However, if you wish to play with a band where there are many other instruments being played, then a pickup becomes quite crucial accessory to enhance the sound of your acoustic guitar. This review intends to help you choose and purchase the best acoustic guitar pickup.
You might wonder that if a guitar pickup does the same thing that a microphone does, then what is the point of purchasing one? Well, with microphones the problem that is distinctly clear is that it does not allow you to move around while playing the guitar. A pickup does, since it is wireless and attached to the guitar.
Types Of Acoustic Guitar Pickups
The features that you are looking for in an acoustic guitar pickup depends on factors such as what are you intending to use it for – is it just for practice, for recording, for live performances or merely for experimenting.
There are different types of guitar pickups that are ideal for each of these purposes. You have to recognize what you need the pickup for, and then choose from these types accordingly.
1. Piezo Acoustic Guitar Pickups
A line of six different piezoelectric crystals is what makes up this common type of acoustic guitar pickup. This type of pickup is also known as undersaddle pickup.
As the name suggests, the pickup rests under the bridge where it is able to grasp the vibrations of the strings as you play.
This pickup usually comes pre-installed in most guitars so that you do not have to purchase it separately. They produce a direct and bright sound, which sometimes might be too nasal for some people.
This acoustic guitar pickup tends to be well suited to classical guitarists and those who perform fingerstyle. This type is quite affordable in terms of its price. However, it does have a reputation of having a low output.
2. Contact Or Vibrational Acoustic Guitar Pickup
This guitar pickup has a distinct appearance as compared to the usual pickups. The vibrational acoustic guitar pickup may be installed either on the top of the guitar or under the bridge.
Unlike the Piezo, which only picks up the vibration of the strings, this one picks up the vibrations of the strings as well the body of the guitar. This enables the pickup to produce a fuller sound and a bass-heavy tone.
Two main drawbacks of this type of acoustic guitar pickup is that it very easily attracts feedback as all the excessive resonance and vibrations are picked up by it. Due to these drawbacks, guitarists prefer other pickups over this one.
3. Microphone-paired Acoustic Guitar Pickup
Some of the best acoustic guitar pickups have an internal microphone fixed in it that is able to capture more diverse sounds. These microphones are mounted inside the body of the guitar, near the sound hole of an acoustic guitar.
The microphone-paired acoustic guitar pickup is one of the best pickups that you can find in the market.
Yet, the problem that surfaces is that it is quite expensive, as it comes with either a piezo pickup, contact pickup or some other kind of pickup. Two pickups paired together in one guitar tend to cost more.
The pickup also has a few drawbacks. Firstly, it is prone to feedback which can, in fact, be compensated by adjusting the microphone. Secondly, you cannot install it yourself like other pickups and you will need professional help.
4. Soundhole Pickups
This type of pickup has been quite popular ever since its introduction in the 1960s. The reason for this popularity is that it can be easily installed, is affordable, is quite versatile and can be removed with ease whenever you wish so.
As the name suggests, the pickup is fixed in the sound hole right under the strings. It is similar to a standard electric guitar pickup, as it features magnets and coils that produce very similar sound.
Since the pickup rests right under the strings, it picks up the vibrations of the strings easily and produces a very clear and nuanced sound. Much like the other pickups, this too has drawbacks. It is capable of producing sound that is artificial and even the feedback can be an issue at times.
Once you have adequate knowledge about the different types of pickups that the market has to offer you, it will become easy for you to choose the best acoustic guitar pickup for yourself. The budget that you have, will also determine the decision you ultimately take.
Choosing a guitar pickup can be challenging and tricky if you do not have sufficient understanding of the factors mentioned above.
The market provides so many options to choose from these days, that it can also become confusing. Here is a list of a few acoustic guitar pickups that you may consider as options.
Top 13 Best Acoustic Guitar Pickups 2020
1. K&K Sound
If you are looking for a transducer-only system as a pickup, then the R&K pure mini acoustic guitar pickup is the one for you. It requires no battery and no onboard electronics either. The sound produced by this pickup is loud, clear and rich.
Most amps and PA systems can be driven by this pickup as it has sufficient output – all this without a preamp. Like under-saddle pickups which are quite close to the strings of the guitar, these special pure transducers are not as close and hence, they transfer a significant part of the soundboard.
The pickup has 3 transducers. Each of which is fixed with a pair of strings in order to pick up their vibrations together. However, they are designed in such a way that each transducer listens to the sound produced by the adjacent strings as well.
The pure pickups do not sound harsh, since there is no pressure on them. The sound of all strings is produced in a perfectly balanced manner. In the passive mode, this pickup sounds great.
This is where it once again differs from under-saddle pickups, which produces a thin and trebly sound when used in the passive mode. Since it is installed under the bridge, it is less likely for feedback to take place.
Lastly, this pickup system is available at a pocket friendly price, which makes it one of the best acoustic guitar pickups.
Luvay brings to you an acoustic pickup that features three types all in one- piezo, contact, microphone. This pickup can be used along with most instruments such as guitar, ukulele, violin, mandolin, banjo, cello, kalimba, harp and so on.
The device has a control knob on it with which you can easily adjust the volume as per your requirement. The sound produced by this 3 in 1 pickup is good, clear and crisp. It has a high fidelity and the pickup is able to stay away from squeal feedback.
The Luvay acoustic guitar pickup is very easy to install and you can do it all by yourself by sticking it on the guitar with a self-adhesive that you use later again. There is no need to punch a hole.
The material used to plate the plug is brass, which is protective in nature. The pickup also features an anti-noise disturbance system. Lastly, the pickup comes with a 10 ft amplifier cable and 4 stickers to stick the pickup on the guitar with.
3. Fishman Neo D
Fishman, a brand set in Massachusetts, is well reputed for producing some of the best guitar pickups and other guitar related essentials. This particular Fishman pickup is a soundhole pickup.
This pickup is of a single coil and the magnet is of a neodymium structure. Both these factors make for producing sound that is balanced and has fine clarity in tone. It has a high impedance and the neodymium has a low profile, due to which the pickup does not require a battery.
The pickup is very easy to install without any sort of alteration. Even in soundholes 3, 7 or 8 inches small in diameter, the pickup can be easily installed and used without any glitch.
Fishman has, from the very beginning, aimed at delivering top quality service at affordable rates. It is a brand that understands music and musicians and tries its best to cater to the needs of all. These factors make this soundhole pickup the best acoustic guitar soundhole pickup.
4. Lyric Acoustic Microphone
The microphone pickup is, undoubtedly, the best way to capture and get across to a large audience, the sound of your acoustic guitar. Lyric (LR) brings to you its acoustic guitar microphone pickup which can be easily fixed under the bridge plate with the help of a simple peel and stick adhesive.
In order to abide by the pressure zone principle, the capsule is positioned 3 mm from the soundboard, and this maintains a balanced and even tone. The proximity to the top surface also enables the feedback to be less.
This particular pickup features the noise cancellation technology. The boxy reflections inside the acoustic chamber is rejected by this technology. Several patent pending â€œblack boxâ€ circuits have been fixed in the pickup and this is what makes the pickup so efficient.
5. Amumu NEO-SP30
The Amumu SP30 is a soundhole pickup for acoustic guitars in which the magnet is of high impedance. A single coil which is made of hand-wound oxygen free copper is used to produce sound that is bright and clear.
A customized rare neodymium magnet is used to ensure that the frequency is dynamic and the strings are balanced. Along with this, solid wood housing is used so that acoustic vibrations can be transmitted easily.
The pickup can be easily installed, and it comes with a 10 ft amplifier cable which can connect the pickup to an amplifier, mixer or audio interface. It requires no battery and there is no need to drill a hole. You can just plug it in and play.
The box includes, other than the pickup and the cable, a spare rubber foam set, cable holders and an ownerâ€™s manual to help you install and use the device. These features easily make this soundhole pickup one of the best acoustic guitar pickups.
6. L.R. Baggs Anthem-SL
The Anthem series of the LR Baggs has produced one of the best acoustic guitar pickups for you. The microphone pickup has been engineered in such a manner that it is able to capture the studio mic like sound and present it in front of an audience.
This is due to the magic of the Tru Mic technology, that is able to put together the features of a condenser microphone and an element pickup to produce sound that is as warm and fidel as sound produced in a studio.
The mic is positioned under the bridge at a proximity of 3 mm from the surface. It also uses noise cancellation technology and this enables the mic to function as if it is outside the guitar.
The sound produced is balanced, warm and ranks high on clarity. This pickup, however, requires 1 lithium ion battery in order to function.
This particular pickup can be easily used with many instruments such as guitar, ukulele, banjo, violin, cello, mandolin and so on. This piezo pickup does not require any battery or even soldering.
The piezo mic has been wired from before, which saves a lot of time. It is easy to install, and can be used conveniently without any difficulties. In order to fix the extra wire to the guitar, plastic boxes have been provided and these are self-adhesive blocks.
The pickup comes with 6 additional guitar picks of different colours. These are thin and medium in size and the material they are made of is quite durable. The material of the pickup is plastic and the electronic part is made of metal.
8. TraderPlus 12
As long as your guitar has a soundhole and steel strings, the TraderPlus pickup can be used without any difficulty on your guitar. If you need a great amplifier for your guitar, then this 12 soundhole magnetic acoustic guitar pickup is a great choice.
You can easily control the tone and volume of the sound produced with the help of the two control knobs provided. The pickup also comes with an amp connection cable and a jack. This pickup is very efficient, as the sound it produces has clarity and low feedback.
The guitar is protected from any scratch or damage with the help of the felt backed clip. This pickup is suitable for guitars sized between 38 inches to 41 inches. All these features put this pickup on the list of best acoustic guitar pickup.
9. Seymour Duncan
Seymour Duncan has earned its reputation as an American brand that produces some of the best guitar and bass pickups. This particular model belongs to the Seymour Duncan woody series.
It is an easy and quick to mount as well as unmount, passive acoustic guitar soundhole pickup. The pickup has a maple cover which makes the pickup look stylish on your guitar. This pickup will only passively amplify the lovely sound of your guitar without changing it to a large extent.
This pickup has a moderate response, which makes space for your guitar to adjust with other instruments playing simultaneously and blend in with all the music. No matter what the size of your guitar is, this pickup can be fixed to it.
Lastly, the price has been made quite affordable so that even low profile musicians can purchase it easily without having to think twice.
10. L.R. Baggs
Another one from the award winning LR Baggs anthem series, this acoustic guitar pickup features a combination of Tru Mic technology paired with element pickup. This generates sound that is similar to that produced in a studio.
The pickup comes with a no-cut preamp and a control unit. Along with this, a mix control is also provided to help with the mic and pickup settings. In order to minimize feedback, phase inversion is facilitated.
A full blend of element undersaddle pickup and microphone pickup takes place in this single pickup which produces sound that is warm and very clear. The volume of the pickup can be controlled by the mic level control.
What makes this pickup the best acoustic guitar pickup is the fact that it is available at a pocket friendly price, keeping the convenience of most musicians in mind.
11. Flexible Micro-Gooseneck
Myers pickups is well known and popular among musicians for the versatile range of pickups that they produce. This particular pickup has a compact design that will easily fit into a guitar of any size.
The pickup comes with a small control knob to control the volume and it is made of rubber. The device includes a powered active preamp. It has a flexible micro-gooseneck that captures the sound produced by the guitar.
This can be used not just for acoustic guitars, but for a varied list of instruments. The battery power source is already included. This acoustic guitar pickup has been manufactured in the US.
12. Resonator Guitar Pickups
Here is another excellent pickup by Myers Pickups and this one is a resonator guitar pickup. Just like the previous product, this one too, has a flexible micro-gooseneck. The pickup comes at an affordable rate and almost anybody can purchase it.
The micro-gooseneck can easily pick up the sound of the guitar. The device is powered internally and comes with an active preamp. The brand is reputed for providing quality products that are tested well before delivering.
You can easily control the volume with the control knob that has been provided. This resonator guitar pickup can be used along with almost any other instrument with ease and comfort.
13. Donner TP-1
The Donner acoustic guitar pickup has a very simple and low-profile design. It can be attached to the guitar with the help of a self-adhesive. Be it a guitar, a ukulele or a mandolin, this pickup is fit for almost all string instruments.
This pickup can easily minimise noise interference and produces sound of a premium quality. The pickup is compact in size and comes with a 10 ft amplifier cable. The pickup is able to emit sound that is crystal clear.
It has a volume control knob which can be easily adjusted to avoid squeal feedback. You can install the device with much convenience onto your guitar. No batteries are required and you can use the self-adhesive to attach the pickup to the surface, close to the soundhole.
14. Ascendas A-201
The Ascendas folk acoustic guitar pickup is a piezo pickup that can be used for all kinds of stringed instruments. It prevents the loss of any sound and the creation of a hum. The trebles produced by the pickup are song-like, soft and warm.
The transducer and the guitar are paired well and this is ensured by the streamlined and efficient design of the pickup. The overall sound of the pickup is open and dynamic. The pickup can be easily installed and you do not need to cut a big hole for it to be installed.
It hardly matters whether your guitar has nylon or steel strings, since the sound of the guitar is enhanced by the high quality endpin jack preamp and the body which is made of metal. The volume and tone control feature also helps in producing a pure acoustic tone that is soothing to the ears.
15. Myers Pickups
As the name of this Myers Pickupsâ€™ model suggests, it is a new lightweight, almost feather like pickup that is a powerhouse by itself. The pickup is compact in nature, so much so, that it can be easily fixed onto any instrument without being modified or requiring permanent installation.
The natural sound and beautiful tone of the guitar is amplified by this pickup. It is internally powered and comes with an active preamp, which produces a rich sound. The power source is also pre-installed in the device.
It can be used with almost any wireless system. All the hardware required to mount the device is included in the package. This, like most other pickups of this brand, is manufactured in the US.
FAQs on Acoustic Guitar Pickups
1. What Is The Purpose Of A Pickup In An Acoustic Guitar?
The purpose of pickups is to capture the vibrations and sound of the strings and transform them into an electric signal. You must have noticed that the pickup is always mounted in very close proximity to the strings. This is to capture the vibrations as clearly as possible.
2. What Is The Best Pickup For Acoustic Guitar?
A list of some of the best acoustic guitar pickups has already been mentioned above. To put it concisely, brands like LR Baggs, Fishman, K&K, Seymour Duncan are some of the brands that produce the best pickups.
3. What Is The Difference Between Passive And Active Guitar Pickups?
Both passive and active guitar pickups work in a similar fashion. Vibrations of the strings disrupt the magnetic field of the coil and generate electricity in the wire of the pickup. The sound produced is louder when more and more wire is wrapped around the magnet.
Till this point, both active and passive pickups work in this manner. Where the difference lies is that active pickups have a battery that needs to be powered for the preamp to work. The preamp helps in producing louder noise without the need of a coil.
There are a lot of factors that you must consider before purchasing the best acoustic guitar pickup. You must have a fair idea about the different types of pickups and how they work. While articles like this one is of real help, you must do some research of your own and take expert advice.
The market today has a plethora of options for you, and you will easily find thousands of acoustic guitar pickups anywhere you search. However, good quality is provided only by a few. Once you discover the few good models, you will be able to purchase a pickup just right for your guitar.