Electric bass or Bass Uke

May 15, 2024
Reaction score
Should I start off playing electric bass and then transfer to bass ukulele, or learn bass uke and then transfer to electric bass? I want it so that if I learn one, I can just pick up the other and play it.
The greatest difference would be the texture of the strings. I believe most U basses have "spaghetti" strings; synthetic materials that are fairly stretchy and soft. I have never actually tried these myself, so others here may be better informed. I went with the Kala Journeyman bass because it is designed to use metal wound strings that feel just like regular electric bass strings, although they could have synthetic cores. I replaced the round wound strings that came on it with flat wound strings that Kala sells separately. Pricey, but worth it IMHO.
More brands have come out with solid body U basses since then, so I can't speak about those.
If you can get to a music store to try before you buy, that might be best. If not, then YouTube is a good source for reviews.
Happy hunting!
What kind music do you want to play? What kinds of sounds do you want to make? I would let that guide your decision.
I played rhythm guitar for almost 50 years and was often told I should play bass because I have good feel and tempo, but I didn't want to be encumbered by a large electric bass, wouldn't even consider a standup double bass. Then in mid 2013, I took up the ukulele, which was so comfortable and portable that I gave away my guitars and joined a uke group. A year later (mid 2014), the leader asked if anyone would take up the bass to fill in our sound. I discovered bass ukes/mini bass guitars and went for it.

For the past ten years bass uke has been my primary instrument. In that time I've gone through over 50 bass ukes/mini bass guitars. For me it's always about comfort, weight and portability. At first I used the various poly strings available, which tend to simulate a standup bass sound, but found that even the newer ones get sticky in humid conditions, they stretch so much that you have cut them down and re-string them too often, which is a pain.

Then metal wound nylon core came out for bass uke, with both round and flat versions. I never liked the zing noise round wound strings make, so I always used flatwound strings on my guitars, and that's what I use on my bass ukes, which sounds more in the direction of standup. If you're looking for an electric bass sound, round wound is more that.

I also only use a wireless pod system to be free to move around. Here are the bass uke/mini bass guitars I went through, and the ones I have now, which are most comfortable for me with nerve damage to my neck spinal cord from radiation treatments for cancer years ago.

Bass Collection all not violins.jpg

Bass Collection 12.jpg
I played electric bass for over 40 years before taking up the uke about five years ago. They are heavy, but personally I think they are so cool to play. I even have a custom made 12 string electric bass. It weighs a ton and has a really wide neck, but when you plug it into an Orange amp with some overdrive there is nothing like it. I also have a Kala U Bass. It's fun but I personally prefer to play electric bass. If you are just playing for your own amusement it probably doesn't matter which you start on. If you have the thought that you might join a band some day then I would recommend getting an electric at some point. You really can't go wrong with either.
I would look for a short scale electric, based on the ease of adjusting the bridge and the much easier to deal with thin body. Any electric will be easier to play for body depth, but if you get a short scale like a Bronco you will have a reasonably small bass, over a full size P or J bass.

If you will be playing only acoustic, get the Kala style one instead.
Last edited:
I will also be in my high school marching band in 2 years. They use electric bass.
Last edited:
I will also be in my high school marching band in 2 years. They use electric bass.
There you go. Get an electric and then get a bass uke later if you still want one. I would have voted for electric anyway, unless you had something that would make it physically challenging to play a full-size bass guitar.
Last edited:
This might sound strange but I actually find short scale basses or regular scale basses with thin necks less comfortable. My favorite type of bass is your standard P bass with a wide (1.75 inches) flat neck. I have a couple of G&L basses from their early years that are like this. I has a Jazz bass with a narrow neck and hated it so much I got rid of it.

That being said I have a old Gibson SG copy bass made in Japan from back in the era when copy basses were often as good as the real thing. I got it some years ago for next to nothing. Aside from needing to be rewired, it's fantastic. Everyone that's touched it loves it. It was probably made back in 1970.
I'm a newbie. Should I go for the Hofner Violin Bass, Squier Mini P-Bass, or Ibanez Mikro Bass? I also play classical guitar. Specifically, a Coco Cordoba Mini with a Spruce top.
I'm a newbie. Should I go for the Hofner Violin Bass, Squier Mini P-Bass, or Ibanez Mikro Bass? I also play classical guitar. Specifically, a Coco Cordoba Mini with a Spruce top.
I only own 34” scale basses and a 30” scale Fender Kingman AE. But I was surprised/impressed with the sound of the Hofner, but I hear that the build quality is meh. The build quality of the Ibanez Mikro I’ve handled was also meh. I don’t remember anything about the Squier mini. Have you looked at the Ibanez TMB 30 / 35? It seems pretty decent for the price
Top Bottom