View Full Version : Where can I get wound pickup for steel-strung uke?

09-09-2011, 08:34 AM
I have a Stagg solid-body that I was thinking of turning into a steel-strung with wound pickups. Where do I start looking for pickups?

Rick Turner
09-09-2011, 09:21 AM
Half of a Precision bass pickup is not a bad start.

09-10-2011, 04:52 AM
If you go with half a P Bass then be sure the magnet isn't offset in the pickup because that will leave a string uncovered. Thats a common problem in emandos. I recommend the Almuse pickups that are available through Moongazermusic.com. You really can't get any better for the price. I'd also budget for replacing the pots.

09-10-2011, 01:16 PM
Could anyone suggest some reading material to get me started on undestanding pickup types, placement, preamps, wiring, etc..?

09-13-2011, 03:20 PM
Found this one in about a minute. I know there are more out there, including one that looks like a strat type pickup for mandolin, etc. Lot's of new stuff for 4 string cigar box instruments.


Here are some pricier professional grade pickups:


09-13-2011, 03:41 PM
Just google 'electric pickups for ukulele'. You will uncover plenty of reading material.

10-12-2011, 12:49 PM
Thanks for the tips guys, my rebuild project is moving along nicely. I've been searching ebay etc.. for pickups, with ease of fitting being an important factor. I'm looking at the following on ebay and would welcome second opinions:


I like the fact I can cut a single hole, drop the pickup in and the chrome cover will hold everything in place, cover any rough edges, and look good. All the other bass pickups I've seen would need much more complex hole cutting, and maybe a scratchplate to cover everything up again.

10-14-2011, 09:41 AM
The pole spacing on that bass pickup will be too wide unless you cant the whole thing over at a crazy angle such as on the Risa uke:

One of the coils from a P-bass works well, but the pole spacing is slightly too close - you need to have the bridge saddles closer together than is standard on ukes. Look out for one with separate Alnico magnets, I've had the best results from this type in terms of both sound and string balance.

Another option is one of the "rails" style mini-humbuckers, designed to fit in the neck position on a telecaster guitar. Plenty of output, a nice growly sound and no worries about string spacing...

10-14-2011, 09:55 AM
Thanks. Took a look at the string spacing on the stagg and it's 46mm, much wider than the 36mm of my concert accoustic. This will mean that the above pickup will be fine, but the bridge I've ordered won't be. ho-hum.

10-14-2011, 10:27 AM
This is what you want. http://www.guitarfetish.com/Neovin-neck-Pickups_c_142.html They are four wire humbuckers. Use an on/on/on switch to get single coil, humbucker/out of phase. Three distinct tones. My concern is whether your instrument is going to hold up to steel strings, so you might try using flat wound strings. They carry a lot less tension than round wound strings. I find on steel string instruments, that you have to put a little back bow in to the neck so that when you bring the strings to tension you'll have the proper amount of neck relief. The string tension is going to bow the neck. That's why most steel string instruments have truss rods or stiffeners in the neck.

10-14-2011, 10:46 AM
This is all a bit of an experiment. I picked the uke up cheap at a festival and I'm just seeing if I can create something unique out of it.


Thanks to Rob-C I've realised all the parts I was planning on using have different string-spacings. I may still go for that Artec bass pickup for ease of installation, fit it near the bridge and use individual bridges so I can set the string-spacing to exactly what I need.

10-14-2011, 10:56 AM
I'd advise placing the pickup as far from the bridge as possible, to get a less-harsh tone. In fact, right up by the neck is my favoured placing on a steel string e-uke or e-mando .

From the pic it looks like the Stagg has a solid maple neck - is it a bolt-on? At first glance it looks plenty strong enough for four steel strings at lowish tension.

10-14-2011, 11:06 AM
The GFS pickup is a rail pickup, so it doesn't matter what the string spacing is. You need to make sure that the bridge spacing doesn't exceed the width of the neck at the twelfth fret. In regards to a bridge, you can buy one off ebay for $10.00.

10-14-2011, 11:25 AM
Rob-C, yes, maple bolt-on neck and body. The whole thing is quite short for a concert scale uke too so I'm hoping it'll be fine with the steel strings. Take on board what you say about pickup position, will have a re-think.

thistle3585, thanks for the info on the rail pickup.

10-20-2011, 10:24 AM
Right, I've changed the thread title to reflect tho whole project. Things have progressed a bit over the last week thanks to the comments and suggestions here. Just waiting for a few parts to arrive then I can start putting it all together.

thistle3585 I am going to get that pickup but to start cheap I picked up this one (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/180730662211) off ebay. I popped into a local luthier and explained what I was doing and he's gonna route the hole for it and then I found a neat little chrome surround here (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/140594292554) which will save me having to make a scratchplate.

Still waiting for the bridge but have got a set of 3150R Fender original bullets strings which I read here (http://www.ianchadwick.com/ukuleles/picks.htm) should suit.

So that's where I'm at. As soon as the bridge and pickup arrive I'll drop the body into the shop to be machined then put it all together.

10-20-2011, 03:57 PM
I don't like using bullet end strings on my hard tail bridges because they dent the top of the instrument right behind the bridge because they are so long. Ball ends don't do that.