Just like electric guitars, electric ukuleles offer the opportunity for amplification – great for those who are ready to take their act onstage and play for an audience, or who want to plug into a headphone practice amp and play “silently,” so others can’t hear their practice sessions.
Quick Look: Our Top 5 Picks for Best Electric Ukuleles
- Most Popular: Aklot Electric Ukulele
- Best High-End: Enya Cutaway Acoustic Electric Ukulele
- Best Acoustic/Electric: Epiphone Les Paul Ukulele
- Budget Option: Vorson LP-Style Electric Ukulele
- Most Stylish: Luna Tattoo Concert Mahogany Acoustic/Electric Ukulele
Just like acoustic ukuleles, electric ukuleles come in a variety of sizes and body styles, as well as with various features that appeal to different players.
After taking a good long look at all of the most popular electric ukuleles on the market at the moment, we’ve come up with a list of our top 5 picks for electric ukuleles, as well as some things to keep in mind as you make your decision.
If you’re already a ukulele player, then you probably have a favorite size – and unless you’re thinking about going in a completely different direction, or looking for ways to add more variety to your group’s sound while performing, then you’re probably going to want to stick to your preferred size.
For those who are newer to ukuleles in general, here’s a quick rundown of electric ukulele sizes:
Soprano – Smallest size, but considered “standard” thanks to its sweet, cheerful sound. GCEA tuning.
Concert – Next size up, just a few inches longer than a soprano, with just a little more richness to its tone. GCEA tuning.
Tenor – A little larger than a concert ukulele, and considerably deeper in tone than a soprano, but not at all “bass-ey.” GCEA tuning.
Baritone – The biggest ukulele size, a lot like a miniature guitar. DGBE tuning is identical to the top four strings on a guitar, making this size very easy for guitarists to transition to.
Materials and Overall Quality
Most electric ukuleles look fantastic, but remember, looks aren’t everything! When it comes to choosing an electric ukulele, keep quality, durability, and materials in mind as you’re shopping. Most of us would love to own a solid koa wood ukulele, and if that’s in your budget, get yourself to a guitar shop or have your instrument custom-made!
There’s nothing like it. For the rest of us, try to focus on quality materials. Mahogany, cedar, acacia, spruce, and maple are common choices. You’ll find a few solid wood electric ukuleles out there but most affordable options are laminate, which usually helps with durability. Don’t let laminate scare you away, particularly if you’re planning to travel with your ukulele!
Pay close attention to tuning mechanisms. Geared tuners are most popular, but if you’re among those who prefer friction tuners, make sure that your ukulele has them.
Next, take a look at the onboard electronics. See what others have to say. We’ve done that for you in this set of reviews, skipping options with questionable electronics or components that are prone to failure in favor of those that offer solid performance. There are a lot of choices out there, so be sure to take your time as you compare and weigh your options!
Strings are important, but they’re super easy to change out. We usually mention them, but don’t make crummy strings a deal breaker! If you like everything else about the instrument in question, go ahead and order a set of strings that suits you better and either change them out yourself or go to your local music shop and have a luthier take care of the task for you.
Just like strings, action is something that can be changed by altering the nut and/or saddle and perhaps even replacing them. If you’re new to ukulele, here’s a quick rundown: “Action” refers to the amount of effort it takes to press down on the strings as you play each note.
High action means you have to press pretty hard, and low action means you barely need to expend any effort at all. Most players like something between the two, since action that’s too high can be taxing and action that’s too low can cause the strings to come into contact with frets other than the ones you’re pressing, which in turn leads to buzzing.
Why bother with a ukulele that you just can’t play? We made sure that every electric ukulele reviewed here is playable, meaning that it doesn’t take a ton of effort to get it ready to go. Keep in mind that most ukuleles on the market are made in factories and this can mean that occasional “oopsies” get through.
For the most part though, the electric ukes on our list are set up for comfort, easy but not too-low action that most people will like, and great sound after the break-in period is through. We want you to love your new electric ukulele!
Now that you know what went into our decision-making process – and what to look for when comparing your options – here are our choices for the best electric ukuleles on the market right now.
Aklot Electric Ukulele
Our pick for the best cheap electric ukulele is from Aklot. Available in Soprano, Concert, and Tenor sizes, this is a great ukulele for the price, with top-drawer components including a solid mahogany wood soundboard, 1:18 geared copper tuning mechanisms, an installed EQ and Aklot 3-band pre-amp, plus an on-board electric tuner and a ¼ mono jack outlet.
The body bindings have been well finished and slightly rounded for a very nice feel overall. We’ve seen some claims that the nut and saddle are bone, but they’re not – they are made with hard white plastic. This isn’t the best, but considering the rest of the instrument’s features as well as its great sound, we’re giving it a pass.
Designed to offer fairly low action without buzzing, this fantastic ukulele has been well-finished for great playability. The fret wires are smooth and comfortable to touch, there are fret position markers between frets as well as on the sides of the fretboard, and the Aquila strings are perfectly acceptable.
Incredibly, this ukulele comes with some great extras including a bag, a neck strap, extra strings, felt picks, a nice instruction book, and an online “get started” session. Play acoustically, or plug in and play with your amp – it is fantastic either way.
This ukulele sounds amazing – sweet and melodious, not at all tinny. It’s often compared side by side with more expensive ukuleles – in fact, one YouTube music reviewer compares it with a $1,300 Blackbird and the results are pretty astonishing. If you’re looking for a great electric ukulele that’s also very easy on your budget, then you’re going to want to add this one from Aklot to your shortlist.
- Excellent quality for the price
- Great sound
- Acoustic-electric, play the way you prefer
- Body supports strings, not just the bridge – results in more tension/better sound
- Open gear tuners can get dusty if instrument sits out in the open for a while w/out being played
- 2032 batteries tend to run out faster than 9V batteries found in some other models
Enya Cutaway Acoustic Electric Ukulele
If you’re looking for an acoustic-electric ukulele with a cutaway body, then be sure to take a look at this one from Enya. It’s our top pick for this body style, as it lets you play amped or unplugged while offering easy access to the entire fretboard. The sound is sweet and clear, however you play.
Appearance-wise, this ukulele is just mind-blowing. The top is 3A solid mahogany, as are the back and sides. The gloss finish is stunning, and the ebony fretboard has a gorgeous inlaid vine and leaf design. The nu-bone nut and saddle are set for fairly low action and easy playability.
The headstock is angled in classic electric guitar style, and the 1:18 gold agate die-cast tuners are the icing on the cake. Not only do they contribute to this ukulele’s amazing appearance, they also assure better stability and great intonation. D’Addario strings are included.
For electronics, this electric uke features a sound hole-type preamp system and an under-saddle fixable pickup, along with volume and tone controls. A low battery indicator adds convenience, and a nicely padded gig bag with a side-carry strap and backpack-style straps is included. This ukulele comes in concert and tenor sizes.
- Looks and sounds amazing
- Excellent materials and good electronics
- Batteries are easy to access and change
- Great customer service
- Not all inlays are identical, some aren’t as glossy/pretty as others
Epiphone Les Paul Acoustic/Electric Ukulele
With an immaculate Vintage Sunburst lacquered finish on a solid maple top, the Epiphone Les Paul electric ukulele brings an awesome rock n’ roll vibe to your playing sessions. Our top pick for this body style, this ukulele is concert sized only – it would be great if different sizes were available, but as this is most popular, it’s pretty easy to understand why Les Paul opted for this size.
The action is a little high, but that’s easy to remedy with filing – and for those who prefer high action, it might be perfect. The sound is sweetly complex, not at all dull as you’ll sometimes find with this body style.
High-quality chrome tuners are fixed to the classic Les Paul headstock. A chrome metal amp-jack is securely backplated to the instrument’s body. Strap holders are included, along with a contrasting pick guard. The electronics offer clear sound, but we do need to mention the lack of a battery to preamp, as well as the lack of volume/tone control.
You get a pretty nice gig bag with this instrument; not the best, but definitely a good add-on, particularly at this price point.
- Excellent quality, all over
- Cool, unique-looking ukulele – one of a kind!
- Great for blues and jazz, tune to mandolin and enjoy something different
- Only comes in one size
- Could do with better strings
- Passive electronics, not as versatile as some other options, but easy to fix with a preamp and/or mini mixer
Vorson LP-Style Electric Ukulele
This is our top pick for affordable solid body electric ukulele – a great choice for those who love how easy it is to play ukulele, but want to add some electric guitar effects into their playing style! The Vorson LP-style electric ukulele is tenor sized, and comes in your choice of flame maple or quilted maple.
Both versions look absolutely incredible, and the cutaway body provides full access to the frets. It is equipped with steel strings. The originals are .10, .16, .16, and .10 size in case you want to change them out for better ones as recommended, and if you like, you can replace with .22, .16, .16, and .10 strings.
This ukulele has pre-installed strap buttons, fantastic chrome tuning mechanisms, and great onboard electronics including volume, tone, and a three-way toggle. A cable and a gig bag are included.
- Gorgeous finish options
- Fun to hook up to a multi-effects pedal
- 3-way pickup selector lets you choose some different tones
- Tenor size is easy for everyone to play
- Magnetic pickups only work with metal strings, not great for those who prefer nylon
- Some reports of manufacturing flaws including sharp fret ends
- Bag isn’t the best – pretty cheap materials and not much more than a dust cover
Luna Tattoo Concert Mahogany Acoustic/Electric Ukulele
If you’re looking for a combination of affordability and quality, you’ll probably like everything about the Luna Tattoo ukulele. This is one of the most popular electric ukuleles available, probably because it sounds fantastic and it’s pretty easy on your bank account.
The unique tribal tattoo finish adds tons of visual appeal, whether you choose the satin natural, mahogany, or spruce finish. The walnut fretboard and bridge add even more contrast and contribute to the ukulele’s clear, sweet sound.
Other features include perloid tuners, open-gear tuning mechanisms, and “shark tooth” shaped fret markers. The cutaway body isn’t quite as pronounced as that of some other choices, but it does let you take full advantage of the ukulele’s range if you stretch just a bit.
A Luna UK-9000 pre-amp, presence slider, bass-treble balance, and volume controls are included, but there is no tuner onboard. A gig bag with backpack-style straps is included.
If you’re looking for a nice upgrade, but you’re not quite ready to spend lots of money, you will want to take a look at this lovely Luna.
- Rich, beautiful sound at a moderate price
- Unique, attractive appearance
- Good electronics
- Some reports that action is either too high or too low
- No tuner built-in
Tips for Breaking in Your Ukulele’s Strings Faster
We play lots of different ukuleles, and we read tons and tons of reviews while deciding which ones to give our attention to!
The biggest complaint by far sounds something like this: “This ukulele sounds terrible, and it just won’t stay in tune! I play for two minutes and then I have to retune it!” This is a very common issue, and most of the time it’s no fault of the instrument (although there are times when bad tuning gears and other issues can come into play.)
Most of the time, brand new strings are to blame. Ukuleles are equipped with nylon strings that take time to stretch and settle in. You can play lots and lots and keep retuning as the strings stretch, plus you can speed the process along by gently stretching the strings. This process works for all ukuleles with nylon strings, not just electric ones!
Before you start, we’d like to remind you to be firm but gentle, and to avoid pulling the strings more than one-half inch (1/2”) away from their original position.
We don’t want you to accidentally pop a string and have to start all over!
- Tune the ukulele.
- Position your fingers above the sound hole. One at a time, gently but firmly move the strings either side to side or straight up. Remember not to go too far! The strings are stretchy, but they can break if you’re too rough.
- Tune the ukulele again.
- Repeat the stretching process again, then tune again. Do this a few times and then tune the ukulele, play it for a while, and re-tune as necessary.
Patience is key when breaking in a ukulele’s strings! Even with extra stretching, it can take a few days or even a few weeks for your ukulele strings to settle in and stay in tune.
Any time you install new strings, expect to repeat the process. Tune it up every time you play, since instruments can go slightly out of tune between jam sessions.
That’s it! We hope that our reviews have helped you to find the best electric ukulele for your playing style, and that you enjoy every moment of your musical journey. Aloha, and happy playing!