Best Electric Ukulele Review in 2017

Few can resist the alluring twang of a finely played ukulele. When you're playing an electric ukulele, a whole world of possibilities opens to you. You'll enjoy expanded timbres and an easier to tune instrument with an electric ukulele. An electric ukulele also offers up a host of effects that simply aren't possible on a traditional ukulele. Apply your skill to refining your playing, and let us help you select the most appropriate ukulele for our needs.

Value Section

electric ukulele

Choosing any musical instrument is a serious decision that shouldn't be taken lightly. Taking the time to get an instrument that functions well from the outset will make it more likely that you'll continue to learn the instrument. This is important since any investment in a musical instrument is only as valuable as the time you put into learning to play.

Selection

Most acoustic electric ukuleles look like traditional ukuleles. However, there is a difference, and it's 

one you need to be aware of before purchasing an electric ukulele. When considering an acoustic-electric versus an electric ukulele, you must decide on what type of sound you want. An electric ukulele produces virtually no sound when it's not plugged in. An acoustic-electric ukulele maintains a more characteristic ukulele sound and projects with or without electricity.

Electric ukuleles come with either active or passive pickups. In many ways, this is the most important decision you can make when looking for an electric ukulele. Choosing active pickups make it easier to control the volume and tone. Passive pickups don't provide this option, and you'll have to rely mostly on your amp or computer to control the volume and tone.

Benefits

There are numerous benefits to choosing an electric ukulele over a traditional or acoustic-electric ukulele. In the first place, an electric ukulele can be used anywhere without annoying your neighbors. It's even possible to plug in a set of earphones to your amp and listen to the full glory of your sound without others listening to you play. The electric ukulele is also generally lighter and more robust. There is no acoustic chamber to break. Maintenance is also a breeze.

An electric ukulele also allows you to choose the amplifier and change the sound to fit your performance. An acoustic ukulele is essentially a fixed instrument, and you can't modify the sound much without modifying the instrument itself. While adding a transducer works, it doesn't provide the best sound. With an electric ukulele, you'll never have to worry about the instrument playing loud enough for an outside event or concert. The electric ukulele is about options, and you'll be able to configure the sound that is produced much more efficiently than with an acoustic ukulele.

Buying Criteria

The first thing you need to look for is an electric ukulele with a solid body. There are ukuleles that have hollow bodies, but these are acoustic-electric ukuleles. They won't give you the kind of sound you're looking for. A true electric ukulele keeps most of the energy in the string. This means it won't make much sound unless you're right next to it, which is ideal for the individual who wants a quiet practice session. A solid ukulele will also force you to focus on your technique and not get lost in the sound production.

Choosing strings is the next step of the process. There are two basic types of strings -- steel and nylon. Nylon strings don't have the same length of sustain as steel strings. The kind of string used will affect the sound. Steel strings will have a higher overall tension, sustain longer, require less movement to produce sound but will also be harder on your fingers until you get used to them. Steel strings are ideal if you're looking to use a lot of distortion. The pickups should also be magnetic pickups if you want a truly electric ukulele. Finally, while not an absolute requirement, you should aim to get a ukulele that comes with a decent multi-effects pedal.

Care and Use

Caring for your ukulele is important since proper care will help keep your instrument viable for a long time. There are a few essentials you'll want to pick up when you order your electric ukulele. One such item is the cover. Don't go even a day without a cover for your ukulele. If possible, aim to find a solid cover that has a humidifier built-in. This will help keep the wood from becoming too dry, which will result in a cracked ukulele over time. A ukulele that is too moist can also cause problems since the ukulele may swell in size and ultimately crack.

Use a certified cleaner for your ukulele and clean it regularly. You'll want to get the right polish and fret board oil for your ukulele. The right cleaner will make it so that you can remove salt and oils from your fingers that can eventually erode the strings and exterior of your ukulele. Be careful when cleaning the fret board, and always use a microfiber cloth to remove any dirt that begins to accumulate. Keep your ukulele clean and pull it out of its case to play it regularly. Some of the best preventative maintenance on an electric ukulele involves simply cleaning the instrument.

Controversy

Choosing whether to go acoustic, acoustic-electric or electric can be a tough choice. If you simply can't decide, then look for an acoustic ukulele and add a transducer to make it electric. Otherwise, if you have no qualms about upending the social order and tradition, ditch the acoustic-electric option and go full-throttle with a pure, electric ukulele.

Prerequisites

Anybody can pick up an electric ukulele and begin playing right away. An ability to read music is helpful, and you'll need to understand how to use a ukulele fingering chart. If you don't yet know how to strum on a ukulele, check out this video to learn the traditional method, which comes complete with your first lesson at the end! Then, apply that technique and shred on your new electric ukulele.

Five Best Electric Ukulele

Vorson FSUK1BK Style Electric Ukulele

Vorson FSUK1BK Style Electric Ukulele

For a budget electric ukulele, you really can't go wrong with this instrument. It has everything you would expect in a ukulele, and you'll be able to enjoy playing on steel strings instead of nylon strings. For the cost, the instrument is made pretty solidly. This is a passive instrument, which means you'll need an amp to power the sound. That also means you won't be able to use headphones, but you could always plug your headphones into your amp.

The instrument is well-made, and it is well-suited for creating your own recordings by hooking it up to your computer. Another bonus is that this instrument tends to hold its tuning extremely well once you get it tuned and set up properly. Many players will also like that this ukulele is a tad smaller than your traditional ukulele.

This is a tenor instrument, so it's going to give a nice mellow, middle sound. The tenor ukulele is less bright than the soprano, and it is well-suited to playing melodic lines. It uses a candlenut body, and the design is an S-type, which may make it seem like a small electric guitar to some players. The pickups use dual single coils, which is what you would expect to find on an electric ukulele.

Pros

  • Strings: Replacement strings are easy to find, and you'll be able to get them from most any music store.
  • Strings: The ukulele comes with steel strings, which is what is desirable on an electric ukulele.
  • Tuning: Fret board is strong enough that you can tune it in a variety of ways without stressing the fret board.

Cons

  • Sound: Doesn't have an option to use headphones, so you must have an available amp.
  • Strings: While it comes with steel strings, you'll want to replace them with higher quality versions.
  • Playability: May be more difficult to play than a traditional ukulele due to the tougher steel strings.

Vorson FLPUK2BK Electric Ukulele

This is a very good budget electric ukulele that offers a lot of features for the cost. The strings are of good quality, but you can hire a professional to restring the instrument with better quality strings. The instrument feels solid, and all the parts feel securely attached. For a budget instrument, it's of a high quality. The strings that come with the instrument are better than some other budget instruments and will work, but you may end up with black fingers from the inferior quality steel.

The finish on this ukulele is exceptional. The price of the instrument seems worth it just for the sheer beauty of the instrument. The neck is extremely sturdy, and you'll be able to enjoy a body that is smooth and solidly built. Intermediate players will enjoy the larger form of this instrument as it's a larger ukulele that should fit the needs of a variety of players. Additionally, when you connect this ukulele to an amp, you'll absolutely love the sound that is produced.

As far as electric ukuleles are concerned, this one will do everything you need it to do. However, you will need to attach this ukulele to an amp to hear any sound. This may increase the expense for someone who simply wants an electric ukulele they can listen to with headphones.

Pros

  • Strings: The steel strings on this ukulele seem to be of high quality and shouldn't need to be replaced.
  • Action: Instrument has a nice, clean action without the need to spend hours fiddling to get the action just right.
  • Build: The construction is solid, and it feels like a well-made and high-quality musical instrument.

Cons

  • Power: An external amp is required. Using headphones is possible, but only if you connect through an external amp.
  • Tuning: While open tuning is possible, be wary of using heavy-gauge baritone strings as they may damage the neck.
  • Frets: The frets may need some work to get them in perfect condition, but this sort of issue is typical for a low-price instrument.

Stagg EUK L-SB "LP" Style Electric Ukulele

There are a lot of good things to say about this instrument. However, one feature that might make it a deal-breaker for some is the use of nylon strings. In general, and electric ukulele should use steel strings. While this could be an issue for some, if you're looking for a fun and easy to play ukulele, this is the instrument for you. It has some great features that make it playable right out of the box.

The instrument has built-in power, which makes it possible for you to connect a pair of headphones to listen to your performance without connecting it to an amp. That's a huge plus for musicians who need an instrument they can practice in an apartment, dorm or while traveling. There are also plenty of jacks available so that you can plug it into an amplifier and share your music with the world.

The instrument also comes with a gig bag to make it easier to carry around with you, but the gig bag is not a hard case. This ukulele also generally has a softer sound and a smoother action than other electric ukuleles. This is largely due to the use of nylon instead of steel strings. This is a great instrument for a beginner who isn't ready to shell out for an amp.

Pros

  • Sound: Exceptional sound even with the nylon strings.
  • Headphones: You'll be able to plug a set of headphones in and listen to your playing without an amp.
  • Size: This is a fully electric violin with a concert-sized body, which is typically not an easy to find feature.

Cons

  • Strings: Hardcore electric ukulele players won't appreciate the nylon strings used on the instrument.
  • Controls: Some users rightfully complain that the volume knobs aren't designed extremely well.
  • Weight: The weight is a bit on the heavier side, which might make this an unsuitable instrument for long sessions.

Koloa KU-600-E Electric Ukulele (Soprano)

The Koloa is not a professional instrument, but it will be well-suited to your beginning or intermediate player. The construction is exceptional with one serious issue. The tuning pegs don't stand up to the tension required of the strings to get this instrument in tune. The result is an instrument that needs to have the pegs replaced. The alternative is to constantly tune the pegs whenever they fall out of tune.

It comes with a standard 1/4-inch jack so you can connect this instrument to an amp. Where this instrument really excels is in its design. It's a handcrafted instrument that features beautiful inlays and a solid body. The slight issue with the tuning pegs compared to the overall beauty and design should make the tuning problem a non-issue for most players. Simply take it in and get the tuning fixed by a professional, and you'll have an affordable and beautiful instrument that will stand the test of time. The instrument features an EQ pickup, and you'll love the lighter form-factor of this ukulele.

It is a soprano instrument, so this may be too small and light for the average player. Weighing in at less than two pounds, this may seem like a child's toy to some. However, the smooth finish, exquisite attention to detail and exceptional playability will make it obvious to any musician that this is a serious instrument. This is one of those instruments that bridges the gap between the traditional and modern.

Pros

  • Construction: Hand-carved spruce bracing gives this ukulele a sophisticated look.
  • Pickups: EQ pickups give this instrument a tailored sound.
  • Body: The body uses solid mahogany on the neck, top, back and sides of the instrument.

Cons

  • Tuners: The tuners aren't the best, and the instrument tends to need tuning often.
  • Size: This is a small ukulele intended to play in the soprano range.
  • Usability: With some replacement tuning pegs, the instrument is extremely affordable and usable. However, the additional cost may not justify the expense.

Mahalo Electric Ukulele

The Mahalo EUK is our recommended choice for the individual who wants a quality electric ukulele. If this is your first instrument or you plan to only have one instrument in your arsenal, then this is one of the most full-featured options available. This instrument is technically a concert ukulele in length, but it has the capabilities of the electric components that are used. It’s one of the more affordable ukuleles, and it should give you plenty of years’ worth of use.

This ukulele sounds exceptional when you connect it to an external amp. It can also be connected to your computer to create a professional quality audio recording of your work. The instrument is designed to be easy to take care of, and you can use a specialty cleaning solution to keep it in pristine condition for years.

The ukulele is a little heavier than a typical concert as well, but this should be easily overcome by any musician. Since most people don't play the ukulele professionally, this is a solid option for someone who wants a polished and refined product that also comes with loads of features. Ultimately, any of the negatives are outweighed by the affordability, exceptional design and excellent sound production.

Pros

  • Construction: Solid body makes it a true electric ukulele.
  • Wood: A rosewood body is ideal to get a rich, smooth sound.
  • Headphones: May be used with headphones, which eliminates the need for an amp.

Cons

  • Strings: The strings are made of nylon, which is not typically what you would want in an electric ukulele.
  • Battery: Requires a batter for the pre-amp, which may cause a slight inconvenience for some players.
  • Bag: Comes with a carrying bag, but it isn't a hard case.

Conclusion

The Mahalo is our top choice for the seasoned professional or the avid hobbyist. This is one of those exceptional instruments that combine affordability, features and quality in one extensive package. One of the biggest reasons we've chosen this ukulele is because it comes with the option to plug a set of headphones in without the need for an amplifier. This is huge for people who just want to play their own music or don't want to get hooked into an amplifier every time they want to play. The strings are nylon, but in this case, the instrument provides a nice deep sound, and the nylon strings don't seem to affect the overall quality of the instrument.

Additionally, this instrument will appeal to those who want a high-quality sound when the ukulele is connected to an external amp. The ukulele will also be useful for those who want to create audio recordings of their performances. The ukulele can connect directly to a computer and the sound and other aspects of the instruments timbre can be adjusted using a decent sampling program.

Stephanie Su
 

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