Best Electric Ukulele 2019 – Buyer’s Guide

Electric ukuleles aren’t the most popular instrument out there, but recently, they’ve started gaining more popularity.

A lot of people like how a ukulele sounds but complain about the volume being too low, and that's where the electric ukulele comes in.

So whether you're just interested to learn about them or looking for a good electric ukulele, the task may get a little confusing.

After learning about the different models, I’ve gathered the best electric ukuleles on the market and put them on this list.

Electric Ukulele - Comparison Table

Electric Ukulele

Dimensions (inches)

Material

Weight (pounds)

Epiphone Les Paul

39.37 x 17.72 x 8.66

Mahogany

2.2

Cordoba 15CM-E

29 x 17 x 9

Mahogany

1.32

Oscar Schmidt OU2E

23.8 x 12.5 x 3.5

Mahogany

2

Kala KA-CE

28.35 x 10.63 x 4.33

Mahogany

1.19

Cordoba 20TM-CE

29 x 9 x 17

Mahogany

1.32

The Best 6 Electric Ukuleles for 2019

1. Epiphone Les Paul Acoustic Electric Ukulele

Epiphone-Les-Paul-Ukulele

It's true that Epiphone isn't the most famous for their ukulele line, but the Les Paul is an incredible model to take into consideration.

One of the first things to notice about the Les Paul is its affordable price. You can’t compare it to a high-end or more expensive model, but it performs quite well.

It comes in two designs: a vintage sunburst or cherry burst finish.

Both have laminated finishes that look good, however, the build quality, in general, could have used some improvement.

I wouldn't say that the build negatively affects the sound that much, but I've seen slightly more expensive ukulele that feel a lot better.

The Les Paul uses a passive system in which there are no onboard controls to play with and there is no need for a battery to operate the instrument.

This design makes the Les Paul very lightweight at around 2.2 pounds, so it’s quite easy to carry around.

On top of that, it measures 39.37 x 17.72 x 8.66 inches, so it’s not the most compact but portable enough.

You can enjoy the sweet and warm sounds of the Les Paul without an amp, or you can plug it in for the highs that really cut through.

While there are ukuleles that definitely sound better on the market, Les Paul gives you great value for its price.

Pros:

  • Great design
  • Pickup choice is above average
  • Operates without a battery
  • Excellent sound production
  • Superb value for the money

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with an onboard EQ
  • Awful stock strings

Bottom line:

Whether you’re looking for an upgrade or a new ukulele, the Epiphone Les Paul is one of the best acoustic-electric ukuleles you can get for its price range.

2. Cordoba 15CM-E Acoustic Electric Concert Ukulele 

Cordoba-15CM-E

The Cordoba 15CM-E flaunts a more traditional look although it was the beginning of Cordoba’s journey in producing ukuleles with electronics.

Every sound the instrument makes is sent through a piezo pickup when you plug the ukulele into an amplifier.

Moreover, the top, back, sides, and neck of the ukulele are all made from mahogany. The only exception is the rosewood fretboard.

The instrument measures 29 x 17 x 9 inches and weighs 1.32 pounds –so it’s quite portable and can be carried around easily.

Cordoba likes to set its ukuleles apart by adding nylon guitar strings to them, and these strings do a great job on the Cordoba 15CM-E.

Its longer scale length makes it easy to play –especially if you’re experienced with guitar-. The Cordoba 15CM-E has a perfectly solid tonal balance.

Pros:

  • High-quality strings
  • The dynamic range makes the sound of the instrument emotional
  • The large body enables it to solidly project sounds

Cons:

  • The sound is relatively dull
  • Thinner top with mahogany veneer lamination

Bottom line:

The price, size, and sound quality of the Cordoba 15CM-E all belong to an entry-level electric ukulele.

So while it isn’t the best electric concert ukulele on the market, it hits an excellent balance between affordability and playability.

3. Oscar Schmidt OU2E Electric Ukulele

Oscar Schmidt OU2E

The great thing about the Oscar Schmidt OU2E isn’t just that it has a premium feel and sound to it but also that it comes with all the extra accessories you’d need to start playing right away.

For an entry-level electric ukulele, the acoustic version of this model is one of the best on the market.

And although it comes at one of the most affordable prices, it has way more to offer in terms of quality than other budget models.

The Oscar Schmidt OU2E has a mahogany body with an accurate and soft finish that feels both comfortable and sturdy.

This helps it produce a warm and balanced sound, despite the existence of some buzzing with harder strums.

As for the pickup and preamplifier performance, they’re both excellent for both solo playing and casual jamming.

The Oscar Schmidt OU2E’s dimensions are 23.8 x 12.5 x 3.5 inches and it weighs 2 pounds, so it sits comfortably in your grip.

Apart from the ukulele, you’ll also find an instructional DVD, a polishing cloth, and a clip-on tuner.

Pros:

  • Great build quality and finish for the price
  • Balanced and warm sound
  • Good electronics and pickup
  • Various helpful accessories included

Cons:

  • The string may buzz sometimes

Bottom line:

The Oscar Schmidt OU2E serves as a great starter’s electric ukulele bundle as it’s quite easy to handle, comes at an affordable price, and produces good sounds.

4. Kala KA-CE Satin Concert Electric Ukulele

Kala KA-CE

Kala is pretty known for producing the ideal entry-level and beginner ukuleles.

This one is directed at beginners that want to have an electro-acoustic ukulele.

Although in the beginning, it may seem like any other electric ukulele, the Kala KA-CE comes with a couple of pleasant surprises.

It has an old-school vibe with its white binding top and a traditional look with the satin finish.

Moreover, the Kala KA-CE comes with a Shadow Active Nano-Flex EQ system that helps fine-tune the sound without compromising how lightweight the ukulele is.

I found all the controls to the volume, bass, and treble easily accessible and the Kala KA-CE even has a built-in tuner which made it feel very convenient to play.

Despite the fact that the pickup doesn’t perform as well as I’d hoped, I think it’s a quite enjoyable instrument to jam with friends or for solo performances.

Pros:

  • Simple yet elegant design
  • Great build quality
  • Comes with useful EQ sliders
  • Balanced and warm sound

Cons:

  • Subpar pickup choice

Bottom line:

If you move around a lot, the Kala KA-CE is an ideal electric ukulele for you as it’s quite compact and the most portable of them all. For its price, it’s quite solid and produces great sound.

5. Cordoba 20TM-CE Acoustic-Electric Tenor Ukulele

Cordoba-20TM-CE

With great looks, premium bridge inlays, and a rosette, the Cordoba 20TM-CE gives you amazing value for its price.

Moreover, it comes with a bottom cutaway that makes it look sleek and helps you reach the last frets as well.

One thing that really caught my eye and that I liked about this model is that it doesn’t feature an all-laminate design.

And while many people may prefer an all-laminate one, I think this design gives it a better feel under the fingers.

On top of that, the mahogany used in construction gives the Cordoba 20TM-CE great durability as well as a rich and resonating sound.

As for the sound, the Cordoba 20TM-CE maintains its clarity for an ample period of time. I would have preferred a slightly improved punch and volume, however.

Furthermore, the pickup included is of high quality and delivers all the vibrations with precision.

Pros:

  • Appealing design
  • Superb build quality
  • Rich and balanced sound
  • Amazing value for the money

Cons:

  • The volume feels muffled sometimes
  • Slightly offset jack

Bottom line:

Nothing would beat the Cordoba 20TM-CE if you’re looking for a well-built, affordable uke with a solid, sweet sound.

6. Hadean UKB-23 Acoustic Electric Bass Ukulele 

Hadean-UKB-23

This electric bass ukulele comes at a slightly bigger size than standard ukuleles to increase the tension on its thicker strings.

Its mahogany body and rosewood fretboard help make both durable and give it a warm and rich sound.

Moreover, there’s a preamp system which includes controls for volume as well as knobs for adjusting mid, treble, and bass frequency hooked up inside the bass with the built-in tuner.

On top of that, the Hadean UKB-23 comes with durable, moisture-resistant strings that help enhance its sound.

They maintain a consistent tune as they have varying densities to facilitate fret intonation.

As for the handling, the Hadean UKB-23 is very comfortable and the frets are comfortably spaced from the fingerboard. Consequently, it’s easy to finger notes and move across the neck.

Pros:

  • The build of the body enables it to produce a warm and rich sound
  • Built-in tuner

Cons:

  • Tends to sound more like a guitar than a ukulele
  • May take some time to mute strings after plucking

Bottom line:

The Hadean UKB-23 is another of the ukuleles on this list with a heftier price tag but it does give you great features and durability to match.

It uses some innovation with the strings which may take some time to get used to, but when you finally do, you’ll appreciate how good the instrument sounds.

How to Choose a Good Electric Ukulele?

Build Quality

Maple is the top-notch choice for any musical instrument. Spruce and Mahogany are also solid options.

The wood or laminate used for the construction of the ukulele’s body will definitely affect its sound, durability, and performance.

If you go for low-quality wood, plastic, or laminate, you’ll most probably have problems with pitch, tone, and stability.

Size

You'll probably find a slight difference in sound between the sizes of the ukulele. This is mainly due to the change in the resonating space each one has.

Since the Baritone is the biggest, it has the most resonating sound.

However, it also depends on your grip on the instrument. If your grip is too small for a Baritone, you should compromise some of that resonance in exchange of being able to handle the instrument well.

Electric or Electric/Acoustic

Solid-body ukuleles (electric only) produce little to no sound if they aren't plugged in.

While electro-acoustic ukuleles give you the freedom to choose whether you want to plug your ukulele in an amp or not.

Onboard Electronics

Onboard electronics allow you to control volume, equalization, and provide you with an onboard tuner.

These basic options would be found on the more affordable models.

As the price increases, the number and quality of electronics will also increase, consequently improving the quality of your sound.

What Is an Electric Ukulele?

Electric ukuleles come in different types but typically, an electric ukulele is one that works by being connected to an amplifier.

This is due to the fact that it doesn’t have a resonance chamber as is found on a regular ukulele (or any string instrument, for the matter).

What Are the Types of Electric Ukuleles?

Acoustic-Electric Ukuleles

These ukes are built like standard ukuleles but also have a built-in pickup and some electronics in order to give you the freedom to plug it into an amp.

Electric Ukuleles

Electric ukuleles are basically smaller versions of electric guitars. They have solid bodies and their pickups are placed on the outside.

What Are the Different Designs of Ukuleles?

Hollow Body Ukuleles

These ones perform and sound exactly like a regular, acoustic ukulele.

You can play them with or without an amp.

Solid-Body Ukuleles

These ones require that you use an amp to deliver sound.

Moreover, solid body ukuleles don’t resonate as well as hollow body ones, so they’re usually used when playing with a band.

What Are the Sizes of Electric Ukuleles?

Ukuleles come in 4 sizes: Soprano, Concert, Tenor, and Baritone.

Sopranos are the most popular as they’re compact and usually made for beginners and entry-level players.

Concerts and Tenors are slightly bigger than Sopranos and serve both beginners and experienced players alike. A Tenor tends to sound like a deep tone classical guitar.

Finally, Baritones are the longest and typically used by more experienced players.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for the best electric ukuleles, you’ll find your catch on this list.

And although they’re all recommendable choices, I’d go for the Oscar Schmidt OU2E Electric Ukulele for the most affordability and the bang for the buck.

For a good balance between playability and affordability, I’d recommend the Epiphone Les Paul Acoustic/Electric Ukulele.

Finally, if you’re looking for a fully-integrated package, the Kala KA-CE Satin Mahogany Electric Concert Ukulele should be the one that suits you best.

Noah Theodor
 

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