. However they don't have the cool graphic like yours!!

Andy Chen
08-07-2014, 03:46 PM
The only thing I don't like about my Fluke is the tuning pegs. They're not the best quality, not being geared tuners.

Upgrading to PegHeds makes all the difference.

M3Ukulele
08-07-2014, 03:57 PM
Agreed Andy….. I gave the stock 2B's a shot but within first month, shelled out for the Pegheds. They make this a seriously good ukulele. I got mine as a travel, go anywhere instrument. Small for the plane, resists climate changes, and not too high prices that you'd freak out if something happened to it. Although, it is very well built. I love the fact it can sit upright and is easy to grab and its always available to play cause it by the couch. . I too was suspect of the higher pricing but have purchased one, I'm glad I did. Don't' forget how good the service is a MFC, how nice an accommodating the owners and Beth are and just how funky and cool these Ukes are. Does my Fluke sound as good as my Pono AT…… well no. It does have its own sound. I'm on a string search for my walnut fluke so any suggestions welcome. I think, I'd like to try a solid top on a Fluke and of course will always upgrade to Peghed for any future Flea or Fluke purchases. They just make all the difference. I play mine a lot even though I have better more expensive ukes. I like them all.

Looking for good strap suggestions for my Fluke it anybody has any.

Icelander53
08-07-2014, 04:39 PM
PM me and I'll tell you how I rigged mine up. It works great.

wrestlingmatt51
08-08-2014, 06:30 AM
Upgrading to PegHeds makes all the difference.

Thanks! I hadn't heard of those before they look pretty awesome

bnolsen
08-08-2014, 09:20 AM
The grover 4b's will be cheaper and still act like a normal friction tuner. In my opinion they may be a bit too smooth, I liked the feedback I got from the slipping of the 2bs. I just didn't like that the 2bs might dig into the headstock wood over time.

flyer
08-08-2014, 11:01 AM
For anyone interested I did call the factory to check on and blemished flukes/fleas. Interestingly, they only discount them $20 now as the blemishes are slight. Also, I inquired about a tenor flea and was told that they are no longer in production. The woman, I believe it was one of the owners, on the line was kind enough to read a brief "statement" that had been issued. Basically, it said that the sound was much better from a tenor fluke due to the body shape and that therefore they were going to stop normal production on this unit. HOWEVER, she did go on to say that there were many folk out there that still wanted one as they happened to like the sound regardless, in this case one can still be special ordered. I don't know if there is an up charge for this, but they seem to be very considerate of their fan base!