The electric ukulele is a curious, yet fun, small instrument that is getting more popular every year. Like the name indicates the electric ukulele is just like a regular uke, but electrically amplified. So as a standard uke the electric version is a small, four-stringed instrument that comes in a variety of sizes according to its tone: soprano, concert, tenor and baritone.
Here is a review of a great model from Cordoba
Features of an Electric Ukulele
Just like an electric guitar, you can find electric ukuleles with different body shapes and materials. You have hollow bodied ukes (rounder sound…jazzier if you will) and solid bodied ukuleles. Also, you can find electric ukuleles with active pickups (more gain boost) and passive pickups. It uses steel strings and has small frets which make it very easy and very fun to play. The uke standard tuning is GCEA, with the G string higher than the C string. Some guitar players however, drop it down to DGBE since this is the tuning found on 4 bottom strings of a guitar. However this may make it harder to explore the curiosities of the real uke sound, which is due to the G and A strings being only one tone apart. Traditional uke is played with a specific finger-picking technique, but worry not, as it is ok to play with your pick (unless you’re playing for a crowd of purists…).
Advantages of the Electric Verison of a Uke
The ukulele by itself is already a fun instrument to play, and has many plus points. It has become very popular around the world for being portable (due to its small size), cheap, easy to play and cool sounding. But being small also meant it had a problem: it can’t make enough noise for some.
Hence, being electrically amplified to bring new life into the uke. This new “bug” has the advantage of being louder than any regular one and has the ability to be plugged through a guitar amplifier and guitar effects as well, which means it has become more versatile than ever. You can add effects like distortion, reverb, chorus and even delays to it. Now you can truly express your “uke-tude” and that’s all it matters. The ukulele is getting more and more popular throughout the years and has been used all around the world from some of today’s known indie bands like Beirut to music icons like George Harrison.
Being a new and fresh instrument, you can always have mixed feelings about it. What I mean by this is people aren’t really used to the concept of a “uke-hero”. They know about guitar heroes and shredder but they have never seen the like of a electric ukulele shredder. IT is something new and it will definitely stand out. Other than that, you can expect to be difficult to find uke-related or specific gear to “beef it up”. Yes, you can plug it to a guitar amplifier or effects but you will not be able to find specific effects for your uke. I wonder if there were specific pedal boxes for your uke if they wouldn’t sound better than a pedal box meant for guitar?
Here are some of the popular models of electric ukulele.
The Lanikai LU-21CE Concert Acoustic-Electric Ukulele. Being a Lanikai, you can expect very decent quality for a great price. Click here for more details.
Stagg Electric S Solid Body Uke. It’s another solid option for a beginner electric ukulele. Complete with gig bag and earphone jack! See this beauty here.
Epiphone Les Paul Acoustic/Electric Uke. Yes! There is a Les Paul uke! This is highly rated and often comes really well priced! See the latest price here.