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Thread: Eleuke is Developing a Steel String Ukulele...What do you think?

  1. #11


    Hmm, well if you put steel strings and magnetic pickups on a Ukulele, it is going to sound like a capo'd electric guitar... because that's what it is physically.

    But I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing. Actually I think it's a very good thing.
    I think it defeats the purpose of an electric uke if it sounds close to an acoustic uke. There are so many new effects and techniques to be discovered and experimented with electric ukes in their differences to traditional ukes, while sharing the same tuning and playability.
    And a property of electric guitars is the extreme diversity of sounds you can generate from it. You can make it sound like just about anything to suit many areas of music, which is a feature that I would like to see in ukuleles.
    I'm looking forward to a new breed of ukulele sound. If I wanted something that sounds more traditionally "ukey", I'd just play a traditional ukulele :P

    The traditional uke is great, and I love its sound - but unfortunately (in my limited experience) it has limited application in more popular genres of music, such as in rock bands or even to be used in the Church band for Christian music.
    Nylon-string electrics can emulate a bit, but they still lack the crispness and sustain of steel strings. Piezo pickups and nylon strings cannot produce the sound that magnetic pickups and steel strings do, though I see many players trying to make the best out of it on Youtube (and they do a fabulous job).

    I think the steel-string electric ukulele can give uke-players who don't already play guitar a bridge to more wide applications to music. And personally I think it is quite different to an electric guitar, despite sharing some similar hardware.
    People don't normally play their guitars capo'd at the 5th fret, and there are major differences in the playability of ukes to a guitar.
    I'm absolutely loving my new Risa Les Paul that just arrived yesterday. I would daresay its the best instrument I ever played. It has such a rich, mellow, sweet tone with its humbuckers and uke tuning and I can more easily play along to other musicians without making everything sound so rainbow sunshine lollypops. I'm loving the sustain it gives, and the more "authentic" sounding distortion.

    BUT it did cost me an arm and a leg to afford (in this other topic, I explained how it made me go into bank debt ). It is not easy for the typical student ukulele player to get their hands on.
    If Eleuke can develop a quality steel-string uke with single-coil or humbucking pickups like electric guitars for a good price, I'm all for it!

    (well I do enjoy the uniqueness of being one of the very few people to own a steel-string electric uke... but ah well, sharing is caring.. all for the good of ukuleles)

    What kind of strings will you be using
    I'm no expert, but I think current steel string ukes can be fitted with electric guitar strings of the right gauge. Uke strings are just electric guitar strings of certain thickness, which are widely available, apparently.

    Would it be possible to use high-G? Or just low-G?
    Just about any tuning should be possible with the right strings. At least that's the case with Risa. You can tune them like mandolins, high G, low G, even DGBE baritone.
    But you would have to make adjustments to the bridge/action and nut.

    ps: I LOVE electric ukes. My ukes:
    Last edited by kissing; 03-09-2010 at 03:57 PM.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Pacific Northwest


    New sounds? New adventures?! Go for it!

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    La Quinta, CA


    I call first dibs on the prototypes!

    Kidding. Wish I could afford one. Woo-hoo for innovation and progression!
    If I had a nickel for every thought I had about music, I'd be a billionaire by now.

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  4. #14


    Love the idea... I'd have to see the details of course to make a judgment.

    The market for a steel-string dedicated electric uke may be small though. Jazz players, punk fans – a few rockers, and of course the uke collectors.

    I do think that making a flexible set up - Uke, mando/tenor guitar, baritone - would give you more of a market. Targeting mando players (electric mandos are often four-string) and guitar players (DGBE travel guitar for example) would give you a fertile ground to sell into.

    I also adore the idea of a tremolo system – but it would have to be done well.

    You’d be going head to head with Risa and their new LP line – and that’s looking pretty darn good. So competing on price, and making another style (Fender comes to mind – as does Gretch/Ricki) could set you apart nicely enough. Add that to the multi-instrument appeal above and I think you have something.
    Last edited by GrumpyCoyote; 03-10-2010 at 11:07 AM.

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  5. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Floyd, Virginia!


    Yes please! I will sell 'em! I think it would definately open the instrument up to more diversity and I am already itching to try one out with my effects pedals! facebook... twitter... Youtube: For Fun... Youtube: Business...
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  6. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Treasure Coast


    I think this is great, I would have to say though as I am waiting patiently to purchase a eleuke from MIM, that the one thing that does turn me off of the current designs are the holes that go all the way through the uke. A classic look like the jazz cutaway without the f holes would be a nice option.
    I don't sniff glue, I eat it!!!

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Idaho Falls, ID


    the one thing that does turn me off of the current designs are the holes that go all the way through the uke.
    Here's a few EleUkes with less holes or no holes... | click the cans to friend, follow and watch!

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Northern NJ


    If it could be tuned to GDAE, I would consider it for a 4 string electric mandolin.
    Ukes: Martin SO soprano, EleUke Concert rosewood. Mandolins: Big Muddly M0-W, Ovation MCS-148, Martin Backpacker, AlanZ OM-1 octave mandolin

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2009


    That would be a great inovation
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  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Thumbs up

    I really like the idea... but hope you price them the same as your existing line. $300 or more street price IMO is just too much for such a creature just for a pickup & steel strings. Should be no more than $50 more.
    As for styling, I really like what you have out right now - the perfect amount of whimsy, without being childish or cute.
    I was actually considering getting one of your ukes right now.... but will have to wait to see what these turn out to be like.
    Since your asking for opinions, consider changing the font on your headstock (and losing the graphic). To me at least, it looks mismatched to the clean lines of your designs.
    Last edited by Paul December; 03-28-2010 at 08:02 AM.

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