Ukuleles have been around since the 1900s, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that an electric uke saw the light of day. It was the Japanese-made Tombo “Ukulet”, the first-ever solid-bodied electric uke that introduced the electric guitar hype of the 1960s to the ukulele world.
If you’re looking for a new electric ukulele, you might want to check out the Vorson FSUK-1. This beast produces top-notch sounds, and it has great playability.
However, as good as the Vorson is, it may not be everyone, which is why I’m going to review some of the most sought-after models so you can decide which is the best electric ukulele for your needs and playing style.
Why Get an Electric Ukulele
One of the biggest advantages of electric ukuleles is that you can control the tone. Compared to traditional acoustic ukes, your tone is determined by the type and quality of the instrument’s tonewood.
With EQ effects, volume control, and tone controls, you can manipulate and sculpt the tone of your electric ukulele as much as you want.
The good news is that you can play most electric ukuleles in plugged and unplugged mode, compared to electric guitars that must be connected to an amp.
The 6 Best Electric Ukuleles in 2022
Now, let’s take an in-depth look at some of the most top-rated electric ukes on the market and what each of them has to offer.
1. Vorson FSUK-1 S-Style Electric Ukulele – Best Overall Pick
The Vorson FSUK-1 features a striking design that resembles a miniature Stratocaster, with the unique double cutaway and white pickguard.
The body is made from kukui wood which exhibits similar properties to walnut. It also sports a premium black satin finish that complements its looks.
What’s more, the FSUK-1 flaunts 2 single-coil pickups that allow you to shape and hone various sounds and tones. Not to mention, they don’t require any batteries.
Hooking up this uke to an amp will help you unlock its true potential. In my opinion, it sounds fantastic in overdrive mode.
Moreover, the chrome-plated bridge allows for excellent intonation and balance thanks to the over-the-saddle design.
You also get volume and tone control knobs, as well as a 3-way pickup switch for dialing on a wide variety of tones. Whether you’re into soft or bright tones, this uke can deliver.
I also like the maple fretboard; it definitely contributes to the overall playability of the Vorson FSUK-1.
Additionally, the FSUK-1 comes with a padded gig bag and a cable at no extra charge. I’d have preferred some higher-quality strings since they look pretty weak, though.
- Sweet sound
- Comes with gig bag and cable
- Volume and tone controls
- Maple fretboard
- String quality isn’t the best
2. Cordoba 15CM-E Acoustic Electric Concert Ukulele – Best for Players with Large Fingers
The Cordoba 15CM-E Acoustic-Electric Concert Ukulele boasts a solid mahogany top, back, and sides, in addition to ivory binding and an abalone-styled rosette. It also has a nice satin finish that highlights the grains of the wood.
The rosewood fingerboard produces a warm tone, with deep lower tones and bright highs. The overall sound is pretty balanced and definitely sounds acoustic.
This uke makes an excellent choice for beginners, thanks to its affordable pricing, playability, and uncomplicated controls. Players with large fingers would also love the 15CM-E as it has an elongated length that makes it easier for people with large fingers to reach all the chords. You’d also appreciate this if you’re coming from the guitar.
Being one of the few Cordoba ukes to have built-in electronics, The Cordoba 15CM-E is vastly similar to the Cordoba 15CM, but of course, this one has a piezo pickup and soundhole controls.
The acoustic-electric design of this uke makes it capable of generating good intonation, especially when hooked to an amp. There’s also an adjustable truss rod inside the mahogany neck for controllable action.
It’s also worth mentioning that this uke comes with Aquila strings, a gig bag, a silver tuner with pearl buttons, and 19 frets. Surprisingly, there’s no strap button, so you’ll have a hard time attaching a strap to it.
- Great playability
- Produces a nice acoustic sound
- Adjustable truss rod
- Great for players with large fingers
- Comes with lots of accessories
- Doesn’t have a strap button
3. Luna Tattoo Concert Mahogany Acoustic/Electric Ukulele – Best Value Electric Ukulele
The Luna Tattoo Concert Mahogany Acoustic/Electric Ukulele flaunts a laser tattooed body that resembles the unique Hawaiian ukes. The black satin finish looks fantastic as well.
When I first picked up this uke, I noticed it’s super sturdy yet lightweight.
The mahogany solid mahogany soundboard, coupled with the walnut fretboard and bridge, makes the Luna capable of delivering the distinctive warm and crisp tones of mahogany balanced by the brighter tones of walnut.
Being a concert-sized uke, the Luna Tattoo’s sounds are super clear, and the tones possess a high level of detail.
There’s a single cutaway that makes it easier for you to access the higher frets. I was also pretty impressed that this uke comes with such a capable built-in preamp, which was a surprise considering its price tag. You can control the volume, bass, and presence. It also comes with a gig bag. In addition, both the saddle and nut are made of graphite for unmatched performance.
The Luna Tattoo would make an excellent choice for beginners and pros alike, thanks to its balanced sound and superb playability. However, it lacks a built-in tuner. Also, the pegs are made of cheap plastic, which is a bit disappointing but expected at this price range.
- Laser-tattooed Hawai-style design
- Built-in preamp and piezo pickup
- Balanced acoustic tone
- Good price
- Comes with a gig bag
- Plastic pegs
- No tuner
4. Ellen Electric Concert Ukulele with Amp – Best Concert-Sized Ukulele Starter Kit for Beginners
The Ellen Electric Concert Ukulele with Amp is basically a plug-and-play kit that comes at a very decent price point.
It sports a solid mahogany wood body and rosewood fingerboard that generate a resonant sound that even beginner ukulele players can nail. A walnut fingerboard would’ve made this uke hard to play for beginner and intermediate players.
The string action could’ve been better, but for beginner-level players, it should be fine. You won’t likely go through any fret buzzes if that’s something you’re concerned about.
The gears are fully-closed, enabling the Ellen uke to maintain the tuning, despite the G string getting out of tune occasionally.
The beautiful black satin-covered body contrasts quite nicely with the cream bindings, which greatly adds to the aesthetics of this masterpiece.
With the Ellen uke, you get a three-band UK-500T preamp coupled with a mid-range knob. You also get an LCD screen that enables you to control the built-in tuner settings.
The cherry on top is that you get various accessories with the Ellen uke kit. These include an Ellen amplifier with a 2-band equalizer, a premium gig bag, a strap, a power supply (for the amp), 3 plectrums, and extra strings.
Of course, you also get a headphone jack cable, which is why this is a plug-and-play kit.
The only downside of this uke is that it tends to go out of tune after restringing.
- Warm sound and balanced amplification
- Comes with lots of accessories (including extra nylon strings)
- Excellent tonal balance
- Audio cable, tone knob, and built-in tuner
- Restringing messes up the tuning
5. AKLOT Electric Acoustic Ukulele – Best Budget Uke
Looking for a budget electric acoustic concert uke that can generate a bright tone without breaking the bank? Enter the Aklot Electric Concert Ukulele, a budget-friendly electric uke that’s capable of generating some pretty decent sounds and tones.
It features a full mahogany body with a little bit of laminated wood at the top, which is fine considering the price tag. Still, you get a full bright tone that’s hard to come by at this price range.
I was also impressed with the precise rounded contours. Most manufacturers use cream bindings, which are OK, but not on par with rounded contours.
The walnut laminate fingerboard produces smooth tones. The fret wires are nicely sanded, and the nylon strings feel great. Changing the chords is pretty easy as well.
The 18-pin gear tuners provide high string tension for the best tune preservation. The intonation accuracy could’ve been better, though, particularly due to the flat-sounding notes.
Moreover, the 3-band preamp gives you full control over the table, bass, and mid, making it easier for you to nail those bright tones.
The onboard tuner has a built-in LCD screen, which further contributes to the on-tune notes.
Along with the Aklot uke, you get a wide range of free accessories, which include a cleanIt’scloth, a gig bag, a strap, 2 plectrum packs, extra strings, and an instruction booklet for beginners.
On top of that, you get free access to 9 online lessons, which are perfect if you’re just starting out with your ukulele journey.
- Crisp sound
- Excellent build quality
- Comes with many accessories and online lessons
- There’s room for improvement when it comes to intonation accuracy
6. Kmise Electric Acoustic Concert Ukulele (UK-24) – Best Cheap Electric Ukulele
Unlike other ukes in this price segment, the Kmise UK-24 ditches laminated tonewoods in exchange for a solid spruce top.
And it doesn’t end there; this uke also integrates an advanced 3-band EQ and a nifty tuner that give you the ultimate tuning and tone sculpturing, compared to the primitive amps that most other budget-friendly ukes have. I also like the fact that the saddle and nut are made of bone.
The low-action Aquila strings, coupled with the rosewood fingerboard, lets you keep your music in tune. However, I’ve noticed that the bass tends to overwhelm the treble in this uke, which is a bit weird but definitely acceptable.
Despite the spruce top, the rest of the uke’s build quality could’ve been better, but at under $100, you can’t complain.
- 3-band EQ
- Rosewood fingerboard
- Smooth frets
- Subpar build quality
How to Choose the Best Electric Ukuleles for Your Needs
Before picking an electric or acoustic-electric ukulele, there are a few electric uke features that you need to keep in mind so that you don’t need to upgrade your uke quickly. These include:
Electric ukuleles come in a wide range of sizes, which include soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone.
Soprano ukuleles are the smallest, and they can produce a pretty nice sound, but it’s best for kids and teens.
A concert ukulele is slightly bigger and has a fuller sound, with a size that’s comfortable enough for most players.
An acoustic-electric tenor ukulele would make an excellent choice for people with large hands, thanks to the protracted fretboard. An electric tenor-sized instrument is also a good choice for people who want a large tenor uke without going all in with a baritone.
Baritone acoustic ukuleles are the largest, and they usually have a special tuning. Baritone ukes are suitable for people transitioning from the guitar. A baritone is just a little bit bigger than a tenor ukulele but much larger than a soprano uke.
There are two primary body types for electric ukes: solid body and hollow body.
Solid-body electric ukuleles sound more like guitars since the acoustic natural sounds aren’t present. They rely on the amplified sound when you connect them to external amps. On the other hand, acoustic-electric models with hole bodies allow for resonance in the instrument, giving it a better acoustic uke sound.
Hollow-bodied electric traditional ukes are the best because they produce warm well-balanced tones that sound different from guitar sounds.
The choice of tonewood in your electric uke can make all the difference when it comes to sound, especially if you intend to play your uke unplugged.
Here are some of the most common tonewoods used in manufacturing electric ukes and their characteristics:
Mahogany is one of the most common tonewoods used in making the best electric ukuleles or ukuleles in general. Ukes with a solid mahogany body have a midrange-inclining output, with a warm and sustained tone that complements the bright sound of the ukulele.
Spruce electric ukes lean towards the upper-midrange spectrum, resulting in brighter sounds. Spruce is also capable of producing subtle timbres that dynamics-oriented players would definitely love.
Sapele has a similar appearance to mahogany, but it alters the sound of the uke in a totally different way. Since Sapele is relatively dense compared to mahogany, its sound is filled with treble. Because of that, many manufacturers integrate mahogany backs and sides in Sapele ukes for a more balanced sound.
Koa is the tonewood used in traditional Hawaiian ukes. It’s mostly used in professional ukes. Koa is characterized by sustain, midrange boost, and volume magnitude. However, it lacks the distinctive treble and mid-range notes often noticed in the background with other tonewoods.
Rosewood and Walnut
Rosewood and walnut are mostly used to make the fretboards.
Rosewood fretboards are sturdy and dense, providing a high level of resonance. As for walnut fretboards, they have a more buttery sensation.
An electric ukulele that gives you enough freedom when fretting high notes is any uke player’s dream.
To identify how accurate the intonation of an electric or acoustic-electric uke is, you can use tuning machines in any tuning mode. All you have to do is strike the open strings and benchmark their accuracy.
So what affects the intonation of an electric uke? Well, it’s the neck, for the most part. A twisted neck affects the scale length of the strings, making the pitch of the fretted notes sound different.
Reliable Electronics: Pickups, Tuners, and Preamps
Piezo pickups tend to possess an under-saddle position. They send the frequency vibrations to the amplifier this way.
This makes them more effective as they’re located more closely to the tonewood, allowing the pickup to capture the full vibrations.
The best way to assess the accuracy of an electric uke’s pickup is to give the natural harmonics and muted strums a shot.
The preamp controls the undersaddle pickup, but not all electric ukes have a midrange knob or fader.
Some ukes have an EQ setting, but it all depends on the tonewood. An onboard tuner would be a major plus as well.
A low battery indicator is a bit of a luxury, but you can find it in specific midrange and high-end ukes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Electric Ukuleles Require Special Amps?
No; you can use any acoustic amp that works with magnetic and piezo pickups. Ideally, the amp should also have features that work well with the acoustic ukulele sound, like low and high-frequency adjustability features.
You may also hook up your uke to a guitar amp with a built-in pickup. However, it’ll sound more like an electric guitar than a ukelele.
What’s the Difference Between Electric and Acoustic Electric Ukes?
The primary difference between electric and acoustic-electric ukes is that electric ukes are very loud in comparison to acoustic-electric ones. This is because electric ukeleles are capable of playing at higher gain settings with no feedback. However, unplugged electric ukes barely produce any sound, while acoustic electric ones sound great in both acoustic and amplified modes.
It’s also worth noting that solid-body electric ukulele models sound a lot like full-blown electric guitars compared to acoustic-electric ukulele models that have a hollow-body design. This allows for improved acoustic projection and resonance. Thus, I’d recommend staying away from getting a solid body instrument.
How Do I Add Effects to the Output of My Electric Ukulele?
The best way to add effects to the output of your electric uke is to use Pedals. There are lots of pedal brands out there that work well with electric ukuleles. These include Boss and Dunlop.
Moreover, you can connect a multi-effects processor to the amp.
Is It Possible to Play an Electric Uke Without an Amp?
Yes, you can definitely play an electric ukulele without using an amp. Most electric ukes have soundholes that make it possible for you to play it without connecting it to an amp. However, some models must be connected to an amp for you to play them since they don’t have soundholes for reverberating the sound.
Alright, so these were some of the best electric and acoustic-electric ukuleles out there.
You don’t need a massive budget to get a capable electric uke that can generate the traditional ukulele sound quality. As long as the tonewood and pickup are high-quality, you can produce a decent sound with your uke.
If you’re looking for a good all-around choice, consider going for the Vorson FSUK-1 S-Style Electric Ukulele. It produces a well-balanced sound, has a maple fretboard, and just looks awesome.
However, you might want to consider the other electric ukulele reviews in this guide if you don’t feel like this uke is the best choice for you.