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Thread: Fleas, Flukes and Sharpies

  1. #1
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    Dec 2009
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    Default Fleas, Flukes and Sharpies

    Unfortunately, I have a bit of neoropathy creeping into my fingers (numbness, loss of nerve sensation). The docs have no miracle cure, it might be a permanent, progressive disability, we'll see. I'm going with alternative herbal remedies too, I'll try almost anything to fix this.

    So, I can't play as well by feel alone, I need to look at the fretboard more often, for accuracy. As you may know, standard Flukes/Fleas have the black plastic fretboard and frets, which are very hard to see. Before I replace my Flea's fretboard with a wooden one, I thought I'd ask if anyone here has done the Sharpie thing on standard Fleas/Flukes, where they color the frets, or sides of the frets with silver Sharpie? Not interested in adding just side dots or stickers, I want to see the frets. If so, any tips on the process for doing that would be much appreciated, and a pics of your final results would be great. Thanks so much in advance!
    John

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Saratoga, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ukecaster View Post
    Unfortunately, I have a bit of neoropathy creeping into my fingers (numbness, loss of nerve sensation). The docs have no miracle cure, it might be a permanent, progressive disability, we'll see. I'm going with alternative herbal remedies too, I'll try almost anything to fix this.

    So, I can't play as well by feel alone, I need to look at the fretboard more often, for accuracy. As you may know, standard Flukes/Fleas have the black plastic fretboard and frets, which are very hard to see. Before I replace my Flea's fretboard with a wooden one, I thought I'd ask if anyone here has done the Sharpie thing on standard Fleas/Flukes, where they color the frets, or sides of the frets with silver Sharpie? Not interested in adding just side dots or stickers, I want to see the frets. If so, any tips on the process for doing that would be much appreciated, and a pics of your final results would be great. Thanks so much in advance!
    if I remember your town correctly you could visit the magic fluke folks and they could set you up with a custom fret board. They are very receptive to making changes if possible..
    Uke Set:
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    Always buying, tradings & selling,(kerneltime)at gmail

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Springfield, IL
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    758

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    John, unfortunately I don't have any experience with doing the coloration of the frets on the plastic board, but just want to say I hope you'll find relief from that nerve condition, and hopefully the input you receive here, starting with Kerneltime just above, will net you a solid solution to the "visibility" issue!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    U.K.
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    I’ve considered getting a Flea in the past but the visibility issue put me off, and they’re a bit more expensive here in the U.K. too so not a purchase I’d want to get wrong. It occurs to me that thin strips of say white insulation tape laid down directly at each side of a fret (so two per fret) would increase visibility and likely never be touched by / interfere with a string. I hope that the idea helps someone.
    Google: ‘fine line masking tape’.
    Last edited by Graham Greenbag; 02-05-2019 at 07:48 AM.

  5. #5
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    Dec 2009
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    USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by kerneltime View Post
    if I remember your town correctly you could visit the magic fluke folks and they could set you up with a custom fret board. They are very receptive to making changes if possible..
    Yes, I will write to them also, thanks.
    John

  6. #6

    Default

    I used white oil based paint sharpie on my plastic fret board (flea), a small line on the top (g-string) edge closest to the tuners has lasted well and helps a lot. I added side markers as well.
    Dont have a picture but it is not too noticeable but it aint too pretty either.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    1,227

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    Years ago I had a fluke that I did with silver sharpie and it wore off fairly quickly. I would contact the Webbs over at Magic Fluke. They change those out no problem.

  8. #8
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    Jul 2015
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    Catskill Mountains, NY
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    I bought a Flea with the wooden fretboard, but the previous owner had marked certain frets on the edge of the fretboard with some kind of white marker. Marking the frets shouldn't be a problem. If the marking wears off, just reapply it. For $75, the Magic Fluke will replace the composite with a wooden fretboard.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    NYC
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    333

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ukecaster View Post
    Unfortunately, I have a bit of neoropathy creeping into my fingers (numbness, loss of nerve sensation). The docs have no miracle cure, it might be a permanent, progressive disability, we'll see. I'm going with alternative herbal remedies too, I'll try almost anything to fix this.

    So, I can't play as well by feel alone, I need to look at the fretboard more often, for accuracy. As you may know, standard Flukes/Fleas have the black plastic fretboard and frets, which are very hard to see. Before I replace my Flea's fretboard with a wooden one, I thought I'd ask if anyone here has done the Sharpie thing on standard Fleas/Flukes, where they color the frets, or sides of the frets with silver Sharpie? Not interested in adding just side dots or stickers, I want to see the frets. If so, any tips on the process for doing that would be much appreciated, and a pics of your final results would be great. Thanks so much in advance!
    Ultra-fine Silver Sharpie or white Posca Pen (or other paint pen) on the fretboard, but on the side of the frets facing the bridge is what has worked for me on the plastic fretboard of my concert Flea.

    Some things to note:

    a. If you mark/paint the frets themselves, the friction from the strings will rub the paint off. Sharpie in may also shorten the life of the strings if there is a negative reaction to the string material.

    b. If you mark/paint the fretboard on the edge-side of the fret facing the nut, the coloring will be obscured by the fret itself when playing.

    c. If you mark/pain the fretboard edge-side of the fret facing the bridge, the coloring will be easy to see when playing.

    I cannot show a photo since I had done "c" above a long time ago, yet found it unnecessary after a while when muscle memory kicked in, and carefully removed the silver Sharpie with it's natural solvent of Isopropyl Alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and a Q-tip.

    Having said the above, I found that the Sharpie ink did not cause any harm to the plastic fretboard, but due to the artifical "grain texture" of the plastic, some of the ink remains in the surface of the plastic even after using rubbing alcohol to remove it. It is barely visible, kina like a shadow now, and most people do not notice until I point it out to them.

    In short, a Sharpie works.

    Sorry about your neuropathy. I've had that too, but it was only intermittent/temporary.

    Take the following with a grain of salt, as I'm no doctor and not giving medical advice, just sharing my own experience.

    My doctor said it was caused by either poor circulation (due to plaque in the arteries, from eating a fatty diet) or poor oxygen absorption/delivery due to low iron content in my diet causing the red blood cells and hemoglobin to be lower than normal.

    He recommended several different pills that required a prescription, but I chose to pursue a more natural approach and use food-as-medicine.

    I reduced all fat consumption (especially the trans-fats), which had the added benefit of losing some weight (I hate working out and never go to the gym).

    Also, I added more whole foods to my regular eating habits in the form of fresh produce of onion and garlic to help clear my arteries, and lots more leafy greens like spinach and kale (for their high iron content). All of these have other health benefits too aside from the above reasons.

    Eating the above items, every day or every other day, my neuropathy felt reduced in about 2 weeks, and was totally gone in about a months time.

    This kind of eating plan requires a bit of discipline, and sometimes I change things up. In my case if I am not eating with these items, in about 2-3 weeks, the neuropathy returns in both my hands and feet.

    My doctor has been monitoring my progress and agrees with the proper diet being better for you than prescription pills or herbal or homeopathic therapies, and it seems to be working for me for about 3 yrs now since the last neuropathy episode in my hands.

    Maybe this info can help?
    -Joe......Have uke, will travel...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Raleigh, NC
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    John, I hope the neuropathy is temporary. Sorry to hear about this.

    I had a Fluke with plastic fretboard and the previous owner used either Wite-Out or silver nail polish to mark the side of the fretboard. It worked OK, but was a little sloppy looking.

    Phyllis and Dale at MFC may be able to come up with a workaround. Hope so!
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