Joyo Ukulele Pickup

Today’s DIY music project was to add a pickup to my Kmise Ukulele. I have an Ibanez I favor for most things, but the Kmise I’ve set up as my go-to Low G uke. I have a Rubin set up at Low G as well, but I just like the overall tone of the Kmise much more, so I have a strong preference. It’s the one I want to play, and if I want to play it at mics or shows, I need a consistent way to amplify it. The stick on mic proved functional in testing, but unreliable in practice, so I knew I needed to install a proper pickup.

Since my Kmise has a non-standard soundhole that would make it hard to place pickups inside the body, I decided to go with an undersaddle pickup on the grounds it would just be an overall less fiddly installation process.

I recently installed a cheap, unbranded pickup in my kala KA-15S as my test drive, and that proved efficient, but the tuner in the unbranded pickup was off, so I wanted to try a slightly better one in the hopes of a better built-in tuner. Still, I am on a budget and couldn’t bring myself to pay more for a pickup than I paid for the uke, so I eventually grabbed a Joyo pickup off ebay.

And, while I don’t think I’d hesitate to suggest it for standard ukes, I still don’t have a functional tuner. The strings it reads are accurate when compared to my snark tuner, but it can not read the low G string at all, so in the end I guess I have to call the tuner in the Joyo pickup ‘good for standard tuning. Completely useless for anything else.’

That means installing it in my low G uke still doesn’t give me a functional tuner. Still, just to know I can plug my Kmise in if I ever need to is a fair enough deal for $15, so I guess I’m satisfied. It does the job I need it to, just not necessarily 100% of the job it was meant to do.

Ultimately the verdict is that the Joyo Uke pickup is perfectly decent, but maybe steer clear if you use non-standard tunings.

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2 thoughts on “Joyo Ukulele Pickup

  1. Joyo makes guitar pedals, too. They’ve received decent reviews and give you a lot for their price point. As far as tuning goes, I got an Oscar Schmidt uke bass that has rubber strings on it. It’s so hard to tune the low e, even with rack mounted tuners.

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    1. Overall it’s not a bad tuner, it’s just not suitable for the uke I put it on. It’s a bit larger than most uke pickups, too. Not a lot, but enough that it’s not really feasible to swap it for a different one and use the Joyo on one of the other ukes. If it was smaller than average I could adjust the size of the hole I cut to swap it out, but since it’s on the slightly larger side my options for replacing it and using the joyo on a different instrument are limited. Just annoying to have a built in tuner that’s essentially useless for the instrument it’s on.

      It’s just one of those things I wish was clear going in – that the range the tuner can hear in the joyo is really limited. I’ve never come across a tuner that can’t hear ‘G’ just because it’s a slightly deeper G than the one it thinks it ought to be hearing before.

      I have a hadean uke bass. Can’t say I’ve ever had any tuning issues with it. The uke bass strings are odd to get used to, but mine all tune just fine.

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