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Thread: Confused about the sound of banjo ukes

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Springfield, IL
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    I've had the soprano Firefly, Dohle; I think you'll like it. It's super lightweight and has a nice bark!

  2. #12
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    Mar 2019
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    Petaluma, CA
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    As George Fromby was very popular playing one, there should be some nice vintage Banjoukes floating around over there.

  3. #13
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    Dec 2010
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    I agree with Bii Sheehan - the Firefly Soprano is a nice one.

    After the initial introduction at NAMM, I played two Firefly prototypes at Magic Fluke, and offered to buy either one... but Dale refused, saying it wasn't ready yet. He even showed me the tailpiece he was working on for the instruments... It was much nicer. So, I simply ordered one while I was still there (put with Peghed planetary tuners). About a month later, they let me know it was on the way. I've been happy with it since it arrived.

    -Kurt
    Donaldson Kumalae-style soprano * Magic Fluke Timber Bass * Ohana CK450QEL * Ohana CK-65D * Ken Timms Soprano
    Moku MS-90S * Waterman * National Triolian Reso * Bugsgear Aqualele * Donaldson Concert
    Rosewood Vita Uke * Waverly Street #38 * Ko'Aloha Sceptre Tenor * Ohana Vita Uke
    Fluke FireFly * Epiphone Les Paul Ukulele * Republic Concert * Fluke Tenor M22
    Kala KA-KTG-CT * Cordoba 20TM * 1950s Harmony soprano *1920s Stella banjo uke

    Am I done?

    ...naw...

    My YouTube Channel

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Finland
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    Thanks for the comments, I've no doubt I'll like it. Should be on it's way already.
    My only concern really is the fact that, if I'm not mistaken, you can't tighten the banjo head on the Firefly since it doesn't have the hooks around the body, meaning that the only way to tweak the sound is to dampen the overtones by stuffing something between the rod and the head.

    In any case, I'm sure the Firefly is at the very least a really nice intermediate banjo uke if I ever decide to go for something more expensive. The next step for me would be the proper Gold Tone banjo ukes which are at least twice the price of the Firefly, and I'm not ready to spend that much money yet before playing and experimenting more with a banjo uke.

  5. #15
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    Feb 2016
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    Springfield, IL
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    That's right, Dohle, as I recall, the Firefly's banjo head is basically "factory set" and not adjustable, but I found this to be okay because 1) they make it nice and tight, and 2) it was kinda nice not having to worry about it on an ongoing basis! Damping-wise, on the Firefly, I had good luck using an old sock, rolled up over itself a couple of times so that it was about the size of a small bar of soap; it stayed in place nicely between the rod and the head, and you can slide it either more forward or more rearward to get the texture you like. Have fun with it!

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dohle View Post
    Thanks for the comments, I've no doubt I'll like it. Should be on it's way already.
    My only concern really is the fact that, if I'm not mistaken, you can't tighten the banjo head on the Firefly since it doesn't have the hooks around the body, meaning that the only way to tweak the sound is to dampen the overtones by stuffing something between the rod and the head.

    In any case, I'm sure the Firefly is at the very least a really nice intermediate banjo uke if I ever decide to go for something more expensive. The next step for me would be the proper Gold Tone banjo ukes which are at least twice the price of the Firefly, and I'm not ready to spend that much money yet before playing and experimenting more with a banjo uke.
    The only tuneable Firefly is their tenor model.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    Finland
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    So I finally received my Firefly soprano and I really need to thank everyone who's commented so far because playing it is a blast. The sound is much more what I want from a banjo uke than the Gold Tone Little Gem. I actually prefer not to dampen the sound of the Firefly because I can't hear much of those ghost notes like with many other banjo ukes, and the sound overall is much brighter and clearer than the Little Gem already. Probably has something to do with the open back at least. The looks are also just dapper, I absolutely love it. However...

    Last time I briefly said that I just missed out on an auction of a Gibson UB-1. Well, the same guy selling that one put up another one on auction that was actually in even better condition. And this time, I was determined to get this one because the seller is in the EU and it's really rare to see vintage (banjo) uke sellers in Europe, and also the starting price was fairly low as well. And... I got it. For the meager price of $361 plus shipping. I cannot believe my luck. You can actually see the auction page here and get a look of the photos of the thing. I personally think I got a real bargain since to me it looks to be in fairly good condition. And even if it's only the UB-1 "Baby Gibson", I don't really care since I prefer smaller ukes anyway.

    So yeah, I got the really nice Firefly and an actual vintage Gibson banjo uke. I could actually send the Firefly back to the retailer but I'm not going to because I like it so much. I'll just probably try to sell the Little Gem instead. Needless to say, I'm over the moon.

    Cheers, everyone.

  8. #18
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    Sounds like everything worked out well, Dohle! Have fun with them!

  9. #19
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    Jun 2018
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    Sparta, Wisconsin, USA
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    Wow! a six inch head! That is small! Should be a lot of fun to play. I think it will compliment your Firefly.
    There is a subtle yet profound difference between the learning of something and the knowing of that thing.
    You can learn by reading, but you don’t begin to know until you begin to try to do.

    —Lou Churchill, Plane & Pilot Magazine

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