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Thread: Durability of Magic Fluke and Flea

  1. #1
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    Default Durability of Magic Fluke and Flea

    I'm thinking about getting a Magic Fluke or a Flea, but I've read and seen two negatives. The finish on the top tends to wear away, more so than on other ukuleles, from contact with the player's hands. Whenever Jim Beloff appears, he has his Fluke, and the top is well-worn. Yes, he plays it a lot, but I haven't seen that kind of wear on any other ukulele. And, aside from being hard to see, the plastic frets tend to get dented from the strings over time. Barry Maz mentioned both of these conditions in a long term review of his Fluke. Have you noticed either of these?

    Magic Fluke has these instruments available with graphics printed on the top, but if they're going to wear away, what's the sense?

  2. #2
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    I'm getting some strum marks, but I tend to play hard and often.
    Like others have said, I intend to play into saw dust.
    I had seen a photo of Lil Rev's Favilla soprano with half the top gone.
    My fret board is wood, so no comment on the plastic fret board.
    For what its worth, when I wear this one out, I intend to get another.
    I love mine!
    Playing my Magic Fluke and grinning like a fool!

  3. #3
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    The only potential issue with durability would be the top, and I think you could get that replaced by MFC for not much money. Or buy another one! Or put stickers on it to protect it. Otherwise, they're not indestructible, but damn close to it. I've accidentally dropped mine on a concrete floor and it didn't go out of tune. They're real workhorses.

    Also, don't use wound or steel strings on the plastic fretboards. You'll wear them down in no time flat. The wood fretboards are as durable as you'll find on any other uke.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by maki66 View Post
    I'm getting some strum marks, but I tend to play hard and often.
    Like others have said, I intend to play into saw dust.
    I had seen a photo of Lil Rev's Favilla soprano with half the top gone.
    My fret board is wood, so no comment on the plastic fret board.
    For what its worth, when I wear this one out, I intend to get another.
    I love mine!
    Thanks. I like the idea of the wooden fret board. I'm close enough that I can drive there and avoid the $25 shipping charge.

    You're probably familiar with Willy Nelson's guitar, Trigger. It has a bit of wear. :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhQuJTc5yFY

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by hendulele View Post
    The only potential issue with durability would be the top, and I think you could get that replaced by MFC for not much money. Or buy another one! Or put stickers on it to protect it. Otherwise, they're not indestructible, but damn close to it. I've accidentally dropped mine on a concrete floor and it didn't go out of tune. They're real workhorses.

    Also, don't use wound or steel strings on the plastic fretboards. You'll wear them down in no time flat. The wood fretboards are as durable as you'll find on any other uke.
    Thanks. I suppose I'd have to wait for the wooden fretboard, but that's okay.

  6. #6
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    This thread inspired me to take a hard look at the plastic fretboard on my Fluke (purchased back in the day when there was no option for a wooden fretboard). 17 years as my main player and the fretboard shows no signs of wear. True, I've never used wound strings. And I'm not one of those players who pounds hard on the fretboard or digs in with long fingernails. The soundboard does have a color fade where my strumming arm has been rubbing against it for 17 years. It looks pretty cool that way.

    It is possible that Magic Fluke might have updated their finishing materials and techniques sometime in the current century, so old Flukes may not be entirely good predictors of how today's Flukes will age.

    Of course, it's not like it would have killed me to wipe down my Fluke after playing it. Outside in hot, sweaty weather. Sometimes while wearing sunscreen. Or eating barbecue ;-) A Fluke is not an investment instrument, it's a player for a life well lived. I can't imagine a wooden uke could have been through what my Fluke has survived and look or play any better.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by acmespaceship View Post
    This thread inspired me to take a hard look at the plastic fretboard on my Fluke (purchased back in the day when there was no option for a wooden fretboard). 17 years as my main player and the fretboard shows no signs of wear. True, I've never used wound strings. And I'm not one of those players who pounds hard on the fretboard or digs in with long fingernails. The soundboard does have a color fade where my strumming arm has been rubbing against it for 17 years. It looks pretty cool that way.

    It is possible that Magic Fluke might have updated their finishing materials and techniques sometime in the current century, so old Flukes may not be entirely good predictors of how today's Flukes will age.

    Of course, it's not like it would have killed me to wipe down my Fluke after playing it. Outside in hot, sweaty weather. Sometimes while wearing sunscreen. Or eating barbecue ;-) A Fluke is not an investment instrument, it's a player for a life well lived. I can't imagine a wooden uke could have been through what my Fluke has survived and look or play any better.
    Thanks for the detailed reply. It sounds great! I'll call them tomorrow and see what they have available.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerryc41 View Post
    Thanks for the detailed reply. It sounds great! I'll call them tomorrow and see what they have available.
    There is also a nice used one with a gig bag for sale at a good price here in the UU Marketplace:

    http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/...-w-TKL-Gig-Bag

    if you have not seen it yet, you should check out the Fluke & Flea appreciation thread, which you can get to by clickin the FAQ link in my signature below.

    To protect the wood of the top of my own Fluke and Flea ukes, as well as others, I have taken an iPhone screen protector and trimmed to fit and stick it on sort of as like a pick-guard on a guitar, or as the adhesive plastic protectors for flamenco/classical guitars. It is clear and you barely see it.

    You can get a dozen of them on Amazon or ebay for like $5 and so far in 4 yrs never had an issue with it harming the finish.

    Also, in 4 yrs, the Fluke and Flea ukes I have with the plastic fretboard, show no wear on the plastic frets at all. One with plastic frets you are advised NOT to use wound strings, since the metal from wound strings will shave the frets down, so for that you'd need to get one with a wooden fretboard.

    Please check the 'Fluke and Flea megathread' from the link in my signature below to learn more.
    This FAQ link will help you learn about:
    - Magic Fluke Company ukes
    - Pickups, Preamps and Impedance Mismatch
    - Home Recording and Mics
    - String Upgrades
    - iPad Microphones
    - Wolfelele Uke Kit
    - How to string a Baritone uke as a piccolo bass
    - Strings I used for GDAE and CGDA fifths tunings

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerryc41 View Post
    Thanks for the detailed reply. It sounds great! I'll call them tomorrow and see what they have available.
    Also- forgot to add, ordering direct from Magic Fluke Company - if they do not have one already made with the options you want, there is typically a 2-week lead time after you place your order and pay since most of their instruments a 'built-to-order' and then you have an additional 3-7 days for shipping, so keep that in mind.

    There are other vendors that sell MFC ukes that have them in stock, like Gryphon Strings, Penny Lane Emporium, Elderly Music, Hawaii Music Supply, and Uke Republic, as well as Amazon, and since these instruments do NOT require vendor setup, and come setup from Magic Fluke, this is one of the VERY RARE cases where the instrument you get from Amazon (or any other vendor) will intonate and play well 'out of the box' since the dealer has nothing to do to set it up.

    The same cannot be said for most other brands of ukulele and in this way, it is another benefit of getting a Magic Fluke instrument as opposed to something that needs work to be playable.
    This FAQ link will help you learn about:
    - Magic Fluke Company ukes
    - Pickups, Preamps and Impedance Mismatch
    - Home Recording and Mics
    - String Upgrades
    - iPad Microphones
    - Wolfelele Uke Kit
    - How to string a Baritone uke as a piccolo bass
    - Strings I used for GDAE and CGDA fifths tunings

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booli View Post
    Also- forgot to add, ordering direct from Magic Fluke Company - if they do not have one already made with the options you want, there is typically a 2-week lead time after you place your order and pay since most of their instruments a 'built-to-order' and then you have an additional 3-7 days for shipping, so keep that in mind.

    There are other vendors that sell MFC ukes that have them in stock, like Gryphon Strings, Penny Lane Emporium, Elderly Music, Hawaii Music Supply, and Uke Republic, as well as Amazon, and since these instruments do NOT require vendor setup, and come setup from Magic Fluke, this is one of the VERY RARE cases where the instrument you get from Amazon (or any other vendor) will intonate and play well 'out of the box' since the dealer has nothing to do to set it up.

    The same cannot be said for most other brands of ukulele and in this way, it is another benefit of getting a Magic Fluke instrument as opposed to something that needs work to be playable.
    Thanks for all the info. I live near enough that I can drive to the Magic Fluke to get my Flea in person. I sent them an email with a couple of questions, and they said they could make whatever I want if they don 't have it in stock. I like the idea of the wood and metal fretboard. It's traditional, and the frets are easier to see.

    I see that lots of places sell them - ready to go - but I like the idea of ordering exactly what I want. I like that Woodie graphic.

    I wondered about sticking protective plastic on the face. I have that on all my LCDs. I'll look at the Fluke and Flea section.

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