By adding a pickup to your acoustic guitar, you can amp up your performance without having to stand in front of a microphone. When it comes to the best acoustic guitar pickups, there are three options: under-saddle piezo (which is integrated into most mid-price electro-acoustics), bridge plate transducer, and soundhole pickup.
Each type of pickup has a distinct tone, so try around with them to determine which one best suits your playing style. We’ve taken the time to sample a variety of models to suit every type of acoustic guitarist. We’ve also included some purchasing tips at the bottom of this article to assist you in making the best decision possible.
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L.R. Baggs Anthem Acoustic Guitar Pickup and Microphone
- Patented TRUMIC carries the majority of the guitars’ frequency range while the Element Pickup carries the lowest frequencies
- Mix control blends between the TRU MIC augmented with low frequency support from the Element Pickup and full-range Element Pickup
- Noise cancelling microphone technology eliminates any annoying honky or boxy qualities from the inside of the guitar
At various pricing points, L.R. Baggs offers a variety of creative acoustic guitar pickups. The Anthem is the company’s top-tier product. It’s the pinnacle of acoustic guitar pickup technology, with an integrated preamp. If you’re serious about turning your acoustic guitar into a live concert-ready gigging instrument, this is the pickup you’ll need.
The Anthem is a pickup with multiple sources. It combines an under-saddle transducer’s exceptional sound-amplification powers with an internal guitar microphone’s excellent sound pickup capabilities. L.R. Baggs’ proprietary Element system is used in the transducer, which delivers great body articulation and sensitivity while also providing the most dynamic range. It concentrates on the low frequency band more than the high frequency range. You’ll get a device that can compete with high-end electric guitars. L.R. Baggs’ groundbreaking TRU MIC technology is used in this pickup. It features noise-canceling technology built in, which eliminates the boxy or honky sound produced by your guitar’s soundbox. It adds to the Element system by focusing on the guitar’s frequency spectrum.
The preamp has various knobs that you can use to customize the tone you want your guitar to generate. The Anthem’s installation is the only challenging part. It is essential to have a professional install the Anthem in your guitar, as it is with many under-saddle systems. Not only must the transducer be installed, but the TRU MIC high-fidelity microphone must also be installed. It’s also worth noting that the Anthem has a proprietary mounting technique that may be unfamiliar to newcomers. This is the Best Acoustic Guitar Pickup in 2023.
Fishman Matrix Infinity Pickup & Preamp System
- Acoustic Pickup with Soundhole-mounted Controls - Narrow Saddle
- Soundhole-mounted rotary controls for Volume and Tone
- Offers clear, transparent tone, dynamic string response, and ease of installation
The Matrix Infinity is a guitar pickup that sits behind the saddle and produces a transparent and clear tone. The string response is likewise as dynamic as you could ever want.
Because you’ll need to drill a hole in your guitar to attach the Matrix Infinity, it’s a bit tricky. This will give you access to the guitar port, which will allow you to communicate with your other guitar sound effects pedals, amplifiers, and speakers. I was startled to discover that the product material stated that installation is simple. I suppose it’s simple for people with a DIY mindset and access to the necessary tools like a battery holder. Absolute beginners will have no idea how to connect the system’s various components.
A preamp is required to be installed along the inner side of the soundhole’s edges. This little component allows you to change the Matrix Infinity’s tone and volume. This is the Best Acoustic Guitar Pickups in 2023.
K&K Pure Mini Pick Up
- Three Transducer Pickup System for Steel String Guitars
- Includes 1/4" Endpin Jack
- Pre-wired, No Soldering Required
The K&K Pure Mini is the best value for money when it comes to acoustic-electric performance, transducer innovation, excellent design and construction, and price. It can be difficult to set up, but once you get it up and running, the possibilities are unlimited. Overall, I believe this is the greatest acoustic guitar pickup for under $100.
It’s hard to believe how strong these three tiny transducers can be. When you play the strings, they pick up the vibrations from the bridge plate. They appear to work like an under-saddle system at first appearance. Their designs, however, are vastly different. Under-saddle pickups are sandwiched between the saddle and the bridge, bringing them much closer to the guitar strings. The Pure Mini works on the underside of the bridge, further below the bridge. The vibrations from a pair of guitar strings were picked up by each transducer. The region around the bridge is likewise ‘heard’ by these transducers.
To believe it, you must see the Pure Mini for yourself. The sound is powerful, rich, and well-balanced. It’s never shaky or flimsy. The Pure Mini’s installation is the one thing that might deter you from purchasing it. Passing the cord through and mounting the port is quite simple if your guitar already has a built-in hole. If not, you’ll have to drill. If you’re unsure about something, hire a professional. It’s the only way to take use of the Pure Mini’s incredible transducing capabilities.
LR Baggs M80 Magnetic Soundhole Pickup
- Full-range body sensitivity
- Active or passive operation
- Feedback resistant
The LR Baggs M1 stacked humbucker is already a bit of a classic, but the M80 enhances it in three ways: you can switch between passive and active modes to use the built-in preamp, and there’s a battery life LED meter so you’re never caught short onstage.
More crucially, the M80 outperforms the M1 Active in terms of improved body sensitivity, which is a significant advantage that transducer pickups have over the competition for sound reproduction. The M80 guitar pickup has a free-floating humbucker coil that functions as a 3D body sensor, so it’ll capture more of your acoustic guitar’s character in addition to working as a magnetic humbucker.
The design of the M80 is more groundbreaking than that of the Anthem. First and foremost, this instrument features a one-of-a-kind humbucking with a free-floating design. This approach not only eliminates feedback, but it also reduces it. In the guitar body, it also serves as a three-dimensional sensor. It blends the guitar’s unique body resonances with the vibrations coming from the strings to create a unique sound. The ultimate result is a sound that is as close to an acoustic guitar’s natural sound as possible. The M80 also contains a preamp system that lets you tweak your sound’s treble, mid, and bass, among other things. The pole pieces can also be adjusted, just as the M1.
If you have the cash and are a big lover of magnetic transducers, the L.R. Baggs M80 is an excellent choice. Unfortunately, it lacks the TRU MIC system, which would have elevated this picker to new heights.
Seymour Duncan Woody HC Hum-Canceling Soundhole Pickup
- Transducer: Magnetic
- Placement: Soundhole
- Jack: 1/4" male
The Woody HC is a magnetic soundhole transducer from Seymour Duncan that includes superior hum-canceling technology. If you stand at least 30 inches away from your external amp or even preamp, you won’t hear any irritating mains hum. Because the gadget comes with a 14-foot wire for connecting to guitar accessories, this is never an issue. Yes, these accessories are still required to play your acoustic guitar like an electric guitar.
You might be astonished by the bright, clear, sparkling, and sharp high notes the mini acoustic guitar pickup produces when connected to a digital recording console. You’ll also notice that the bass notes are richer, deeper, and warmer. It includes everything you’ll need to turn your ordinary acoustic guitar into a fantastic electric guitar without having to drill any holes in it.