Brief Guide about the Different Kinds of Ukulele and Pickups

Ukuleles are acoustic instruments available in a range of sizes, styles and pitch ranges. All of them generate a distinct sound.

Types of Ukuleles

  • Soprano ukulele – It is small, light in weight and ideal for kids with small hands
  • Concert ukulele – A little bigger than soprano in respect to width and length of the neck
  • Tenor ukulele – It has a more bass-y tone and is expensive
  • Baritone ukulele – This ukulele is large and has a deep sound
  • Bass ukulele – It is bigger than baritone but need a pickup to be heard. Thus adds more power to the sound.
  • Electro-acoustic ukulele – It is similar to an average acoustic ukulele, but includes built-in pickups. It has nylon strings, so supplies more traditional sound
  • Electric ukulele – Similar to the electric guitars. They need to be plugged in for making sound. They have metal strings as well as magnetic pickups, which supply a metallic sound

Types of ukulele pickup

Pickup integrated with the ukulele allows adding more power to the sound. Reviews on different kind of Ukuleles can be read on Four String Fun website.

Two types of pickups

Microphonic – Small microphones are installed inside the uke using a jackpin. These are generally, avoided unless you invest in high quality microphone.

Piezoelectric – Piezo pickups are made from strip r sheet of piezoelectric crystals, which act as transducer. The uke’s vibration is picked by piezo crystals and transformed into electric signals, which turn into sounds. Piezo pickups are available in two forms including soundboard transducers and under saddle transducers.

Other factors to consider

Passive or active pickup – passive pickup needs an amplifier, whereas active pickup includes an internal amp powered by 9V battery.

EQs – Advanced active pickup systems include EQ controls like bass, treble, volume. Thus you can give the sound a shape or tweak.

Amplifier – Good amplifier is vital for attaining good sound. Even if you possess a good Ukulele and pickup, acoustic amplifier is crucial.

DI box – This is an external pre-amp, which supports EQ to enhance sound that is transported to the amplifier.

Brands – You get what you pay for, so go for a decent pickup brand. Make sure to buy a quality uke and great pickup. A poor quality ukulele will not transform into something special with built-in premium pickup.

Pickups are not necessary for everyone. If you do not plan to gig then it is not needed, at all. Retro-fitting needs drilling the ukulele, so make sure to approach experts for pickup installation.