Are you planning to buy your first electric ukulele or you want something better? However, if you are buying an electric ukulele for the first time, you need to have some basic knowledge about the instrument.
Electric ukuleles are useful for two reasons: if you want to play or practice quietly at night without disturbing anyone, and secondly, when you want to play really loud. But the major reason people go for electric ukulele is because of the noise.
There are two types of the electric ukuleles: we have the electric ukulele and the electri-acoustic ukulele. Shortly, we shall learn about the features, similarities and advantages of these two ukulele types, and how they work.
What Is Electric Ukulele?
The electric ukulele has a solid body, which is just like a single plank of wood. It has a great volume when it is plugged in. Acoustically, the electric ukulele produces a very little sound that is when it is unplugged, making it suitable for late night practice.
What Acoustic – Electric Ukulele Means
The acoustic-electric ukulele is the same as standard ukulele, though it has a built-in electronic component that allows it to connect to an amplifier externally and project the sound.
Unlike the pure electric ukulele, the acoustic-electric ukulele produces a great sound even without the amplifier.
The Difference between the Electric, Acoustic-Electric and Acoustic Ukulele
If you plan on buying any of these, I suggest you learn about their differences first. Once you know their differences, you would be able to make the right decision.
The electric ukulele is known to produce a heavier, rock and metal sound when plugged in. It comes with a pickup you can plug into an amplifier to produce louder volume. Electric ukulele sound is similar to that of an electric guitar. It has a solid body and no sound hole.
The next is the acoustic-electric ukulele. This ukulele resembles the normal traditional ukulele but has a pickup which allows it to be plugged into an amplifier.
The input jack differentiates the acoustic-electric ukulele from the traditional ukulele, but apart from this, the two ukuleles are similar.
The input jack is usually placed on the bottom area of the ukulele and sometimes it comes with a panel that contains volume and EQ control features.
You can also boost and modify the sound of an acoustic-electric ukulele with an amplifier. In fact, the type and settings of the amplifier used can alter your uke tone, especially with features with echo and reverb.
However, one major difference between the acoustic-electric ukulele and the pure electric ukulele is that the sound of the acoustic-electric ukulele is loud whether you play it when it is plugged or not.
The acoustic ukulele referred to as the traditional ukulele does not come with any electronic fittings, like a pickup, volume, and EQ controls.
In fact, it doesn’t need an amplifier to produce lots of noise but the sound it gives isn’t as loud as the electric or acoustic electric ukulele because of the amplifier those have.
Another difference of the acoustic ukulele from the others is that the ukulele’s body is exclusively used to resonate sound. And It doesn’t need amplification like the others.
How the Electric & Acoustic-Electric Ukulele Works
The electric ukulele has some components that detect and captures the vibration from the ukulele strings. It converts the vibration captured into an electric signal, which is then sent to the output jack that an amplifier can be plugged into.
However, if your electric or acoustic electric ukulele comes with an active pickup, you will find a few sliders or knobs on it.
They are basically used for volume control and to also adjust the sound levels such as treble, bass, and mid range using a pre-amplifier which helps to adjust the sound before sending it to the amplifier.
This helps to capture the right sound you are looking for. It also gives you much control over what the amplifier produces.
The only thing you have to be concerned about is that your ukulele will look a bit heavier and need a 9V battery.
However, another option is to use a passive pickup, which doesn’t need any batteries. It sends the sound to the amplifier and does not have the capacity for pre-amplification adjustments.
How To Care Your Electric Ukulele
If you want your ukulele to last long, then you must always take care of it. There are simple ways you can care for your electric ukulele.
1. Get A Ukulele Cover
No matter how solid you think your ukulele is, do not forget that environmental conditions can affect its health.
The first is humidity. Ukuleles are made of wood material and wood has the capacity to either absorb or lose moisture, depending on the weather. When it is too dry, it can shrivel and crack.
When the wood is too moist, it can also swell and crack.You can build a climate control room for your ukulele.
Get a ukulele cover that has a humidifier if possible, and sometimes, take them out from the case to dry out. Always remember to inspect your ukulele regularly.
2. Clean Regularly
Clean your ukulele regularly. It is the same thing as cleaning and caring for a guitar. You can get a cleaner or branded polish and fretboard oil.
In fact, they are all specifically designed to care for musical instruments.The skin produces sweat, and sweat has lots of chemicals, especially salt, which has the capacity to deteriorate wood as well as wood finishes.
It can corrode fret wires too. The most disturbing thing is that they do not evaporate, but instead gather on the uke’s surface, and trap more dirt and dust.
Cleaning and polishing your ukulele will get rid of many of these compounds and help protect your instrument. But remember not to use compounds meant to clean the uke’s body on the fretboard because they have different needs.
The finish will also determine what you should use to clean the ukulele fretboard. To clean maple, you can use a very light spray, but avoid aerosol polishes and do not use on unvarnished fretboards.
For cleaning the fretboard, use a microfibre cloth to get rid of dirt. After that, you can use a plastic scrubber to remove materials that accumulate especially the ones beside the fret wires.
How to Protect Your Ukulele during Transportation
It is normal to take your ukulele anywhere you go, but make sure it is well protected during transportation.
Protecting the ukulele during transportation depends on the means of transportation being used and where you are taking it to.You can use hard-shell cases and gig bags, but know that they have their pros and cons.
You can protect your ukulele with a padded gig bag when transporting it to the pub but don’t forget that using a gig bag doesn’t guarantee that your uke won’t be damaged. You need to take extreme care, handle it well and be careful of where you keep it.
For gigging musicians, it is not advisable to keep your gig bag and instrument in the back of a van or car boot together with other hard objects. You can always use a hard shell case if you are a gigging musician. If you are traveling by air, you can also use a hard-shell or flight case.