Today, as of this writing, is October 1st. The season of Fall is fully upon us! The temperature begins to cool and leaves start changing colors. The Halloween decorations are taken out of storage and pumpkin farms, pumpkin spiced lattes, and pumpkin pies are all the rage. For many, this is the start of what we here in America call “the Holiday Season”. The time where we go through Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. And if your anything like me you live for this season all year round.
I love Halloween. I know its a little crazy but my wife and I start decorating for Fall on September 1st!
We know it’s early but time seems to be moving quicker by the year. And before you know it, there will be Christmas music playing everywhere. I’ve already seen Christmas decorations at the local Lowes and Home Depot. I’m not kidding they were up in September! And this may not be the best kept secret for people who know me personally, but as much as I love Halloween, I love Christmas way more!
So here is a chance, looking ahead, to give yourself the best ukulele gift (other than a new ukulele) ever! I’m talking about getting a pickup installed on your ukulele. Sure you can get a new case, or a new set of strings. But deciding to install a pickup, thats the ultimate upgrade for any ukulele. Like an angel getting it‘s wings!
Ukulele pickups are overwhelming to think about. There are different types such as UST, soundboard transducer, and internal mic. And each in either active or passive styles.
Yeah, it can be confusing picking out a pickup. So I will make it easy for you and give you the my top 5 suggestions.
5. Pono Passive Pickup
Now here is the caveat with this amazing pickup. You can’t just buy the pickup, you have to buy a ukulele and get it installed from The Ukulele Site (ukulelesite.com). So if your in the market to buy a new ukulele with a pickup, the team and selection at The Ukulele Site is second to none. This pickup is a very clean, with great note articulation. It’s one of the best passive pickups I’ve ever played. Accompanied with a good preamp, the Pono passive pickup will meet all your needs.
Get your new uke and Pono passive pickup here!
4. K&K Aloha Twin
The Aloha Twin is an internal double-sensor pickup specially designed for the ukulele. Its based on the same technology as their award-winning Pure Pickup. The K&K Aloha Twin pickup system has a strong output signal and works nicely even without a preamp. The sound of this pickup is clear and bright! This is the most affordable option on the list.
Please keep in mind when playing without a preamp, the result depends somewhat on the quality and type of the amplification equipment. You will need to get this installed at a music store because you will need to drill a hole at the bottom for the jack.
Get your K&K Aloha Twin pickup here!
3. Fishman Matrix Infinity
The Matrix Infinity pickup and preamp system is the newest version of the flagship Matrix Series and offers a clear transparent tone, dynamic string response, and ease of installation with solderless connections. Easily accessible soundhole-mounted Volume and Tone rotary controls allow the player to make effortless adjustments.
It sports a redesigned active, endpin mounted preamp! Because this pickup is active, it needs a 9-volt battery to power the preamp. You will need to get this installed at a music store because you will need to drill a hole at the bottom for the jack, fit the under saddle sensor, and mount the sound hole rotary controls.
Get the Fishman Matrix Infinity ukulele pickup here!
2. Mi-Si Acoustic Trio Uke Pickup
The Mi-Si Acoustic Trio Uke system features an active, battery-free preamp designed specifically to work with the L.R. Baggs ukulele pickup. Yup, you heard me right...battery free!
The preamp for this system uses Mi-Si’s custom piezo linearization scheme (whew, say that 5 times fast). This scheme brings the most truthful and accurate sound from the pickup. And boy is it powerful!
And the secret weapon for Mi-Si pickups is the onboard charging. All you have to do is power up for 60 seconds using the Mi-Si power charger, and now you’ve got 16 hours of performing power! 60 seconds for 16 hours of plugged in play time? Did Marty bring this pickup back from the future?
Get the Mi-Si Acoustic Trio for ukulele here!
1. LR Baggs Five O
This pickup is the “King“ of ukulele pickups. It’s been around for almost a decade, but still delivers the most genuine sound of the ukulele. This is important since you want your ukulele to sound like... a ukulele! What a novel though!
This powerhouse active pickup is designed specifically for ukulele, sporting a convenient volume control that’s mounted right in the soundhole for easy stealth access and a teeny tiny 3V battery that provides power for a minimum of 300 hours!
It’s also very compact and light weight, so it wont add a lot weight to your ukulele. You will need to get this installed at a music store because you will need to drill a hole at the bottom for the jack, the fit the under saddle sensor, and mount the volume control.
Its no wonder why this pickup is the most installed ukulele pickup for pros and serious hobbyists alike.
Get the LR Baggs Five O pickup here!
So now for a shameless plug!
Honorable Mention: Leolani G1 Stick-On Transducer Pickup
If you don’t want to take your ukulele in to a store for a professional installation, you can get the plugged in experience with the Leolani G1 stick-on transducer pickup. No ukulele surgery required. It utilizes a piezo contact system that just sticks onto your ukulele soundboard. The adhesive is non abrasive so it doesn‘t mess with your ukulele finish, and is reusable so it can be used over and over again.
The Leolani G1 pickup sports three onboard control knobs that control volume, bass, and treble to help you fine tune your sound. It also has quarter in cable access so you don’t have to use a mini adapter. Just plug the same quarter inch cable that you use for your amp.
It also comes with a spare adhesive pad and a dust protector plug for the port. This way you can protect the electronics when you not plugging in. Comes with a compact carrying case so you can store it in your case. It’s also an affordable option!
Get your Leolani G1 stick on pickup here!
Can I get a little ‘Mele Kalikimaka’? I know, I know.... it’s too early. Haha! But its never too early to plan ahead. Getting your ukulele amplified could be the gift that you never knew you needed. Trust me when I say its a game changer with you have a pickup installed. It’s like your ukulele is complete. I hope you check out the 6 six mentioned above and see which one is right for you.
Keep jamming and aloha!