As a musician, you love your ukulele, no doubt. Would you like to connect it to an amplifier to let your music enjoy a larger audience? If so, adding the best ukulele pickup is an excellent idea.
Although nothing is complex about pickups, being well-informed before purchase is a wise job.
What is a Ukulele Pickup?
When it comes to an electric ukulele, we can think of an acoustic ukulele with an installed pickup and an optional onboard preamp system.
Being told, the Ukulele Pickup, an accessory, lets you plug your instrument into an external sound source so that it may create a much louder sound utilizing the public address (PA) speakers or the amp speaker.
It also brings a pre-installed preamp panel to use with each external device. It allows you to make additional volume and tone control.
Top 6 Best Ukulele Pickups
Since you know now what’s a ukulele pickup, let’s see a few of the best ukulele pickups on the market to pick.
1. KNA AP-1 Portable Piezo Pickup for Ukulele
This KNA AP-1 features a passive piezo pickup, which does not need to drill into your instrument. The KNA has mounted it on the tonewood top and covered it using a beautiful wood casing, remaining protected this best piezo ukulele pickup from unsought background noise.
Above all, it is not only suitable for ukuleles and other stringed instruments but also works well for Cajon instruments as well.
This model acts as per the manufacturer’s description. Indeed, it’s pretty cheap for the sound it produces and quite responsive.
Maybe, it’s not the cheapest ukulele pickup, but a cheap one will be a low quality that will be natural. According to customers, this brand’s customer support is responsive and helpful. So it will help in case of any unwanted manufacturing defects.
2. Fishman Matrix Infinity VT Acoustic Pickup
Although Fishman Matrix Infinity VT characterizes a passive under-saddle transducer pickup, you can activate it using an additional accessory. So we suggest you buy it.
While functioning alongside a ukulele pickup system, the Powerjack Active Endpin Jack Preamp gives you the superiority of both active and passive pickup solutions, two pieces of equipment made for work in tandem with each other.
So, there’s nothing left out. Technical difficulties, such as those between different technology brands, can disrupt the relationship.
The price point, too high, is the real thing here. The reason is Fishman aims at professional musicians, experienced with ukulele pickup, and want to take their skills to a higher level.
It would probably be most applicable to those musicians who perform their music on the road. They need a ukulele pickup system, reliable for a long time without any trouble.
3. GOSONO Clip-On Pickup for Ukulele
Although this little gadget may seem to be exceptionally inexpensive, it certainly gets the job done well. If you require the best clip-on ukulele pickup, simply working and simple to use, it will meet your demand.
The superior feature of this GOSONO’s pickup becomes arguably the truth that it may be utilized with any other string instrument irrespective of inherent tonal qualities or size, etc. The literal vibrations are obtained through the contact rather than air.
Setting up and removing is very effortless. So you’ll not need professional help. Also, it’s drilling-free for the ukulele. GOSONO has designed it to be placed in the soundhole and optimized to capture your natural sound while minimizing background noise.
Clip-on pickups might not become the best solution, but they’re ideal for a tight budget.
4. KNA UK-1 Piezo Pickup for Ukulele
This Piezo Passive Pickup has been introduced for bridge mounting and incorporates a dedicated ⅛-inch to ¼-inch TS cable with a ⅛-inch female TS jack.
This model contains a wooden sensor casing and becomes simple enough to set up. You will not have to drill and can detach effortlessly.
The only modification you need to do is slide it over the tie block and tighten the strings again so that it becomes suitable for all ukuleles having tie blocks.
All these mounting properties become even more captivating when you listen to how much the tone creates a natural sound after plugging it into an amp or preamp.
This KNA UK-1 brings an excellent balance between a simple setup system and impressive sound. Regardless of its scale, it’ll function on each ukulele. It appears pretty natural and unobtrusive on any model.
5. K&K Aloha Twin Double-Sensor Pickup for Ukulele
This Aloha Twin pickup comes from the K&K award-winning Pure Model, which is acoustic. However, it offers you a double-sensor system instead of a triple.
The remaining parts are very much the same, other than the straight female jack and a pretty minimal design, which becomes very straightforward to set up. Being a passive pickup, it does not contain onboard controls and does not need batteries.
This Double-Sensor Pickup is also beautiful because if you utilize a strap, you could use a plastic jack strap adapter into the endpin jack when not employing the amp. Further, you don’t need to drill the 2nd hole for a strap button.
If you already own a guitar preamp that you love and repeatedly utilize, choosing a passive pickup for your uke might economize you plenty of money.
6. LR Baggs FIVE.O Ukulele Pickup System
This Uke Pickup is a premium under-saddle pickup built with an entirely minimal design method so that it can become easy enough for musicians to install it.
It incredibly features a lightweight and does minimal changes to your ukulele. Also, you will even be capable of mounting the volume control inside the soundhole.
That being said of sound, it brings a mini endpin preamp, particularly tuned for capturing accurate frequency response and natural dynamics.
The cable from the pickup to the battery remains pretty long. So it will apply to a Soprano or Baritone as well. Moreover, its battery charge capacity is more than 300 working hours.
We haven’t heard any objections from users who have used this pickup. It acts according to the manufacturer’s description. One of the remarkable things is that some customers have been capable of setting it up except for going to a music shop.
Ukulele Pickup Types
These days, most acoustic instrument pickups are crafted from piezo crystals. The reason is that the magnetic pickups discovered in electric guitars need steel strings to fret the magnetic field and produce an electrical signal.
Without piezo magnets, piezo transforms sound vibrations directly into electrical signals. It’s more suitable for nylon-stringed instruments.
Although the technology remains the same, the implementation of the piezo pickup might change slightly.
Under Saddle Transducer (UST)
These types depend on a ribbon-like transducer for picking up the resonances your instrument creates as you play. Piezo crystals inside the pickup convert the vibrations into a signal, passing through the preamp and into the amplifier, emitting these vibrations from your instrument as amplified music.
It’s the best of all the obtainable ukulele pickup types. This type creates the most authentic tone and does not tend to emit feedback.
In simple words, soundboard transducers appear to be technically like piezo pickups, made to fit into the underpart of a soundboard. They become perfect for ukuleles having fixed bridge saddles. Indeed, they’re the best pickup alternative found for this ukulele style.
These are somewhat feedback-prone and tend to pick up other sounds, such as the sound of your uke brushing against your body. It’s not a fact for all soundboard transducers, par expensive ones. But remember that it is a matter.
As the name suggests, microphone pickups utilize a little microphone, entering the ukulele and appending straight to the amp. These pickups become inexpensive and simple enough to use but contain a big drawback, making them few popular compared to their Piezo cousins.
These are feedback-prone and might damage your performance. Sure, preference is your personal, but we consider you’ll become much gladder with a Piezo pickup.
Active vs. Passive
As you hear a note, the pickup transfigures the sound into an electrical signal that travels at the speed of light to the speaker.
Each thing between the pickup and the speakers might be regarded as electronics, but it’s of the most interest to us what occurs between the pickup and the endpin jack here.
Active Ukulele Pickups
An active ukulele pickup contains an inwardly powered preamp built into the pickup electronics. This preamp keeps the balance and boosts the signal, transmitting “a finished product” to what you plug it into.
Many players think the maximum disadvantage of active pickups is that these will have a low dynamic range and sometimes are identified as creating a “cold” tone.
Passive Ukulele Pickups
The first pickups used in electric guitars were Passive Pickups. Due to the way of transmitting sound, these are familiar as raw signals to the output jack.
Due to the signal conditions, you will always wish to utilize a preamp with a built-in preamp or a guitar amplifier with a passive pickup. Just keep in mind that if you want a passive, you’ll need to have a preamp as well.
There are many advantages, especially when paired with a better preamp and Speaker Passive Pickup. These contain an immense dynamic range and are prone to be warm compared to their active counterparts.
How to Install a Ukulele Pickup
Since many different ukulele pickup types are available, we are about to show the installation of the most complicated one – The Undersaddle active pickup.
- First, shift all the strings from your instrument and utilize them somewhat for filing in the bridge slot to make amends to the pickup height. Utilize the tape to defend the finish around the bridge slot.
- Then, create a template of the preamp bottom part on the piece of cardboard and stick it temporarily where to install the preamp. Mark the outline on the tape and employ the drill to cut out the shape inside. Then, make a file to coincide with the shape below the preamp. Attempt to put the prompt before finishing so that you can’t file it very much.
- You can divide your cutting wood piece into four pieces and reinforce where you install the preamp screws. Make it sand and stick it with glue under the body surface.
- Now, you puncture the hole in the ukulele back to give the hole to the female jack. We’d suggest placing it slightly under from the center so that your ukulele cable can’t intervene with your strumming hand.
- Employ the solder and screwdriver for installing and tightening the female jack. After that, you drill a little hole in the bridge top to install the piezo pickup. Test whether the hole has been big first. Next, you pull the pickup inside the soundhole and go through the hole in your bridge. If it goes through the entire bridge section once, make it safe in such a position with tape.
- If it sets with the changes, you can move the tape from the body.
We hope your investment in purchasing the best ukulele pickup will be successful in your ukulele career. Remember that we’ve reviewed a few pickups, so you’ll opt for the one that best suits your needs.