Flight Fireball EQ-A Baritone Ukulele - REVIEW

10 Dec 2022

Flight Fireball EQ-A Baritone Ukulele - REVIEW

Got A Ukulele seems to have done a lot better lately with the 'big guns' - and so it is that I was rather excited to take a look at this. This is the Flight Fireball EQ-A Baritone.

Flight Fireball EQ-A Baritone Ukulele


Now, I have long had something of a loose policy on Got A Ukulele which means that I don't tend to review two different scales from the same series. But that is really to say that I don't like reviewing, say, a soprano and concert, or a concert and tenor from the same series. It's because they are all in the same tuning and largely are going to be too similar to make enough of a difference to justify another review. However.. Baritones... I think they have a special case, what with the lower tuning and significantly larger scale and all. And so it is that despite having looked at the rather lovely Flight Fireball Tenor Ukulele, I'm more than happy to be looking at the big daddy version - the baritone! 

So there will be a lot of repetition in this one, naturally, but.. what the heck.. The Fireball Baritone is a newer incarnation of that hugely popular tenor model and follows the same specs sitting in the Flight 'Royal' series of ukuleles.  Again this is made from all solid mango with paired pieces on the top back and sides. I've spoken before about my dislike of the sooty / mucky colouring that some pieces of mango can display, but this one is cleaner than many all over with some extremely attractive grain. The shape of the Fireball generally is on the more modern, overly rounded side and this has that shaping on steroids. This is a BIG old baritone with lots of soundboard to do the work. I'm expecting beefy tones here!

Flight Fireball EQ-A Baritone Ukulele body


The bridge is the same rosewood choice with some curvy shaping and a very tidy finish. Again we have bridge pins with the red dot inlays which I thought looked great on the tenor (if less so on the Nighthawk). I love 'em. Sitting in the bridge is a compensated bone saddle and the spacing comes in at 42mm.

Flight Fireball EQ-A Baritone Ukulele bridge


The decoration is the same with a black top edge binding strip and one in the tail joint. It's made of dyed maple and looks great in contrast. On the upper shoulder is a scalloped cutaway coloured the same way and on the lower bout is a comfort edge. The black continues around the sound hole providing more contrast. Elsewhere on the body it has the same, super attractive, side sound port with a kind of gemstone look to it, and the EQ in the name gives away that it has a pickup. It's an active on which are not normally my thing, but as I said with the tenor one of my big gripes with those are ugly side controls. Here the controls are small and tucked away under the sound hole edge. That's ok with me! The body is then finished in a great quality deep shine gloss which really makes the grain of the mango pop.

Flight Fireball EQ-A Baritone Ukulele decor



Inside is very tidy, with tapered braces, notched linings and no mess. The top is X braced too, guitar style.

Flight Fireball Baritone Ukulele inside



The neck is made from mahogany with joints a the heel and headstock. Along the back is a black 'skunk stripe' which looks great and it's also pleasing to see they stuck with the satin finish meaning it's never grippy on the hands. At the nut this tapers to a not overly rounded profile and a roomy 38mm nut (30mm between outer strings). The neck also features and adjustable truss rod.

The fingerboard is rosewood and in great condition too. There is black edge binding hiding the 19 fret ends, but they were never going to be sharp as they are 'semi-hemi' dressed with neat round edges. Once again it goes with the very attractive offset dots at the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 10th, 12th and 15th and these are repeated down the side.

Flight Fireball EQ-A Baritone Ukulele neck


The nut is bone and above that is the open frame headstock shape that Flight have made a name for themselves with. On the top sits the Flight logo which, like I said with the tenor looks lost on the pale wood. They really should switch that to black to match the other decoration appointments.

Flight Fireball EQ-A Baritone Ukulele headstock


The tuners are side mounted / rear facing open gears in black and gold made by Prowell. These look good and work well too.

Flight Fireball EQ-A Baritone Ukulele tuners


Finishing this off are a set of Worth Brown strings for the 1st and 2nd and a couple of wound strings for the bass, and the now famous red padded gig bag embroidered with the Flight logo. And in the UK, the store price is coming in at around £599. At the time I reviewed the tenor it was top of the line for Flight, but they have since made their anniversary series, so this one sits in the middle. Still a chunk of cash, but hardly the most expensive ukulele I have reviewed.

This really is a cracking ukulele to look at and the build and finish are also spot on. It's hefty, being a baritone, and whilst it's 955g it doesn't feel uncomfortable at all and is re-assuring to hold. Balance is great too.

Flight Fireball EQ-A Baritone Ukulele back


When it comes to volume and sustain, baritones usually do well on account of the large body and the usual use of low wound strings. This one is no exception with quite thundering volume and long lingering sustain in the bass. The whole thing feels alive when it's played hard. No complaints.

The tone doesn't disappoint here either. There is the richness you will expect from mango wood and loads of range across bass through to treble. Baritones always have a darker tone on account of the lower tuning, but this one doesn't sound overdriven or too heavy on the low notes - it's just got a bit of everything. Strummed it is certainly a beefy, powerful sound, but there is a peppiness and jangle that is unmistakably 'uke' with the trebles coming through alongside the bass. There's lots going on here. Fingerpicking is sublime with long sustain allowing you to add some frills to the play and really coax out the upper fret treble notes. It's also extremely comfortable to play this way. It's a great sounding ukulele however you want to play it to be honest. Rich, full, balanced, lovely.

I really knew this one was going to be a corker having already seen the tenor, but I think this one edges that tenor for me. I love the bigger 'look' to the body, how it feels to hold and the full rich tone. Maybe it's the guitar player in me, but if you are also a baritone fan this really REALLY should be on your shopping list. Highly recommended!



UKULELE SPECS ROUNDUP

Model: Flight Fireball EQ-A
Scale: Baritone
Body: Solid Mango
Bridge: Rosewood, pin bridge
Saddle: Bone, compensated
Spacing at saddle: 42mm
Finish: Gloss
Neck: Mahogany
Fingerboard: Rosewood
Frets: 19, 14 to body
Nut: Bone
Nut width: 38mm, 30mm D to E
Tuners: Prowell gears
Strings: Worth Brown with wound D and G
Extras: Double pickup system, gig bag
Weight: 955g
Country of origin: China
Price: Circa £599

UKULELE PROS

Sublime looks
Excellent build and finish 
Great neck
Superb volume and sustain
Rich, well balanced tone
Fair price

UKULELE CONS

Not much - change the headstock logo!

UKULELE SCORES

Looks - 9.5 out of 10
Fit and finish - 9.5 out of 10
Sound - 9 out of 10
Value for money - 9 out of 10

OVERALL UKULELE SCORE - 9.3 out of 10

UKULELE VIDEO REVIEW





GOT A UKULELE IS NOT PAID BY BRANDS OR SHOPS - YOUR KIND DONATIONS ARE WHAT KEEP THE SITE GOING! THANKS FOR YOUR HELP!

SAY THANKS WITH A BEER!

BECOME A GOT A UKULELE PATREON

OR




THANKS!

2 comments :

  1. Wow! What a nice instrument!
    Thank you for the review Barry.

    I have one question: What is the scale of the Flight Fireball baritone?

    ReplyDelete

Please leave me a comment!

Please Help Keep This Site Going!

If you enjoy this blog, donations are welcomed to allow me to invest more time in bringing you ukulele articles. Aside from the Google ads, I don't get paid to write this blog and for reasons of impartiality a not sponsored by brands or stores. Your donations all go back into the site to allow me to keep bringing you reviews, and in the end the ukuleles acquired are given to local schools and charities.