Applause Ukulele (Ovation)

3.81/5 (6)

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Ovation Applause ukuleles are the most popular brand of electric ukulele around. Looks wise, they are very distinctive and look similar to the Applause guitars (made popular recently by Kaki King who also plays a tenor Applause ukulele). As well as the distinctive look, they sound good and are well made. They can be played either plugged or unplugged.

On eBay US

On eBay UK

On Musician’s Friend

Applause UA10 Mini Ukulele Natural

Applause UA10 Soprano Ukulele Natural

The UA10 is a soprano uke with traditional, single sound hole body style and a solid spruce top. 17 frets. 13-5/8″ Scale. Price: $129.99

Applause UAE20 Acoustic-Electric Deluxe Mini Ukulele Adamas Red

Applause UAE20 Acoustic-Electric Deluxe Soprano Ukulele Adamas Red/Black Satin

The UAE20 Ukulele is soprano size with a multi-soundhole design borrowed from Ovation guitars. It also features a solid spruce top on its rounded Lyrachord body. 17 frets. Onboard electronics. Price: $139.99

On Video

Kaki King playing a Tenor Applause which seems to play well despite her little water spillage incident.

Applause Soprano Ukulele UAE-20 Review

I purchased an applause soprano ukulele just a couple of months ago. I was fortunate enough to catch a classified ad and pick up the ukulele, a small practice amp, a gig bag, and a digital tuner for just over a hundred dollars. Don’t you just love deals like that?

They usually list for between 150.00 to 200.00 American dollars. If you’re in the states, it doesn’t hurt to research Musician’s Friend as they go for about a 140.00 dollars through these two retailers.

The Positives: I love the sound of this little uke. That is, I love it when it is tuned to A, D, F#, B tuning, I tried wrapping the strings a bit tighter when I re-strung the instrument, but still, it sounded and felt a bit to “mushy” for me. It has a very bright/crisp tone, it projects well, and it comes with a decent pickup so you can just plug it in instead of putting a microphone in front of it. I also love the neck and the rounded composite back to the instrument (characteristic of all ovation/applause acoustic instruments). The instrument also feels like it is a solid and well-made little unit.

The Negatives: this is purely subjective, but the aesthetics for the ukulele top don’t quite do it for me. The sound holes are actually on the sides of the instrument and there are two woody “leaf-like” designs in this area. Some folks that have seen it love it. for me it seems a bit cheesy. Still, this won’t keep me from using this instrument when I play live!

By Todd Baio – Folk Musician & Ukulele Evangelist

Applause UA-10 Soprano Ukulele Review

Review by John.


  1. Andrew April 8th, 2012 6:53 am

    The Ovation Applause UAE-20 in ‘honey’ was my first uke purchase. More accurately it was the first keeper — I went through two other cheaper sopranos first, but found faults in each of them that were only apparent when I took them home and played them in a quiet room. So the Applause was the result of the second exchange and trade up…

    I enjoy playing this uke, it has a nice low action and good intonation (both of which were lacking in the cheaper ukuleles in the local music store I bought from). The D’addario strings it came with were a bit too muted for my taste so they were changed for Aquilas, which brightened it up nicely. It is still a relatively quiet instrument when played acoustically — which is actually a good thing for me as I don’t get complaints from neighbours and can take it into hotel rooms and practise when away from home.

    The tone is pleasant, but it doesn’t sound entirely like a classic all wood soprano uke. It is a rather more mellow and muted until it is plugged in and amplified (via its passive piezo pickup) — at which point it becomes more alive. Once plugged in however a problem appears — the C string resonates more strongly than the others and needs careful EQing to balance it out.

    I’m very new to ukulele and can’t play this uke without a strap — the rounded back makes it rather slippery and it tries to slide away. A more experienced player would probably have no problem, but I resorted to a Uke Leash ( ) which sorted it for me.

    Reading back over what I’ve written it looks a bit more negative than I intended — I actually rate this a keeper.

  2. Andrew April 8th, 2012 6:55 am

    Sorry — forgot to rate.

  3. Andrew April 28th, 2012 3:06 am

    This turned out not to be the keeper I thought it would be. Mine developed a rattle —thought to be from the pickup wires coming loose— so it was sent off for repair under warranty. It came back still buzzing, so a replacement unit was offered. The replacement unit buzzed too, so I got a refund. Now on the lookout for a new soprano uke…

  4. Roy W. July 23rd, 2012 3:20 pm

    So I ordered the Applause UAE148-M Tenor Acoustic-Electric Uke 2-3 months ago but after the third time it was back ordered, I saw MF had the natural spruce finish in stock so I called them and they swapped the Mahogany finish for the natural spruce finish, gave me the original sale pricing and discounts I had originally ordered under and I had it two days later (Thanks Musician’s Friend). These ukes can be hard to find (not sure why). When they show up, you might see 3-4 in stock for a day or two, then they are gone. I see eBay has 4 of the Mahogany ones currently listed tempting me(ugh). So here’s my take on the one I have. This uke is great sounding. Acoustically true intonation and with the original strings and setup, no buzzing frets. I changed the strings to Worth lo-G and the (thicker) lo-G has just a slight buzzing (and I mean slight) up to the 2nd fret. 3rd fret on up is clear. The other 3 strings are fine. (The Worth strings took longer to settle in than I’ve seen the aquilas take but I did not want the wound lo-G which was all I could find in aquilas). At some point I will loosen the strings and shim the bridge to clear the buzzing(1 shim should do it) but for now I am REALLY happy with it so no rush. Acoustically it is a bit quiet but has such a sweet sound off the solid spruce top and the resin body and it was made for lo-G tuning. Plugged in it just flat ROCKS. This uke is made to be amped. It has lots of control. I use a Crate 15TX with a Zoom A2 pedal and I can play that darn thing ALL day long.
    Now there are a few things worth knowing about this uke. First it is a heavy uke. My Luna ukes are in the 2lbs range and are feathers compared to this tenor. This uke is 4lbs. It has strap buttons and I use a strap for standing. I believe most the weight is the electronics but I’m not sure. Second thing about the uke is that to access the battery and electronics you have to go in thru the back of the uke. It is not terribly hard but the first time can be intimidating. The uke is well built and robust but you can still cause damage getting into it if you don’t follow the instructions. After you get inside the first time it becomes much easier after seeing how they built it. If you’re mechanically dis-inclined you can always take it to a music store and let them handle it. Lastly, Amazon and a few other sites advertise a Applause Mandolin/Tenor Uke case for this uke. This uke will NOT fit that case even tho the dimensions listed would indicate it should. The dimensions are wrong (been there done that). The uke is 1.5-2 inches longer than the case. Amazon took it back ok but it wasted everyone’s time. In the end I got a 1/2 size guitar case and it is 2 in. longer than the uke (way better than 2 in. shorter). Overall, if weight is not an issue, this is (so far) the best electric uke I’ve played and I believe it will just sound better with time. Personally I enjoy it a lot unplugged too. However if you don’t need to amp it, you’re probably better off buying a uke where the focus is on the woods and design more so than on the electronics. Yes, I’d buy it again (in mahogany or black)…..

  5. Dantes December 3rd, 2012 9:25 pm

    I got a magnificent deal on MF. I got what I wanted. Beautiful uke (every time I take it out I get compliments). The only thing is the sound, it doesn’t have a hole in it, so if not plugged in it’s very quiet.
    I’ve been told a couple of times, that a ukulele made out of… plastic? fiberglass? is a sacrilege. I don’t really care, because it looks and sounds(while plugged in) fantastic!

  6. Ray October 10th, 2013 11:17 am

    What strings should I use on my newly acquired Ovation UAE 158?

    The measurement from Nut to Bridge is 35 centimeters or in English 13 3/4 inches.
    This matches the length of my Sopranos yet it looks larger and more likely to take Concert or Tenor strings. I fancy using it with a low G rather than re-entrant tuning.

  7. Bruce October 22nd, 2013 4:15 am

    You will find most strings are packaged for soprano and Concert Ukuleles. Aquilla seem to be the most favored strings, however I a convert to the ORCAS black fluro carbon strings, they come in three different tensions, thin OS-LGT, medium OS MED and OS HARD. They are also available in Low G. I originally had the light low G on my Kala Solid Acacia Soprano, but they were too light and I wasn’t impressed with the low G. I changed to the Med and they are fantastic, with a beautiful mellow Hawaiian sound. They take a while to stretch in, but I just flogged them for a week and they settled in. All the players in my group are changing to these strings. They cost $14.95 in Australia . The strings are made in Japan.

  8. Kennardly April 26th, 2017 12:44 pm

    I would like to acquire an Ovation Applause UAE20 but how do I tell whether one being offered is the real thing or a fake ….. as they are as rare as hens teeth are the fakes worth having anyway —- also what should a real one cost in UK …. await any response with interest

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