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View Full Version : ***Need advice on an acoustic/electric uke for gigging***



TheNoseeums
08-24-2015, 06:17 AM
Hi there!

I am a uke player in a bluegrass band. Up to this point I have just been mic'ing my acoustic resonator ukulele and there is too much feedback / its not capturing the best sound it can / and its also tough for the sound guy. Im looking for some advice on a good quality acoustic/electric uke I can purchase.

- I definitely want a tenor
- My price range is anywhere between 200 - 800 dollars.
- Im closer to an advanced player so ill be looking for something for the long haul, and something that's not a cheap brand uke or pick up..

Thanks in advance,

70sSanO
08-24-2015, 06:22 AM
I don't own one, but I would look into a Godin Multiuke for gigging.

Added...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AldUuEI_qbQ

John

the.ronin
08-24-2015, 06:24 AM
I do not gig myself but from what I have seen recently, the Pono line seems to be very popular (i.e., seeing people gigging or busking in person, reading in the forums, looking at videos like HMS's).

TheNoseeums
08-24-2015, 06:41 AM
do the ponos come with a pickup?

the.ronin
08-24-2015, 06:51 AM
Absolutely you can get them with pickups already installed - but this is not unique to Pono. You can get pickups already installed on most all ukes from entry level to high end. Pono in my opinion is about mid level. I would not cheap out on a picked up uke though - I got a Cordoba concert with a passive system as my first exposure to plugged in play. Trying everything (settings, amps), I just didn't like the sound at all. I sold it in a month and never touched a pickup for years because of it. Recently, I just decided to try again but with a much better uke and a much better active pickup and WOW I want to install a pickup on my other ukes now.

manfrog
08-24-2015, 07:02 AM
I bought a Godin multiuke for that exact purpose, and it works beautifully. I absolutely love it!

SteveZ
08-24-2015, 07:10 AM
Hi there!

I am a uke player in a bluegrass band. Up to this point I have just been mic'ing my acoustic resonator ukulele and there is too much feedback / its not capturing the best sound it can / and its also tough for the sound guy. Im looking for some advice on a good quality acoustic/electric uke I can purchase.

- I definitely want a tenor
- My price range is anywhere between 200 - 800 dollars.
- Im closer to an advanced player so ill be looking for something for the long haul, and something that's not a cheap brand uke or pick up..

Thanks in advance,

If you are satisfied with the playability of your current uke, have you considered installing a preamp/pickup in it? A good set of electronics may solve the priblem.

bonesigh
08-24-2015, 08:53 AM
Yeah, just install a pick up, it's not hard and there are a ton of helpful do it yourself video's.

PhilUSAFRet
08-24-2015, 11:16 AM
Can install a "proper" reso internal pickup and get an external pre-amp/eq for hundreds and hundreds less than a new uke if you otherwise love your reso.

Here's a K&K model and Schatten makes the "gold standard" in reso pickups: http://kksound.com/products/pureresonator.php

http://www.schattendesign.com/NR-2.htm

ralphk
08-25-2015, 02:40 AM
the Teton looks like it would work for you. There are several YouTube videos. I just got one for a good friend who is in chemo and needed a quiet one for the chemo lab time and it seems quite good. In a performance setting, one can put a drum machine in the 1/8" port and not need a channel in the amp for that feature since the output will contain both the uke and drum sounds.

TheNoseeums
08-25-2015, 07:02 AM
Sooooo.... I have been doing some research myself, and looking into a variety of ukuleles.

Firstly thanks for all the suggestions, you guys ended up giving me a lot of ideas...

Im in a bluegrass band and we sometimes decide to play acoustically depending on the venue / if there is a jam going on so I had to rule out all solid body ukes because they just dont offer that bluegrassy sound (this also includes the godin uke even tho its not solid body, it still doesnt offer the sound im looking for acoustically).

I looked at all the pono ukes at first and was smitten. But as i continued to research them (the mahogany models in particular) I realized that the sound wasnt as bright as I would like it for bluegrass. I think this is just a product of the types of wood Pono likes to use. Im not putting down pono at all, I loved every single one of the ukuleles I saw on their website, they just dont have the sound im looking for.

So i browsed around the internet for a bit and came across a few brands here and there but ended up landing on Cordoba. Cordobas new 30 series seem to be very well made and the sound seems to be just what im looking for.

In particular I like the cordoba 32t-ce, heres a link to it on theukulelesite.com http://www.theukulelesite.com/shop-by/brand/cordoba/cordoba-32t-ce-solid-spruce-rosewood-w-pickup.html

I think this is what I have decided on.. If anyone in particular has any review/feedback about this specific uke, feel free to let me know..

Thanks for all the suggestions..

Tootler
08-25-2015, 01:31 PM
Do you sing as well?

If you do, then the feedback will between the vocal and instrument mics. Ukes are generally played quite high up on the body so it's difficult for the soundman to control the feedback. I've seen the same problem at open mics. Fitting a pickup, especially a piezo pickup or even buying a uke with one fitted, the plugged in sound is generally not as good as the true acoustic sound of the uke.

There is a solution and that is to replace your two mics with a single condenser mic which is placed in height between your face and your instrument and stand back about 12" from the mic. A condenser mic is sufficiently sensitive to pick up both uke and voice. Many bluegrass bands just use a single condenser mic for the whole band. It's possible for four or five people to stand round a single mic and when you solo, just move closer to the mic. I've seen the single mic method used a few times and have tried it myself. It's very effective and gives much better sound than a plugged in instrument. The thing you need to make sure of is that you're behind the PA speakers or you'll get feedback and the soundman needs quite a light touch on the faders. Condenser mics are more sensitive than dynamic mics so they don't need turning up as much and what you're really after in that situation is sound reinforcement. You're essentially an acoustic band and all you need is to ensure that everyone in your audience can hear you clearly.

You don't need a fancy mic. I've seen Phil Doleman a couple of times and he uses this system and he doesn't use an expensive mic. I asked him once and his cost him about 50 GBP so not a huge investment and a lot less than a new uke of the quality you're looking at - unless you want the uke anyway, that is. :)

anthonyg
08-25-2015, 03:33 PM
I'm a fan of using microphones rather than pickups. Under saddle piezo pickups on acoustic ukulele's/guitars have a sound many refer to as "quacking" and this comes with a strong percussive thump as well.

The number one cause of microphone feedback is too much monitor foldback. A nice condenser microphone which you have CAREFULLY placed for best performance/minimal feedback before the show is also a great idea.

Anthony

CactusWren
08-25-2015, 03:36 PM
Interesting looking uke. I've gigged out maybe 100 gigs/year on a Cordoba FCWE (guitar) I bought in 2006. It's a good gig axe, meant to be plugged in. It doesn't feed back and is sturdy and reliable. Does it sound as good as a handmade uke with a condenser mic? Of course not!

kissing
08-27-2015, 05:47 AM
Sooooo.... I have been doing some research myself, and looking into a variety of ukuleles.

Firstly thanks for all the suggestions, you guys ended up giving me a lot of ideas...

Im in a bluegrass band and we sometimes decide to play acoustically depending on the venue / if there is a jam going on so I had to rule out all solid body ukes because they just dont offer that bluegrassy sound (this also includes the godin uke even tho its not solid body, it still doesnt offer the sound im looking for acoustically).

I looked at all the pono ukes at first and was smitten. But as i continued to research them (the mahogany models in particular) I realized that the sound wasnt as bright as I would like it for bluegrass. I think this is just a product of the types of wood Pono likes to use. Im not putting down pono at all, I loved every single one of the ukuleles I saw on their website, they just dont have the sound im looking for.

So i browsed around the internet for a bit and came across a few brands here and there but ended up landing on Cordoba. Cordobas new 30 series seem to be very well made and the sound seems to be just what im looking for.

In particular I like the cordoba 32t-ce, heres a link to it on theukulelesite.com http://www.theukulelesite.com/shop-by/brand/cordoba/cordoba-32t-ce-solid-spruce-rosewood-w-pickup.html

I think this is what I have decided on.. If anyone in particular has any review/feedback about this specific uke, feel free to let me know..

Thanks for all the suggestions..

It seems that you prefer a bright, punchy tone that Spruce tops generally offer.
That Cordoba is a great choice - it has that popular LR Baggs pickup, which is great for performance.

That being said, have you looked at the Pono Spruce top tenor?
http://www.theukulelesite.com/pono-mtd-sp-spruce-top-mahogany-tenor-deluxe.html

I would imagine it has that same bright, punchy tone.
Overall, I believe Pono are built to a higher standard than Cordoba. I also like how Pono tenors have adjustable truss rods. Definitely handy in a long-term instrument that will travel a lot :)

kissing
08-27-2015, 05:48 AM
I'm a fan of using microphones rather than pickups. Under saddle piezo pickups on acoustic ukulele's/guitars have a sound many refer to as "quacking" and this comes with a strong percussive thump as well.

The number one cause of microphone feedback is too much monitor foldback. A nice condenser microphone which you have CAREFULLY placed for best performance/minimal feedback before the show is also a great idea.

Anthony

Anthony, your opinion on using microphones rather than pickups is well known, but from what the OP has posted, it seems apparent he has used microphones for many years and many gigs and came to an ultimatum to try a pickup.

Pickups are not absolutely flawless, but they do have some huge advantages over mic-ing.

anthonyg
08-28-2015, 03:21 AM
Anthony, your opinion on using microphones rather than pickups is well known, but from what the OP has posted, it seems apparent he has used microphones for many years and many gigs and came to an ultimatum to try a pickup.

Pickups are not absolutely flawless, but they do have some huge advantages over mic-ing.

For better or worse there is a little knowledge and skill required for getting the best out of microphones. Just because a sound guy has stuck an old SM-57/58 in front of your ukulele, made next to no effort to place it properly and then you don't like the sound doesn't mean its a fault in microphones in general.

I've played gigs where my miced' ukuleles have creamed every pickup'd guitar for quality and gain before feedback.

Anthony