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Best Acoustic Guitar Pickups 2024

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.

L.R. Baggs Anthem Acoustic Guitar Pickup and Microphone

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L.R. Baggs Anthem Acoustic Guitar Pickup and...
  • Patented TRUMIC carries the majority of the guitars’ frequency range...
  • Mix control blends between the TRU MIC augmented with low frequency support...
  • Noise cancelling microphone technology eliminates any annoying honky or...

The L.R. Baggs Anthem is an acoustic guitar pickup system that combines a microphone design, known as the Tru-Mic, with the well-regarded Baggs Element undersaddle pickup. This combination enables the Anthem to produce a sound that closely resembles the natural acoustic sound of the guitar, full of detail, warmth, and personality.

The Anthem is commended for allowing the guitar’s natural tone to shine through, from fingerpicking to full-on strumming. It is particularly effective at capturing the soft nuances of percussive playing and fingerpicking, thanks to its built-in microphone. The Tru-Mic carries the majority of the guitar’s frequency range, providing a full, round tone that captures the body of the guitar.

The Anthem is also recognized for its feedback resistance and noise cancellation features, which are crucial for live performances. It provides essential controls for live situations and is easy on a 9-volt battery, with staged battery check lights. However, it does not have a built-in EQ, which some users might see as a minor drawback. Installation of the Anthem is straightforward and does not require any modifications to the guitar. It is also available in a simpler version, the Anthem SL, with fixed settings between the Tru-Mic and Element pickup and soundhole-mounted volume control.

L.R. Baggs Anthem is highly recommended for its natural-sounding pickup, feedback resistance, and ease of installation. It is considered a significant improvement over other pickup systems, providing a sound that is very much like the acoustic sound of the guitar. This is the Best Acoustic Guitar Pickup in 2024.

Fishman Matrix Infinity Pickup & Preamp System

Fishman Matrix Infinity VT Acoustic Pickup...
  • 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...

Fishman Matrix Infinity is an acoustic guitar pickup system that is highly regarded for its sound quality and ease of use. It combines a microphone design with the well-known Fishman Element undersaddle pickup, resulting in a sound that is detailed, warm, and full of personality. The Matrix Infinity is praised for its ability to replicate the guitar’s natural tone, from fingerpicking to full-on strumming. It is particularly effective at capturing the nuances of percussive playing and fingerpicking, thanks to its built-in microphone.

The microphone carries the majority of the guitar’s frequency range, providing a full, round tone that captures the body of the guitar. The Matrix Infinity is also noted for its feedback resistance and noise cancellation features, which are crucial for live performances. It provides essential controls for live situations and is easy on a 9-volt battery, with staged battery check lights.

However, it does not have a built-in EQ, which some users might see as a minor drawback. Installation of the Matrix Infinity is straightforward and does not require any modifications to the guitar. It is also available in a simpler version, the Matrix Infinity VT, with fixed settings between the microphone and Element pickup and soundhole-mounted volume control.

Fishman Matrix Infinity is highly recommended for its natural-sounding pickup, feedback resistance, and ease of installation. It is considered a significant improvement over other pickup systems, providing a sound that is very much like the acoustic sound of the guitar. This is the Best Acoustic Guitar Pickups in 2024.

K&K Sound Pure Mini Pick Up

K&K Pure Mini Acoustic Guitar Pickup
  • Pickup with 3 piezo heads
  • Frequency Response Ideal for Acoustic Guitar

The K&K Sound Pure Mini is a passive acoustic guitar pickup system that is highly regarded for its sound quality, ease of installation, and affordability. It is a three-transducer system that attaches to the bridge plate inside the guitar, providing a natural and balanced sound that captures the nuances of the guitar’s tone. The Pure Mini is praised for its ability to replicate the guitar’s natural tone, from fingerpicking to full-on strumming. It is particularly effective at capturing the nuances of percussive playing and fingerpicking. The pickup carries the majority of the guitar’s frequency range, providing a full, round tone that captures the body of the guitar.

The Pure Mini is also noted for its feedback resistance, which is a crucial feature for live performances. However, it does not have a built-in EQ or preamp, which some users might see as a minor drawback. To boost the signal and provide tone shaping controls, it is recommended to pair the Pure Mini with a DI. Installation of the Pure Mini is straightforward and does not require any modifications to the guitar. It is also appreciated for its passive design, which means there’s no need to worry about a battery dying.

K&K Sound Pure Mini is highly recommended for its natural-sounding pickup, feedback resistance, and ease of installation. It is considered a significant improvement over other pickup systems, providing a sound that is very much like the acoustic sound of the guitar.

LR Baggs M80 Magnetic Soundhole Pickup

L.R. Baggs M80 Acoustic Guitar Magnetic Soundhole...
  • Full-range body sensitivity
  • Active or passive operation
  • Feedback resistant

LR Baggs M80 is a magnetic soundhole pickup for acoustic guitars that is highly regarded for its sound quality and ease of use. It is praised for its ability to capture the guitar’s natural tone, from fingerpicking to full-on strumming, and is particularly effective at capturing the nuances of percussive playing and fingerpicking.

M80 is noted for its ‘3D body sensitivity’, an attempt to produce a magnetic pickup that has very mic-like characteristics. This feature allows the pickup to capture the entire frequency range of the top, back, sides, and neck resonances in all three dimensions. The pickup also has adjustable polepieces, a neat multi-segment battery indicator, onboard mini volume control, and an active/passive switch if your battery fails.

The M80 is easy to install, simply slotting into your soundhole with its coin battery pre-fitted at the base of the pickup. It is also appreciated for its passive design, which means there’s no need to worry about a battery dying. The sound falls squarely in the magnetic pickup camp. The tone is warm and full, with a slightly “electric” tinge, but the M80’s design adds more “acoustic” character to the otherwise magnetic sound. However, a bit of EQ can help reduce the electric tinge and fine-tune the tone to taste.

LR Baggs M80 is highly recommended for its natural-sounding pickup, feedback resistance, and ease of installation. It is considered a significant improvement over other pickup systems, providing a sound that is very much like the acoustic sound of the guitar.

Seymour Duncan Woody HC Hum-Canceling Soundhole Pickup

Seymour Duncan SA-3HC Woody HC Acoustic Soundhole...
  • 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.

DiMarzio Black Angel Piezo Acoustic Pickup

DiMarzio Black Angel Piezo Acoustic Pickup
  • Steel-string Acoustic Guitar
  • Piezo Pickup for Bronze-

The DiMarzio Black Angel is a passive magnetic soundhole pickup designed for acoustic guitars, known for its quiet operation and responsiveness. It captures the dynamics of the player’s style effectively, from light fingerpicking to aggressive strumming. The pickup is recognized for its balanced tonal range across all strings, providing a brilliant high-end that is both warm and crisp. Its fast response to picking nuances ensures that the subtleties of the player’s performance are well captured.

The pickup is also noted for its dynamic and touch-sensitive nature, responding instantly to the sound produced by the strings. It captures the nuances of each acoustic guitar more naturally than many piezo pickups. Despite being a magnetic pickup, the Black Angel does not produce an electric sound—there is no hum, and it does not require a battery. It is also capable of reducing unwanted finger and pick noises.

Buying Guide for Acoustic Guitar Pickups

When looking to amplify your acoustic guitar, the right pickup can make all the difference in your sound. Here’s an expanded guide to help you navigate the options and find the best acoustic guitar pickup for your needs.

Types of Pickups

There are several types of acoustic guitar pickups, each offering unique sound attributes and installation procedures. The most frequently encountered types include:

Under-saddle piezo pickups: These pickups detect sound through the pressure exerted on the bridge by the strings, typically resulting in a bright tonal output.

Soundhole pickups: These are magnetic pickups, akin to those found in electric guitars, and they produce a tone that leans towards the warmer side.

Microphone pickups: These pickups are designed to capture the authentic acoustic sound of the guitar, although they might be susceptible to feedback in high-volume settings.

Contact pickups or transducers: These pickups detect sound from the surface of the guitar’s top or the bridge plate, often delivering a tone that is closer to the natural acoustic sound.”

Sound Quality and Tone

The primary goal of a pickup is to accurately amplify the natural sound of your acoustic guitar. Consider pickups that preserve the tonal characteristics of your instrument and provide the clarity and warmth you desire. High-quality pickups will capture the nuances of your playing style, from fingerpicking to hard strumming.

Installation and Guitar Modification

Some pickups require modifications to your guitar, such as drilling holes for endpin jacks or altering the bridge. If you’re not comfortable with permanent changes or have a valuable instrument, consider a removable soundhole pickup. For a more integrated solution, professional installation might be the best route.

Compatibility with Your Guitar

Ensure the pickup you choose is compatible with your guitar’s size, shape, and bridge style. Some pickups are designed specifically for steel-string or nylon-string guitars and may not perform well if used with the wrong type.

Power Source: Active vs. Passive Pickups

Active pickups require a power source, usually a battery, to operate. They often come with built-in preamps and EQ controls, providing a stronger signal and more tonal flexibility. Passive pickups do not require power and offer a simpler setup, but may need an external preamp to boost the signal.

Budget and Value

Pickups range from affordable to high-end prices. While expensive pickups often offer superior sound quality and features, there are budget-friendly options that still provide great performance. Determine your budget and find a pickup that offers the best value for your investment.

Aesthetics

Consider how the pickup will look on your guitar. Some players prefer discreet systems that don’t alter the guitar’s appearance, while others don’t mind visible modifications.

Feedback Resistance

If you play in loud environments, look for pickups designed to minimize feedback. This is especially important for microphone-based systems.

Versatility and Adjustability

Some pickups offer adjustable pole pieces or tone controls, allowing you to fine-tune the balance and tone to match your playing style and environment.

Ease of Use

Consider how easy the pickup is to use during performances. Features like volume controls accessible from the soundhole can be very convenient.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an acoustic guitar pickup?

An acoustic guitar pickup is a device that captures the vibrations of the guitar strings and converts them into an electrical signal that can be amplified.

What are the different types of acoustic guitar pickups?

The three main types of acoustic guitar pickups are under-saddle piezo, bridge plate transducer, and soundhole pickup. Each type offers a different tone and has its own advantages and disadvantages.

How do I install an acoustic guitar pickup?

The installation process varies depending on the type of pickup. Some pickups can be easily installed in the soundhole, while others may require drilling holes in the guitar. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, consider getting a professional to install it for you.

How do I choose the best acoustic guitar pickup for my needs?

When choosing a pickup, consider the type of pickup, the sound quality, the ease of installation, the price, and the reputation of the brand. It’s also a good idea to listen to samples of the pickup to see if you like the sound.

Can I use an acoustic guitar pickup on any type of guitar?

Most acoustic guitar pickups are designed to work with any type of acoustic guitar. However, some pickups may not work as well with certain types of guitars, so it’s always a good idea to check the compatibility before purchasing.

Do acoustic guitar pickups require a battery?

Some acoustic guitar pickups require a battery to operate, while others do not. Check the specifications of the pickup to see if it requires a battery.

Can I use effects with my acoustic guitar pickup?

Yes, you can use effects with your acoustic guitar pickup. However, the type of pickup you have may affect how well the effects work.

Do acoustic guitar pickups alter the tone of the guitar?

Yes, acoustic guitar pickups can alter the tone of the guitar. The extent to which the tone is altered depends on the type of pickup and how it’s installed.

Can I install more than one pickup on my guitar?

Yes, it’s possible to install more than one pickup on your guitar. This can allow you to blend different tones and create a more versatile sound.

What is the difference between active and passive pickups?

Active pickups have a built-in preamp and require a battery, while passive pickups do not. Active pickups generally provide a cleaner sound with less feedback, but they are more expensive and require a power source.