All ukulele pickups have one purpose, and that is to amplify the sound emitting from your uke. However, not all pickups are capable of delivering the right tone. Some might even distort the sound and pick up background noise! Don’t make the wrong purchase. Here are the best ukulele pick up you can get today.
What Is a Ukulele Pickup?
As its name suggests, a pickup picks up the sound produced by your uke and takes it to the external amplifier. There is a misconception that this electronic device is not responsible for transforming the produced sound, but that’s not the case; a ukulele pickup will only transfer the sound.
Most uke pickups use piezo crystals to transform the sound vibrations into electric waves without a magnet. It differs from the magnetic ones used in guitars that need steel strings to produce an electric lock.
What to Look For in the Best Ukulele Pick Up
When shopping for a ukulele pickup, you’ll have to consider the type of ukulele pickup, choose between passive and active, and of course, the installation process. Here is a closer look at these buying factors.
Types of Ukulele Pickups
There are various types of ukulele pickups available for selection. Some of them may help enhance the sound produced by the ukulele, while others only depend on the original sound.
Soundboard Transducer (SBT)
A soundboard transducer is generally a piezo pickup that fits perfectly underneath the soundboard and is best for ukes with permanent bridge saddles. One disadvantage of this device is that it is susceptible to collecting some feedback and background noises, including the sound of your uke rubbing against you.
High-end soundboard transducers don’t have this issue, but cheaper and unknown SBT pickups will most likely have this problem.
Under Saddle Transducer (UST)
As its name suggests, this form of ukulele pickup is placed at the base of the saddle slot. However, it does need a tiny hole to let the wire connecting with the endpin jack pass. In terms of transferring the sound, a UST is better than SBTs because it directly transmits the string vibrations without any interference. UST uke pickups are the preferred pickup because of their simplicity and consistency.
This type of ukulele pickup is very picky and challenging to use during performance. However, when positioned right, it produces the best-amplified vibrations of the uke. As a matter of fact, many uke performers use a microphone to get the job done.
The most effective microphone in acoustic instrumentation is usually a large condenser mic at the center of the stage without monitors. You can also use a tiny but strategically positioned microphone, but it’s less efficient than the larger one.
Active vs Passive
Another thing to consider when buying a ukulele pickup is choosing between active and passive pickups. An active pickup has a pre-built amp that is powered by a 9V battery. On the other hand, a passive pickup doesn’t have a preamp and connects directly to the jackpin. So, which one to choose?
An active pickup offers consistency but is heavier and usually requires professional installation to make room for the battery. Passive pickup is lighter and gives a fuller sound, but you’ll need an external amp.
Installing a ukulele pickup is pretty straightforward. The majority of uke pickups have this installation process:
- Determine the central point for the jack
- Create adequately bigger holes for the jack
- Unfasten the strings and secure them further from the soundhole
- Place the endpin jack
- Adjust the inner nut and washer
- Connect the transducer body centre on the bridge
- Check the strings, then test your pickup
What Are the Best Ukulele Pickups?
The best ukulele pick up that you can get today is the LR Baggs Five.O Uke Pickup. But other noteworthy models can also provide you with fantastic pickup performance.
1. LR Baggs Five.O Uke Pickup – Best Overall Ukulele Pick Up
The LR Baggs Five.O Uke Pickup is designed to monitor and transfer your uke’s distinct sound. Plus, it integrates a soundhole accelerated volume control, a custom model of element pickup, and a microscopic endpin preamp charged by a 3V battery. But despite all of its circuitry, this pickup manages to be small and light.
2. The Feather Ukulele Pickup – Best Ukulele Microphone Pickup
Another worthy ukulele pickup is The Feather Ukulele Pickup. Since it sits on top of the soundhole, this pickup doesn’t require complicated installation and can be used immediately right out of the box. Despite being a microphone pickup, it has a fully installed active preamp that is compatible with most wireless systems.
3. KNA UK-2 Piezo Pickup – Best Slide-in Ukulele Pickup
If you want a no-fuss pickup, the KNA UK-2 Pieze Pickup is a wonderful choice. All you need to do is loosen the strings, slide the pickup under the strip loop, and you can leave the pickup installed on your uke. And the best part? This ukulele pickup has an inbuilt volume control. As for sound quality, the KNA UK-2 can pick up natural sound that is so close to a uke’s original sound.
4. Luvay Uke Pickup – Best Ukulele Pickup for the Money
If you are a beginner and don’t want to spend a huge amount of money on your first ukulele pickup, the Luvay Uke Pickup is right up in your alley. It attaches right on the uke’s body and doesn’t require you to punch a hole! Another welcome feature is that it has a volume control knob. If you have other instruments like a violin or an acoustic guitar, this pickup is also compatible.
Worth Checking Out
5. Fishman Matrix Infinity Ukulele Pickup System
The Fishman Matrix Infinity Ukulele Pickup is a wonderful choice if you want a clear and transparent tone. It is an under-saddle type of pickup with tone and volume controls and preamp. The only issue is this ukulele pickup commands a price tag, and installation can be tricky.
6. Kna AP-1 Portable Piezo Pickup
This pickup effortlessly amplifies your acoustic instrument. It is attractive, practical, and convenient with quality sound. It does not sound like the other high-end ukulele pickups, but it is a good purchase. It is compatible with violins, guitars, ukuleles, and many other instruments.
7. K&K Aloha Twin Double-Sensor Pickup
This type of ukulele does not use any batteries. However, it does not have an inbuilt preamp uke and is challenging to fit into the uke.
8. Fishman AG Undersaddle Ukulele Pickup
This Fishman ukulele pickup model is also worth checking out. It doesn’t need a battery and can be plugged directly into your amplifier of choice. However, you will need to purchase the preamp separately – although the company claims you don’t need one. Professional installation is required.
Remember, when buying the best ukulele pick up, always consider the installation, type of uke pickup, and if you prefer active or passive. And, if budget is an issue or you’re a beginner, you can always get our budget choice – Luvay Acoustic Pickup.