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View Full Version : Electric steelstring ukes.



tjomball
04-15-2012, 02:59 AM
What are the options here?
Jupiter Creek and Risa are 2 options. Monkey Wrench is another.
But those are the only ones I can think of right now.
I'm in the market for a steelstring uke. And sofar Monkey wrench and the Risa LP tenor are the only ones worth looking at.

Are there any other options?

KimosTherapy
04-15-2012, 03:17 AM
The new electric steel string Kamoa ukes are AWESOME!!!

tjomball
04-15-2012, 03:28 AM
Now where would one get a hold of one of those?

WhenDogsSing
04-15-2012, 03:51 AM
Now where would one get a hold of one of those?

They haven't really hit the market yet. They were introduced at the NAMM show this past January. Right now, you can place a pre-order through UkeRepublic or Mim, two vendors that I know of that will be selling the Kamoas when they arrive.

kissing
04-15-2012, 04:22 AM
I have owned 3 Risa steel string electrics (Les Paul Tenor, Les Paul Soprano, Semi hollow Tenor). I have been very pleased with every single one of them.
Risa is one of my all-time favourite uke brands. Their electrics are of superb quality. Their Les Pauls in particular are spectacular - the humbuckers sound super sweet, rich and warm, with ultimate sustain. Very versatile, ranging from smooth jazz, heavy rock/metal and everything in between.

Jupiter Creek are Australian made. They play very well, but don't have as much bells and whistles as the Risa (eg: truss rod, multiple pickups/switch), and have a 'cruder' appearance, often just plain wood with a coating. But they are comfortable to play and sound quite OK through amplifiers. They are a bit hard to get these days, as the maker has announced retirement from instrument making. You would have to keep a close eye on eBay for the occasional listings that come up.

As for Kamoa.. the videos speak for themselves:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-O0lTAB5ups
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-O0lTAB5ups

I'm quite eager to try one..

Tudorp
04-15-2012, 05:29 AM
I can't wait to get back on mine. I have been developing and building a steel string LP myself. I have some threads somewhere on it's progress. I should have it rocking soon. I've had it together and apart several times over the process, and I hope to build a few of them in the next year or so. Here are some of the prototype pics of mine.

http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff490/Tudorp/Les%20Paul%20Uke/P1050395.jpg

The bridge I developed for it.
http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff490/Tudorp/Les%20Paul%20Uke/P1050399.jpg

The electronics. I am wiring it 50's style Les Paul
http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff490/Tudorp/Les%20Paul%20Uke/P1050110.jpg

This was before I started the finish. I hope to have my prototype done soon...
http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff490/Tudorp/Les%20Paul%20Uke/P1050330.jpg

When I iron it all out, I also want to build a Strat Tele style too.. Cool stuff..

Mim
04-15-2012, 09:08 AM
The Kamoas are pretty darn awesome! They are supposed to be in sometime this month. I am thinking now it might be early next month. Check them out. I really love the look, feel, and sound of these!

tjomball
04-15-2012, 03:20 PM
Tudorp... Your builds never fail to amaze me. And I like your bridge. Now correct me if I'm wrong here? Is that based on an Epi LP PeeWee?
If so. What did you do about the neck? And what about the pickups?
If it's from scratch. Impressive.

Mim.. What will the price be on the Kamoas? I'd much rather throw some dosh your way than some other faceless merchant. No offence to anyone else here dealing in our "drug of choice".. ;)

webby
04-15-2012, 05:25 PM
I dont see the point, they sound just like electric guitars, close your eyes and listen to that Kamoa video and you may as well have a gobson plugged in.

The only possible use for them that I can see is for a player that can only play the ukulele and wants to get that guitar sound.

If you were going to use one for recording then why bother using a uke to get a guitar sound if you could just use a guitar?

I still think steel string ukes are a very cool idea but totally impractical and pointless.

kissing
04-15-2012, 06:38 PM
The only possible use for them that I can see is for a player that can only play the ukulele and wants to get that guitar sound.

That is actually quite a big deal.
The original uke sound is great, not questioning that at all. But in terms of fitting in with a wide range of music genres, there is a reason why guitars dominate and ukuleles do not.

You can't play a guitar like ukulele. They are not the same. I own guitars and electric ukuleles - the profile of the neck, scale lengths and size make a huge difference in playability and style.

I think it's a bit short sighted to diss electric ukes just because they are similar to guitars. In that case, ukes are just small classical guitars.
Why play uke? Just play a classical guitar.

^ The obvious rebuttal to this would be "well the small body cavity of an acoustic uke makes it different from a classical guitar". The same can be said about electric ukes - the scale length and tuning makes a difference to its tone output in amplifiers too, that a full scale electric guitar can never quite replicate.

Tudorp
04-16-2012, 12:45 AM
Tudorp... Your builds never fail to amaze me. And I like your bridge. Now correct me if I'm wrong here? Is that based on an Epi LP PeeWee?
If so. What did you do about the neck? And what about the pickups?
If it's from scratch. Impressive.



It is based as far as size and profile on the Epi PeeWee. I used one as a template. The body is thicker with a curl maple top, and the neck is thinner. The finish is cherry clear Nitro lacquer with a burst of mahogany clear Nitro lacquer around the edges. The dark strip detail down the center separating the book matched curl maple top & headstock veneer is rosewood. The Pickups are soap bar type pickups. The pots are a two pair of CTS pots for tone and volume control for each of the pups with PIO caps, and wired 50's style Gibson Les Paul. The saddle is a reworked Gibson Nashville saddle converted to a wrap around style.

tjomball
04-16-2012, 01:31 AM
Tudorp Nice specs.. Do you do commisions? ;) hehe
But in all seriousness. What do you think of converting an LP PeeWee to something similar?
Or should I just buy myself a router and do it myself? The problem as far as I can tell is the neck.
A solidbody acoustic doesn't see anywhere near the same stringloads. So What kind of trussrod do you use in the neck?
I think Monkeywrench uses a fixed trussrod in their necks.

If I were to build it myself I would think the challenge here would be the pups.
I'm thinking blade polepieces and angle the pups.
Ofcourse as I mentioned in a previous thread I'd also like a tremolo. But fabricating a trem would probably be a bit too much work.
Modifying a bigsby might be an option.
But it's all theorycrafting so far.

Tudorp
04-16-2012, 01:56 AM
Actually I have a couple PeeWees, and planned to convert one of them, but decided it is easier to just make it myself using the PeeWee as a template. You can buy truss rod kits from Stewmac, route the neck and it is installed under the fretboard. You do need one for a steel string due to the stresses. Without a truss rod, I think it would fold up like a cheap lawn chair in a short order.. lol

tjomball
04-16-2012, 02:59 AM
What's your take on the PeeWee's.
Are they worth the money?

Tudorp
04-16-2012, 03:32 AM
Short answer. Yes.

Long answer: It is, what it is. It is a real guitar, and they are a low end Epiphone. Epiphone has some very nice profesional guitars including some of their Les Paul guitars. However, they also have some lower end "toyish" guitars that are "decent" but can be built out to be a fine guitar. Between me and my daughter, we own several Gibson, and several Epiphone guitars and Les Pauls. The daughter has one Goth model Epi Les Paul that new sold for about $400, but I rebuilt it a couple years ago with CTS electronics and Russian PIO caps, a nice set up, and it plays as well as any Gibson Les Paul. In fact, much better than an off the shelf Gibson. The PeeWees are of the Low end variety, but, with an electronic upgrade which is what I have done to one of my PeeWees, is an awesome little axe and plays well. Off the shelf, they need allot of work to really be a viable guitar, but for just over $100 off the shelf are a hoot to play, and I love them. But for serious playing, ya need to sink a bit of work and money in them. I have about $300 in my PeeWee and if you can get over the toyish look and size of it, it can jam with the best of them, lol.. The body is plywood though, which can be considered a weakness, but on mine, I gave mine a new body of solid Mahogany (which is really overkill IMHO for what it is). But, I am a Mahogany hound/snob, hahhah.. You can pick them up cheap used for under $100, and for a Bengie, tons of fun to play. A little set up know how, and tinkering, worth the money.. But most "guitarists" can't seem to get past the "un_cool" size of it. Me? Im too old and way past trying to go for the "cool" Slash look, lol..





What's your take on the PeeWee's.
Are they worth the money?

Tudorp
04-16-2012, 03:43 AM
Here is my good PeeWee. I said I have about $300 in it, but after doing some quick math, it's actually just over $200. I paid about $60 for it used, trashed the body and gave it a solid Mahog body, CTS pot, PIO cap, Classic 57 Pickup some bridge and nut work, and some better tuners (the stock tuners are really junk) and it's a little mini rocker.. lol..

http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff490/Tudorp/P1060742.jpg

tjomball
04-16-2012, 03:50 AM
Thanks for the input.
I'll order one from Thomann then..
Also some new electronics to go with it. :)
I found this kit there as well.. It looks like it should be a straight swap for the electronics. AFAIK. But you know that much better than me..

http://www.thomann.de/intl/emg_alx_alexi_laiho_signature_set.htm

I still want a steelstring electric uke though..

Tudorp
04-16-2012, 04:05 AM
Not familier with that "kit". I just bought my parts and made my own kit. The Classic 57 humbucker was about $60 used, and I bought new CTS premium pot for about $10, the PIO cap was less than $10, and some 50's style cloth wire with braided shielding was about $12. Also, ya do want some better tuners, the stock tuners on those things are crap. I got a decent used Gibson tuners they put on their "studio" Les pauls used for around $50. Some soldering skills is needed. string it, and Tune it like a Uke, and use it as a 6 string uke until ya find your uke.

tjomball
04-16-2012, 04:41 AM
Well I'll be ordering one PeeWee, the pickup kit, and some Schaller mini 6's in black. As well as some chord and scale books while I'm at it.
Gotta make the most of that order.

Wicked
04-16-2012, 04:49 AM
I dont see the point, they sound just like electric guitars, close your eyes and listen to that Kamoa video and you may as well have a gobson plugged in.

The only possible use for them that I can see is for a player that can only play the ukulele and wants to get that guitar sound.

If you were going to use one for recording then why bother using a uke to get a guitar sound if you could just use a guitar?

I still think steel string ukes are a very cool idea but totally impractical and pointless.


I understand your viewpoint, but I must disagree...

Just to give you perspective in where I am coming from (I am not a personal horn tooter), I can play the sh** out of a guitar. Before I squandered my talent, I was a bit of a young prodegy. I was fortunate enough to play with music legends when I was a teenager (and I am talking f-ing legends from multiple genres.) I chose a different path (with no regrets), and am in no way as sharp as I once was on the fretboard - but I can still hold my own.

That being said, I can't wait for Sam and Kamoa to ship those damn things to Mim, because it's going to be an awesome arrow in my quiver. It will sound different because it IS different - and I play differently on the uke. I'm not just talking about timbre... My phrasing just comes out, well, differently - not better or worse, just different.

I had actually started designing a steel string archtop uke, but Sam is saving me the trouble.

I. Can't. Wait.

Tudorp
04-16-2012, 04:59 AM
Since you are pretty much gutting the PeeWee anyway, look at Ebay for used ones. I went with used because I knew I was going to gut the thing anyway, so didn't want to bother with new gear..
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Epiphone-Gibson-Les-Paul-Pee-Wee-Electric-Guitar-with-Amp-Case-/120896730013?pt=Guitar&hash=item1c2601b39d

tjomball
04-16-2012, 06:45 AM
Thanks for the tip..
Only one thing.. On the PeeWee you linked to, the seller doesn't ship to Norway..
So I'm screwed on that one..
But thanks for the idea..

PhilUSAFRet
04-19-2012, 05:33 AM
That is actually quite a big deal.
The original uke sound is great, not questioning that at all. But in terms of fitting in with a wide range of music genres, there is a reason why guitars dominate and ukuleles do not.

You can't play a guitar like ukulele. They are not the same. I own guitars and electric ukuleles - the profile of the neck, scale lengths and size make a huge difference in playability and style.

I think it's a bit short sighted to diss electric ukes just because they are similar to guitars. In that case, ukes are just small classical guitars.
Why play uke? Just play a classical guitar.

^ The obvious rebuttal to this would be "well the small body cavity of an acoustic uke makes it different from a classical guitar". The same can be said about electric ukes - the scale length and tuning makes a difference to its tone output in amplifiers too, that a full scale electric guitar can never quite replicate.

:agree: Aaaaaaaaaaaaa-freaken-men!