Prior to being totally seduced by ukuleles, I was a longstanding guitar enthusiast. Over the years I have collected some great electric guitars including a Collings I35, a George Benson Ibanez, 2 Parker Flys and a bunch of telecasters and strats. Of course the amplification of the instrument is equally as important as the instrument itself. Some of my favorites include.e a Two Rock combo, modded Fender Pro Junior and Egnater M4 rack system. Different amps suit different instruments and when the combinations are right, the results can be amazing.
Acoustic ukulele amplification
I started exploring amplification for ukuleles a few years ago and although I knew about guitars, this was a whole new journey. I started out with Schertler Unico amps which are like the BMW of amps. The good news is that they sound great, but they are heavy to transport. I heard about Henriksen Bud amps from Gerald Ross “the king of swing” in the USA. Having investigated further I am amazed by how amazing these sound and crucially they are both light and small. Henriksen have managed to create an amp that amplifies the natural sound of the instrument, so the ukuleles simply sound louder. I was so impressed I bought two of these and two extension cabs.
In Lagoa I met “Les Kostards” a brilliant gypsy jazz trio. The guitarist Gilles Parodi recommended a tiny micro amp made by Didier ELCHARDUS from Guitar Sound Systems in France. If I had not heard this amp during “Les Kostards” set, I would never have taken it seriously. It looks too small and the price put me off. The price seemed ludicrously cheap, which is rare these days. Its a perfect travelling amp and can be used in a live setting as well as a brilliant unobtrusive practice amp.
The ukuleles sound great when played through this and especially the Shimo Comet 3 with the DTAR pickup. I continue to explore the whole amplification process and in Lagoa used the brilliant Fire Eye Development Red Eye preamps which are probably the simplest of all solutions and which sound brilliant.