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An electric ukulele is a ukulele which is electrically amplified. If not plugged in, it can still play acoustically. It was patented by Edmund A. Rafalko, Jr. on November 27, 2012, patent number US D67,592 S. The patent's term length is 14 years.
Electric vs. electro-acoustic
A solid-body electric ukulele produces very little sound acoustically, requiring an amplifier to be heard from more than a few feet away. Some solid-body electric ukuleles have steel strings and active humbucker style or single-coil magnetic pickups, such as the Blue Star Konablaster, Mahalo MEU1/S, RISA, Monkey Wrench, Mark Vinsel, Stagg, and Vorson electric ukuleles, while other electric ukuleles, such as Eleuke ukuleles, are solid-body electric ukuleles with nylon strings and passive pick-ups under the saddle.
An electro-acoustic ukulele is a standard acoustic instrument to which a passive pickup has been added, a method similar to that used for an acoustic-electric guitar. Such ukuleles have nylon or gut strings, not the metal strings necessary for ukuleles with magnetic pickups. Electro-acoustic ukuleles may be played either unplugged or plugged into an amplifier. Such nylon-strung ukuleles include those designed to look like metal-strung electric guitars, such as the Epiphone Les Paul-style acoustic-electric ukulele. The acoustic and electric tone qualities will often differ between electric ukuleles, and some "a/e" ukuleles are built with the aim of producing quality sound when amplified, to the detriment of the acoustic sound. Electric ukuleles come in the same four standard sizes as acoustic ukuleles.
Electric lap steel ukulele
The electric lap steel ukulele is an uncommon instrument, consisting of a small ukulele-shaped solid-body which is laid in the artist's lap. It has four strings raised above the neck, which are not pressed down onto a fretboard, but are played with a steel slide.
An electric lap steel ukulele is essentially a small lap steel guitar with only four strings. Similar instruments have been built by custom instrument makers, but the only production manufacturer was Jupiter Creek Music (Australia) before they closed their business in October 2012.
- D671592, Rafalko, Jr, "United States Patent: D671592 - Electric ukulele", issued November 27, 2012