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View Full Version : What pickup should I get for my ukulele?



japzylog
05-11-2010, 05:02 AM
Hi guys,

Can you please give me an idea what clip on pickup should get for my ukulele? It's just I can't afford to buy a new ukulele with a built in pickup in it...
Thanks

John

lindydanny
05-11-2010, 05:11 AM
I don't know of a specific model for ukulele, but I've always been a fan of the sound of "free floating" pickups like some of the old time western swing guys used on their arch tops. I'd be curious to know if there is much of a difference in the build of one for ukulele compared to guitar seeing as they are mostly pez pickups nowadays.

~DB

SailingUke
05-11-2010, 06:41 AM
I have one of these, I like the sound and is easy to move from ukulele to ukulele.
http://www.docsukuleles.com/index1.html?392.html&1
http://www.docsukuleles.com/index1.html?392.html&1

happyslappysoong
05-11-2010, 12:40 PM
Check out Schaller's range of transducer contact piezo mics. I used one with my first uke and was great.

jer989
05-11-2010, 02:17 PM
I've been thinking about trying a diy cheap-o pickup for my uke just to try it out (and because I'm cheap ;-) ) - there's very good info on the internet about how to do it, but basically you wire a piezo element to a jack that you can install in your uke. The piezo pickup (which I guess technically would then be a contact microphone) is mounted inside your uke (using glue, epoxy, or maybe even double-sided foam tape) under the bridge.

Like I said, I haven't tried it yet, but I plan to, and the cost is anywhere from free to around $5 total. You may be able to get a 1/4" jack from an old broken piece of equipment, or worst case, here in the U.S., Radio Shack sells a set of two for $3. Then the piezo element is another Radio Shack item, I think they're about $2-$3. Again, the piezo elements are also used in all sorts of cheap electronics, like little games, or greeting cards that play music, etc. - you might even have one of these 'donor' items sitting around the house! So all you have to do is find a soldering iron, a little solder, and maybe a few inches of wire. If you're not keen on putting a hole in your uke for a jack, you could also try to experiment with mounting it on the outside somehow.

I've heard sound samples of these types of diy piezo pickups and they sound pretty good. The only thing that I'm not sure of is how good the signal out of the piezo element is is you're running it right into an amplifier (usually a uke with a piezo pickup also will have an on-board pre-amp built in to boost the signal before the signal goes out to the jack). I think that you're able to plug right in to an amp though.

here's some links with the instructions and lots of pics:

http://home.earthlink.net/~erinys/contactmic.html

http://www.wsukes.com/electric/electric.html

http://www.noiseguide.com/product_info/radio_shack_piezo_transducer_273073a

http://brokenpants.com/?page_id=94

japzylog
05-11-2010, 09:32 PM
actually, i'm now thinking of putting a hole at the bottom of my uke then install a Shadow SH 1110-UK pickup. the only thing i'm worried now is, will it change its sound after putting a hole? its just i love my baby's present sound....

lindydanny
05-12-2010, 09:54 AM
Piezo DIYs are pretty easy. Sometimes you may need a little extra electrical components here or there, but it is pretty straight forward. I've seen a long of home built instruments that have used this method to make pickups. The great thing is that this will get a pretty "real" sound from the pickup.

Good luck!
~DB

William L
05-12-2010, 11:12 AM
I use a K&K Big Shot stick on pick up. Sounds great and I can use it on all of my ukes.

http://elderly.com/new_instruments/items/KK1.htm

DeG
05-12-2010, 11:23 AM
There is useful DIY pickup installation tips in this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRG8EgZ6d5c). :)

Leigh
05-12-2010, 11:46 AM
Hey John - I found these pickups on ebay (http://www.ridgeviewaudio.com/) - simple to install and sound great. I've put 'em in 4 acoustic guitars and my last uke. I've recently got hold of another one for my new Kala. They require drilling a 3/8 inch (10mm) hole in the side of the uke (gulp the first time!) and they use double-sided tape to fit underneath the sound board. They're fairly permanent but can be used on another instrument if needed but at the price I thought it easier to get new ones. cheers, Leigh

jer989
05-12-2010, 02:52 PM
Hey John - I found these pickups on ebay (http://www.ridgeviewaudio.com/) - simple to install and sound great. I've put 'em in 4 acoustic guitars and my last uke. I've recently got hold of another one for my new Kala. They require drilling a 3/8 inch (10mm) hole in the side of the uke (gulp the first time!) and they use double-sided tape to fit underneath the sound board. They're fairly permanent but can be used on another instrument if needed but at the price I thought it easier to get new ones. cheers, Leigh

well - that seems like a pretty good deal for $12.99 - and it's all put together for you to boot! It does look like the same idea (piezo element wired to a 1/4" jack) - but again, the soldering is done for you (if you're not one for solderin') - and it sounds like you're happy with it. And it also looks like it's either shrink-wrapped (or like encapsulated in that plastic-dip stuff for tools - I can't tell from the photo...)

Leigh
05-12-2010, 11:08 PM
well - that seems like a pretty good deal for $12.99 - and it's all put together for you to boot! It does look like the same idea (piezo element wired to a 1/4" jack) - but again, the soldering is done for you (if you're not one for solderin') - and it sounds like you're happy with it. And it also looks like it's either shrink-wrapped (or like encapsulated in that plastic-dip stuff for tools - I can't tell from the photo...)

Yeah very happy - and yes they're coated in the plastic dip stuff - very durable

japzylog
05-13-2010, 07:04 AM
I'm thinking of buying another tenor ukulele and I have contacted Music City Cairns. They said they are installing pickup for $20 which is pretty good. Even though, I still want to install an internal pickup on my Kala and I want to do it by myself!
Anyways, thank you all for your advices :)

japzylog
05-13-2010, 07:32 AM
There is useful DIY pickup installation tips in this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRG8EgZ6d5c). :)

I think I want to do that on my Mahalo! LOL