Finding an electric soprano ukulele can be tough. Most acoustic-electric ukuleles are concert and tenor-sized, since on-board electronics fit easier onto those ukes. Plus, there’s a stigma against soprano ukuleles as a “beginner’s instrument.”
But sopranos are extremely fun, and there are some wonderful electric soprano ukuleles out there. They’re perfect for travel, gigging, and getting in touch with your inner rock star. Here are our picks for the best electric soprano ukuleles on the market today!
Summary: A great all-around acoustic-electric soprano ukulele with a classic look and sound
Best for: Someone who wants a no-nonsense acoustic-electric soprano for gigging or open mics
Kala is known for combining great build quality and affordable prices, and their KA series is the perfect example of that. The KA-SE is a traditional soprano ukulele with an active pickup system added. No frills or flash, just wonderful tone whether plugged in or acoustic.
Made out of laminate mahogany, one key thing that this uke has going for it is ruggedness. When you’re playing in a crowded bar or on the road, you don’t want to have to worry about your ukulele. This little guy will more than handle a few knocks and bumps. While laminate wood isn’t as sought-after as solid wood, the mahogany used on the Kala KA-SE produces a wonderful tone. It’s got that classic jangly, punchy sound that ukulele players look for in a soprano, with plenty of volume.
When you plug it in, the Kala KA-SE really shines. It features an on-board Shadow Nanoflex active pickup system, which produces a clear, natural tone. Two EQ sliders for bass and treble give the player a lot of control over that tone, as does the volume knob. The KA-SE also has an on-board tuner built into the electronics. This can be especially useful in noisy situations, where external tuners can’t pick up the sound of the ukulele over the din.
- Natural tone from the active pickup system
- Solidly built
- Plain looks
Seagull Steel String Ukulele
Summary: A steel string ukulele that sets itself apart from the pack
Best for: Someone who wants steel strings on their ukulele
This one is a little different from your normal ukulele. Rather than using nylon strings, the Seagull has extra bracing in the body and neck, so it can handle steel strings. This gives it a unique sound that is closer to a mandolin or guitar than a traditional ukulele.
In all, it’s a very slim ukulele. The body is only about half as deep as the traditional uke, although it is a little wider. This again makes it feel more like an electric guitar or mandolin than a soprano ukulele. On the whole, though, it’s still quite comfortable to hold. The neck is slimmer as well. This is because steel strings are thinner than nylon ones. There’s still about the same distance between strings as on a traditional soprano ukulele, and the neck doesn’t feel crowded, even with bigger hands.
Otherwise, the body is shaped very similarly to a standard cutaway ukulele. There are some unique guitar-like flourishes, like a triangular soundhole and the tone/volume knobs on the front. There’s a very handy pickguard as well. Steel strings are much harder on the fingers than nylon, and strummers will probably prefer using a pick. The guard helps keep the finish on the body from getting scratched as the pick swings by.
Like most electric ukuleles, the Seagull steel string soprano is fitted with an undersaddle piezo pickup. This is different from the magnetic pickups usually used in electric guitars. However, it still sounds very much like a classic electric guitar, certainly more so than other ukuleles. The two knobs for tone and volume mimic those found on an electric guitar, and give the player a good range of control over the plugged-in sound.
- Great intonation
- Good acoustic and plugged-in sound
- Striking looks
- Thinner neck might be uncomfortable for some
Luna Vintage Mahogany Acoustic-Electric Soprano Ukulele
Summary: A soprano with some visual flash and a great pickup system
Best for: Someone who wants their ukulele to stand out from the crowd
Luna is known for making ukuleles that look great, and the vintage mahogany soprano is no exception. It has a sun-like rosette etched around the soundhole, and triangular inlays on the fretboard. While it has the shape and color of a traditional ukulele, those features will definitely make it stand out.
Built with laminate mahogany, the Luna has a nice mellow tone. It’s not as loud as some other soprano ukuleles, but it’s definitely not quiet. This would be the perfect soprano ukulele from fingerpickers, or those who want a gentler, less punchy tone out of their soprano ukulele
Luns fits their electric ukuleles with their own brand of pickup. It’s an active system that provides a very strong and clear tone. When plugged it, the pickup system does a great job of reproducing the natural sound of the ukulele. There are three sliders to control treble, bass, and volume. They each give the player a lot room to play with. Some people may not like that, unlike the Kala KA-SE, this pickup system doesn’t have an onboard tuner. However, that also means that it has a slimmer overall profile on the ukulele’s side.
- Nice looks
- Mellow tone
- No on-board tuner
Summary: A feature-packed solid body electric soprano ukulele in a compact package.
Best for: Someone looking for the perfect little travel companion ukulele.
The EleUke Peanut certainly doesn’t look like any other soprano ukulele out there. For one, it’s a solid-body electric ukulele, with no resonant chamber in the body. If you don’t plug it in, it’s almost silent. It’s also remarkably slim. The traditional ukulele figure-8 has been thinned down to almost the same width as the neck. This makes The EleUke an incredibly compact instrument. It’ll fit easily in checked or even hand-carry bags if you’re planning on flying, and won’t take up much room at all.
But EleUke has packed a lot of great features into that small body. Like many solid-body electric ukuleles, it features both a jack to plug into an amp and a headphone jack. When you plug in your headphones, you can play along and hear yourself without disturbing anyone else around you. This is perfect for hotel rooms, or just for when the family has gone to bed but you want to keep playing.
The killer feature, though, it that the Peanut has bluetooth connectivity. It’s easy to pair it with your smartphone, and then you can stream music to it like you would a bluetooth speaker. Put your headphones in, pick a song, and boom! You’re jamming along to your favorite tunes.
All of this is powered by an internal battery. It takes a couple hours to charge, but then it’ll last for up to ten hours. And it uses the same micro USB cord that most Android smartphones use, so you can cut down on cord clutter.
- Extremely compact
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Sound distorts a little easier than some other ukes
Luna High Tide Acoustic-Electric Soprano Ukulele
Summary: A beautifully decorated ukulele with tone to match
Best for: Someone who wants their ukulele to look as good as it sounds
Like its cousin in the vintage series, the Luna High Tide soprano is a gorgeous ukulele. Even more so, actually, thanks to the beautiful mother of pearl wave inlays on the fretboards. It’s made of laminate koa wood, one of the classic ukulele tonewoods. Altogether, with the High Tide series Luna has definitely reached a high in visual brilliance.
The tone is a little brighter and louder than its mahogany cousin, but retains a similar mellowness. Again, Luna has made a ukulele that works wonderfully for fingerpicking. But, the added brightness also gives it some nice punch when strummed. Overall, the laminate koa adds a little more shine both visually and tonally.
The active pickup system is the same as the one on the vintage mahogany series. However, the controls are in a different place, further down the body. This doesn’t impact the tone at all, since the pickup itself is still under the bridge. Again, the tone is clear and strong, with a natural sound. You’ll have plenty of control with the three sliders for treble, bass, and volume.
- Visually stunning
- Mellow tone
- No on-board tuner