The Godin MultiUke sets out to solve a common problem: getting a great natural-sounding tone when plugged in. It’s surprisingly hard to do, but Godin has found a way. They’ve done it with an unusual design that combines the best of solid body and acoustic-electric ukuleles. It sacrifices a bit volume and tone acoustically, but really shines when you plug the Godin MultiUke in. Here’s our full review!
At a Glance
The Godin MultiUke is a great choice for anyone who wants to get the best sound out of their ukulele when plugged-in.
- Excellent plugged-in sound
- Lots of control over tone
- Hybrid design means it works well acoustically
- Heavier than other similar ukes
- Compensated saddle is not adjustable
Looking for a solid body electric ukulele? Check out our rundown of the best on the market today, including the Godin MultiUke…
Godin is a Canadian brand much better known as an innovative guitar maker. This uke falls very much into their wheelhouse of building electric instruments that can emulate acoustic ones. In fact, it’s an outgrowth of their MultiAc guitar line, which has similar looks and features to the MultiUke. They’re not a traditional ukulele maker, but the MultiUke proves that that is not necessarily a bad thing.
One of the biggest issues with acoustic-electric ukuleles is feedback. The soundhole lets outside noise get in and resonate in the body, creating terrible screeches and howls. Solid body electric ukuleles get around this, but at the cost of little to no volume when they’re not plugged in.
Enter the Godin MultiUke. It looks like a solid body electric ukulele, but the body is hollow. That means it has the same kind of resonant chamber that acoustic ukuleles have. You can keep it unplugged and play it just like a traditional ukulele. Plug it in, and you’ll find that without a soundhole, feedback is limited.
It’s a great compromise, but it does come with a few drawbacks. The MultiUke is definitely optimised for being plugged in. The acoustic tone is quite good, but does suffer from the lack of a soundhole. It’s not as rich as a traditional ukulele, and not as loud, either. For practicing or playing in a small group for fun, it’s fine. But if you’re primarily going to be playing without plugging in, a more traditional acoustic ukulele is going to have better tone.
The unique design of the Godin MultiUke continues with its pickup system. Comparable traditional ukuleles usually have a thin strip piezo pickup underneath the bridge, often connected to a built-in preamp. The MultiUke, on the other hand, has four pickups, one for each individual string. To my knowledge, it’s the only ukulele with that kind of setup.
There’s also an on-board preamp, powered by a standard 9 volt battery. Four sliders give control over treble, mid, bass, and volume. They are extremely sensitive, and even a small nudge will change the tone noticeably.
Taken together, this system blows away any other onboard pickup system. The range of tone that you can get with the Godin MultiUke is stunning, and there’s a lot of room for experimentation. It’s also quite easy to dial in a very natural acoustic-sounding tone, something that is (paradoxically) much harder to get on traditional acoustic-electric ukuleles.
The MultiUke is particularly well-suited to playing out, whether that’s as a touring full-time musician, weekend cover band member, or open mic novice.
The Feel and Finish
Even straight out of the box, the Godin MultiUke is very playable, with minimal if any adjustment needed. Action is low enough to be comfortable without inducing any buzzing, the neck feels comfortable, and intonation is spot-on.
One small quibble I have is with the saddle. The four separate pickups are great, and the fact that they’re set up in a compensated manner helps intonation a lot. But unlike a lot of electric ukuleles, they’re not adjustable. It’s not a huge thing, since we’re talking millimeters here and there. But it seems odd with everything that can be customized on this ukulele that the saddle cannot be.
The MultiUke is also fairly heavy, even for a solid body electric ukulele. It’s not the most comfortable ukulele to hold without a strap, both because of the shape and the weight. Godin is probably figuring that most people will use it while playing live with a strap, which may or may not be true for you.
The standard MultiUke has a body of solid Spanish cedar, mahogany neck, and a rosewood fretboard. There is another option available, swapping out the cedar top for solid koa. While it looks beautiful, the sound should be more or less the same. Koa is, however, a wood native to Hawaii and very popular for ukuleles. Some more traditionally-minded people might like to go for the koa, if only for that extra connection to the islands.
The Godin MultiUke is a great addition to any collection as a way to get the best natural acoustic sound when plugged in. The onboard preamp system and innovative pickups give the player an incredible amount of control over the tone of the ukulele. While it’s not a traditional-looking or -feeling ukulele, the Godin MultiUke is the perfect tool for anyone who wants to play out, whether professional or amateur.
Also published on Medium.