Pickups And Amplification

If you really must plug it in......


This is Doug Tolentino and Pa’ahana playing at their regular gig at the Halekulani Hotel in Hawaii.  Doug’s Wise Tenor ukulele is so loud it can be played into the vocal mic at a distance and is still right there in the mix with amplifiesd guitar and string bass.  Because it is nice and light, he can hold it this way without a strap over a 3 hour show.
Sometimes you really need a pickup system – to drive effects, to play in big lineups with bass and drums on loud stages, for soloing without having to play too hard……. etc.  If you want a pickup it is best to have it installed when the instrument is built.  The ukulele is built slightly heavier (just a little….) to best accommodate the pickup.
These are the ones I have found to be the best. They can be ordered already installed in the instrument. 

Mi-Si Acoustic Trio-An L.R.Baggs Element under saddle pickup into a special MiSi endpin preamp.  This preamp has loads of gain, has no battery, but runs for over 12 hours off a 1 minute charge courtesy of a super capacitor.  It sounds very accurate, is simple to use and has no battery! Also available with optional soundhole controls.

L.R. Baggs Five 0 – Also an L.R. Baggs element under saddle pickup with a specailly designed ultra light preamp tuned for ukulele tone.  It runs 300 hours off a small disc battery  and has the advantage of a volume control in the soundhole.

K&K Aloha Twin or  Big Island Spot – this is a passive system.  The two small stick-on transducers are inside the ukulele.  The advantage of this system is that there is  no extra layer of a pickup element underneath the bridge saddle to muffle the response.  On most ukuleles you can’t tell the difference, however on mine or any other quality instrument you can.  It is uncomplicated and sounds good.  It is best through a preamp.