Do you enjoy the sound of the ukulele? Are you looking for a simple way to take that sound to a new level?
Why not give the electric ukulele a try?
Chances are, you didn’t even know there was such a thing as an electric ukulele. This is because they aren’t all that common and therefore not easily found.
As a matter of fact, there are only a few electric ukulele reviews that can be found on the internet.
That’s why we have decided to put together this guide. In it we will discuss the basics of the ukulele, the best electric ukuleles currently available, as well as do a short review on some of the electric ukuleles we have tested out.
Whether you are looking to purchase a quality electric ukulele, or you just want to learn about this amazing little instrument, keep reading below.
What To Look For In an Electric Ukulele
Before we dive in and review the best electric ukulele, let's first start by learning a little more about the instrument.
I know you are ready to get down to business and find out what the best electric ukulele is, but before you do, you need to understand some of the specs and features associated with this type of instrument.
When you know what to look for you will be more likely to find exactly what you need.
The Four Different Ukulele Sizes
Unlike guitars, which basically have one standardized size, ukuleles come in four different sizes.
The size you choose will depend on three key factors. The size of your hands, the reason you will be using the instrument, and the sound you want the instrument to produce.
Let’s dive in and break down the four different ukulele sizes.
The Soprano Ukulele
The soprano ukulele is the oldest and most commonly used ukulele. It is considered the standard as far as size goes.
Of the four different ukuleles, the soprano is the smallest. It is 21 inches in overall length.
The compact size and lightweight design make the soprano ukulele the perfect option for children looking to get into music.
It is also great for those who travel a lot and want to take their instrument on trips with them.
If you are making the transition from acoustic guitar to ukulele, you may find the 13 inch scale a bit of a challenge.
But once you get used to the smaller scale, you will find the ukulele is a fun and easy instrument to play.
The sound of the ukulele is also different than the sound you get with an acoustic guitar. The ukulele sound can best be described as bright.
The Concert Ukulele
Next up we have the concert ukulele. The size is a bit bigger than the standard soprano ukulele we discussed above.
The overall length of the concert ukulele is 23 inches long with a 15 inch scale. While the 2 inch difference between the soprano ukulele and the concert ukulele might not seem like much, trust us it makes a huge difference.
The slightly larger scale gives you a little extra room to adjust. And though it's a little larger than the soprano ukulele, it's still small enough to carry around.
When it comes to sound, the concert ukulele has a larger resonance box. This gives it a very rich low end and higher overall volume levels.
While it still has the authentic ukulele sound you expect, it also has a little bass flavor you don’t get with the soprano.
The Tenor Ukulele
The tenor ukulele is 26 inches long with a 17 inch scale.
If you have previously played the acoustic guitar, transitioning to the tenor ukulele should be quite easy.
Unlike the soprano and concert ukuleles, the tenor gives you plenty of room to move your fingers around. This is very important for those who have larger hands.
The extra space makes playing the instrument comfortable and very easy to do. And as you would expect, the larger body gives the tenor ukulele a very deep and resonant sound.
Though you won’t get that bright, classic sound you get with the soprano ukulele, the tenor ukulele is still a great instrument to experiment with.
The Baritone Ukulele
The last ukulele size is the baritone. The baritone is the biggest of them all. At 30 inches long, the baritone is considered to have a huge body. The size is what also makes it so unique.
The 19 inch scale makes it feel like you are playing the guitar. The one big difference however is the sound.
Since tuning the ukulele is very similar to tuning the guitar, those who play guitar can usually pick up a ukulele and start playing immediately.
The sound produced by the baritone is very warm and very deep. Because of this nice sound, it couples well with the other ukulele types. It's also a great instrument to play along with acoustic guitars.
How To Tune a Ukulele
While you are free to tune your ukulele in any way that will get the job done, there are a few standards you will want to know and understand.
The soprano, tenor, and concert ukuleles all use the same tuning which is G-C-E-A. The baritone ukulele is the only one that uses a different tuning. It uses D-G-B-E, which is the same as the guitar tuning.
A popular tuning alternative that is often used with the soprano and concert ukulele is A-D-F#-B. This type of tuning will give the instrument a very mellow sound.
Keep in mind different string packs will use different tuning methods. It is therefore very important you know and understand the different tunings.
The Two Electric Ukulele Build Types
As far as build goes, you can think of the ukulele as a small guitar. Electric guitars have two body types, hollow and solid.
The same goes for electric ukuleles.
While some people will simply refer to them as electric ukuleles, there is one important thing you need to make note of.
Acoustic electric ukuleles are very similar to acoustic ukuleles when it comes to the way they are built. They have a built-in pickup along with some electronics so they can be plugged into an amp.
Electric ukuleles on the other hand are more like the electric guitar, just smaller. The body is solid and the pickups are on the outside of the instrument.
While this may seem a little confusing right now, it is very important you are aware of it. Otherwise you will not know what to look for.
So now the question is, what’s the big difference between a hollow body ukulele, and a solid body ukulele?
Hollow body ukuleles can be played with or without an amp. And no matter how you choose to play it, it will still produce the same awesome sound.
Which by the way is the same sound you would get with a regular acoustic ukulele.
On the other hand, solid body ukuleles must be connected to an amp to deliver any sound.
Solid body ukuleles are also more sturdy than hollow body ukuleles. However, that doesn’t mean you can just use any old amp to play it on.
The sound produced by the solid body ukulele is different than the sound you get from the hollow body ukulele.
This is because the wood is solid and doesn’t resonate in the same way as the hollow body ukulele.
Hollow body ukuleles are great for playing alongside a band, as they have the ability to deliver quite a bit of volume.
At the end of the day, the type of body you choose is up to you. Do you want something that is versatile? Or do you want an instrument that is sturdy and can handle rougher situations?
The 4 Most Commonly Used Wood Types
When manufacturing a ukulele, the material used is of the utmost importance. Not only does it have a huge impact on the overall sound, but it also affects other aspects of performance.
When you are playing the instrument, the body and the fretboard should feel nice to the touch. The finish on the wood can alter how it feels. Even still, there should be a noticeable difference based on the type of wood that was used.
The type of wood used also determines how solid and sturdy the instrument is. The last thing you want is a flimsy instrument that feels like it's falling apart everytime you play it.
The problem is, it can be very difficult to balance between good sound and durability. But it can be done if you choose the right type of tonewood.
With that being said, let’s take a look at the top 5 types of wood that are used to make ukuleles.
Mahogany Wood - There are quite a few different variations of mahogany wood that are used all over the world. Because of the different variations, mahogany wood has the ability to produce many different sounds.
Most describe the sound produced by mahogany wood as warm, and in some cases, a little dark.
Koa Wood - Koa wood is native to the island of Hawaii. It is actually the original type of wood used to build ukuleles. If you are trying to get that authentic Hawaiian sound, Koa wood will give it to you.
The sound it produces is very well balanced and it gives you that old school ukulele vibe you only get from the islands.
Spruce Wood - Spruce wood is most commonly used on guitar tops. But spruce wood is also a great option for ukuleles. Unlike cedar wood, which we will discuss next, spruce wood makes the higher end really stand out.
It's a great complement to the bright sound you get with the soprano ukulele. It can also help enhance the sound of the baritone ukulele as well.
Cedar Wood - If you want to be able to hit those deep, low end sounds, cedar wood can help you do that. And though it is considered a soft type of wood, it is actually pretty durable.
The sound it produces can best be described as mellow and sweet. It is the perfect wood choice for both the tenor and baritone ukuleles.
Redwood - When it comes to sound, redwood falls somewhere in the middle of cedar wood and spruce wood. It's a combination of clarity and a warm low end. This combination is what gives the ukulele its versatile sound.
Please know that the supply of redwood is pretty scarce these days. As a result, any ukulele made out of redwood will probably be a little on the expensive side.
These are just five of the many types of wood that can be used to make a ukulele. When choosing a tonewood, the most important aspect will always be sound.
What do you want your ukulele to sound like? That is what should determine what type of wood you choose.
If you’re not sure what the best type of wood would be, check out some of the videos online that demonstrate the different tones produced by each type of wood.
How Much Should You Spend on an Electric Ukulele?
In most situations, you will get what you pay for. In other words, the more you are willing to spend, the better quality electric ukulele you will be able to get.
However, as a beginner there is no need to invest hundreds, or even thousands, into an electric ukulele. It's perfectly okay to get something that’s cheap, yet effective. As long as it produces a decent sound, that’s really all that matters if you are a beginner.
If on the other hand you are a little more advanced, chances are you have a better idea of what you want and need.
In the next section you will find 8 of the best electric ukuleles being reviewed. You will find ukuleles from a variety of different brands, as well as in a variety of different price ranges.
When choosing which one to go with, ask yourself this simple question. Are you just looking to try out a new instrument? Or are you looking for something that you can invest in and learn how to play?
If you choose to go with a solid body electric ukulele, keep in mind you will need an amp for it to function properly.
Best Electric Ukulele Reviews
Here are our top 8 best electric ukuleles:
- Cordoba 20TM-CE Acoustic Electric Tenor Ukulele
- Kala KA-CE Satin Mahogany Electric Concert Ukulele
- Epiphone Les Paul Acoustic Electric Ukulele
- Vorson FTLUK3BK T-Style Electric Ukulele
- Kmise Solid Spruce Ukulele
- Oscar Schmidt OU2E Mahogany Concert Acoustic-Electric
- Ellen Concert Ukulele (Bundle)
- Luna Mahogany Series Tattoo Concert Acoustic-Electric
Let me introduce you to the Cordoba 20TM-CE Acoustic Electric Tenor Ukulele. This electric ukulele looks good and sounds even better.
And the best part is, its priced very reasonably.
This electric ukulele shows that you don’t have to neglect good looks and class to have an amazing ukulele.
The bottom cutaway has a very sleek look to it. It also helps you reach those last frets that can sometimes be out of reach.
Unlike many electric ukulele models, the Cordoba 20TM-CE was not designed using all laminate.
For some this might be a matter of preference. For others it is more about how it makes their fingers feel when playing the instrument.
The tonewood used to make this ukulele is mahogany. And as you very well know, mahogany is a very durable and quality wood. With it you can expect richness and resonance.
When it comes to sound, most people are surprised by what the 20TM-CE has to offer. Especially when you consider its price. But the sound is very clear and the sustain is above average.
The volume and punch aren’t all that great, but you can make up for that by turning up the volume on the amp.
The included high quality pickup is able to convey the vibrations with great accuracy.
If you are looking for an electric ukulele to use for live performances, the 20TM-CE is not the best option for you.
While the Cordoba brand is not known for their electric ukuleles, the 20TM-CE is definitely not to be overlooked.
Any beginner looking for a well built ukulele that’s affordable and produces a sweet sound, will absolutely love the it.
Kala is one of our favorite brands. They are also one of the most popular ukulele manufacturers in the world. So when we heard they made an electric version of one of their best selling ukulele models, we knew we had to check it out.
The Kala KA-CE offers a lot of great features. And the best part is it is only $50 more than the acoustic version.
We will be honest, at first glance this ukulele doesn’t look like it has much to offer. But when we dug a little deeper, we realized Kala had a few surprises up their sleeve.
Let’s start with the look and feel of the instrument. The top of it has an old school white binding and satin finish. This gives it a very traditional, yet sleek look.
The little details throughout the instrument show the designers were paying attention to every detail.
Since the Shadow Active Nano-Flex EQ system is so lightweight, it's very difficult to tell this is an electric ukulele.
The bass, treble, and volume controls are very easy to access. There is even a built-in tuner so you can easily tune your ukulele.
The pickup on this ukulele is fairly decent. However, there are better ones available.
If you will be doing small venue gigs, the pickup will be just fine. Anything more than that and you will need something a little more powerful.
While we wouldn’t say the Kala KA-CE is the absolute best electric ukulele on the market, for the price, it is one heck of a deal. If you are a beginner looking for a solid ukulele, this is a great option.
While Epiphone is a well known brand, what they are not known for is their electric ukuleles. However, this Les Paul model is something worth looking into.
First let’s talk about the price. You can get this Les Paul Acoustic Electric Ukulele for less than $100. And because it is so affordable, we don’t think it would be fair to compare it to more expensive models.
With that being said, the design of this ukulele is straight up awesome. No matter which finish you choose, be it the cherry burst, or vintage sunburst, you will no doubt stand out in the crowd.
The glossy laminate finish gives this ukulele a great look. However, when it comes to the overall quality of the build, it could be better.
While the build doesn’t have too much of a negative effect on the sound, the effect it does have is noticeable.
When Epiphone designed this ukulele, they wanted it to be more passive. There are therefore no onboard controls to mess around with, and no battery to worry about.
Because there is no battery to worry about, that makes this ukulele lightweight and easy to carry around.
You can play this ukulele with or without an amp. When played without an amp the sound is very warm. If you want the highs to really resonate, plup it into an amp.
As previously stated, there are models on the market that sound better than this particular ukulele. But for what you get, and at the price you get it, this is as good as it gets.
If you are looking for a decent electric ukulele for around $100, the Epiphone Les Paul Acoustic Electric Ukulele is a great option.
The Vorson FTLUK3BK T-Style Electric Ukulele has a solid body and features the Telecaster design.
But how does it stand up in the performance area? And is it worth the price? Which by the way is only around $100.
The Vorson FTLUK3BK has that famous guitar shape and is a beast in its own right.
Based on some of the online reviews we read, many users consider this the best budget electro-acoustic tenor ukulele on the market.
Made using candlenut wood, this ukulele is solid yet very lightweight. And as we discussed earlier in this guide, solid body ukuleles are great for those looking to incorporate the sweet sound of the electric ukulele into a band.
If you plan on using this ukulele to travel around from gig to gig, you will love how lightweight it is.
And thanks to the dual single coil setup, you can explore your full playing potential. Depending on how you adjust the amp, you will be able to go from sweet, to mellow, and to any sound in between.
Similar to a regular guitar, the Vorson FTLUK3BK has a volume knob, tone knob, and 3 way switch for pickups.
If you are looking for a badass electric ukulele with great sounding pickups, then the Vorson FTLUK3BK is exactly what you need.
When it comes to aesthetics, the Kmise Solid Spruce Ukulele is sure to capture your attention. But as you very well know, design isn’t everything. You also want a ukulele that sounds good.
The Kmise Solid Spruce Ukulele features a solid spruce body. That means this ukulele will last a very long time.
While the Kmise brand isn’t known for their ukuleles, they do know how to produce an instrument that’s both solid and sturdy.
Surprisingly, this model offers great resonance and sustain. And by combining a spruce body with a bone nut and saddle, this ukulele is able to produce a very present sound.
The top of the Kmise Solid Spruce features controls for the bass, middle, and treble. There is also a volume knob.
There is even a small tuner making it super easy for you to just plug it in and play.
When you play this ukulele you will immediately notice how soft and smooth it is. There are no sharp edges and no surfaces that have been left unpolished.
This makes it the perfect instrument for those long playing sessions. Even the stock strings are smooth to the touch. This means you won’t need to change them anytime soon.
Overall this is a very fun and comfortable instrument to play.
Luckily, this is one of those rare cases that you don’t get what you pay for. Because with a $50 price tag, you would think this ukulele would be such a wonderful option for both beginners and advanced players.
The Oscar Schmidt OU2E Mahogany Concert Acoustic-Electric has a premium sound and feel. Even better is the fact it comes with everything you need to start playing today!
When it comes to entry level ukuleles, the acoustic version of this model just so happened to be one of the best ones on the market.
Because of that success, people are expecting a lot from the electric acoustic version. Let’s see if it lives up to those expectations.
Right out the box, it's easy to see that the Oscar Schmidt OU2E is a beginner friendly ukulele. While you shouldn’t expect much from a $100 electric ukulele, the Oscar Schmidt OU2E over delivered.
As far as quality goes, there is a very clear difference between the quality of this model, and the quality of other models in the same price range.
The mahogany body is soft, sturdy, and comfortable. The sound it produces is very warm, and very well balanced.
If you are the type of person that strums really hard, you may notice a little buzzing noise. However, it's not that much of a problem.
The preamp performance is very good. As is the pickup performance. Though it's not ideal for playing with a band, it is great for a good solo jam session.
One of the main reasons we like this ukulele is because it comes with some really great accessories. Some of which include a polishing cloth, a clip on tuner, and an instructional DVD to help you get started.
The only other thing you would need is an amp. Which of course must be purchased separately.
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any better, the Ellen Concert Ukulele Bundle comes on the scene.
Like the previous two models, this ukulele is right around the $100 mark. With it you will get a few important accessories including a gig bag, an amp, and a few other pieces of gear.
The Ellen Concert Ukulele is a very solid ukulele. While the Oscar Schmidt OU2E has a better feel to it, that doesn’t mean this ukulele isn’t a good choice for those just starting out.
To be able to get an amp and other accessories for $100, there were clearly a few corners cut to make that happen.
However, from what we can tell, it seems like the corners cut were with the aesthetics of the instrument.
Overall the Ellen Concert Ukulele is a good electric ukulele. The only areas we believe could use a little improvement is with the finish and the design.
While a few corners may have been cut in the design area, those cuts don’t affect the sound of the instrument all that much. You can most definitely tell this instrument is in the lower price range.
However, all you need to start playing the ukulele is decent sound. And the Ellen Concert Ukulele produces a decent sound.
When you use this ukulele with the provided amp, you will get the opportunity to experience the true authentic sound of the ukulele.
And considering how small it is, you may be surprised with how loud it can get.
The classic mahogany body gives it that well balanced sound. And for your convenience, there is a built-in 3-band EQ and an LCD screen tuner.
If you are a street musician, this is a great instrument to have in your arsenal.
We couldn’t end this list without mentioning at least one Luna ukulele. And if you know anything about the Luna brand, you know why.
Musicians from all over the world consider it one of the best ukulele brands out there.
As with all Luna instruments, the Mahogany Series Tattoo Concert Acoustic-Electric is all about quality.
If you are an advanced player, you will appreciate the level of detail that went into making this ukulele.
This Luna ukulele offers premium quality at a reasonable price.
All it takes is one look and you can tell this is a Luna ukulele. The tattoo pattern on the body is a depiction of the waves in Hawaii.
Every part of this ukulele was carefully put together. This ensures the musician always has a smooth and enjoyable playing experience.
When it comes to playing this instrument, it is easily one of the most comfortable ukuleles on the market.
While you won’t get an LCD tuner like you do with some of the other models, you will get a 3-Band EQ. This gives you the freedom to shape the sound however you want.
No matter how you choose to set up the EQ, the sound it will produce will be amazing. And thanks to the mahogany body, you will have a little extra resonance.
All in all you can’t go wrong with the Luna Mahogany Series.
Our Final Thoughts
As you can tell, there aren’t a lot of options when it comes to the electric ukulele. In order to find the best one for your needs, you will need to figure out what you want. Do you want great sound? Or do you want a ukulele that comes with everything you need?
No matter what it is that you want, we hope this guide will help you find it.