Best Electric Ukulele Reviews: Risa Les Paul

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Risa Les Paul Electric Ukulele Review

Risa has recently released a series of fantastic, solid-body, pure electric ukuleles that are designed for rocking out. Among our favorites in the series is the Les Paul, which is available in both the tenor and soprano sizes. For that reason we decided to do this Risa Les Paul Electric Ukulele Review that is one of the BEST Electric Ukuleles.

The original Gibson Les Paul electric guitar took the market by storm in 1952 and has been a favorite among music purists for almost 70 years. These miniature versions faithfully recreate the originals by Les Paul (a great guitarist in his own right) with the fine details that have been adapted perfectly for the ukulele, making them a joy to play.

Let’s take a look at the Risa Les Paul ukuleles currently available and what makes them great so you can consider whether you might want to get your hand on a tenor or if you might prefer a soprano.

Risa Les Paul Electric Ukulele Review

Risa is now making solid-body electric ukuleles that recreate the magic of solid-body electric guitars. The bodies are made from solid wood, and there is a lot of technical magic under the hood that allows them to produce an amazing sound.

But bear in mind that these instruments will only produce their amazing sound when you hook them up to an amp. Without the reverberating sound box of an acoustic or acoustic-electric ukulele, they won’t make much sound on their own. This can be a great thing if you want to practice without annoying the neighbors, but not so great if you want to put on an impromptu show for your friends without having to pull out all of your gear.

Let’s take a closer look at the specs of the Risa Les Paul, which is available as either a tenor or a soprano.

Tenor Specs

  • Tenor
  • Solid mahogany body with arched top
  • Solid mahogany neck with adjustable truss board
  • 17” (432mm) scale length (19 frets)
  • Two handmade humbucker Risa pickups
  • Three-way pickup switch
  • Steel strings
  • Made in Germany

Soprano Specs

  • Soprano
  • Solid mahogany body with arched top
  • Solid mahogany neck with adjustable truss board
  • 14” (363mm) scale length (19 frets)
  • Two handmade humbucker Risa pickups
  • Three-way pickup switch
  • Steel strings
  • Made in Germany

Regardless of whether you go for the tenor or the soprano, you get an instrument with a solid mahogany body and neck. The body has a slightly arched top, which is essential to the Les Paul style, and the beck has an adjustable truss board. It also has an adjustable bridge and each individual string is adjustable, which means that you can personalize this instrument and get it playing exactly the way that you want.

There are three colors to choose from. You can get the tobacco sunburst, with the classic brown interior that merges into black around the edges and on the back. Then there is the cherry sunburst, which does the same with cherry red but has a cool white binding. Finally, there is the classic black.

Both instruments have 19 frets, but while the soprano squeezes them onto a 14” (363mm) neck, with the tenor you have a relatively spacious 17” (432mm) neck. Which of these you prefer will depend on your playing style and experience. The cutaway at the neck means that you should be able to get to those ultimate notes on the neck, regardless of which instrument you choose.

Both include a zero fret on the board, which helps maintain the right intonation and will also keep the instrument in tune better.

All of the Risa solid-body electric instruments also use steel strings, which hold their tune better than the nylon strings that are standard on most acoustic ukuleles. They might take a bit of getting used to if this is your first foray into the world of electric.

The instrument also comes tuned as standard, G-C-E-A with wound low G on top, which is classic ukulele, but if you prefer to tune like a baritone, D-G-B-E, in order to sound a bit more like a guitar, that is an option too. Just choose this personalization at checkout and we’ll take care of the rest.

But what really differentiates this instrument, especially from the other Risa solid-body electric guitars that we have reviewed recently, is that it comes with two humbucker pickups. The other Risas come with a humbucker pickup near the bridge and a single-coil pickup on the neck. On the Les Paul, however, the single-coil is replaced with another humbucker.

This means that the sound you produce with this instrument is more powerful, and you almost completely eliminate hum, which is often produced by single-coil pickups.

There is a three-way switch on the body that lets you choose whether you want to use the bridge pickup, the neck pickup, or both, and this instrument sounds fantastic with a variety of different effect pedals. If you want to play it clean, you will still appreciate the fantastic sound that is produced. There is also a volume and a tone knob on the body, so you can easily adjust your sound as you play.

Aside from that, there are lots of nice features on this instrument. It comes with two strap buttons already installed so you are ready to go. The solid body also means that you can have through strings, which keep the body looking clean. It has an overall gloss finish with white dot inlays and a Richlite fretboard.

But while those features are all really nice, what really matters is the sound. Hear the tenor version of this Risa in action on this Risa Les Paul Electric Ukulele Review video…

Love this ukulele but looking for something a little bit different? Check out our reviews of the Risa Telecaster Tenor Electric Ukulele and the Risa Stratocaster Tenor Electric Ukulele, neither of which will disappoint.

Buying Options

Get your Risa Les Paul Electric Ukulele in the Uke Like the Pros store, the number one online ukulele shop. We are currently offering 10% off the list price on both the tenor and the soprano. We make our orders from Risa in small runs, so if it says the instrument is sold out, check back in as we are sure to have more in stock soon.

One of the advantages when you buy with us is that you can request a custom set-up rather than having a factory instrument arrive and doing all the hard work yourself. We can adjust the string height at the nut and saddle, level and polish the frets, oil the fretboard and bridge, adjust the nut slot, and reshape the nut profile for comfort and smooth tuning.

We offer worldwide shipping and a seven-day return policy, plus you can order extras such as a case, microfiber cloth, humidifier, chord chart, and more and have everything arrive together and ready to go.

When you buy with us you also get a free month of premium membership at ukelikethepros.com that lets you access all of our courses, and live QA lessons. So hit the ground running if you are a new player, or as an experienced player, choose targeted courses to help you master your new instrument. You also get access to our extensive song library.

Tenor or Soprano?

Even if you decide that you need one of these Risa Les Paul Electric ukuleles in your collection, you might still be facing the tough question of whether to get the tenor or the soprano.

The soprano is considered the standard ukulele size. It is the smallest of the standard ukuleles, though you will find some specialist ukuleles that are even smaller. The smaller body of the soprano produces a higher pitch because it has a smaller body for resonation, so it has a more trebly sound. This is the classic ukulele sound that many are looking for.

The sopranos are great because they are small and light, so they are easy to hold. When it comes to playing, the soprano is better for strumming rather than complicated fingering because there just isn’t a lot of space to work. Also, the strings tend to get out of tune as you move down the neck.

The tenor is a bit bigger, wider, and longer, which means that it does produce a lower tone, making it sound a bit less like a classic ukulele. But the longer neck makes it easier to work with both chords and single notes. So it sounds and plays a bit more like a guitar.

Neither the soprano nor the tenor is a mini guitar. Ukuleles are tuned differently, to G-C-E-A, with the G string on top traditionally tuned an octave higher. This top string being high gives you that high ringing noise when you are strumming that we tend to associate with ukuleles. However both the soprano and tenor Risa Les Paul come with low G which helps give you that low rumble you want in your electric ukulele sound as well making scales and soloing sound better.

Between the tenor and the soprano is the concert, which has a bit more of a classic ukulele sound but has some of the advantages of the tenor when it comes to playing. However, this fantastic electric Risa isn’t available in concert size.

Okay, so should you go with the tenor or the soprano?

Well, if you want that classic, Hawaiian-style ukulele size and feel, it is the soprano that is going to give you that. But if you have difficulty playing the smaller instrument or you want to explore fingering and you aren’t satisfied with just strumming, you may want to go with the tenor.

That said, the zero fret on the Risa Les Paul, plus the individually adjustable strings at the bridge means that you will probably get a better sound out of this soprano when fingering than you do on a classic ukulele. The cut-away body also makes it a little bit easier to reach those notes further along the neck. So if you love the soprano but have struggled with its limitations, this Risa might be what you are looking for.

The Verdict

If you are looking for a solid-body electric ukulele, you won’t find better instruments than the collection currently being made by Risa. While the Stratocaster and the Telecaster are fantastic, the Les Paul may be our favorite. It stands out for having two humbucker pickups, one on the bridge and one on the neck, which means you get a more powerful and cleaner sound.

The design is made to feel good in your hands and be highly playable. The arched body and the cut-out means that hitting those higher notes down on the neck doesn’t feel like a struggle, regardless of whether you choose the spacious 17” (432mm tenor) or the smaller soprano 14“ (363 mm soprano). 

This instrument looks so good and feels so great in your hands that anyone who sees it, whether they are a guitarist or a ukulele player, will probably want to give it a strum. But it is up to you whether you will feel comfortable putting your new baby in their hands.

Remember that we are getting these in-demand instruments in small orders, so if it says that we are sold out, check back later for new stock. Or get in touch to reserve yours.

Are you a fan of the electric ukulele? What’s your favorite electric ukulele to play and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

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