If you want to plug in and rock out, you need an electric ukulele. There are a lot of great electric ukuleles on the market today, and one of the biggest decisions is whether to go with an acoustic-electric or solid body electric ukulele. There are benefits and drawbacks to each one, and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another one.
This article will walk you through the most important questions you need to ask yourself before deciding which option is best for you.
Will You Ever Want To Go Acoustic?
It might seem obvious, but it’s worth stating. Acoustic-electric ukuleles are, as the name suggests, also quite capable as simple acoustic instruments. You can pick them up and strum them just fine without plugging in, whether at a jam, sing-along, or just fooling around.
Solid body electric ukuleles, on the other hand, make very little sound when not plugged in, because they don’t have that big resonant body. You need an amplifier to actually hear your ukulele. Otherwise, you might be able to hear a little bit of your strumming, but it’ll get completely lost even with a little bit of background noise. Which might not be a bad thing, as we’ll talk about next…
Do You Want A Quiet “Practice Uke?”
Live in an apartment? Stay in hotel rooms a lot? Do your partner, your kids, or pets not quite appreciate all the noise (ahem, sorry, music) you make when you’re happily strumming along? All great reason to get a solid body electric ukulele as a practice instrument!
Not only do they not make much of a sound when not plugged in, many of them have a special port for headphones, so you can listen to yourself without disturbing anyone else around you. You can even practice in public, like at an airport or in a park, without worrying about making too much noise.
Is Portability Important?
Ukuleles are already very portable instruments. But if you really need your uke to take up as little space as possible, that big body on an acoustic-electric might be an issue. Not only does it make the ukulele more bulky, it opens up the possibility of getting crushed or otherwise damaged if things gets stacked on top.
A solid body electric has (you guessed it!) one single solid body, making it more slim and compact as well as less prone to getting squashed. Many soprano and concert sized solid body electric ukuleles can fit easily into a carry-on bag without the need for an extra case, making them the most economical option space-wise for frequent travelers.
Do You Want To Look Like A Rock Star?
Yeah, this one has nothing at all to do with sound and everything to do with looks. You can get electric ukuleles that look like classic rock guitars, including Vorson electric ukuleles in the Les Paul and Stratocaster styles.
But honestly, it’s not all just looks. The pickups and tone controls on many solid body electric ukuleles not only look like the ones on electric guitars, they act like them too, and can more closely mimic their sound than an acoustic-electric ukulele. If you’re looking to be the Hendrix, Santana, or Cobain of the ukulele, you’ve gotta get an axe like theirs.