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View Full Version : Steel string ukes - a tally



ichadwick
04-30-2010, 02:00 AM
What companies currently produce steel-string ukes? Are they acoustic or electric? I'm trying to get a tally of who makes them.

I've seen some Jupiter electrics with them. I saw a thread that suggested Eleuke was coming out with some models, but haven't seen one yet. Any others?

My interest in steel strings just perked up about 1,000%. I borrowed a Boss eBand JS-8 from the local music store. I has a huge library of amp sims, effects, and loops (with drums, bass and rhythm). Plus it can loop a phrase for learning, input songs from USB, iPod or flash drive, and record pieces. Tons of features in a small box that doubles as a mini-amp.

My ukes sound great through it, but I also want to try steel - maybe open-tuned slide. Thought it might be worth looking into to see who offered them. Tenor, of course.

kissing
04-30-2010, 05:07 AM
Risa make fabulous steel-string electrics. I have their new Tenor Les Paul model (with humbucking pickups!), which is definitely my favourite, primary uke.
http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y121/pactio_kiss/lpandsam.jpg

Soprano Electric (single coil) (http://ukulele.de/shop/product_info.php?info=p14_RISA-Uke-Electric-Soprano.html)
Tenor Electric (single coil) (http://ukulele.de/shop/product_info.php?info=p15_RISA-Uke-Electric-Tenor.html)
8-string electric (http://ukulele.de/shop/product_info.php?info=p16_RISA-Electric-Ukulele-Mandolin.html)

Soprano Les Paul Electrics (humbuckers):
Black (http://ukulele.de/shop/product_info.php?info=p332_RISA-LP-Soprano-black.html)
Sunburst (http://ukulele.de/shop/product_info.php?info=p330_RISA-LP-Soprano-cherry-sunburst.html)
Mahogany (http://ukulele.de/shop/product_info.php?info=p331_RISA-LP-Soprano-Mahogany.html)

Tenor Les Paul Electrics:
Black (http://ukulele.de/shop/product_info.php?info=p323_RISA-LP-Tenor-black.html)
Sunburst (http://ukulele.de/shop/product_info.php?info=p329_RISA-LP-Tenor-cherry-sunburst.html)
Mahogany (http://ukulele.de/shop/product_info.php?info=p321_RISA-LP-Tenor-Mahogany.html)


I don't have a great sound sample of it yet.
But I use it in this video after 2:00 minutes
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nM-bu5__RKw
(first clean, then with some distortion)

ichadwick
04-30-2010, 05:20 AM
Thanks. I'll check them out. I trust they have a sales outlet or distributor in North America...

kissing
04-30-2010, 08:38 AM
Not likely, I ordered mine direct from ukulele.de Germany. If you make an account and login, you get 19% off, as you're exempt from European VAT tax.

jontom
04-30-2010, 09:31 AM
I have an Electric Tenor Red by RISA and it's amazing. Two single lipsticks and a great sound.
If you wanna check it out I just recorded a song on it for the Mya-Moe contest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMzIH58ApkI

mailman
04-30-2010, 02:28 PM
My ukes sound great through it, but I also want to try steel - maybe open-tuned slide.

Don't even know if one's available anywhere, but wouldn't a tenor reso-uke with steel strings be perfect for slide?

kissing
04-30-2010, 06:14 PM
Risa also seem to have a new Reso uke:
http://ukulele.de/shop/product_info.php?info=p143_RISA-Resonator.html

ichadwick
05-02-2010, 02:59 AM
The Risas are nice enough to warrant my attention, but the price is a tad hight and shipping to Canada is a killer. I'm looking for one I can get here. Seems I need to keep looking...

Pippin
05-02-2010, 03:59 AM
Might be worth a trip to Elderly in Michigan.

ichadwick
05-02-2010, 09:31 AM
Elderly sells them? Didn't know. They're a 6-8 hour drive away. Will check their store.

I don't usually mind paying shipping from the USA - although in the past Elderly has quoted me DOUBLE the cost to ship from Michigan as MGM quoted to ship from Hawaii and others have quoted to ship from California.

ichadwick
05-02-2010, 09:43 AM
Just checked. They offer nothing in steel-string ukes I can see. Think I may have to put a notice under 'wanted'...

eleukeusa
05-05-2010, 10:07 AM
I saw a thread that suggested Eleuke was coming out with some models, but haven't seen one yet.
I just saw pictures of the prototype... looks pretty cool, we'll be testing them out soon. So, sometime, EleUke steel strings will be coming...

ichadwick
05-05-2010, 01:40 PM
Sometime? As in soon? I'm on the verge of taking up an offer of a Risa in the marketplace area...

Can a normal Eleuke be strung with steel strings instead of nylon?

ddpro153
05-06-2010, 12:57 AM
Hey Ian,

Check out: http://monkeywrenchmusic.com/products-page/ukuleles/ I just got their steel string tenor, excellent craftsmanship and made in the USA.

ichadwick
05-06-2010, 02:05 AM
I saw that. Very, very nice, and looks well made. At $300 I'd buy it in a flash. But it's pricier than I really hoped to pay. With taxes and shipping, that would add another $135-150 to the total.

Just as a comparision, I can walk into any music store in Canada and get a new Strat clone for $100-$150, many even come with a gig bag at that price. Mine is on consignment at the local store for $125 and it's so unused the mactac is still on the pick guard! So $600-$800 for a solid body uke just seems over the top. I can get a new Strat for that price, or any of a number of brand-name instruments. Why would a solid-body uke be so expensive?

cornfedgroove
05-06-2010, 02:14 AM
but you're talking about getting a used Risa for $400...and they're ugly! of course thats "IMO"

I like LP style

ichadwick
05-06-2010, 03:11 AM
but you're talking about getting a used Risa for $400...and they're ugly! of course thats "IMO"

Yeah, well I'm not blown away by the Risa's 'kidney bean' shape I have to admit. But is the style alone worth $200-$300 more?

kissing
05-06-2010, 04:24 AM
The new model does not cost more due to mere style.
The LP has the new handmade custom Ukulele humbucking pickups, with separate tone and volume controls for each pickup (there are 4 turning knobs).
I find that it gives me a lot of flexibility with the sound. Each pickup combination (neck, bridge, neck+bridge) gives me a different kind of sound suiting different purposes.

They have definitely invested in the quality of the electronics and its output. Humbuckers give a richer, warmer tone than single coils, and are more resistant to picking up interference (humbuckers "buck" the "hum").

Every other steel-string electric uke I've seen has single coil pickups and one tone and volume knob.

mailman
05-07-2010, 02:55 PM
Worth a look....

http://cgi.ebay.com/Electric-Ukulele-Solid-Body-Steel-String-Tenor-/180504280021?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2a06e4bbd5

Stackabones
05-07-2010, 07:48 PM
Have you checked into the Cavaquinho?

ichadwick
05-08-2010, 02:55 AM
Worth a look....

http://cgi.ebay.com/Electric-Ukulele-Solid-Body-Steel-String-Tenor-/180504280021?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2a06e4bbd5

Nice - I'd bid, but he only ships to the USA. I'm in Canada.

As for humbuckers vs single coil - depends on the sound you want. Teles and Strats are single coil, Les Paul and most other Gibsons are double. I've had a myriad of electric guitars in my past and I like single coils a lot. Whether they'rre a good choice for ukes remains to be tested. I'll probably end up with ukes that have both (not likley together, but I've had guitars that had single and double on the same instrument).

I don't disagree the uke is worth the money. And it really is beautiful. I simply think it best to buy a less expensive one to start so I can see if I like steel-stringed ukes enough to make a more serious investment.

Landshark
05-08-2010, 06:27 AM
Mya-moe makes a steel string lap steel resonater which you can add a pickup to.

mailman
05-08-2010, 06:34 AM
Nice - I'd bid, but he only ships to the USA. I'm in Canada.

As for humbuckers vs single coil - depends on the sound you want. Teles and Strats are single coil, Les Paul and most other Gibsons are double. I've had a myriad of electric guitars in my past and I like single coils a lot. Whether they'rre a good choice for ukes remains to be tested. I'll probably end up with ukes that have both (not likley together, but I've had guitars that had single and double on the same instrument).

I don't disagree the uke is worth the money. And it really is beautiful. I simply think it best to buy a less expensive one to start so I can see if I like steel-stringed ukes enough to make a more serious investment.

Ian,

If you really like that uke on eBay well enough to bid, go ahead and do it. You can have it shipped to me, and I'll bring it with me to UWC2010. Just a thought...

Really....I'd bring it. Honest! I would!

cocohonk
05-08-2010, 06:39 AM
Oooh, I'd love to have a steel string ukulele (well, not now, but maybe in a year or so), so thanks for starting this thread.

How about this? I saw one (months ago though) at fleamarketmusic, and they look great. Though I'm not sure how much these would be.

http://www.jupitercreekmusic.com/

I have another question. For those of you who are using steel string ukuleles, where do you get extras sets of strings from? Are they guitar strings or steel strings that are made especially for ukuleles?

kissing
05-08-2010, 08:25 AM
The strings are the same as electric guitar strings. You just need to find the right gauges.
Listed on Risa's website are the string gauges to use on their steel string electrics:
http://ukulele.de/shop/media/products/uke432sb_spe.html

The default tuning and setup of the electric steel-string uke is low-4th GCEA with the following gauge:
0.026" (4th) low G
0.017" (3rd) C
0.013" (2nd) E
0.010" (1st) A


I've been ordering my strings from Risa, because they conveniently have the sets specifically for ukes:
http://ukulele.de/shop/product_info.php?info=p37_RISA-Electric-Steel-Strings.html

ichadwick
05-08-2010, 12:07 PM
Actually I bid on that eBay uke. I'm the highest so far, but not met the reserve. After just buying the Risa and the eBand, my Paypal account is a bit thin, so I can't stretch it too far. But I'll keep at it... maybe see how high the reserve is... I'm a bit torn because I really want another baritone for a friend so we can jam. But a second electric uke works as well...

ichadwick
05-08-2010, 12:14 PM
How about this? I saw one (months ago though) at fleamarketmusic, and they look great. Though I'm not sure how much these would be.

http://www.jupitercreekmusic.com/
Yeah, I saw that and just had made up my mind to get it when someone else bought it. Was really miffed at myself for procrastinating and dithering when I should have jumped right in. Can I say bugger here without it setting off some alarm system? Yes? then bugger. That's what struck me when I opened the page to make an offer and say someone had beaten me to it. Bugger. And I mean it!