RISA Ukulele

RISA are a German ukulele company with all their ukuleles being made in Europe. Although they make acoustic ukuleles as well, RISA are best known for their unusual and distinctive electric ukuleles: their "Uke Solid" (that looks like a stick), the Uke'Ellie and the "Electric Ukulele" (which looks like a melted Fender Stratocaster). These distinctive ukuleles have made them very popular in Europe. They do, however, seem to be very thin on the ground in the US.

On Video

Musicguymic chats with the man behind RISA, Rigk Sauer.

On eBay UK

On eBay Germany

RISA Uke Solid Review

I have a tenor RISA Uke Solid and it is unlike any other ukulele. It takes some getting used to playing. The shape of it is the first thing you have to get used to. I find it harder to keep hold of than a standard ukulele so I always use a strap. The next thing that caught me out was the neck. I found it hard to judge which fret was which and the lack of a headstock did mean I fell of the end of the uke when I was doing an unusual bit of fretting. The next thing that tripped me up was tuning it; you have to work out which string is which and which way is tuning up and down.

My first few days with it were mostly spent fumbling around. But after getting used to it I've grown to love it.

It's a real pleasure to play. It's weighted perfectly, smooth, low action. It's a nice object to have in your hands - it's the uke I use for walking around the flat playing. The intonation on it is spot on. And visually it's interesting.

The sound of it, obviously, depends a great deal on the amp and processing you put it through. Acoustically, it's very quite (making it good for practising without unduly annoying family members) although not quite as quiet as my Bugsgear Eleuke.

Overall, it's a great uke to have. But I do have a couple of grumbles with it. The biggest grumble is the tuning pegs. I don't much like friction tuners at the best of times and these are even more annoying. They are too close together - I find it hard to turn one without the others getting in the way. And there's the usual friction tuner problem with fine tuning (which is exaggerated as mine came with the strings wrapped around the tuners too many times - and I haven't changed the strings yet). My other grumble is aesthetic. I love the shape of the uke, but it is spoiled by having a big RISA logo slapped on it.

But you shouldn't pay too much attention to my grumbles. It's definitely the best pure-electric ukulele I've ever played.

15 Comments

  1. Diarmuid November 12th, 2009 7:58 am

    I have a RISA solid (a soprano) and it is inseparable from me. Everything the first poster said about getting use to it is true, but when that happens, it becomes the instrument of choice. I take it everywhere in my carryall, and play it all the time (waiting around, sitting by river/beach). I find it near indestructible, never goes out of tune. Small enough for people not to notice. I got one of the recitalbox acoustic reverbs which I hook to it for the “playing in a cathedral” sound if I am in a noisy place.
    I recently got a small (pocketsize) Korg multitrack which has been fun – using the builtin pickup making my own ukulele orchestra by using octave shifting to make the bass etc.

    I cannot speak to highly of it. I love it

  2. Woodshed November 21st, 2009 7:17 am

    Diarmuid: Thanks for sharing your experience. After some intial grumbles, I’m enjoying playing it as well. And I bought an effects unit which makes it a whole lot more fun.

  3. kissin' April 28th, 2010 6:09 pm

    Good news folks, it appears Risa has noticed the grumbles people have been having about the Friction tuners (myself included).

    They will be fitting GEARED TUNERS on their Uke-solids some time in 2010. Keep your eyes open, or send Risa an email :)

  4. Ha`Ina`IaMaiAnaKaPuana March 11th, 2011 10:14 pm

    I bought a RISA UkeSolid Soprano, as I wanted the most compact travel uke possible, that could be stuffed into my carry-on suitcase without worrying about it breaking. I had been debating between an Eleuke soprano (I love the built in headphone jack) and the RISA, but when I tried the Eleukes out in my local uke shop, the intonation was off just enough to bug me, especially with the headphones plugged in.

    The RISA was definitely the right choice! The intonation is great, and it’s a super-sturdy and fun to play uke. The lack of the Eleuke’s headphone jack led me to purchase a VOX amPlug Acoustic, which allows me to hear it through headphones, though this added piece of equipment makes the RISA less easy to play and hear in louder places while traveling.

    My one criticism of the construction is the quality of the line out jack–the one on mine arrived looking like it was already tarnished and old, and it feels loose, meaning that the cable can come out if it’s not run under the strap. Normally this wouldn’t bother me much, but I was trying to run the VOX amPlug directly out of the jack on the uke (which does not work–the amPlug falls out), so I had to get a cable extension for the amPlug. Not a big deal, but not the most ideal travel uke solution.

    If you buy direct from the RISA website, you save the VAT charges (19%), so it ends up being cheaper than what the website lists.

    Unplugged, the RISA has the perfect volume for practicing (like playing an electric guitar unamplified). If this uke came with a direct headphone out like the Eleukes, it would be perfect. As it is, it’s a great value and travel companion.

  5. Uke Dave June 17th, 2011 6:24 pm

    I’ve just got a Risa ‘stick’ concert sized uke.This is my fourth uke and I am really thrilled with it.Yes I am sure an audience would wonder what I am playing as it is unorthodox looking kit but more importantly it is really well made,cleverly designed,has a decent quality pick-up and it sounds good. I believe it is supplied with Worth strings which I have been plesantly suprised by -I thought Aguilas where the only option until now! I find it has a exceptionally smooth action which makes it really easy to play.Got mine online for a great price from Reidy’s Music in UK. Comes with a nice bag but no cable so if you buy one you might want to consider this.I am doing my first public performance next week and I am looking forward to playing my Risa.I just hope the crowd sing over my vocals!LOL

  6. Chris August 28th, 2011 8:38 pm

    The Risa sticks definitely look the part and I have an old zoom effects box from my electric guitar days which is a bit dusty and this could be good…but…

    Dou you guys have to be brain su7rgeons to restring them..?

    Chris

  7. D'Uke November 26th, 2012 4:00 pm

    Hey Woodshed, nice site you’ve got running here, It was your reviews and stuff that got me into buying my first Uke, a Makala Soprano. I was kinda’ short on Money that time. But I’ve grown out of it and I need a new Uke. I’d like to go more for Sound than Looks and I want an Electric. I’d go for a RISA Tenor Uke-Solid. Other than ukulele.de, where can I get a Band new RISA Tenor? I did my homework on the reviews and stuff and decided not to go for an Eleuke.
    Would be grateful if you could point me in the right direction.
    Thanks in advance!

  8. Geemonster December 29th, 2012 5:35 am

    Been playing about a year, and my Kala soprano has been good to me for starting out, but the sound quality on mine is just not cutting the mustard. I love to figure things out on the piano by ear, and so each string not tuning quite right to the next is bothering me quite a bit. After much research and deliberation, I JUST (as of 10 mins ago) purchased the Risa solid concert. Hoping I made the wise decision…But all the great reviews here and elsewhere, and the videos I’ve seen, really make me think I did. :)

    I just am curious, Diarmuid (if you’re still around), which Recital Box you got, and how you fitted it on there? Do you use it with an amp, or in place of an amp?

    (will do a proper review on the uke after it arrives!)

  9. Rob Jaskiewicz February 28th, 2013 5:59 pm

    Hi folks,

    I am thrilled to have become a part of the uke community and I am asking for help from those who have gone through this seemingly inevitable process: I have purchased my first two acoustic ukes and am looking for an electric. The pull being, do I buy an acoustic/electric and have that compromise and all that it entails, or do I use up my budget and go for the RISA being solely electric. I am doing mostly devotional singing in Kirtan style. Am I manking a better choice being directly amplified through the mixer rather than having to mic the uke. Any other thoughts to console my concerns would be appreciated. It’s difficult to buy solely on sight. Lastly, any more info on effects boxes… warmly, Rob

  10. batninja March 5th, 2013 11:28 pm

    I got a Risa Tenor for £200 in January 2013, it’s a lovely beautiful instrument. I’ve played a lot of guitars over the years and the Risa feels and plays like a very high quality guitar.

    The raw tone is very sweet and as others have mentioned the intonation is very accurate, which is vital in my opinion for a high register guitar.

    I use it with an Ipad and its a joy, well worth £200. check out my YouTube video or google Batninja

  11. Alan April 8th, 2013 10:15 am

    I have the new Risa solid Arcacia concert uke,it is fantastic,its as light as a feather and has an outstanding tone and superb playability and all at a reasonable price £175.All in all a brilliant acoustic uke.

  12. tim May 27th, 2013 5:34 am

    What replacement strings would you recommend for one of these. And where could I buy these strings on the internet?

  13. andrew July 21st, 2013 8:33 pm

    just ordered a risa tenor acacia TRAVEL ukulele (half body). any ideas or recommendations about gig bags for these Ukes?

  14. Ben September 5th, 2013 9:41 am

    Awesome. Just got one a month ago, apart from my wife getting very bored of my endless heavily distorted blues scales, everything is perfect.

    One tiny tiny niggle, the plastic on the geared tuners is a little cheep compared with the rest of it, what would be great would be some flat hex key recessed pegs, then it would look even more streamlined.

    I have played a few electric ukes, none as solid and pleasing.

  15. Lloyd March 10th, 2014 1:10 pm

    I have a Risa Tenor Uke and wish to play with a kow G but every time I try a Red Aquils string it snaps any ideas out there in ukeland

Got something to say?