Best Acoustic Electric Ukulele: Buyers Guide and Top 10 Picks!
In the event you’re enthusiastic about playing live or having some fun with the world of FX pedals, you’ll have to go electric acoustic.
Electro-Acoustic ukuleles (or ‘Plugins’ as their typically referred to) are the most typical type of electric ukulele. Or if you wish to go the whole hog, there are some critically superior solid body electric ukuleles to choose from.
Electro-acoustics or ‘Plugins’ are mainly common acoustic ukuleles that have a pickup built-in. The pickup permits you to plug your ukulele into an amplifier or via an FX pedal, and make a lot of noise!
For a substitute to a ukulele with factory-fitted pickup, there are a number of removable soundhole pickups out there for amplification and connecting to apps specifically designed for acoustic instruments.
What’s an Acoustic-Electric Ukulele?
An acoustic-electric ukulele combines the standard hole body and form of the ukulele with an electronic pickup that enables the instrument to be projected from an amplifier or to be recorded instantly.
Referred to additionally as an electro-acoustic ukulele or just simply an electric ukulele, the key to a great acoustic-electric ukulele is its capability to keep up its acoustic tone as organically as attainable when plugged in. Ukulele electronics often have EQ as well.
When do you Need an Acoustic-Electric Ukulele?
An electric ukulele gives many players quite a lot of utility, permitting them to do extra with their instruments.
Typically, EQ is a necessity for a ukulele participant that intends to ever play their instrument amplified on stage, practice with a band, or use their ukulele with effects pedals.
In most live conditions, particularly those in which the player is standing, singing, or sharing the stage with others, proudly owning an acoustic-electric ukulele is enormously preferred.
Attempting to place an external microphone in the entrance of a ukulele in a live performance setting is commonly too limiting, troublesome to regulate, and is liable to audio issues like feedback.
Some players that want to practice with their ukulele nonetheless choose to buy an acoustic-electric ukulele due to the built-in tuner within the EQ. All Kala acoustic-electric ukuleles have a battery-powered interface on the side of the instrument permitting players to regulate quantity, change their tone, and tune to pitch.
Keep in mind: Additionally, you will need an instrument cable and amplifier to get probably the most out of an acoustic-electric ukulele!
Things to Have on Mind When Getting an Acoustic-Electric Ukulele
There are lots of elements that have an effect on the general quality and efficiency of acoustic-electric ukuleles, however, for this guide, we slim it down to 3 necessities, size, tonewood, and pickup/preamp type.
For this update, we characteristic three of the most well-liked ukulele body varieties: soprano, concert, and tenor. The final rule is that the smaller the dimensions are, the brighter or trebly it sounds.
This means soprano, is the brightest sounding of the group, whereas tenor ukuleles being the largest have an extra low-end than the other two. Lastly, concert measurement ukes are anticipated to have a tone sitting in the center.
For additional details on all 5 of probably the most generally discovered sizes, you’ll be able to go to our dedicated guide about sizes. That way if you select to buy a ukulele that’s not on this record you’ll know the pros and cons of each body sort.
Even that the sizes are actually creating the tone of the ukulele, you can make a soprano ukulele sounds fatter, and an acoustic-electric tenor ukulele sounds a bit thinner. In case you have a 3 band EQ on the electronics part, you will be able to do this from the uke itself.
Additionally under measurement is the scale length, which is the gap between the nut and the bridge – it mainly describes the length of the strings.
It impacts the tone of the strings and the power required to play them. The longer the scale size the extra the top resonates (which will increase volume), although an extended scale length can considerably cut back warmth.
Lengthy scale size additionally means more room for bigger fingers, whereas the short scale is right for younger players with small arms.
The scale lengths for the principle body kinds are as follows:
- Soprano/Pineapple: 13-14 inch
- Concert: 15-16 inch
- Tenor: 17-18 inch
- Baritone: 19-20 inch
One of the crucial important things to think about when buying a ukulele is the wood it’s created from because the acoustic tone of a ukulele is closely influenced by the woods utilized in its building.
Most reasonably priced acoustic-electric ukuleles are created from mahogany, however, should you choose to improve sooner or later in the future you need to be aware of the pros and cons of various tonewoods.
The tonewoods under are generally utilized in ukuleles, however, it must be noted that there’s quite a lot of woods utilized by producers and luthiers.
So, if uke is created from a wood you don’t recognize, look up the properties of the tonewood in question earlier than you make your buy.
Notice that the impact of wood on tone will not be an exact science, however, the information supplied below will assist and shed light on how every wood is mostly perceived to sound.
Ukuleles have historically been created from koa. Due to this, in the event you’re in search of the quintessential ukulele tone you’ll almost certainly be happy with an instrument produced from koa.
The sound is taken into account to be very direct, with much fewer overtones than different woods. It emphasizes mid-range frequencies.
Koa can be thought to be one of the crucial aesthetically pleasing tonewoods, although that is in fact a matter of personal choice.
Mahogany has an identical response to koa, although it’s regarded to have extra warmth. Whereas mahogany might not be as enticing as koa, some of the greatest ukuleles on the earth are made out of mahogany.
A notable instance of high-end ukuleles comprised of mahogany could be those manufactured by Martin.
Cedar and Redwood
Cedar and redwood are each warmer than mahogany, although some think about this tonewood to be much less focused.
This means they’re nice for strumming, however, they might not be your best option for those of you seeking to play extra complicated music.
One other factor to pay attention to is that ukuleles produced from cedar or redwood won’t cut through a mix in addition to these produced from a tonewood with an extra centered tone, so if you plan on playing in an ensemble chances are you’ll need to have a look at ukes constructed from mahogany, koa, or rosewood until you are using an amplifier.
Rosewood and ovangkol are closely associated woods that supply a wealthy and clear tone. The woods are considered to supply very glassy (not piercing) highs and full-bodied but articulate lows.
Rosewood and ovangkol have the potential to sound brittle when utilized in smaller instruments, relying on the construction.
So make sure to play a rosewood/ovangkol ukulele before you purchase it (or at the least look up sound samples) to determine whether or not you’re going to love the centered tone of an instrument made out of one of these woods.
Laminate vs. Solid Wood
A solid wood instrument is strictly what it appears like: an instrument comprised of a solid piece of wood. Laminated wooden instruments are produced from skinny sheets of wood that are glued and then pressed together.
Solid wood instruments resonate better than their laminate counterparts, which leads to a louder and extra harmonically wealthy instrument. Solid body wood instruments additionally replicate the properties of the wood used to a higher degree than laminated instruments.
Whereas laminate instruments could not sound as rich as those created from solid wood, they’re extra affordable.
Laminate instruments are additionally extra durable, which makes them a great match for starting musicians who could not yet know how one can correctly care for an instrument.
Types of Pickups
The two major types of acoustic pickups you’re going to come across are piezo and soundboard transducers.
Piezo pickup is low-cost to produce, although they do generally tend to supply a quaky-honking tone until they’re carefully EQ’d. Soundboard transducers create an extra pure sounding tone, however, they are usually more expensive.
Each transducer and piezo pickup have their strengths. Piezo pickups have the aptitude to sound nice while still being reasonably priced, and whereas transducer pickups could provide an extra natural tone the distinction between a great transducer and a great piezo (that’s correctly EQ’d, in fact) is negligible during a live performance.
Active vs. Passive Pickups
Two terms that you’re going to see whereas in search of an acoustic-electric ukulele are: active pickup and passive pickup. Put in layman’s words, passive pickups produce a weak electric signal whereas an active pickup produces a stronger one.
A passive pickup wants an external boost so as to produce a signal that’s sturdy enough for live functions, whereas an active pickup already has a power supply (a battery).
Passive pickups may be plugged directly into a P.A. or amplifier, however, the outcomes will rely upon the options of the amp or P.A. in question. Passive pickups produce an anemic and flat tone when the signal isn’t boosted.
Some amps do take passive pickups into consideration, although because many don’t you’re more restricted. In the event you use an instrument with passive pickups – you will need to use an acoustic preamp until it already sounds good via your PA or acoustic amp.
We just want to let you know that we’ll list these acoustic-electric ukuleles in no particular order. They’ll be randomized as we don’t wish to sort them from best to worst.
Listed below are our Top 10 Best Acoustic Electric Ukulele for 2021:
1. Fender Grace VanderWaal Signature Uke
Fender’s record of signature models is likely one of the longest within the business, however 14-year-old ukulele sensation Grace VanderWaal is the youngest artist to obtain a Fender instrument along with her name on the peghead.
An inspiration to numerous younger ukulele players and songwriters, VanderWaal won the 2016 season of America’s Got Talent and launched her full-length album Just the Beginning in 2017.
And now, Fender has created a pair of devices custom-tailored to the younger ukulele star’s playing needs and design concepts: the acoustic-electric Grace VanderWaal Signature Ukulele and the very reasonably priced Grace VanderWaal Moonlight Ukulele.
The Grace VanderWaal Signature Ukulele is an acoustic-electric concert ukulele with a body made from Sapele wood. Its most distinctive function is its Fender-style peghead, which appears like a miniature model of a Telecaster peghead, with all 4 tuning machines on one side.
To satisfy Grace’s calls for simple amplification, the instrument contains Fishman’s Kula electronics, which encompass a pickup below the ukulele’s saddle and a side-mounted preamp with controls for volume, bass, midrange, and treble.
The preamp additionally features a built-in tuner, a useful function no matter whether amplification is required. A gold-sparkle rosette, gold vintage-style enclosed tuning machines, and a pure gloss end complete the instrument, which is available in a sturdy gig bag with backpack straps.
- Bone nut
- Nut width: 35 mm (1.375″)
- Scale: 345 mm (13.6″)
- 16 Frets
2. Luna Guitars Ukulele High Tide Koa Concert
The “High Tide” Collection is Luna’s premier line of ukuleles. This stunning collection of ukes takes it is inspiration from the full moon on the first fret which causes the abalone wave fret markers under it to “rise” as they make their approach up the fretboard in direction of the moon’s pull. High-Tide ukes are crafted from unique tropical hardwoods and the soundhole is framed by an abalone ring.
This stunning Luna ukulele contains a deep koa body, producing full, deep sound together with the instrument’s concert body dimension. The mahogany neck, walnut bridge, and fretboard add lasting sustain and readability to your tone.
The cutaway presents comfort when accessing the upper-register frets, and the mahogany neck, walnut bridge, and fretboard add lasting sustain and readability to the tone.
The open-style, Pearloid tuning machines hold the instrument in exact tuning and the onboard preamp offers simple amplification that may be dialed in quickly.
Wearing a satin finish and that includes multiply maple and walnut binding, you will not believe your eyes with the ukulele’s natural magnificence. Luna branded gig bag included.
- Nato neck
- Walnut fretboard
- Scale: 382 mm
- 20 Frets
3. Cordoba 20TMCE Tenor Ukulele
It’s simple to see why the 20TM-CE is considered one of Cordoba’s best-selling instruments – this ukulele simply oozes class, and feels completely nice to handle. Before playing even a single note, the 20TM-CE conveys itself as an instrument that’s simple to play, simply by handling it.
The solid mahogany body is completed beautifully, and the high-quality rosewood fingerboard and bridge end off the look of this uke magnificently. Upon first handling, it’s apparent this instrument was constructed to last.
After a lightweight strum of this uke, the normal craftsmanship integrated into all of Cordoba’s instruments actually comes to light. Though having been produced utilizing prime quality mahogany, the lightweight feel of the 20TM-CE makes it an excellent ukulele to play. For an acoustic-electric tenor ukulele, it’s not too bulky, but not too small – moderately, somewhere between impeccable and ideal.
Attributable to its dimension, and the cut-away design, the playability of this instrument is second to none. Even with sustained, heavy play, the strings maintain the place and keep in tune – that is an instrument that may take some abuse.
Being an electro-acoustic hybrid, the Cordoba 20TM-CE boasts a 2 band EQ, permitting users to manage the treble, bass, and of course the volume control. The instrument’s management board is easily accessible, enabling users to fiddle about to set out their desired settings with relative ease.
- Nut width: 39 mm
- Scale: 432 mm
- 18 Frets
4. Epiphone Les Paul Ukulele VS
In case you are in search of something a bit out of the ordinary and you’re additionally an enormous fan of Les Paul, are you in luck. Epiphone Les Paul Acoustic/Electric Ukulele Outfit Heritage is sort of a mini Les Paul for ukulele lovers. Not only that, this uke is a value-for-money pick.
On the first look, we simply thought this was a form of an homage, a promoting level for Les Paul lovers however this baby has got much more to offer. Let’s discuss a bit more about why this acoustic-electric concert ukulele is in our best acoustic-electric ukuleles lists.
We’ll simply name this ukulele a mini Les Paul (because the total name is a little bit of a handful). So, mini Les Paul is a concert electric uke with a mahogany body and god awfully attractive AAA Grade flame maple veneer top that makes it stand out amongst a whole bunch of different ukes.
The D-profile mahogany neck with rosewood fretboards is actually comfy and provides lots of general playability. Aside from the great looks of this uke, the tonewood and total development are first-rate. There’s nothing that stands out in build quality.
Whereas it’s hard to get an acoustic ukulele at an affordable value, the task turns into twice as hard while you need good acoustic electrics (particularly the one like this mini Les Paul).
- SlimTaper D-neck profile
- Fretboard: Rosewood
- Scale: 38.1 cm (15″)
- 21 Frets
5. Kala Baritone Ukulele with Cutaway
The elegant, Solid Spruce Top Striped Ebony in Baritone has every little thing: wonderful tonewoods, properly thought out appointments, ornate herringbone rosette, and purfling framed in Mahogany binding – to provide it that additional something.
Spruce is known for readability and is constant, balanced, and has a nice response, whereas Ebony gives a robust bass presence and responsive highs for a well-rounded sound profile. The solid Spruce top is known for its clarity, and dynamic vary and response.
Since solid Spruce wood is a live wooden where the tone explodes off the soundboard and that is actually necessary on a baritone because it helps eradicate the low end “thud” that some baritones have.
This ukulele has a broad dynamic range that works properly for each strumming and fingerpicking. The baritone model comes with a rounded, clean Venetian cutaway and Fishman Kula preamp.
Many baritones beneath $400 have an average built-in pickup system. However, Kala determined to improve the pickup and go along with the Fishman Kula which is a superb-sounding pickup, EQ, and tuner. The Fishman helps give a transparent tone with much less hum than conventional built-in pickups.
- Neck: Mahogany
- GraphTech NuBone saddle and nut
- Fretboard & bridge: Striped ebony
- 19 Nickel silver frets
6. Harley Benton UK-L100E BK Soprano Ukulele
Even without conventional form, the Harley Benton UK-L100E BK Soprano Ukulele has the heart and soul of a genuine uke. Do not look and decide how it will sound, if you have the opportunity to try it hands-on, you will see that this is actually a good instrument.
This ukulele is soprano-sized and combines components like a body manufactured from basswood (Tilia americana) and Roseacer fretboard, each typical for the Harley Benton model. This means that the instrument is great in regards to strength and longevity.
UK-L100E BK with its distinctive cutaway design appears to be trendy, particularly with that elegant black end. You will definitively look as you sound – cool as hell!
With a built-in pickup and two-band tone management and built-in tuner, this acoustic-electric ukulele can be ready for live performance immediately. Due to the onboard electronics, this ukulele can be really loud, which gives this electric uke the right to be on our list.
- Scale: 350 mm
- Nut width: 35 mm
- Trapezoid fretboard inlays
- 19 Frets
7. Flight Mahogany Electro-Acoust. Uku
The model incorporates a solid mahogany top and laminate mahogany body. Mahogany is a hardwood that has been used to make high-quality musical instruments for hundreds of years.
Its color can range a fair amount, from a pale pinkish brown to a darker reddish-brown, and it tends to darken with age.
The neck and fingerboard of this ukulele are made out of African okoume and walnut. It’s an ideal mixture that ensures a secure intonation throughout the fretboard, is light to your arms, and appears nice as well.
The nut might appear to be a small component, however, it performs an essential role within the quality of the sound of an instrument. It has a bone nut and saddle and is not from plastic. That is simply one of many particulars that makes this ukulele actually special.
The preamplifier/EQ is a device that permits you to connect a ukulele to an amplifier. The preamp, not often put in on sopranos, incorporates a tuner, saving you the headache of remembering where you left your tuner.
Most significantly though, this small gadget permits you the liberty to plug in wherever and whenever you like, giving your uke the possibility to shine on stage!
- Neck: African okoume
- Fretboard and bridge: Walnut
- Nut and saddle: Bones
- 17 Frets
8. Luna Guitars Ukulele Concert Tattoo PU
Lovely to have a look at and a joy to play, the Luna Tattoo Concert acoustic-electric ukulele encompasses an attractive geometric motif on its top.
Good for anybody who desires to play with or without an amplifier, it’s a step up from a fundamental ukulele. The sound is wealthy, mellow, and delightful to listen to.
This conventional concert uke takes its design from conventional Hawaiian body ornamentation. These designs have been monochromatic, tattooed in black in opposition to brown skin, with strongly geometric patterns, and plenty of shapes and symbols inspired by the pure island world: stones, waves, fish, sharks, turtles, rain, sun, birds.
The design is based on waves and sharks’ teeth that are additionally echoed as fret markers. This concert uke provides the benefit of an onboard preamp and boasts a transparent, resonate sound each by advantage of its Concert physique and Eastern Mahogany building. Lovely sound – great value.
The electronics go together with 2 CR2016 batteries and it really works fine. It’s helpful to have a small built-in equalizer: volume management, bass management, treble management. There’s a small push button to check the battery standing, which could be very handy. This makes this Luna Tattoo uke truly remarkable.
- Top with laser etched tattoo design
- Nato neck
- Walnut fretboard
- 18 Frets
9. Fender Fullerton Jazzmaster Uku OW
Featuring the simple body form; four classic Kluson type in-line tuners on a painted headstock; a Fender-designed preamp with quantity and tone controls; built-in tuner; no-tie bridge, and nickel hardware, the Jazzmaster ukulele is available in an Olympic White or Tidepool finish.
The Fender Fullerton Jazzmaster Ukulele is a well-designed instrument, mixing tradition with innovation and aptitude. Its near-weightlessness, ease of play, and trendy options free your creativity to wherever you wish to go. It’s our favorite new instrument of the year.
It’s fairly apparent that Fender’s Fullerton ukuleles don’t seem like your common ukulele. The Fullerton Series is a variety of ukuleles that take design cues from traditional Fender guitars. With the form of its body and pickguard, this ukulele is inspired by the enduring Jazzmaster.
An enjoyable twist on the instrument, the Fullerton Series presents acquainted ukulele sound and luxury while paying homage to your favorite Fender guitars.
The Fullerton collection additionally comes with built-in electronics together with a Fender-designed preamp so you may simply play live and record. The preamp features volume and tone controls in addition to a helpful built-in tuner.
- Fretboard and bridge: Walnut
- Fretboard radius: Flat
- Fretboard inlays: White dots
- 19 Frets
Closed nickel machine heads.
10. Kala Solid Acacia Concert Ukulele
The Kala Solid Acacia Concert Ukulele is a concert ukulele with a walnut board and bridge, and a solid acacia top with Acacia sides and back. It may be utilized by musicians and students in recording studios, live on stage, in rehearsals, and extra.
It includes a maple binding that surrounds the acacia top, back, and fingerboard. This supplies a visible and aural distinction to the darker acacia wood. The usual headstock has a carved Kala logo on top and is constructed with die-cast chrome, black button tuners.
Moreover, the instrument’s walnut fingerboard has marks on the third, fifth, seventh, tenth, twelfth, and fifteenth positions to assist identify its 18 fret positions.
The solid acacia top of the KA-SA-C Concert Ukulele with herringbone purfling delivers sturdy projection and a deep tone that works in concord with the resonant back, sides, and the Graph Tech NuBone nut and saddle. The instrument comes with Aquila Nylgut strings.
It has Shadow NFX electronics which will enable you to connect it with an amp and play live gigs with your instrument connected to the audio system. Really useful feature.
- Maple binding
- Mahogany neckt
- Laurel fretboard
- 20 Frets
With these electric ukes at a reasonable price, you will be able to get to a nice price point and still play them without an amp. The combination of both worlds works really well in this case.
Some of these 10 picks feature 2 band or 3 band EQ options, nylon strings, padded gig bags and are actually really great picks at this value for money. The electric ukes are found in all sizes and you can get something that you really prefer.
There are also some cheap electric ukuleles with a nice price point that still have good-sounding electronics that have tuners, EQs, and volume control knobs.
In case you are having any questions in regards to the topic we offered here, please let us know in the comment sections and we will try to timely respond!