If you are looking for something a bit out of the ordinary and you are also a big fan of Les Paul, boy, are you in luck. Epiphone Les Paul Acoustic/Electric Ukulele Outfit Heritage is like a mini Les Paul for ukulele lovers. Not only that, this uke comes at a weirdly low price. On the first look, I just thought this was a sort of an homage, a selling point for Les Paul enthusiasts but this baby has got a lot more to offer. Let’s talk a bit more about why this acoustic-electric ukulele is in our best concert ukuleles AND best ukuleles lists.
I’ll just call this ukulele a mini Les Paul (because the full name is a bit of a handful). So, mini Les Paul is a concert uke with a mahogany body and god awfully gorgeous AAA Grade flame maple veneer top that makes it stand out among hundreds of other ukes. The D-profile mahogany neck with rosewood fretboards is really comfortable and adds a lot to the overall playability. Apart from the great looks of this uke, the tonewood and overall construction are decent. There is nothing that makes it stand out, build-wise.
While it is hard to get an acoustic ukulele at a reasonable price, the task becomes twice as hard when you want a good acoustic-electrics (especially the one like this mini Les Paul). I guess it would be a little bit unrealistic to expect a lot from a well-priced uke, so I do not really take this uke’s pretty average hardware as a big problem. What you get are four geared open die-cast tuners, rosewood bridge, as well as synthetic bone nut and saddle. While none of these features is something to get too excited about or awe at for hours, they are functional and durable. To top off this beautiful uke Epiphone used polyurethane finish. A lot of people (and I mean most people) underestimate the importance of a good finish. The finish can literally change the sound and tonality as well as vibration of an instrument. You do not want it to be too thin as it will come off very easily, but you also do not want it to be too thick so as not to destroy the vibration of the instrument. The finish used on this uke is pretty much perfect. It does justice not only to the sound but the looks of this uke. Two other great additions that Epiphone decided to add are the strap buttons and Epiphone gig bag with accessory pocket. Not a lot of ukes have pre-installed strap buttons and if you needed them now you won’t have to work too hard for that. As for the gig bag, it is a standard and sturdy material with a nice pocket that will keep all your accessories and more.
As you might have guessed from the name of this uke (as well as, probably, from the fact that you were searching for it) it is an acoustic-electric instrument. So instead of just having to have a great acoustic tonal range it should sound amazing amplified as well. While I would say that the overall tonality and sound are good on this instrument, the volume is just not there. I would be more understanding if it was a soprano ukulele but a concert one should have a bigger sound. Apart from that, the strings are not really that good and do not really bring out the best of the sound. Fortunately, that is an easy-to-fix issue and very common with ukes.
Let’s talk about electronics, after all, this is a mini Les Paul. What you get with this uke is a built-in passive piezo pickup under the rosewood bridge. The ¼” output jack is easy to connect and overall this is a no hassle system that someone who has never had any experience with acoustic-electric instruments will find intuitive and easy. This is definitely not a pro-level pickup system but it does a decent job of amplifying without making the instrument sound inauthentic.
When it comes to a combination of good construction and low price, Epiphone knows its ways. Epiphone Les Paul Acoustic/Electric Ukulele Outfit Heritage might not be a top-notch ukulele for pro-level players but it definitely holds a solid spot among the best beginner-friendly tenor ukuleles.