View Full Version : Distortion?

12-26-2009, 04:32 PM
So, I got this Multi-effects pedal (BOSS ME-70)for x-mas. Most of the effects work great on my uke, just the distortion is kinda bothersome. when ever i stop playing or take my hand of the sound hole, it gives out a lot of feed back... anyone know the cure? I'm thinking of getting a custom uke soon and if there is anything I can change on it to prevent like feedback when plugged in, I would like to know. Would a moved(?) sound hole help? By moved i mean like, a double sound hole... like this one: Moore Bettah uke (http://www.moorebettahukes.com/832.833_834_835_025.jpg)

When aldrine was playing in his contest video (the one where the prize was that pedal,) the distortion worked fine.


12-26-2009, 11:06 PM
Acoustic instruments are not really designed to have distortion, even if it has an electric pickup. Distortion is used mostly on completely electric instruments with no hollow sound body.

My Kala with Shadow pickups can't handle much distortion without sounding awful, since the pickup is designed to sound best with a clean tone and designed specifically to avoid distortion. I imagine that this is the case for a lot of piezo pickups on ukes. Some pickups seem to handle distortion better than others - so perhaps that's something to take into consideration in your custom uke. Risa's nylon-string electric ukes use a passive Shadow nanoflex pickup, which seems to handle distortion quite well (at least on the Risa ukes.. not sure how they would work on an acoustic). Another idea is to buy an external pre-amp designed for electric guitars, and put that between the uke and the effects pedal. Theoretically, the pre-amp would process the signal so its more like an electric guitar's.

My Risa Soprano uke-solid and Bugsgear Eleuke worked fine with distortion, since they have no sound body to cause feedback. However, distortion would be even better on an electric uke with steel strings and magnetic pickups. If you want a uke that can handle distortion well, I advise getting a solid-body uke like from Risa or Eleuke. They don't cost that much, but they will kick any acoustic-electric uke's butt when it comes to effects and distortion.

For your situation, you may still be able to get some distortion if you fiddle around with the settings. Try putting the volume levels on your uke's pickup (assuming its an active pickup with volume knob) to low, and setting it high on the amp.

I have also heard of there being sound hole covers on acoustic-electric guitars to reduce feedback when plugged in. I wonder if there are ones to fit ukes..
edit: Oh look there's a topic here about where to get one:

Brad Bordessa
12-27-2009, 09:21 AM
Here is what I've fiddled out on my ME-50 with my soundboard transducer equipped Kamaka tenor into a Micro Cube:

~My 'ukulele only feeds back with soundboard vibration. I've tried to get the strings themselves to feedback, but I haven't been able to do it yet.
~Compression seems to increase feedback with the distortion engaged.
~If I keep the side of my hand on the bridge/soundboard it stops the soundboard from vibrating as much = less feedback.
~Turning up the bass frequencies increases feedback.
~I run my 'ukulele through a Fishman Pro-EQ preamp that has a notch filter. It seems to help suppress out of control feedback.
~Standing farther away and maybe off to the side of the amp reduces feedback.
~An 'ukulele is not an electric guitar. They don't sound very good with lots of distortion. I only use the distortion part of the pedal for a boost/slight overdrive with the gain knob down as far as it goes and the mode set for the most mellow pedal model.
~If I use the gain with the JC clean or Black Panel models on my Micro Cube amp I can get a much smoother distortion.

12-27-2009, 07:06 PM
Yea, ok thanks guys, i think i'll stick with some of the other effects for now :P

Thanks for the advice though i think i'll try some stuff.

12-27-2009, 09:14 PM
Try stuffing a t-shirt into the body. Jake uses a black tshirt I believe...

12-28-2009, 04:30 AM
ROFL now thats a good idea >_< !!

Stuff a shirt into the body so there is no practical sound chamber.
And that could make it like a solid-body uke >_<

12-28-2009, 08:25 AM
mhm, maybe lol, i'll try that out, sound good


12-31-2009, 08:41 AM
In case it helps, you might want to check out the "Feedback" section of the first post on this page (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?18970-Amplification-Basics-for-Ukulele).

You'll need to scroll down a bit.