View Full Version : Risa Ukes

11-07-2010, 11:26 PM
Any of you have a Risa uke. I am looking at getting one of those stick looking thiings, but the steal strings are on my short list also.

I love to either about either.


11-08-2010, 12:23 AM
I own/owned the following Risa ukes:
-Risa Soprano stick (sold)
-Risa Concert stick (sold)
-Risa steel string Tenor Electric (currently have)
-Risa steel string Les Paul Tenor Electric (currently have)

The Risa stick ukes are superbly made. I really liked them, but sold them because I found myself playing the steel string ones more.
The current sticks come with geared tuners, which are definitely an upgrade from the friction tuners.

-Well set up - action is comfortable and slick
-Quality. They are very well made (Made in Europe), and the superior build quality is noticeable vs the other nylon-string electric ukes on the market (I've tried Eleukes and Stagg).
-Durability. It would be very hard to break one, it's basically a single block of wood.
-Portability. Very light and compact. Hardly feels like carrying anything at all.

-Can't handle wound strings, which would be a bit troublesome if you want low-G tuning. You would need to use an unwound low-G.
-Passive electronics. To some it would be an advantage because you don't need to use batteries. It sounds fine plugged straight into any guitar amp, though you get some hum at higher gains. The tone is very good. A pre-amp would do wonders. It is very versatile, you can use it to get acoustic or electric sound, depending on what amps/effects you use.
-It's looks leave a bit more to be desired if you were after something fancy. Though some would argue that it's part of its unique appeal.

The Risa Steel-strings are the way to go if you want an electric ukulele that goes all the way as far as quality goes. Difficult to fault them in any way.
They come well set up, and in my view, though they're a bit expensive, they're worth it. I reckon they match the quality of electric guitars available in their price range.
They are my primary ukes of choice. I have both of mine set up with DGBE strings, because I like baritone uke. My favourite ukes of all time!

It's worth getting a Risa if you're serious about electric ukuleles, and want to get one that is guaranteed to be flawless quality.
When you don't want to fidget over design and quality issues, and just focus on the music.

11-08-2010, 12:31 AM
The Risa's you have are the exact ones I am looking to get. How does the bean comare to the Les Paul?

11-08-2010, 12:48 AM
Well, their main difference is the single coils vs humbuckers.
They differ as a Telecaster (bean) would differ to a Les Paul I guess.

The Bean sounds brighter and has a crisper, bell-like tone (typical of single coils).
The semi-hollow chamber gives the sound a bit more of a 'natural' acoustic-ish sound. It doesn't cause any feedback issues as far as I can see.
It's as versatile as a well made semi-hollow single-coil electric guitar, except its in the form of a uke.

The Les Paul's humbuckers are quite different to the Bean's single coils.
The output is noticeably stronger, bolder and I think it also sustains more (as humbuckers would). I really like the fat, warm, buttery sound.
It's very good for blues/jazz and metal....and everything in between I guess. Anywhere a humbucker would be used :D
I love how you can make it do that really strong, overdrive wailllllll tone on high-gain (R-fier on a Microcube :D ). You can't get the Bean to do quite the same on just the amp itself (but you probably could with better equipment such as effects). The Les Paul has 2 separate tone/volume control knobs, which gives you more options of how to have each pickup set up individually. One criticism I'll make of the Les Paul uke is that the pickup switch is sort of located where you could accidently flick the switch while strumming. I don't do it often, but it does happen sometimes. I guess it would depend on your playing style too.

Both have a 3-way pickup switch, Neck, Both, Bridge.

It's hard to say I clearly like one more than the other. Both have their differences, and I would use them for different situations (as guitarists would between single coil and humbucker). They're both comfortable to play - any uke-player would be able to pick one up and do the same things they would do on their normal ukes and more.
The steel strings do take a bit of getting used to, but they're a lot of fun to bend and do other electric-guitar techniques on it :D

11-08-2010, 12:52 AM
do you play with a pick or your fingers?

11-08-2010, 01:05 AM
I use my fingers on it! And it's not a problem at all :)
It's great for finger picking and hand strumming.
I use a pick occasionally, but I'm not a huge fan of picks. I'm a fan of Mark Knopfler's fingerstyle.

You can use either just as well depending on preference :D

Haven't made much videos with them yet (been busy with uni) but I have a few upcoming videos planned that would feature these ukes :D


11-08-2010, 03:42 AM
Thanks so much. Do you any videos with the "bean" in it. I really love the stick and the Les Paul. Now to figure out which one to buy first!

11-08-2010, 03:46 AM
I haven't made a video with the Bean in it yet. I'll see if I can get one up.

Gotta finish exams first >_<

Though there are videos of these ukes uploaded by others...



Risa also have some good samples on their website on the product pages www.ukulele.de

Here's a sampler from Risa on their Les Paul:


11-08-2010, 03:50 AM
I love, love, love my Risa stick. I bought Kissing's concert stick with geared tuners. I had a soprano stick. I loved it but I really need a concert size and I have issues with friction tuners (wimpy hand strength). The concert is perfect for me.

11-08-2010, 05:20 AM
FAB! Thanks for posting kissing! One of my favourites at the moment.

11-08-2010, 10:02 PM
hey kissing are your bean and LP tenors?

11-09-2010, 12:20 AM
Yeh they are Tenors.
Currently set up DGBE Baritone tuning though (haven't made a recording with them in this tuning yet though)

11-09-2010, 01:04 AM
If you could only have one, would you pick the bean or Lp?

11-09-2010, 02:43 AM
It's not an easy choice, but probably the LP.
The humbuckers simply blow me away :)

11-09-2010, 02:51 AM
I have a question about the thickness of the neck on the Risa sticks that perhaps Kissing or any other stick owners could answer. In the photos on the Risa website, the neck appears to be squarish and fairly thick. Is this the case and if so, does it feel completely different than playing a traditional shaped uke, aside from the fact that it has no headstock?

11-09-2010, 03:14 AM
That's not an easy question to answer, because the necks of 'traditional shaped ukes' differ a lot between makers too.
Some ukes have thicker necks, and some have thinner necks, even if they all have a traditional body shape.

In that sense, a Risa stick's neck doesn't deviate from what you would expect from a uke. Other than having no headstock, it feels like a normal uke (and a very well setup one at that!).

The neck is a bit thick and squarish, but not in an uncomfortable way.
It won't feel any different from buying a new acoustic uke that you haven't played before.

11-09-2010, 03:22 AM
Thanks Kissing. The neck on the Risa stick looks similar in thickness to those on flukes and fleas, as opposed to say a KoAloha or Kanilea. BTW, didn't mean to hijack the thread.

11-09-2010, 03:57 AM
No worries :)

It does feel similar to Flukes/Fleas. I think that they share some design features (I suspect that one may have influenced the other).
The neck feels similar, though the Risa's fretboard isn't as wide.

They both have zero frets, which gives it that great action/intonation.
And before Risa changed to geared tuners, they both had the same Grover friction tuners.

11-09-2010, 10:37 AM
How about the weight? I know the stick was close to nothing, but how is the bean compared to the LP.

Pretty sure I am starting with the stick, would you go for the tenor or concert? (being that you have played both neck-scales from risa)

11-09-2010, 01:03 PM
The LP is heavier than the Bean. Both need straps (I use guitar straps) to be played comfortably when standing up.

If I could get a Uke-stick again, I'd go for the Tenor because it looks cooler and the tenor scale would be handy.
I've had the Soprano (maximum portability) and Concert (it was the only one at the time that came with geared tuners) in the past.
But I really like the Tenor scale on the steel-string electrics and wouldn't mind trying the same on a stick, though it would be sacrificing a bit of portability.

Oh in case my previous post made any confusion, it's only the sticks that have that squarish neck. The steel-string electrics have a thinner, rounded neck much like an electric guitar, except smaller and thinner.

11-11-2010, 07:30 AM
Here~~ I finally got round to making a vid using the Bean


11-11-2010, 10:41 PM
Thanks so much! I ordered the Tenor Stick and the LP is on my short list. The bean sounds really good, but I too am blown away by the LP's humbuckers.

11-12-2010, 03:11 AM
Nice job David. I would love to get your impresions of the Tenor Stick after you have had some time with it, specifically how much beefier the neck is compared to your Pikake concert.

11-12-2010, 08:13 AM
I have a question about the thickness of the neck on the Risa sticks that perhaps Kissing or any other stick owners could answer. In the photos on the Risa website, the neck appears to be squarish and fairly thick. Is this the case and if so, does it feel completely different than playing a traditional shaped uke, aside from the fact that it has no headstock?

The RISA stick is a piece of solid wood. I sanded mine down to a nice, rounded, thinner neck. It works great, although I didn't bother matching the finish.


I contacted Rigk Sauer first, and he replied that he didn't predict any issues with thinning the neck. He was right. I had planned to reduce the thickness by about a third, but was happy with the feel at about a 20% reduction in thickness.