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.
Musicguymic chats with the man behind RISA, Rigk Sauer.
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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.