The Magic Fluke Co. was started by Dale and Phyllis Webb
in 1999 in the basement of our home in New Hartford Connecticut. I was inspired
and encouraged by Phyllis’s brother Jim Beloff, an accomplished musician and
guitarist who discovered the uke a few years earlier. Jim realized anyone
interested in playing the uke back then had very little to choose from in the
way of available music or instruments and in 1992, he incorporated as Flea
Market Music and released the first of many music books and videos.
In the late nineties, I had the motivation to jump ship
from the corporate world and decided to make an attempt at an affordable, USA-made
ukulele. Armed with prototypes made with thermoformed parts from the kitchen
oven, and a handful of Jim’s books and CDs, we committed to exhibit at The
National Association of Music Merchants annual trade show in LA, January of
1999. The Magic Fluke Company was born and there was no looking back as orders started
coming in and we had to tool up and start producing instruments.
The concert Fluke started shipping in June of 1999 with
three color options. Over the years, we have added dozens of new colors and
designs as well as the tenor scale and various pickup options. In 2003 the
smaller bodied soprano Flea was born followed by the Fluke SB and Firefly
banjo. A violin is currently in the works with plans to start shipping late in
2013. To date, we have built and shipped over 55,000 USA-made instruments.
After eight years manufacturing in an old renovated gas
station in New Hartford we moved in 2011 to a larger solar powered facility here in Sheffield
Massachusetts, where we are enjoying the lively music and arts vibe of the
Berkshires and welcome visitors to our store and factory.
We have worked extremely hard over the years to keep this
venture going and at times felt we were just trying to hang on as the industry
exploded and the products took on a life of their own. Despite unrelenting
competition from imports, we have stuck to our original premise of providing USA
made, unique, affordable, quality instruments. We have always strived to source
components and materials as close to home as possible including harvesting some
of our own lumber. In keeping with the spirit of the Berkshires, we go out of
our way to support our local businesses and community even if it’s not always
the lowest cost solution.
We are grateful to be a part of the music industry that
has introduced us to countless wonderful people and memorable events. We truly
appreciate all who have supported us over the years and we plan to continue and
grow into the future with the same quality products and dedicated service to
The MFC crew, from left: Josh, Phyllis, Nicole, DJ, Betsy, Matt, Mike, Beth, Dale