The Best Electric Ukulele Buying Guide – 2020 Edition!

With the ever-growing popularity of the electric ukulele we think we understand how the acoustic world felt when the Beatles took the world by storm.

Afterall, 30 years ago the ukulele had yet to gain the mainstream attention it has now, and even 10 years ago it was played primarily acoustically.

With the ukes rise in popularity more musicians find themselves wanting to perform in bands and load music halls with the uke, environments that a traditional acoustic ukulele isn’t loud enough for. Enter the electric ukulele, which brings the light fun sound the uke is known for and amplifies it!

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Best Electric Ukulele Reviews

After examining close to a hundred different ukuleles in acoustic-electric and full electric styles we’ve narrowed down our list to six that we really feel are great instruments. We have the four in the table above and two honorable mentions that we’ll detail down below.

One thing to note, if you already have an acoustic ukulele then you can give it an electric upgrade with ukulele pickups, follow that link for our detailed guide on them!

Now, lets dive into detailed looks at each of our top four picks:

Cordoba 20TM-CE Acoustic Electric Tenor Ukulele

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This might just be the best acoustic electric ukulele that you can buy under $200. It is fairly understated, lacking many of the bells and whistles, shiny finishes, or designs that come with many of the other ukes we reviewed. In fact, really the only notable feature that makes this instrument stand out is the cutaway that pays tribute to smaller, traditional Spanish guitars.

Don’t mistake us though, the lack of flash can be deceiving, this is an exceptionally well made and great sounding instrument. With a solid mahogany top, full mahogany body, one piece neck with rosewood fretboard and bridge this ukulele has a rich sound and great resonance when played acoustically. When plugged in to an amp, the Cordoba 2Band EQ pickups do a great job producing a sharp, clear sound.

The tenor size is also our preferred size for anyone who will be on stage, it is small enough to keep a bright, traditionally ukulele sound while being large enough that moving around the frets is done with ease.

PRO

  • Solid Mahogany Top
  • Handmade with Spanish Influences
  • Cordoba 2 Band EQ
  • Cutaway for ease of play for higher frets
  • Optional Gig Bag

CONS

  • Only Tenor Size
  • Tuners could be better

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Kala KA-CGE Gloss Mahogany Concert Ukulele with Electronics

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It’s pretty rare when we like the plugged-in sound of an acoustic electric ukulele just as much as when the instrument is played acoustically. Call us old fashion, but with most ukes they just loose a little bit when amplified. Not the Kala KA-CGE! The electronics combined with the price are why this uke got our top pick!

The body and neck of this ukulele are both made from mahogany, with the fretboard being a nice walnut. The Shadow Nano-Flex Electronics are a real winner, and are much better than we expected to find in this price point.

PRO

  • Mahogany Body and Neck
  • Walnut Fretboard
  • Shadow Nano Flex Electronics
  • Great Value

CONS

  • Some reviews report shipping damage

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Epiphone Les Paul Acoustic/Electric Ukulele Outfit

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If there is anything that looks cooler than a Les Paul guitar, it might just be a Les Paul Ukulele. We’d recommend this ukulele even if it sounded horrible (it doesn’t) because as soon as you pull this out of your gig bag you instantly become the coolest looking musician in the room. Period.

Our biggest complaint about this ukulele is that because the body is so shallow it lacks the sound quality of the other ukuleles on this list. This could partially be due to the strings, which we will be replacing immediately, but out of the box it sounds better plugged in than acoustic.

The product listing doesn’t specify the size, but this is a concert ukulele. You can also get this instrument in a cherry sunburst color scheme if you prefer that look!

PRO

  • Amazing Look
  • Sounds great plugged-in
  • Piezo Pickups
  • Solid Mahogany body
  • Price!!!

CONS

  • Stock Strings are Poor

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Vorson FTLUK-3 T-Style Electric Ukulele

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The only true electric ukulele on our list, Vorson is a company that specializes in making electric ukes that resemble some of the most popular, famous, and historic guitar designs. They have ukes that resemble strats, SG, and everything in between. These instruments do carry the weight of a electric guitar, so you’ll definitely want a strap.

This is also the only steel string instrument on our list. It’s equipped with dual single coil pickups that are better than you’d expect at this price range, and a 3-way toggle and tone control.

Now, we will say that you’ll probably need to go to a music store to get this instrument tuned up once you get it, they tend to need a little work right out of the box.

PRO

  • Fully Electric Design
  • Amazing Look and Feel
  • Steel Strings
  • Price

CONS

  • Bad set up out of the box

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Honorable Mentions

There are a few Ukuleles that we left out of our top four due to very specific reasons. We’ll talk more about both of our honorable mentions and why they didn’t make the main list!

Luna High Tide Koa Concert Acoustic Electric Ukuelele

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This is actually our favorite instrument on this page, hands down. The ONLY problem with this ukulele is that it is out of many beginners price range and above what we honestly recommend people spend on their first ukulele. If that isn’t a problem, or you’re looking for an upgrade on your first instrument, this is your uke.

Koa is a traditional Hawaiian wood used for years to make ukuleles that produces a full, lively sound. We always get excited to play a Uke made from Koa, and the Luna High Tide did not disappoint.

EleUke Peanut Ukulele

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We left this ukulele off our main list because a lot of traditionalists will probably scroll right past it, but it is a very interesting instrument. It sounds really good straight out of the box, and while we would probably upgrade the strings quickly that could be said for many instruments on this list.

The first thing you’ll notice is the shape of this uke. We’ve heard both good and bad about it, some people say it makes it easier to play and others feel it’s awkward and hard to hold onto. The next is the bluetooth functionality. This allows you to do things like play a backing track wirelessly, all you need is a smartphone!


Electric Ukulele Buying Guide

Which of the six electric ukuleles we picked out above is right for you? That depends on a number of factors, so let’s dive into the differences between them you’ll want to consider!

Sizes

The first major factor is the size of the ukulele. Ukes commonly come in one of four sizes, the soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone.

In this article we’ll briefly cover the sizes and variations, but if you want a detailed look then head over to our guide on the types of ukuleles.

Soprano

The soprano ukulele is the most traditional size for this instrument and the smallest of the four common sizes. If you ever hear a uke referred to as a ‘standard size’, it’s a soprano.

Soprano ukes normally are 21-23 inches long and have 12 to 15 frets.

Because of it’s diminutive size the soprano produces a high pitched, “singing” sound that is perfect for traditional Hawaiian music.

Concert

The concert is just slightly bigger than the soprano and is our personal favorite size of uke.

It is still small enough to carry around comfortably and has that bright sound, but it has a little bit bigger of a voice and you can start to hear some nice bass notes at the lower registers!

Many musicians that come from playing guitar struggle with the soprano size, but can work with a concert a bit easier.

Tenor

If you’re coming from playing a guitar, the tenor size might be the smallest uke that you’ll want to go for.

At 25 or 26 inches long with 17-18 frets, a guitar player or person with larger hands won’t feel as cramped on a tenor ukulele as a soprano or concert.

Because of the larger size it does lose a little of the higher pitch of the smaller ukes, but it will still be much brighter than your standard guitar.

Baritone

The king of the ukuleles, the baritone ukulele is a similar size to many travel guitars, the big difference is it still has 4 strings rather than 6.

The Baritone also gives you the option of tuning it like a standard ukulele (G,C, E, A tuning), or like the highest four strings of the guitar (D, G, B, E).

Because of this the instrument is very versatile and a great transition instrument if you are going to or from ukulele from the guitar.

Build Type

Just like guitars come in acoustic-electric and fully electric styles, so do ukuleles. The difference between the two is more commonly referred to as hollow body or solid body.

Hollow Body

A hollow body ukulele looks just like an acoustic one. In fact, it can be played like one as well! These acoustic-electric ukuleles will also have a pickup and electronics installed on them when purchased so they can be plugged into an amplifier and played that way.

These are great if you’re not sure how often you’ll be performing, need the ability to turn up/down the volume, or know you want to go electric in the future but don’t have an amp yet.

Because they are basically constructed the same was as an acoustic, the sound and resonance you’ll get from a hollow body ukulele is similar to a fully acoustic model.

Solid Body

As the name implies, this type of electric ukulele has no sound hole and is a solid piece of wood (or a few pieces laminated together). Think of a miniature electric guitar and you’ll know what this instrument looks like.

The solid body ukuleles are much sturdier than acoustic or acoustic-electric models, but because they are solid the resonance and sound quality depends completely on the pickups and electronics used to make the instrument.

This also means that you’ll need an amp to deliver sound from this instrument but if you’re playing with a band this is the way to go.

Benefits of an Electric Ukulele

The obvious benefit of an electric ukulele is the amplification. If you’re playing with a band or for a large crowd this is almost a must have in order to be heard.

Something you may not think of is that an electric ukulele lets you move around the stage as well. If you’re playing an acoustic model you’ll be stuck in front of a microphone, unable to even twist without losing sound.

You can also do things previously limited to electric guitars, like using loop and layer pedals to produce interesting and dynamic sound effects.

Want to record your music? Ukes with electronics can be plugged directly into many audio workstations for music production or songwriting.

Finally, if you go with a hollow body ukulele you are simply left with a ton of flexibility. You can play it acoustically as a traditional ukulele or plug it in to really jam out and perform.

Many of our favorite ukuleles these days have some sort of electric functionality, don’t you think it’s about time you tried one?