View Full Version : Buying new upgrade uke, occasional amp use, inbuilt pickup or external when required?

05-11-2014, 12:14 AM

I am upgrading to 2 new concert ukes actually, going for a solid spruce and a koa as they have different personalities and will suit different roles. I also sing solo, and the spruce provides an interesting "off-piste" sound. I may also fit a low-g to this instrument. Feedback from friends have said this "Spruce" has a lutish/mandolin quality where the koa is much more traditional ukulele, but with quality sound, ie crisp chords etc.

However both are purely acoustic. They are both fab instruments, and I have been offered them at a great price, hence another reason for going for both.

I do have a cheaper clearwater concert with passive pickup which is also great in its own way.

However I am a little concerned whether I am making a mistake going for purely acoustic instruments, or is this a case of the instrument comes first. Obviously one can mic up externally or buy a decent "bug" piezo pickup. I have been miccing up with my Zoom H4 stereo mic which gives a great sound.

My gut feeling is the instrument comes first, and then you add appropriate pickups. Recommendations....?

Thoughts on the above would be appreciated.


what name
05-11-2014, 01:40 AM
I love the acoustic sound of instruments, but amplification depends on setting. Mic'd sounds best usually, and for a solo performer may be most important.
In a group setting, the convenience of internal pickups becomes more of an advantage.
The other factor is degree of amplification, size of audience, and the physical setting.
For small audiences in a smaller setting, mic'd ukulele may be your best way, but if the crowd gets larger, a pickup may save a lot of hassle.
I prefer soundboard transducers for a more natural sound, but like under-saddle pickups with a larger music group.
I don't trust outboard stick-on pickups with my clumsiness.

05-11-2014, 11:51 AM
Thanks for this reply. Very help, the sound of experience. What is your view on prefitted pickup devices as opposed to retrofitting. I have heard it said that prefitted are of variable quality to keep the price down, and thereforeyou are better to do it yourself. This opinion may be totally wrong ??

05-11-2014, 12:02 PM
You can always have a luthier add a pickup to your uke or ukes later. I prefer inbuilt active pickups.