10 Best Electric Ukuleles in 2024 (Review) - MusicCritic (2024)

Electric Ukulele Buyers Guide

With electric ukuleles being a relatively new hype, we have written our buyers guide with novices in mind. There is no doubt their popularity is down to the opportunities their modern electric offspring offer over their acoustic ancestors. If you are new to ukuleles firstly you are going to want to know which types there are available.

What are the different types of Ukuleles?

The types of ukuleles are categorized by their sizes, which in turn sets their ranges. They are named according to their registers in the same way as singers and other tuned instruments, from soprano to baritone respectively.

The earliest ukuleles ever made were on the smaller side, they are what we refer to today as soprano ukuleles and because they set the bar, they are often also referred to as standard ukuleles as well. They are around 13” scale length and just 21” in overall length. They are good for younger students and those with smaller hands. They have the infamously bright and sweet treble-tone that we associate with ukuleles in general. They are tuned to G4-C4-E4 and A4 or some prefer A4-D4-F#4-B4 tuning.

Next biggest and also the most common ukulele marketed is the concert ukulele. They are also tuned to G4-C4-E4 and A4 or A4-D4-F#4-B4 tuning and can be tuned with their G an octave lower (G3) to have a louder and somewhat deeper sound than the soprano model, despite only being a little larger. They usually sport a scale of 15” and overall length around 23/24”.

Tenor ukuleles are tuned G3-C4-E4-A4/G4-C4-E4-A4, /A4-D4-F#4-B4, or D4-G3-B3-E4. They are much more resonant and have a richer chord structure because of the lower tuning. They generally have a scale of around 17”, a length of around 26”, and a slight ore spacious fingerboard.

The biggest ukulele and therefore the deepest of the bunch is the baritone ukulele. Its tuning is D3-G3-B3 and E4, which you may or may not notice are the same as the standard tuning for the 4 top strings of a guitar.

There are 3 kinds of electric ukuleles firstly we have solid-bodied which are pretty self-explanatory, they are not dissimilar to an actual electric guitar just a miniaturized scale-version. They are genuine electric ukuleles and only work amplified.

Secondly, we have acoustic electric or electric acoustic which are an acoustic ukulele which has a built in a pick-up that reads vibrations on the soundboard and turns them into electrical signals which then get sent to an amplifier and turned back into audio via its speakers.

The other kind is technically speaking just acoustic traditional ukuleles that you have added a non-permanent pick-up too.

Do Electric Ukuleles offer more Benefits than the Standard Ukulele?

The benefits of an electric ukulele with its amplification capabilities far outweigh the abilities of a traditional ukulele. They allow for amplification, which can improve performances if you are limited to standing in front of a microphone with your ukulele it can mean performances are more wooden, plugging it in, in the same manner, you would a modern electric guitar gives more flexibility and allows for more of a flair of showmanship when your perform.

They can be recorded directly into digital audio workstations for music production and songwriting.

Having an electronic output means you can use a loop pedal to layer with and improvise over. It also opens you up to the possibility of sound experimentation by running them through a pedalboard or effects stack.

Many electronic models can be played acoustically as well as electronically so why not opt for the electric anyway for all the additional abilities it brings to the table. Other notable advantages they provide are more accurate tuning, auxiliary jamming and even silent rehearing which is a win-win for anyone living in an apartment.

Some modern models even have wireless connectivity options built-in these days, in order to keep up with demanding customer conveniences and facilitate the latest trends in technology.

If you are a stickler for tradition, and can't find it within you to even think of a solid bodied electric ukulele as anywhere near close to the original article you might want to invest in a good stick on, slide in, or clip on pick-up as an amplification option for your uke instead.

How do you take care of an electric Ukulele?

The care requirements of your electric ukulele are pretty simple and don't differ too much from general acoustic ukulele care (or indeed any other stringed instrument). You will need to replace the battery from time to time in some models.

There are some useful videos around to advise you on proper ukulele care like this one from music nomad;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMYjIQQ6iQo

It is advisable to invest in a decent hard case for long periods of storage and maybe a humidifier depending on what area you live in to keep your instrument at its best and extend the shelf life of the woods used.

How do you choose the best and most suitable electric ukulele?

It basically boils down to how often you are likely to play it plugged or unplugged as to whether you pick a solid bodied electric or electric acoustic model in terms of the register it is down to individual preference of the overall sound if you are after that high Hawaiian twang we suggest a soprano.

When it comes to what to look for in your ukulele, sometimes it is wise to spend a little more for optimal quality. Cheaper models can have inaccuracies in the frets so the intonation can get less-perfect as you venture up the fretboard. You want to look for tonewoods and if you are shelling out a reasonable sum these should be premium.

Mahogany offers warmer tones, spruce tops are bright they vibrate well other typical go-to tonewoods include; koa, cedar, rosewood, redwood, and maple.

When it comes to shape there are many different body types, for semi-acoustic models such as the figure of eight, paddle or even pineapple the form affects the natural acoustics and projection of the instrument.

Is an Electric Ukulele suitable for a beginner?

A ukulele has just 4 strings in comparison to a 6-stringed guitar counterpart it is less complex to learn and chords are easier to hold. The strings are also nylon which is easier on fresh fingers, making them ideal for beginners, so you needn't worry about learning on an acoustic ukulele first.

If you have previous guitar experience we recommend trying a baritone as the tuning will be familiar to you and you will recognize the notes to learn the chord shapes with. The chords for a standard or concert ukulele differ a lot from guitar chords because of their unique tuning you will have to learn from scratch.

If you have struggled in the past to learn guitar finding bar chords troublesome and complex scales too much of a stretch then a ukulele could be the perfect instrument for you.

Conclusion

There are tonnes of affordably priced products out there to choose from, so if the transition to an electronic ukulele tickles your fancy, you may as well bite the bullet and buy one. They serve up a whole host of benefits, that their acoustic originators struggle to compete with.

They are suitable for novices and pro's alike, and with modern manufacturing, they needn't be too heavy an investment. We have reviewed ten very different models which represent a good range of what is currently available online.

They all impress in different ways which we have hopefully highlighted in today's comparisons. Hopefully having read our reviews and informative guide you will have a little more insight into the world of electronic ukuleles and be suitably prepped before you purchase.

Expert Tip

Whilst you can use any standard guitar amp alongside your electric ukulele, there are brands out there designing amps specifically for your uke. The small nature of a ukulele makes them ideal for travel and there are some awesome mini-amps available out there like the HoneyTone Mini-amp with its vintage vibes.

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10 Best Electric Ukuleles in 2024 (Review) - MusicCritic (2024)
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