View Poll Results: Which Magic Fluke Company instruments do you own?

Voters
224. You may not vote on this poll
  • Fluke ukulele

    111 49.55%
  • Flea ukulele

    139 62.05%
  • Firefly banjo ukulele

    49 21.88%
  • Fluke SB solid-body electric ukulele

    5 2.23%
  • Cricket Violin

    3 1.34%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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Thread: The Magic Fluke Company Appreciation thread

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Centennial, CO
    Posts
    1,386

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    natural concert poly fluke i tweaked to take a phd non wound low-g. I installed 3 of 4 grover 4b tuners on that (waiting for a missing screw).

    red true joy branded concert poly flea. i'm very seriously considering selling this since i decided I prefer my fluke and now have a martin oxk. still considering what to do...
    In order of play time: Martin OXK, Lanikai LU21B, Islander MT4, Rubin Sopranino

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by WKerrigan View Post
    I confess to being intrigued by them, but they seem pricey for a plastic and laminate uke--and the fact you have to pay an additional premium for a wood fret board. Do most people pony up for the wooden fret board, or are folks content with the plastic one?
    If you want to use a low-g string and prefer higher tension strings, and are committed to concert scale, then the wooden fretboard is necessary.

    A metal wound string will chew up the polycarbonate fretboard and is not recommended by The Magic Fluke company.

    If you are looking at the tenor scale, and want low-g, then you can get either fretboard, as with the tenor scale there is enough tension for most unwound low-g strings.

    I prefer higher tension strings than most people, and after testing 24 different sets of strings (<--click to see the thread) on concert scale instruments, I have concluded that at this moment, other than the Aquila REDS low-g, all other strings I have tried do not have enough tension for me, so my lava concert Flea is my go-to high-g instrument, with Worth Brown medium strings (BM), and my Koa tenor Fluke is my default low-g instrument, also with Worth Brown medium strings but with the low-g (BM-LG).

    Some folks with vision issues have trouble 'seeing' the frets on the polycarbonate fretboard, as it is all monochromatically brownish in color, and this was a little problem for me at first, but after having the instrument now for 4 months, and this is now 11 months I am playing the ukulele, I am training myself NOT to look at the fretboard, unless I am learning an new chord, and even so, despite being farsighted and wearing eyeglasses, I do not have trouble to 'see' the monochromatic fretboard.

    There is a great thread currently going now on this very topic created by fellow member Icelander53 that you can see here.

    if you want to use a WOUND low-g string, and want to avoid premature wear on the (polycarbonate) fretboard (and getting it replaced, by The Magic Fluke company, which they will do under warranty for up to 3 yrs to the original owner, and then after that for a nominal cost), then your safest option is to upgrade to the wooden fretboard, and thus you are not limited to string type and can use any strings you wish without fear of the strings inflicting damage.

    The wooden fretboard is a $79 upgrade IIRC, so that puts you in the ballpark of ~$300 depending upon the scale length and which instrument. So you can then compare that to other brands in the $300 range, but then the issue with other ukuleles is going to be intonation.

    Unless the $300 ukulele you buy has a setup that can guarantee that the intonation is going to be no more than 8-10 cents off at the 12th fret, or you plan to adjust the string geometry yourself or take it to a luthier and have the nut and saddle adjusted, you are not truly comparing apples to apples. Most factory made instruments are shipped with high saddles, and poorly cut nut slots, both of which can cause the intonation to be poor, and both of which might need to be remedied to correct the problem.

    Most people either dont care or dont know about intonation. If you never go past the 3rd fret, you will probably never hear that the intonation is off. However, if you want to play more complex music, like John King or Jake Shimabukuro, you will be making use of the entire range of the fretboard and typically when the intonation is off by too much, you can never really get the instrument in tune with itself, regardless of what fancy strings you put on it.

    It's a simple fact: If the string geometry is cockeyed, intonation is poor.

    You will also not be able to perceive when the intonation is off until your ear is trained for it, and then sadly, you can hear it always.

    As a beginner, sometimes as the saying goes 'ignorance is bliss' and that $40 uke from BestBuy or Costco sounds fantastic to the beginner. God bless them for what they dont know that they dont know, as long as the uke makes them happy.

    In my mind, the careful attention to detail in the design and engineering, as well as the quality control procedures that are done by the Magic Fluke company to make absolutely certain that the instrument shipped has near-perfect and highly-accurate intonation on a wooden fretboard, is absolutely worth the price.

    My question is, why is it so completely impossible for other manufacturers to compete and provide similar results?

    Mind you, I am not indicting all ukulele builders, and there are many smaller luthiers/custom builders with a careful eye and deft hand, but even at the $300 range, there is little motivation for the cookie-cutter factory-built instruments to take extra care to make sure the intonation is better than 'barely good enough' to the 5th fret.

    I will not name manufacturer names, but this forum if full of more discussion about problems due to poor factory set up out-of-the-box than probably anything else, and that is a huge reason why HMS, MIM's and Uke Republic are so well regarded, --- it's because they take instruments that might be unplayable and by doing the setup work before the instrument ships to the customer, they are correcting these 'defects' such that the instrument is better than it was direct from the factory....

    Remember this is all related to NEW instruments, and a buyer might happen to get lucky and get an instrument from Amazon and it happens to be very good with the intonation and action, but this has all been well documented here on the forum, and this is the rare exception rather than the rule...

    As they say, 'you spends your money, and you takes your chances..'

    With instruments from the Magic Fluke Company, they take these careful steps during the manufacturing process to make sure that their instruments do not have these problems, and require no after-the-fact manipulations. The polycarbonate fretboard should have no issues with intonation unless it was installed in the wrong position on the neck, and this skews the scale length, but I have never even heard of this happening.
    Last edited by Booli; 03-04-2014 at 05:13 PM. Reason: typos

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by eugene ukulele View Post
    I'm cheating here but these were two of the lovelies I used to own...
    Attachment 64524Attachment 64525
    No, it's all good - everyone can 'play' - see the updated first post at the top - where I credit you for the suggestion!

    If you got more from the past to share, let's see them and hear about it, and please feel free to do the poll at the top as well.

    These are very nice, and very 'arty' looking.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Southern Oregon
    Posts
    1,874

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    Wow you are a fan Booli! The Music Store (Cripple Creek Music) in Ashland Oregon where I abide is well known for the high quality of instruments and knowledgable staff. They do a full set up on every Ukulele that hits the wall there. Except for the Fluke and Flea. They told me that wood or plastic they are always good to go when they get them. I usually buy from them but based on that information I bought my first Fluke sight unseen and got a free padded gig bag and tuner thrown in for the same price they sell them. It was perfect on arrival and I loved it so much for it's playability and sound that I sprung for a second one with the full tenor fretboard in rosewood. I told them I wanted as low of an action as possible due to finger arthritis. I emphasized that and was a little concerned that they'd do it so low that it might buzz or such but I've had it for over a week now and it's perfect. I was so inspired by it that I emailed them a letter about it yesterday just to let them know they done good.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Southern Oregon
    Posts
    1,874

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    BTW I was in that music store a few days ago selling a friend on a flea and I played with that little banjo guy. I want one. It's on the wish list. It has a really happy sound and very fun to play.

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Icelander53 View Post
    BTW I was in that music store a few days ago selling a friend on a flea and I played with that little banjo guy. I want one. It's on the wish list. It has a really happy sound and very fun to play.
    Barry (bazmaz), a highly regarded fellow UU member, has a comprehensive review and video on his web site on the Firefily banjo Ukulele.

    In the past, he has also done excellent reviews for the Fluke and the Flea. You can also find them on his page linked above.

    Also, our brother Aldrine has a video from Winter NAMM 2014 where Phyllis Webb (co-owner of The Magic Fluke Company) shows him several instruments including the Firefly:

    Last edited by Booli; 03-05-2014 at 04:24 AM. Reason: updated links

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Icelander53 View Post
    I have another comment on the Magic Fluke Co. It's really pleasing to me, being older to see something of good quality at a reasonable price made in my country by my countrymen. I think we can be proud (without being unnecessarily patriotic) about that. It seems such a rare thing now. When I was a young man it was a different game altogether and I miss finding quality products I can afford being made here by skilled craftsmen.


    Buying locally also uses less resources, and is more environmentally responsible than having something shipped from far away.

    Not only because you are not shipping tons of foreign goods, but also because you are maximizing the investment in local resources and strengthening your local supply chain, and local ecomony, even if only by the creation of jobs and function of long term employment.

    but I digress...
    Last edited by Booli; 03-05-2014 at 05:49 AM.
    Guinea proverb: "A cow that has no tail should not try to chase away flies."

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Centennial, CO
    Posts
    1,386

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    Quote Originally Posted by Booli View Post
    Buying locally also uses less resources, and is more environmentally responsible than having something shipped from far away.
    I'm noticing more and more that I can't find what I want locally. Even for all the hate against guitar center, I still prefer buying things directly from them first if I can. But their ukulele accessory collection (tuner upgrades, etc) seems to be pretty thin. Other smaller shops are around but based on what they carry I don't think they know what ukuleles are.
    In order of play time: Martin OXK, Lanikai LU21B, Islander MT4, Rubin Sopranino

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Suwanee, GA
    Posts
    106

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    I got my first uke at a yard sale, a very dusty concert-scale Fluke with a missing plastic fretboard for $15. Got the fretboard upgraded and then went on to purchase a concert Flea and a Firefly. Rarely walk past them without snatching one up and playing for a while. Excellent Ukes! You don't want to leave it out in the rain but you don't have to baby them either.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    PA, U.S.
    Posts
    545

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    1) What you got?

    * I don't own a MFC instrument right now, but have a pending order of a walnut concert Flea w/ hardwood fretboard. Cannot wait!

    I've previously owned and loved:
    1. Lava soprano Flea
    2. Moonlight blue soprano Flea (discontinued, bought for the color)
    3. Pineapple design soprano Flea (bought for the design)
    4. Lava tenor Flea (the longest I've ever owned a uke and only sold to pay grad school tuition)
    All with standard fretboards.

    I've owned and not loved, but only because of the shape:
    1. Concert Fluke SB
    2. Tenor Fluke w/ walnut top, wood fretboard, hibiscus soundhole, PegHeds

    I once installed PegHeds on the tenor Flea. Did not like, so uninstalled them (boy was that difficult!) and replaced the original friction tuners. Much better. The only reason there were PegHeds on the Fluke is that I bought it from another UU member that way.

    2) Why did you buy it?

    * Durability, intonation, sounded consistent on all reviews--something I've never heard from another brand. And after I had one Flea, I liked more of the designs and colors so I got those, too. I never owned all the Fleas at once though; I think at one point I had 3.

    3) Tell me what you like about it, and what you hate about it?

    * Love: Intonation, this can't be overstated! Portability. Durability. Re. Flea, cuteness. The Fluke is built like a tank, but not so cute to me. The Flea though, I cannot put down. And the standing on end? How cool is that?

    Hate? Don't think so! If I had to complain, I'd say I had some fret wear on one of the Fleas. But I played the thing every day for years, and it was only on 2 strings, 2 frets. Had I kept that Flea, I might have upgraded to the wood fretboard to prevent future damage.

    4) Tell me if you plan to buy another and why?

    * No, I can only play one at a time and expect the impending Flea to be my only. (Now stop laughing all of you! )

    But if I decided to play violin again, I'd buy a Cricket in a heartbeat!

    5) If it got stolen, lost or damaged would you replace it immediately?

    * Absolutely, assuming I had the cash on hand.

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