NBD: Magic Fluke Timber Bass "2.0"

Jim Hanks

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This is my second Timber. I sold my first one earlier this year in anticipation of a semi-custom build that was to amend the issues I found problematic with the original Timber. Big mistake. That build has still not materialized 10 months and counting after promised delivery (story for another day), so when I found out that Dale Webb and company at Magic Fluke had redesigned the Timber to remedy my two complaints, I decided to order another one. Here is the result.

Specs:
Cherry body
Maple neck and fingerboard
Lined fretless fingerboard
Graphtec 20:1 Ratio tuners
Piezo pickup
Active preamp, volume/tone, digital tuner
Galli flatwound strings
Custom engraving

The big changes from the original are the tuners and the strings, both huge improvements. The strings are now from Galli. I didn't ask, but I'm pretty sure these are the same nylon core strings branded for Kala, but custom fit for the slightly longer Timber. They are much thinner than the steel core LaBella strings. This makes the new Galli strings lower tension and do not have the intonation problems of the LaBella - very important since the bridge is not adjustable. The old Peghed tuners might be ok with these strings but were a royal pain with the LaBellas. I like the look of the new Graphtecs better, and they are so smooth.

The rest of the specs and appointments are typical Magic Fluke. Excellent build quality, great folks to work with, and It.Just.Works.

I think the only complaint you can register against the Timber would be limited string selection, but since these are now so good, who cares?

And just so I wouldn't be somehow tempted to sell it again, I opted for the "signature" engraving. :)

I have an unboxing video with quick sound sample coming soon. More and better sound samples will come later.

More pics:

BGWIfoi.jpg
 

Kimosabe

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Thank you. I like the look and the strings. Very tempted. Hard to find a solid body Ubass these days.
 

Spieler

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I appreciate your taking the time to make the 2nd video-- I gained a much greater appreciation for the tone and possibilities. Thanks!

... All this, and bonus Cashew Trays on the front! :)

(Are the carve-outs on the top for weight/balance, or for style, or... Cashews?)

~ S.
 

KohanMike

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I appreciate your taking the time to make the 2nd video-- I gained a much greater appreciation for the tone and possibilities. Thanks!... All this, and bonus Cashew Trays on the front! :)(Are the carve-outs on the top for weight/balance, or for style, or... Cashews?)~ S.
Absolutely not for cashews, they're for macadamia nuts.

Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly Grove near the Beverly Center
8 tenor cutaway ukes, 4 acoustic bass ukes, 10 solid body bass ukes, 14 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 36)
•Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
•Member The CC Strummers: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers
 

Jim Hanks

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Hahaha 😝
The cutouts do look nice, but they're also functional as a thumb rest if you need that. I tend to play with the thumb a lot and this don't use it that way
 
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Kimosabe

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Yeah,

I can hear the intonation, spot on. Is there any waiting time if you don’t have any words added to the body?

You mentioned on your video about flat wounds that you had to use your ear to compensate for the flat wounds’ intonation. Has Fluke Inc. adjusted the bridge or the fret markers to compensate for the flat wounds since you made that video?

Cheers

I like your bass line on the comparison of the flats and rounds
 
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Jim Hanks

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Yeah,

I can hear the intonation, spot on. Is there any waiting time if you don’t have any words added to the body?

You mentioned on your video about flat wounds that you had to use your ear to compensate for the flat wounds’ intonation. Has Fluke Inc. adjusted the bridge or the fret markers to compensate for the flat wounds since you made that video?

Cheers

I like your bass line on the comparison of the flats and rounds
My wait time was about 6 weeks but it was before Christmas and the new strings were just coming in. Your wait time now may be shorter but drop them an email to see.

When I talked about intonation being off, that was with the older LaBella flatwound strings. The newer Galli flatwound strings are thinner and have a nylon core like the roundwounds so they intonate the same. So the bridge and fret lines did not have to be adjusted.

I *think* these strings work correctly on fretted Timbers too, but you better ask about that if that's what you're interested in. I wanted the fretless and flats so didn't specifically ask about that.
 

Kimosabe

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Maybe this is going to boil down to personal preference but let me try anyway. I receive a lot of compliments from serious bassists about the tone of my very inexpensive Hadean which I pump through the Garage Band preset combo bass setting or through my very inexpensive Focusrite Itrack Pocket set on clear.

I love the feel of my Pahoehoe strings and after I watched a Kala Youtube video on how to properly string and tie them they settled in relatively quickly and stay mostly in tune.

So, are the flatwounds a much stiffer feel? Soundwise, I’m sure maybe there are some advantages to the flatwounds but the Pahoehoes give that almost standup bass sound which is amazing coming from such a small instrument.

It’s probably hard to answer my concerns but perhaps you’ll give it a try.

I love the look of your Timber bass and the tuners really are a plus and of course flatwounds are better than round ones imho. The neck and fretboard are certainly better than those on my Hadean. Fluke sells a small accessory unit so you can amp your bass and listen through headphones and the unit gets really good reviews and is only about 50 smackers. Do you use it?

Thanks
 

Jim Hanks

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Maybe this is going to boil down to personal preference but let me try anyway. I receive a lot of compliments from serious bassists about the tone of my very inexpensive Hadean which I pump through the Garage Band preset combo bass setting or through my very inexpensive Focusrite Itrack Pocket set on clear.

I love the feel of my Pahoehoe strings and after I watched a Kala Youtube video on how to properly string and tie them they settled in relatively quickly and stay mostly in tune.

So, are the flatwounds a much stiffer feel? Soundwise, I’m sure maybe there are some advantages to the flatwounds but the Pahoehoes give that almost standup bass sound which is amazing coming from such a small instrument.

It’s probably hard to answer my concerns but perhaps you’ll give it a try.

I love the look of your Timber bass and the tuners really are a plus and of course flatwounds are better than round ones imho. The neck and fretboard are certainly better than those on my Hadean. Fluke sells a small accessory unit so you can amp your bass and listen through headphones and the unit gets really good reviews and is only about 50 smackers. Do you use it?
thats a lotta questions. Lemme see what I can do...

If Hadean had a fretless available in the last 6 months, I would have got one.

I will see if I can get a direct comparison video between the Timber/flats and my Kala/Pahoehoe. I like them both and there are differences. As you say, if you're after the standup sound, the Pahoehoes will give it to you easier. The flats will give more of a jazz sound and the rounds will be more rock oreinted. (Over generalizing of course)

The flats are a little stiffer but these are much less stiff than the older LaBellas. So far I'm finding them very comfortable.

I do not have the "amplug" accessory.
 

KohanMike

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I find the Kala/Galli nylon core to have a good bass sound compared to the Pahoehoe. I now prefer the flats to any poly strings because of never getting sticky even in a little humid conditions, and the need to trim them so often as they stretch.

I also used the flats on a couple of my magnetic pickup basses, they did work, but the volume was much more limited so I'm not going to do that anymore.
 

Kimosabe

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I learned from Magic Fluke that the order time is four to six weeks. They‘re custom built and popular.
 

Kimosabe

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Private message sent to Jim but basically besides appearance was there any reason he chose cherry over ash or walnut?

And does anyone have any thoughts? I come from walnut country myself.
 

Jim Hanks

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Appearance is the only reason. I'd be surprised if the body wood makes any discernible difference tonally and weight shouldnt be a great difference among these choices either
 

Kimosabe

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I thought as much. Thank you. Currently in discussion with my wife as to why the last one really wasn’t the last one. Trying to summon up as much Cartesian logic as possible. I play therefore I am? Yes, I do love my Hadean with the Pahoehoe strings but the wind has been known to change direction. Everytime you step in the river it’s a different river. Therefore every time you play a bass it should be a different bass? The only constant in life is change? My wife might ask then why don’t I change? There must be an epistemological fallacy somewhere in there. I must call Wittgenstein to my aid to confuse the issue a little.
 

Kimosabe

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Politics is or should be the art of compromise. So, instead of spending $800 on what is a beautifully sounding and crafted Timber Bass I’ve opted to spend $400 on a beautifully crafted and beautifully sounding Ebony Fretless Kala ubass with my beloved Pahoehoe strings.

Thanks to all for entertaining my waffling on the edge of extravagantly necessary expenditure.