Best Ukulele Pickups of 2021 – Complete Round-up

| Last Updated: May 7, 2021

Sooner or later, you’re going to find yourself in a situation where your tiny Soprano or Concert Ukulele will be invoiced by the singing of your friends.

In such cases, having a Ukulele pickup installed may come really handy, especially with all those bluetooth speakers available.

What is a Ukulele Pickup? 

When you say Electric Ukulele, you’re actually referring to acoustic Ukulele with the installed pickup and optional onboard preamp system. 

That being said, Ukulele Pickup is an accessory that allows you to plug your Ukulele instrument to the external sound source so it can produce a much louder sound using the public address (PA) speakers or the amp speaker.

It may also come with a pre-installed preamp panel so you can use it with every external device out there. It may also provide you with added volume and tone control.

How Does a Ukulele Pickup Work? 

Good Ukulele Pickup shouldn’t change the nature of your instrument sound. It should simply capture the sound and send it to the preamp stage, so once it gets pre-amplified it can be produced by the amplifier on the various kinds of speakers. 

It is usually made in the form of piezo crystals as it works much better with nylon strings than a regular electric guitar magnetic pickup. 

So, if we want to simplify it - Ukulele Pickup converts sound vibrations into a signal and allows you to play your Ukulele much louder than its acoustic specification allows you to.

When Would I Use a Ukulele Pickup? 

Here are some ideas when Ukulele Pickup may come in handy to your instrument:

Big Venues

You can’t perform in big venues with Acoustic Ukulele. Sure, you can mount the microphone in front of you, but that will limit your stage movement a lot.

Installing a decent pickup to your Ukulele will allow you to connect it to either mixer, DI box, or amplifier and have complete movement freedom. Equip a wireless transmitter instead of the cable and you can even go into the crowd.

Recording

While microphones may be a good way to record Ukulele, it may also be a more expensive one. And even if you have such microphones, providing an additional track of Ukulele straight from the pickup can’t harm your recording. On a contrary, it will generate much more clarity and definition of the final mix.

Using Effects

The best thing about Ukulele Pickups is that you can use all the stompboxes and effects dedicated to guitars. Sure, it might feel awkward at first to put a distortion to your Ukulele, but, trust us, it’s going to be a fun trip and you may even end up creating something unique and original from it.

Types of Pickups For Ukulele

All Ukulele Pickups can be categorized based on the pickup type and mounting method

What is a Passive Pickup on a Ukulele?

Most Ukulele Pickups are passive. They need a preamp before the amplifying stage and they may also come in “no drilling” variants.

What is an Active Pickup on a Ukulele?

Active Pickup is nothing more but a regular Ukulele pickup connected with the onboard preamp system. They require a lot of drilling, so you may end up asking professional assistance to install this unit on your instrument. 

What is an Undersaddle Pickup Ukulele?

This model has a piezo pickup installed under the saddle, part of the bridge. It can be used for both Passive and Active preamps and it requires just a small drill on the top of the saddle so you can set the pickup just beneath the saddle.

What is a Soundboard Ukulele Pickup?

Soundboard Pickup is considered to be one of the least invasive methods to your instrument. It uses an adhesive tape to mount the sensor pick up on the top of the tonewood. 

At this moment, there is no active soundboard pickup available on the market.

What is a Gooseneck Microphone For Ukulele?

Instead of a magnet, a gooseneck microphone can be mounted to capture the sound coming out from the soundhole. These models also don't require any drilling and belong to Active Pickup systems as microphones can’t work without a proper preamplifier installed, so they usually have at least a volume control included onboard.

What Pickup Should I Install on My Ukulele?

Let’s break down the passive vs active clash.

Our choice would definitely go towards passive models. Most of the Active pickups on the market are quite cheaper than Passive while having an additional preamp section. This should probably tell you a lot about the pickup quality installed in those models. 

Passive pickup may require additional equipment, but eventually, it will allow you to combine better gear together and it will produce much better overall sound. It doesn’t mean that Active pickup won’t sound good. As a matter of fact, if you’re a newbie, it will be the easiest way to make your Ukulele wired. But, for those who feel more professional, a passive pickup is a way to go.

Speaking of other concerns, if you don’t feel comfortable with drilling your instrument, it’s quite easy - soundboard and clip on pickups are made just for you.

Comparison of the Best Ukulele Pickups

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Undersaddle pickup with a mini endpin preamp
  • Volume control mounted in sound hole
  • Lightweight design and non-invasive installation
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  • Twin Double-Sensor Pickup
  • No Batteries Required
  • Made in USA
View Latest Price →
  • Surface mount piezo pickup
  • Detachable cable with ¼'' to ⅛'' input jacks
  • No drilling required
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  • Best Passive Ukulele Pickup
  • No instrument modification required
  • Heavy duty ABS construction with silicone padding
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  • Best Ukulele Piezo Pickup
  • Well-built wooden case that reduces vibrations
  • Prone to any environmental interference
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Review of the Best Ukulele Pickups

Most pickups are actually intended for all string instruments. However, some brands have optimized pickup models designed just for Ukulele, and here’s our recommendation:

Best Overall:
LR Baggs FIVE.O

LR Baggs FIVE.O Uke Pickup System with Endpin Preamp and volume control

PROS

  • Accurate frequency response
  • Volume control mounted in the sound hole
  • Tuned to capture the realistic Ukulele dynamics
  • Undersaddle pickup with a mini endpin preamp
  • Lightweight design and non-invasive installation

CONS

  • A bit expensive
  • Volume control position may not be appealing to everyone

What Recent Buyers Report

We couldn’t find any complaints from the people that have bought this pickup. It works as described and some users managed to set it up even without going to a music shop.

It might be expensive for someone, but people who bought it say that the sound you’re getting justifies the number.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a premium undersaddle pickup made with a completely minimalistic design approach so you could even install it on your own. It’s incredibly lightweight and makes minimal modifications on your Ukulele and even volume control is mounted inside the soundhole.

Speaking of sound, it comes with a mini endpin preamp that is specifically tuned to capture the natural dynamics and accurate frequency response. The wire from the pickup to the battery is pretty long so it will support either Soprano or Baritone Ukulele and its battery will provide you more than 300 work hours.

Bottom Line

If you have a premium Ukulele, it would be a pity to use the mediocre preamp on it. FIVE.O will be a great investment and it provides you with the unmatched sound quality on the current market.

Runner-up:
K&K Aloha Twin Double-Sensor Pickup

K&K Aloha Twin Double-Sensor Pickup for Ukulele

PROS

  • Made in the USA
  • No Batteries Required
  • Quick and Easy Installation
  • Twin Double-Sensor Passive Pickup
  • Can be installed on acoustic guitars and guitaleles

CONS

  • May not fit all Kala Ukuleles
  • It won’t be loud enough for performing without a preamp

What Recent Buyers Report

Users that have compared this pickup with other Ukuleles that come with preinstalled factory models tell us that the K&K Aloha model works a lot better.

However, if you have Soprano or Concert Ukulele from Kala, check during the return window if you can install it at all.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This pickup is based on the K&K award-winning Pure model, acoustic guitar pickup. But, instead of triple, it provides you a double-sensor system. 

The rest of the unit is pretty much the same, straight female jack on the other side and pretty much minimalistic design that is very simple to set up. As its passive pickup, it doesn’t have onboard controls and it doesn’t require any battery at all.

Also, because it’s based on the acoustic guitar pickup, we don't see any reason why you shouldn’t install it on guitaleles or even acoustic guitars, too.

Bottom Line

If you already have a guitar preamp that you love and use frequently, buying a passive pickup for your Ukulele may save you a lot of money. You will always need a preamp if you plan to perform live, but the sound will be great.

Best for the Money:
Kremona KNA AP-1

KNA AP-1 Portable Piezo Pickup for Guitar and Other Acoustic Instruments

PROS

  • No drilling required
  • Handcrafted in Europe
  • Surface mount piezo pickup
  • Detachable cable with ¼'' to ⅛'' input jacks
  • Natural sound, ideal for all string instruments

CONS

  • Prone to vibrations
  • Not the best build quality

What Recent Buyers Report

It works as described and they find it pretty inexpensive for the sound it provides. Kremona customer support seems to be quite responsive and helpful so in case of any trouble you’ll be covered up well.

But, they also say that it’s not so durable regarding drops and any kind of hits, so treat it carefully.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a decent example of having a passive piezo pickup that doesn’t require drilling your instrument. It is mounted on the top of the tonewood and it’s packed in a nice wooden casing that should protect the pickup from unwanted background noises.

And the best of all, it may not just suit the Ukulele and other string instruments, it will work well even for Cajon instruments, too.

Bottom Line

This may not be the cheapest Ukulele pickup, but it’s definitely the best bang for the buck. If it’s possible we would advise you to not go beneath this price range as the sound quality significantly drops down.

Best Passive Ukulele Pickup:
CLING ON Acoustic Pickup

CLING ON Acoustic Pickup With Ultra Quick Magnetic Attachment For Guitar, Ukulele, Mandolin, Banjo, Dulcimer, Cajon, Steel Drum And Other Acoustic Instruments

PROS

  • Magnetic attach system
  • Volume control rocker installed
  • No instrument modification required
  • Feedback resistant while preserving natural sound
  • Durable heavy-duty ABS construction with silicone padding

CONS

  • Might look bulky on Soprano Ukuleles
  • Wished if the volume rocker was placed on the opposite side

What Recent Buyers Report

They praise the durability of this pickup as it can withstand even the step on issues and generally can’t find enough good words about it or about their swift customer service.

The only thing on their wishlist is that the volume rocker is placed on the outside, not the inside.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This pickup is one of our favorites. While being passive it still can produce enough volume for practicing. The build quality and the packing is exceptional and you’re going to love the volume rocker option so you can control your playing level without going to the amp or the mixer. 

The sound is also on the match with the other features. While it doesn’t require any drilling, it manages to capture the authentic sound of your instrument and sound very close to its 'mic' sound.

And on top of that, we like the fact that it will also work on any string instrument

Bottom Line

This is probably the best all-around pickup we have found on the market. Unlike other models, it provides you exceptional build quality. Having something reliable at this price makes it a must-have accessory for any acoustic instrument.

Best Ukulele Piezo Pickup:
Adeline AD85 Piezo Pickup

Adeline piezo transducer pickup very convenient for Acoustic Classical Guitar Ukulele Violin Cello Mandolin Banjo etc,The sound clear,warm and crisp.With volume control, no guitar drilling

PROS

  • No drilling install setup
  • Prone to any environmental interference
  • Well-built wooden case that reduces vibrations
  • Can also work as classical guitar or violin pickup
  • Soundboard passive piezo pickup with volume control

CONS

  • Volume knob could be mounted on a top side
  • Wooden case design may be distracting for someone

What Recent Buyers Report

Users loved the fact they can carry this pickup to multiple instruments without any hussle and they were impressed with the sound quality they are getting at this price range.

Also, some Soprano Ukulele owners reported that this pickup may look a bit bulky if you plan to use it on such an instrument. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Unlike other passive piezo soundboard pickups, this one comes with the volume control knob and a well-built wooden case which is equipped with a ¼” TS female jack. This case will protect the pickup from any environmental interference and instrument vibrations. The sound is more than just acceptable and you won’t have to worry about batteries due to its passive pickup nature.

It provides you with adhesive stickers so it’s easy to mount them on any surface without damaging soundboard finish and all those features make it ideal even for mounting on a classical guitar or a violin as well.

Bottom Line

This Ukulele pickup is an ideal choice for those who like to play energetic and move a lot while performing and it will look great on Tenor or Baritone Ukulele.

Best Fishman Ukulele Pickup:
Fishman PRO-AGO-UKE AG Undersaddle

Fishman AG Undersaddle Ukulele Pickup

PROS

  • Premium natural sound
  • Works without a battery
  • Ideal choice for professional players
  • Additional preamp accessories available
  • Passive undersaddle Ukulele crystal piezo pickup

CONS

  • Requires a completely flat saddle
  • Professional installation is suggested

What Recent Buyers Report

Players say that it works really well on the lower frequencies and this is heard especially if you have a low G setup. 

However, if your saddle is not perfectly flat you might get a lower volume of your 4th string, so better check that up upon installing this pickup.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Fishman pickups are top of the line for Ukulele instruments. They put extra care in preserving the natural characteristics of your Ukulele sound which is really important for professional players and this specific model seems to hit the sweet spot regarding price range as well. 

While it may sound expensive, it’s actually really affordable for professional purposes, especially combined with Powerjack Active Endpin Jack Preamp or Onboard Preamp available as optional accessories.

This passive pickup is made from a ceramic and it’s an undersaddle model. It doesn’t require a battery and it will work the best if the preamp matches the impedance.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for the best pickups out there, we would strongly recommend to pair this Fishman system with some of their preamps starting from Powerjack up to Platinum series.

Best Ukulele Soundboard Pickup:
Kremona KNA UK-1 Piezo

KNA UK-1 Piezo Pickup for Ukulele

PROS

  • Fits all Ukuleles and looks beautiful
  • Delivers the natural sound of your ukulele
  • Detachable design that requires no drilling
  • Comes with the dedicated ⅛” to ¼” TS cable included
  • Passive piezo bridge pickup with wooden sensor casing

CONS

  • Might be a bit expensive for beginners
  • Sensor could be a little bit less sensitive

What Recent Buyers Report

Users love the look of this pickup. They tend to say it looks really elegant and they tend to keep it on their Ukulele even if it’s not used for a while.

They only wished that it was a little bit less sensitive as it can even capture your arm movement if you’re wearing long sleeves.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This piezo passive pickup is made to be bridge mounted and it comes with a ⅛” female TS jack with dedicated ⅛” to ¼” TS cable included. It has a wooden sensor casing and it’s very easy to set it up with no drilling required and can be easily detached as well. 

The only modification it requires is to slide it onto the tie block and retighten the strings so it will fit all the Ukuleles that have the tie block. 

All these mounting features get even more impressive when you hear how natural the tone sounds when plugged to the amp or preamp.

Bottom Line

This pickup comes with a wonderful balance between easy setup and good sound. It will work on every Ukulele regardless of its scale and it will look quite naturally and indiscrete on any model.

Best Ukulele Active Pickup:
ammoon Piezo Pickup

No products found.

PROS

  • 3 bands EQ control
  • Piezo ceramic pickup
  • Chromatic tuner with large LCD
  • Pickup with onboard preamp panel
  • Volume control knob and battery indicator light

CONS

  • No installation manual included
  • Might be too big for Soprano Ukulele

What Recent Buyers Report

They are amazed at how good it works for the price given. There are also some reports of having this pickup system for more than three years and still working properly.

But they do advise you to measure very carefully before you remove any wood part from your Ukulele.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It’s one of the most affordable active pickup systems on the market and its performance is specially optimized for the Ukulele instruments.

It includes a piezo-ceramic pickup that needs to be installed inside the bridge, an onboard preamp panel with volume control and 3-band EQ for bass (low-shelf at 100 Hz), middle (centered at 300 Hz), and treble (high shelf at 10 kHz) spectrum that can be boosted or cut up to 12dB. 

Besides EQ and volume control, there is also a large and clear display for chromatic tuner which will work so accurately that you won’t need any additional tuner.

Bottom Line

If you like DIY projects and want to upgrade your Ukulele with having almost no money at all this pickup and preamp unit might be made just for you. Prepare some sandpaper and get ready to have a lot of fun drilling!

Best Microphone for Ukulele:
Myers Pickups The Grip 3”

Acoustic Guitar Pickup with Flexible Micro-Gooseneck by Myers Pickups

PROS

  • Made in the USA
  • Easy to set and remove
  • Dedicated volume control
  • Works on all acoustic instruments
  • Smallest gooseneck microphone preamp

CONS

  • Battery installation could be a bit easier
  • Mini-XLR female jack would be a better solution

What Recent Buyers Report

They love the fact that the device can be mounted anywhere on the Ukulele without leaving and marks on the finish. Baritone Ukulele players report that the microphone sounds premium and that the low end is captured perfectly.

But, to be fair, they do complain about battery installation.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We like the shape of this gooseneck microphone and the versatility it provides you with. It allows you to mount it anywhere, so it’s up to you to put it in the soundhole or maybe move a bit closer to the neck so you can capture that more percussive sound of your Ukulele.

It’s very similar to soundboard pickups as it comes with the volume control and it’s very easy to set it on and off. Also, due to its specifications, it will work on any acoustic instrument.

And, the best of all, the build quality is superb just like you would expect from the products made in the USA.

Bottom Line

While microphones are different from pickups, this Myers Pickup gooseneck solution works exactly as a pickup should work eventually. It gives you the same mobility and installs method while leaving your Ukulele safe from any additional drilling.

Best Clip On Pickup for Ukulele:
GOSONO Clip-On Pickup

GOSONO Clip-On Pickup for Acoustic Guitar Mandolin Bouzouki Violin Banjo Ukulele Lute (for Acoustic Guitar)

PROS

  • Sound hole clip-on design
  • Affordable plastic pickup system
  • Easy to remove from the instrument
  • Doesn’t require professional install assistance
  • Suitable for other small-format string instruments, too

CONS

  • Mediocre sound quality
  • Cheap build quality and short cable

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers were aware they were buying a cheap pickup, so they didn’t expect a lot. It somewhat matched their amateur playing mindset.

However, you should test the ideal setup for clipping on as it may capture too much fingerpicking and buzz noise at some positions.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a basic and very affordable plastic pickup made not just for Ukulele but all small-format string instruments such as banjo, mandolin, bouzouki, lute, and even violin. It’s one-piece gear made of pickup with the pre-installed 8 feet cable with ¼ TS male connector.

It’s very easy to set it up and remove so it won’t require any professional assistance and no drilling will be required. It is designed to be placed on the sound hole and it is optimized to capture your natural sound while minimizing the background noise.

Bottom Line

Clip On pickups may not be an ideal solution but they might be the right choice if you’re tight on a budget. It’s newbie-friendly so if you have many Ukuleles, it may be the most affordable choice to make them wired.

Benefits of Investing in a Quality Ukulele Pickup 

Here are some of the most essential benefits of having a quality Ukulele Pickup:

The Sound

Simply put, it’s all about the sound. Quality Ukulele Pickup will preserve the original and authentic sound of your instrument so it will sound just like you have placed a premium microphone in front of you.

So, in general, they will provide a better playing response and will maintain the natural sound while generating a much better headroom. And, most of the time, they will provide you with the additional controls for both volume and tone parameters.

Better Background Isolation

Cheaper pickups are not’ so good at isolating background noises. They might be so sensitive that it may even capture your sleeves movement if your hand goes above the pickup, or they may not transfer all the strings at the same volume.

Build Quality

If you purchase a premium soundboard Ukulele pickup, the first thing you’re going to notice is the difference in build quality. There won’t be any plastic parts, even wooden parts may be omitted as they will put an extra effort in providing a rugged and durable system that will endure any kind of drop or hit.

K&K Aloha Twin Double-Sensor Pickup

How to Install a Ukulele Pickup 

As there are many different Ukulele pickups, we’re going to review the installation of the most complex one - undersaddle active pickup.

  1. First, of all, remove all the strings from your Ukulele and use a bit to file down the bridge slot to compensate for the height of the pickup. Use the tape to protect the finish around the bridge slot.

  2. Next, make a template of the preamp bottom part on the piece of cardboard and stick it temporarily on a place where you want to install the preamp. Draw the outline on the tape and use the drill or even better a jigsaw to cut inside of the shape then and file it down to match the preamp bottom size. Before completing, try to put the preamp so you don’t file it too much.

  3. The piece of the wood you have cut can be split into four pieces and reinforce the parts where the preamp screws are going to be installed. Sand it down and stick it with the glue beneath the body surface.

  4. Now, drill the hole on the backside of the Ukulele to provide a hole for the female jack. We would recommend it to place it a bit lower than a center so that your instrument cable doesn’t interfere with your strumming hand.

  5. Use the solder and screwdriver to install and tighten the female jack and then, drill a small hole on the top of the bridge so you can install the piezo pickup. Test if the hole is big enough first and then pull the pickup inside of the soundhole and put it through the hole on your bridge. Once it covers the whole bridge part, secure it in such a position with the tape.

  6. Once you're down with modifications, remove the tape from your body.

If you need may need a visual guide, check the link below:

How to Record a Ukulele Without a Pickup

In case you don’t have a pickup and you need to record a Ukulele, you can use a microphone instead. 

Condenser microphones will be an ideal choice for this purpose, and luckily, due to the nature of the Ukulele instrument most unwanted low-end signals won’t have to be treated as this instrument isn’t capable of creating it.

Ideally, you will place two microphones and blend the recorded source together - a small condenser aiming at the spot where the neck joins the body and the large condenser placed close to the sound hole but not aiming directly on it. The small diaphragm microphone should be placed closer than a large one.

However, don’t place your instrument too close to the microphones as Ukulele works the best if a bit of the room sound is captured.

Also, recording a ukulele might be a little bit different than playing live.  So, if the song arrangement requires a bit more percussive sound there is nothing wrong to use a pick for recording. But, if you need more mellow sound, cotton picks can work better than a fingerpicking.

If you would like to see a video tutorial dedicated to this recording technique, check the link provided below:

Conclusion 

Ukulele pickup is a very handy accessory for both premium and semi-pro Ukulele models. It will provide you with extra loudness so there won’t be a venue where you can’t play and it will improve your overall sound for live performance. It’s the next logical step on the road to becoming a professional player.

People Also Ask

Now, if you have any further doubts, let’s resolve why you should install it on your Ukulele, what other equipment you may need, and how to connect your modded Electric Ukulele to the amp.

Also, let’s solve that famous phenomenon occurring around pickups - the feedback

What is Feedback?

If you have ever heard of those high-pitch noisy sound coming from a microphone, you’ve encountered feedback. This “effect” can also occur with Ukulele Pickups. You can isolate this unwanted sound by turning down the volume or tweak an EQ on your amp to find the problematic frequency. Most of the time turning down the treble EQ will solve the problem.

What’s the Difference Between a Preamp and an Amplifier?

Preamp boosts the signal up to the line level. It is a necessary sound stage before you can amplify it further.

Luckily, many guitar amplifiers and mixing boards come with some sort of the preamp installed, so, unless you want to plug into your computer, you won’t need a dedicated preamp.

Where Should I Install My Electric Pickup on My Ukulele?

It should be installed either on the soundboard, beneath the saddle from the inner side, mounted directly on the sound hole, or placed right next to the tie block on the bridge saddle. 

It all depends on what exact model you have purchased.

Do I Need a Preamp With a Ukulele Pickup?

It depends if you have purchased active or passive pickup. For passive models, you will need an additional preamp or an amp, while active models will provide you everything you need so you can plug in directly. 

Some passive models may be loud enough so you can play it at your home, though.

Kremona KNA AP-1

How Do I Connect My Ukulele to an Amplifier?

You will need a basic instrument cable, also known as ¼” TS cable. Simply first plug one end to your Ukulele female jack and then connect it to the amp, turn it on and dial the volume at the level you need, and adjust the tone if needed.

Should I Buy an Electric Ukulele?

If you haven’t purchased Ukulele at all yet, or you have an entry-level acoustic model and you don’t like to install things on your own, Electric Ukulele might be a better choice. 

But, bear in mind that those pickups we’ve listed have a much better sound quality than most of Electric Ukulele models.



I'm a 35-year-old rock-oriented professional musician from Belgrade, Serbia with 20 years of field experience in various areas of the music industry. After graduating from elementary music school I joined my first band Alogia in 2001 which had incredible initial success with the debut album and became one of the greatest Balkan heavy metal acts ever. We have recorded several studio and live albums and played as an opening act for Whitesnake, Apocalyptica, and Paul Di’Anno. Meanwhile, I got a chance to collaborate with Roland Planet shop and get familiar with various music equipment for more than a decade. For the last eight years, I have done live audio mixing for numerous bands and other live and studio events, including some TV audio mixing for national television broadcast as well. Currently, I’m playing keyboards for one of the most authentic Serbian music rock legends - Dr. Nele Karajlić, also known for his work with Zabranjeno Pušenje and No Smoking Orchestra.