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

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

    111 49.33%
  • Flea ukulele

    139 61.78%
  • Firefly banjo ukulele

    50 22.22%
  • Fluke SB solid-body electric ukulele

    5 2.22%
  • Cricket Violin

    3 1.33%
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Thread: The Magic Fluke Company Appreciation thread

  1. #31
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    I was the first outsider to visit the Magic Fluke Company when they moved the Sheffield, MA. The building wasn't quite finished, but very homey. Most of the products were in the front hallway - actually, with the exception of the solid body Fluke (which was too heavy for me), and two prototype Firefly banjo ukes, everything in the hallway was a Second (for various reasons).

    I picked up a Fluke Tenor (Mahogany top, rosewood fingerboard, peghed tuners, and the old style B&B pickup) and played it. I played every Fluke and Flea in that hallway - all seconds, as well as the two prototype Fireflys for nearly 3-1/2 hours. Dale brought the solid-body Fluke to me to ty, and Phyllis brought me back into the shop to play new stock - And I kept going back to that Tenor Fluke.

    I bought it and a hard case, and back then the bag was included (I have since sent it to Ivan Olarte, since I didn't need it), and I tried to talk Dale into letting me buy one of the Firefly prototypes then and there - but he said no. Then he showed me the new tailpiece and neck he had just designed, and that was all it took - I ordered one that day. (I have S/N 22).

    I still have the original Aquila strings on the Fluke - it just sounds great, the intonation is superb, and the peghed tuners are exactly what I wanted. I now have 3 instruments with Pegheds.

    I have 14 ukes - my Flukes are in the top 5 of my favorites.


    -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

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Massachusetts, USA
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    Kathryn, I was going to reply here about the cricket and violin in general but felt it belonged more In my cricket thread. You can read my comment #13 here http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/...hlight=Cricket

    Quote Originally Posted by kvehe View Post
    I have a little collection - hibiscus red soprano Flea (FredBird), purple concert Fluke (Hayes), tie-dyed tenor Flea (Janis), and a soprano Firefly. If I played the violin, I'd have a Cricket. Maybe I should take up the violin.
    YouTube channel
    Personal blog

    Instead of anticipating the goal, learn to enjoy the Journey for this is where we spend 99.9% of our time.
    The Journey is the reward...

  3. #33
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    Feb 2009
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    Massachusetts, USA
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    Hi Kurt, yes I remember your kind gesture. I still use it anytime I take my fluke and flea on the road...

    It always makes me smile,when I reach for it, as I can't help about the Aloha spirit and the fact that you gifted it to me...

    And yes, out of all my ukuleles, my flea and fluke are the ones I reach for the most... Even more than the Mya-moe, if nothing else because they are also so durable and less prone to dings and scratches. Although I must say the mya-moe survived a 5 day workshop with barely a scratch.

    And in fact I chose the pineapple flea out of all my ukes for my mr bojangles instrumental. It felt perfect for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by ksiegel View Post

    I bought it and a hard case, and back then the bag was included (I have since sent it to Ivan Olarte, since I didn't need it), and I tried to talk Dale into letting me buy one of the Firefly prototypes then and there - but he said no. Then he showed me the new tailpiece and neck he had just designed, and that was all it took - I ordered one that day. (I have S/N 22).

    I still have the original Aquila strings on the Fluke - it just sounds great, the intonation is superb, and the peghed tuners are exactly what I wanted. I now have 3 instruments with Pegheds.

    I have 14 ukes - my Flukes are in the top 5 of my favorites.


    -Kurt
    Last edited by Olarte; 03-05-2014 at 11:57 AM.
    YouTube channel
    Personal blog

    Instead of anticipating the goal, learn to enjoy the Journey for this is where we spend 99.9% of our time.
    The Journey is the reward...

  4. #34
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    Feb 2009
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    Massachusetts, USA
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    On a different note a fellow UU member pm me about my interest in selling my fluke.... I'm sure you can guess my answer.

    In any case what I did do is share what I did, and thought I would paste and share it here for your benefit...

    Sorry, but the MFC instruments I will never get rid of, besides they have rosewood fretboard, and pegheds which ended up costing around 400 but well worth it.


    Two things I definitely recommend though is to get all the options, rosewood fretboard, pegheds and a pickup. You will either keep it for life, or should be able to get a good price for,it even with all the options.

    Also, which is what I did... Is call them and see what seconds they have...

    I got lucky. I wanted both the pineapple and the surf patterns for a flea and fluke respectively and they had both... And the defect was some fading on both which as you can see looks fine with this particular designs.

    The bleached look is fine for the surf and the pineapple is faded a tiny bit on top. I would not even consider it a second.

    Anyway they sent me photos of both before I ordered and got $45 off each which I used to fund the pegheds.

    I like the fluke a lot but the flea is one of my favorites... I even picked it from a dozen ukes to do mr bojangles.

    So sorry I won't be selling either but at least you know what I did and what I recommend...
    YouTube channel
    Personal blog

    Instead of anticipating the goal, learn to enjoy the Journey for this is where we spend 99.9% of our time.
    The Journey is the reward...

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    there is the inevitable tendency to go apples to apples and simply compare price. if you want to buy american you have to be flexible and just hand over the money.
    i have a fluke concert with the australian pine top. i'm going to take it in and have them do the wood fretboard on it and not worry how much i have into it. it is a keeper and a unique piece of work.
    they actually come close enough to offshore pricing which is not a fair comparison at all.

  6. #36

    Default NAMM2011 James Hill plays a new Fluke Banjo Uke for MGM

    I just found this short video clip on youtube that MGM MusicGuyMic (RIP) put up with James Hill playing a Firefly banjo Uke from NAMM 2011:



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLR3_Ob_MSk
    Guinea proverb: "A cow that has no tail should not try to chase away flies."

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Boston area
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    3,285

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    I've got a concert Fluke with a sunburst pattern on a natural background that I bought in 2006. I've been using it for my travel uke. It's been on many car vacations with me, and has been to Hawaii. I've had to repaint the position marker dots on the fretboard; other than that, it's still in good shape.

    I mostly play a tenor with a low G, so eventually I'd like to get a tenor Fluke with a rosewood fretboard that I could string for low G. That way, my travel uke would better fit the way I usually play. I'd probably get one with a pickup, because I recently learned how to run an electrified uke through the effects processor module on my synthesizer, to add distortion, chorus, etc.
    Uke can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find uke get what you need!

    YouTube: www.youtube.com/uke4ia

  8. #38
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    PA, U.S.
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    I keep coming back to this thread while I so impatiently await my Flea!

    So on the pickup thing, I know Booli and Barry (Bazmaz) have installed soundboard pickups in a Flea and Fluke respectively. I plan to install a JJB Electronics pickup in the Flea too.

    And I must be the only one who doesn't like PegHeds. I wouldn't say I hate them, they weren't bad at all. I just don't like the feel, how they stick out so much. And I like to install strings by going twice through the hole in the post. PegHeds didn't allow that with a nonwound low G. I like fluoro low G's regardless of fretboard material. Anyway the PegHeds just weren't a good fit for me either time I tried them. Variety is the spice of life, or something like that. So I saved myself the price and ordered plain got friction tuners on the Flea.

    FTR I also tried the colored Lucy's tuners they had on the Flea Market Music site. Again, the post wasn't long enough for my usual string installation. Oh well, so I had 3 colored tuners and one original. It was fine.

    I also have to say, I realize installing tuners isn't a big deal for many. Neither is fitting a pickup. But I'd be much less comfortable doing either if we were talking about another uke. Solid wood, pretty inlays, less durable and so on, a uke you have to baby, and/or that costs more. But that Flea took everything I put it through with no complaints and nothing but the fret ware I mentioned as "evidence". Kudos to Magic Fluke!
    Last edited by peaceweaver3; 03-05-2014 at 03:16 PM.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booli View Post
    I just found this short video clip on youtube that MGM MusicGuyMic (RIP) put up with James Hill playing a Firefly banjo Uke from NAMM 2011:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLR3_Ob_MSk
    Yeah, that's one of the prototypes I played at the Magic Fluke Company. I think it still had Mr. Hill's mojo, 'cause I sounded better that I thought I had a right to, when I played it.

    -Kurt
    Last edited by ksiegel; 03-06-2014 at 11:14 AM.
    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

  10. #40

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by peaceweaver3 View Post
    I keep coming back to this thread while I so impatiently await my Flea!
    You are ALWAYS welcome here! No worries!

    So on the pickup thing, I know Booli and Barry (Bazmaz) have installed soundboard pickups in a Flea and Fluke respectively. I plan to install a JJB Electronics pickup in the Flea too.
    I've heard good things about JJB, as well as K&K pickups, but if you are looking at their offerings for ukulele in ~$30 range, you are probably getting items that are almost identical in composition and function (I have not used either brand myself, but from the pictures and specifications, they seem to be very similar). The one thing to remember with soundboard transducers is that your going to pick up lots of surface noise from the instrument, you have to hold very still when you play, otherwise anything and everything that rubs on the top, back and side, as well as if you slide your fretting hand on the strings, will get amplified. Most folks would not want this.

    I had to remove the pickup that I built & previously installed, since I have an improved model that I plan to install after I complete a bit more testing. The pickup version that I am testing right now, is such that it has signifcantly less surface or body noise than most other pickups. But I am not ready to share the details yet.

    And I must be the only one who doesn't like PegHeds. I wouldn't say I hate them, they weren't bad at all. I just don't like the feel, how they stick out so much. And I like to install strings by going twice through the hole in the post. PegHeds didn't allow that with a nonwound low G. I like fluoro low G's regardless of fretboard material. Anyway the PegHeds just weren't a good fit for me either time I tried them. Variety is the spice of life, or something like that. So I saved myself the price and ordered plain got friction tuners on the Flea.
    When I restring, I too, ALWAYS put the string end twice through the hole in the post, and there is a NEW model of PEGHEDS out now, which I have on my Fluke where the hole is of a wider diameter, specifically for this purpose. (Peaceweaver, you might want to verify if your new Flea has the option for the NEW PEGHEDS with the wider string holes, if it has not shipped yet)

    In fact my currently installed Worth Brown Medium Low-g (BM-LG) all the strings are through the hole, around the post half-way and then through the hole again. I've NEVER had a string slip at the peg from installing them this way, not in 30+ yrs on guitars of all types, and not in 11 months with the ukulele.

    In fact if the tuner peg hole was not wide enough for me to do this, well then out comes the dremel with the 3/32"(or 1mm) tungsten-carbide drill bit.

    The PEGHEDS came with my Fluke, which I bought used. If they were not on there I would have probably either tried the Grover 4B friction tuners, and if did not like those, then the Gotoh UPT-L would be the next choice. I already have the Gotohs, and all that's necessary to install them is to ream the tuner holes in the headstock wider than the existing 8mm diameter to approximately 10mm diameter, and then the Gotoh UPT-L planetary geared tuners with 4:1 ratio will basically screw in tight, and that's it.

    The reason I chose the Gotoh (in my head) over the PEGHEDS is because like Peaceweaver3, I thought they stick out too much also, and they kinda looked like Frankenstein's neck bolts to me.

    However, once the PEGHEDS are in use, they are SO MUCH better to tune with than the Grover 2B friction tuners. I mean for my Flea to hold, either the friction tuners had to be too tight to be able to turn them to tune, or else they would slip from string tension, there was no middle ground. I'm not going to bother with removing/replacing the PEGHEDS on the Fluke.

    When you are playing the Fluke, you do NOT SEE them as you do from the front. I see the neck and the koa top, and both please me, and I forget about the tuners because THEY WORK SO WELL. All the hype about how easy they are to use is true. I'm just glad that I did not have to install them myself (have to buy the proper TAPERED violin peg reamer, if I wanted to do that.)

    I have not yet quite got the knack of the push/pull function for adjusting the resistance, and they are a little tight now, but the strings are settled, and for the past 5 days I've not had to adjust them when I pick up the Fluke, since now it stays in tune.

    On my Flea I've also been able to successfully modify the stock friction tuners with the addition of several small washers on each side of the wood, in between the metal parts of the tuner assembly, and the wood of the headstock. I looked at lots and lots of photos of the higher end friction tuners, Waverly, Sperzel, and others, and they are all with a fixed metal to the wood, and then the tuner peg ON BOTH SIDES is metal-to-metal.

    The washers I'm describing above are maybe a nickel or 10-cents each, I do not know why they are not made this way in the first place.

    This 'upgrade' has both greatly improved the grip at lower screw tension, as well as improving the 'slip' of the tuner when you need to adjust the strings. The improvement is significant enough that I'm now on the fence about replacing them with the Gotoh UPT-L planetary geared tuners.

    Q: So HOW, or WHY does this 'upgrade' work?


    A: The addition of the washers increases the surface area where the 'friction' takes place, which also make the friction function of metal-to-metal, ALL THE WAY through the mechanism, instead of the default metal-to-wood, where the metal part IN FACT turns against the wood of the headstock and when tight enough to NOT slip, it is chewing a circle cut into the wood like a circular hole saw.

    I tried about 25 different iterations of 'assemblies' using washers and such from my parts box, and the addition of these washers now obviates the upgrade to better friction tuners.

    If I had to go out to the hardware store and buy a 12-pack of washers in each of the 2 sizes needed, MAYBE it would cost like $3 at the hardware store, if that much, and each tuner takes about 5 mins to remove, modify and reinstall and then retune the strings.

    So if you dont want to bother with tools, then get the PEGHEDS upgrade option for $69 when you buy you instrument.

    Otherwise, get a proper tapered hand reamer for violin pegs (from StewMac or LMI) for ~$50 and put in the Gotohs - I got my Gotoh UPT-L set of 4 for $59 from that 'H' vendor everybody loves.

    Otherwise, you can spend only like $3 at your local hardware store, and add washers to your existing tuners, and not have to modify the headstock at all, and if you already have a #1 Phillips-head screwdriver, you do not need to buy any tools.

    For the record, I also tried out a set of cheapo geared machine heads sold by C.B. Gitty (for cigar box guitars) and held them fixed in place with nylon zip ties for testing, but there was anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 of the turn rotation of 'play' in the tuner when you would turn the button, and this drove me insane, and I was constantly over-tuning beyond the desired pitch. It's like the grooves in the worm gear were cut with poor precision, i.e., too wide a groove for the teeth on the little wheel.

    I am glad that I did not screw them in, because that would have blemished the headstock with holes when I removed them, that I would only have to fill later on to make it look nice, and I admit, that I'm lazy and would like to avoid extra work if possible.

    The other thing about these and also the classical guitar style tuners that I temporarily fitted to the headstock for testing also with zip ties, is that there's a significantly greater amount of metal showing on the headstock, and it kills the aesthetic of the Fluke/Flea headstock for me, and aside from that, these kinds of tuners are like 3x the weight of the factory friction tuners, and made the concert Flea significantly overweight and unbalance at the headstock, even with a guitar strap tied at the nut and then attached with velcro to the flat bottom.

    You could try the Gotoh STEALTH ukulele tuners (which are TINY) [EDIT: previously I had written that they cost $149 for a SINGLE tuner, which was incorrect as detailed by fellow UU member ScooterD35 in the post below, when in FACT they can be found at LMI which has the ukulele tuners listed at $89 of a full set of four. -Thanks Scooter]

    So the standard guitar style tuner machines are just a bad idea all around as far as I'm concerned, and I know first hand why The Magic Fluke company did NOT use them by default: WEIGHT and LOOKS.

    You might ask why I bothered with hacking around on the original Grover 2B friction tuners?
    Well it took a lot longer than expected to receive the Gotoh UPT-L tuners than I had hoped. In the time span when I was waiting I started thinking about 'what if'...and one night when I could not sleep and my mind was filled with a flurry of ideas, I had to test them out...of course when I actually solved the problem I was very pleased, but then I was both dismayed and surprised to look up and see daylight when I realized that I had been working through the night like a mad scientist, yet again...

    But alas, I love a 'project'
    Last edited by Booli; 03-06-2014 at 10:17 AM. Reason: corrections on Gotoh Stealth tuners price
    Guinea proverb: "A cow that has no tail should not try to chase away flies."

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