Clara or Flea Travels and Durability

Graham Greenbag

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So, we're leaving for two weeks in Hawaii (Kauai and Big Island). I'm thinking of bringing either my Blackbird Clara or Concert Flea, BUT without a case. In other words, I would stick it in my backpack with the headstock sticking out the top. I like to travel light and don't want to bring a separate case, even if it is a Mono bag.

Is this a terrible idea?

I get with temperature changes, the strings my go out of tune and such, but I would like to continue practicing even while on vacation. (funny, that i'm considering bringing the non-Hawaiian ukuleles that I own to Hawaii).

Thoughts?

Bonus question: any fun uke related things to do on those two islands?

Cheers everyone!
Rich

I don’t think it a terrible idea, in your position I’d take the Flea and put it in a thin bag to both give it some modest protection and to keep it out of sight. However I don’t have a Concert Flea - complete with its good reputation for sound and durability - so I’d likely take one of my old painted laminate Mahalo U30’s because they’re: as tough as old boots; adequate for holiday use (I find); and inexpensive to replace.
 

ghostrdr

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so, if I'm reading the room correctly, the top choices are:
1) take the flea or
2) bring a chromatic tuner and buy a cheapie somewhere...

looks like no one is in favor of the clara.

It is a little nicer flea in that it has the wood fretboard and peghead tuners, but this is the one I leave at work unhumidified, I drop it all the time, it falls over, etc. I don't really see too many "battle scars" and so it seems pretty durable to me.

Thanks for everyone's input so far!
 

bacchettadavid

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I’ll side with Bill1. If you’re committed to playing uke during the trip yet unwilling to bring the Mono case, either buy a uke while you’re there or stuff the uke you prefer into the backpack with some light protection and don’t look back.

Life’s too short to sweat the small stuff. My vote goes to the Clara.
 

PereBourik

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Take the Flea. You are only going for 2 weeks. The Clara’s too nice to beat up.

I have both. My Flea has traveled with me on 3 continents. The airplane wasn’t a problem, the airport was. 2 days before coming home from Australia it went sideways going through screening. Broke a tuner off. 5 weeks hoofing it across Spain with no problems.

Shout out to Flea Market Music. They sent me a replacement tuner gratis.
 

M3Ukulele

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I’ve flown several times with my tenor, laminate top Fluke in a thin gig bag. No problem. They key to overhead beads in be the last person to stuff the Uke in on top. For me that means watching for anyone going to put in overhead bin AFTER I’ve put my Uke in. I ALWAYS stand up, help person but their bad in And then Put mine on top. Most people appreciate the help. You explain you have a ukulele….they are all fine. Fluke or Flea and scale will do well in back back. I like the idea of a cartoon sock or golf club head like “Tiger” ha ha to protect the headstock. I’m sure you can find a fitting cover.

the Clara is awesome. It’s also expensive and you’d hate to damage it. Also, factor in how much pkaying you will do. When I go to Hawaii I always ”forget“ to take a ukulele so I have excuse to visit HMS and perhaps find something to play. LOL.

Good Luck. +1 for the Flea option. Less to worry about and they are very robust and do sound good.
 

ookooleilei

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I would NOT take the Clara if you are not going to use a case. Yes the Ekoa body is tough, but remember the top is a foam sandwich that is probably not that difficult to dent (or worse). Take the Flea, or better yet, take David's advice above and get an $80 Enya Nova.
I can attest to the fact that the Ekoa DOES dent -- bought a b-stock Clara from TUS a while back, and got a really good deal on it as the bridge had popped off and back onto the Clara, leaving a couple of dents -- bridge was easily re-glued by TUS, I imagine, but the dents remained...
 

ghostrdr

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So as a post script, the plane ride was fine. The uke survived. I wrapped my light sweater around the body and fretboard and shoved it in my backpack with the headstock sticking out.

I played it here and there in between meals and trips to the beach. Then… I got Covid while in Hawaii. Just me. Not my family. while I was quarantining in my hotel room while the kids and my wife were doing activities, I played my uke, A LOT. In between naps and watching a lot of tv, I was glad to have brought it.
thanks for everyone’s advice.

Cheers and good health to you all!
 

Voran

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Why not get you a tiny little sopranissimo and take it in your carry on luggage?

Edit: Oops, finished reading, you've already been on holiday. Sorry about the COVID.
 

ploverwing

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Then… I got Covid while in Hawaii. Just me. Not my family. while I was quarantining in my hotel room while the kids and my wife were doing activities, I played my uke, A LOT. In between naps and watching a lot of tv, I was glad to have brought it.
Total BLERGH about getting covid in the midst of your holiday, I'm sorry to hear that was how you experienced Hawaii, but that is excellent that you felt sufficiently functional to actually play while you were sick. I'm so glad that you brought it with you!! I hope you're recovered and feeling better now.
 

Wukulele

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FWIW, I’ve put my Flea face down on a piece of cardboard, traced it & cut it out. Then cut a slit, slide it over the sound board/under the strings, tape it & put it in a backpack.