Electric Ukulele

One of the few drawback of the ukulele is its lack of volume – so if you’re planning on gigging you’ll need some sort of amplification. You could use a standard microphone or you could use a transducer pickup (which you stick to the outside of you ukulele and it picks up the vibrations). But an increasingly popular option is to buy an electric ukulele.

Some electric ukuleles (such as the Applause ukulele) are hollow bodied ukuleles with built in pick ups. Some (such as the electric Fluke ukuleles) are standard acoustic models. But the most entertaining are solid bodied ukuleles such as the BugsGear EleUke and the RISA. These are not restricted in their shape, so come in all sorts of strange designs.

When you’re looking at electric ukuleles you’ll see two different types of pickup: active and passive. Active pickups come with the fancy knobs for volume and tone. The BugsGear has active pickups and the RISA passive.

I have both an EleUke and a RISA. Overall, the RISA is a much better made ukulele. However, the Eleuke does have the edge in some areas. One of the big advantages of the solid bodied ukuleles is that they are very quiet – meaning you can practice without annoying other people. In this respect, the EleUke has the edge. The active pickups mean you can plug headphones in and hear what you’re playing. The sound isn’t great but plenty good enough for practice. Also, newer models allow you to plug your MP3 player into the uke and play along. But if you want an electric uke for gigs and wailing, I’d definitely recommend the RISA.

More on BugsGear EleUke
More on RISA

Another option to consider is ordering a custom Pete Howlett Uklectic.

On Video

Pete Howlett shows of one of his Firefly Uklectics.


  1. Debbie September 18th, 2011 8:44 pm

    LOVE this site..new uke lover, ready to buy my first..your thoughts on Kanaloa soprano pineapple? Local guy (Melb, FL)(ONLY guy) has one, a bit pricey but hope to get a slightly better deal as on Ebay site (Dr Cluck?). Want a pineapple, I’m petite but hands kind of big, doing LOTS of research but at a point..it’s overWHeLmIng!!lol There IS a local group that gets together monthly..can’t wait!! My new obsession! =;>D Thnx

  2. Lior November 18th, 2014 3:15 am

    So I am thinking of buying an electric uke for the purpose of playing shows one day. My question is – should I focus on an electric uke or an acoustic-electric uke?

  3. Barbara December 3rd, 2015 9:52 pm

    My son already has 2 acoustic Ukes and loves them. I want to buy him an electric one with a portable amp. He is 18 and loves to play so am interested in the plug in feature for the ipod/aux and also a headphone option so that he can continue to play without everyone hearing.


  4. Cameron February 7th, 2016 4:11 am

    Im trying to buy an electric ukulele and i have a concert acoustic uke right now. I can only find Suprano and Tenor electric ukuleles, do they make concert electric ukes? I dont want to have to switch keys from concert to tenor as i was looking at Risa

Got something to say?