Frequently asked questions
Soprano, Concert, Tenor, what does it mean?
These refer to the scale length of an ukulele. Our Soprano scale length (nut to bridge) is 14”. Concert scale length is 15.5” and Tenor is 17”. See complete specs for other dimensional differences. All scales can be tuned GCEA, the tenor can also be tuned down to DGBE with a high D. Generally, the longer scales have a deeper tone and more sustain for a given body style.
How is the ukulele held and played?
The uke is held up high on the chest, cradled in your strumming arm--not resting on your knee. This positions your strumming over the fingerboard, especially on smaller scale instruments. Finger pics are generally not used, however, there are felt pics available specifically for the uke.
How do I learn to play the ukulele?
There are many methods & songbooks, instructional DVDs and videos available as well as online tutorials for just about any style and type of music.
Hardwood vs. Molded Polycarbonate fingerboard
The standard molded polycarbonate fingerboard should last indefinitely with all nylon strings. The optional hardwood fingerboard with wire frets is recommended if wound strings are used. The molded fingerboard can be replaced or upgraded to the hardwood at any time in our shop. Sound quality and playability differences are minimal between the two options however the wire frets on the hardwood are slightly higher and more visible
What type of hardwood do you use for the fretboards?
Currently, we are using maple and walnut wood for our hardwood fretboards. We occasionally have stock of unusual or exotic woods for special requests. The wire frets on the hardwood fretboard are slightly higher and more visible than those on the standard polycarbonate fretboards. Both versions have zero frets and should have the same intonation.
What is the advantage of using Peghed tuners over standard friction tuners?
The advantage of using Peghed tuners is that the tuning is more accurate. Pegheds are precision crafted in the USA with a 4:1 planetary gear reduction built in, thus making the tuning much easier. They are lighter in weight; very sleek looking in all black and complement the instrument. Please use our link : http://www.magicfluke.com/product-p/peghedtuners.htm
What is a sound port and why is it needed?
A sound port is a hole in the side of the body facing the player and directs more sound to the player’s ear, with no reduction in the overall sound projection from the instrument.
Help! I need a strap
All Flea bodies have a built in loop at the base of the neck. Attaching both ends of a lace or strap to this loop works very well for most players. The Fluke can be drilled in the middle of the bottom, however, once installed, the instrument will no longer stand on end. Carefully drill an undersized hole in the bottom and attach the button and the screw with a bit of glue, which will help anchor it in place. Alternatively, we offer a custom designed Velcro attached strap, which is easy to install.
How can I tell what size uke I have?
By measuring the scale which is the vibrating string length from bridge to nut: Soprano 13", Concert 14.5" to 16" and Tenor 16.5" to 18"
When was the ukulele popular?
From the late 1920's to mid-1930's the ukulele reached its zenith as the height of fashion. In that era, the little uke seemed to be ubiquitous and was seen in the hands of everyone from college students to movie stars. The wave of popularity lasted into the mid-1930's. A second wave from the late 1940's through the 1950's resulted post WWII, but was quickly overshadowed by the rise of rock-and-roll and through the electric guitar in the 1960's.
What about the ukulele banjo?
Currently, banjos are back in vogue with many good choices on the market. These are played and tuned the same as regular wooden ukes. As the ukulele fad of the 1920's wore on, players were looking for a louder instrument for public performances. The banjo uke answered this need perfectly. Ukulele banjos were a huge success in the 1930's. In fact, their production totals may equal regular ukes of the same era. Unfortunately, the majority of ukulele banjos were crudely built and not designed well. The best ones were built by the major banjo manufacturers and made for serious musicians. Please see our Firefly banjo ukes: http://www.magicfluke.com/Firefly-s/1514.htm and our new 5-string banjo: http://www.magicfluke.com/Magic-Fluke-Firefly-5-string-Banjo-p/firefly5.htm
What difference do strings make?
Thicker strings usually have higher tension, which translates to a stiffer feel with more sustain and volume. Thinner strings usually have more flex and a softer feel and less volume. Lower tunings such as "low G" require a high mass string material such as metal wound or fluorocarbon. Please visit our string category page: http://www.magicfluke.com/category-s/1870.htm
Installing a Low G
Any low G will likely require opening up the slots in the saddle and bridge. The Fremont fluorocarbons are slightly smaller in gauge then nylon but the low G is still larger than the high G nylon. If you have a thin file a V groove can be filed into the nut slot or it can be opened up with a piece of folded sandpaper. It will take some time and you might want to mask the wood above the nut to avoid scratches. The goal is for the string to rest fully on the zero fret with the slot in the nut just big enough to guide the string and hold it in place. The string should pass thru the nut freely. If you have the opposite problem with the slot too wide causing the string to click back and forth while playing, you can pad the slot with a piece of tape or slip a small plastic sleeve from a piece of wire over the the end and in the slot to take up the room. Similar to the sleeves used on violin strings to protect the bridge. The slot in the bridge on the uke may also need to be opened up which will require sanding wider with a folded piece of sandpaper. Again its best to mask the wood around the bridge to avoid scratches. The string can be snug in the slot but should seat fully to the bottom of the slot.