Whether you play acoustic guitar solely for your own pleasure or you entertain huge crowds of audience, keeping the tone of your acoustic guitar is very necessary. Best pickup will allow you to enjoy amplified ecstatic sound of your acoustic guitar.
- 1 What is an Acoustic Guitar Pickup?
- 2 How to Distinguish Several Types of Acoustic Guitar Pickups?
- 3 Why Acoustic Guitar Pickups are Different?
- 4 Pros and Cons of Installing Acoustic Guitar Pickup
- 5 How to Buy Best Acoustic Guitar Pickup?
- 6 What kinds of Acoustic Guitar Pickup do you want?
- 7 How to Test an Acoustic Guitar Pickup Before Buying it?
What is an Acoustic Guitar Pickup?
According to Wikipedia “pickup is a transducer device that captures mechanical vibrations and converts them into electrical vibes”. In order to sum this complex phrase up, pickup is a device that is installed on your acoustic guitar to amplify its sound when plug-in an amplifier and connect to cabinet speaker.
Thus, you can say that acoustic guitar pickup is a device that is used to electrify acoustic sound waves. An acoustic guitar has its own unique sound propagation. However, this sound is somehow subdued when it is played with other louder instruments. Hence, acoustic guitar pickup is installed to electrify sound of the acoustic guitar whenever you want.
How to Distinguish Several Types of Acoustic Guitar Pickups?
Wonderful and amazing world of acoustic guitar pickup is flooded with details of pickup applications, pros and cons of installing pickups on your acoustic guitar, methods and challenges of installing acoustic guitar pickups.
However, what you should keep in mind is that every acoustic guitar has its own style. Therefore, before installing pickup on your guitar you should be able to distinguish between several types of pickup.
Acoustic guitar pickups come in different ranges. Simplest acoustic guitar pickup is sound-hole pickup. However, if you want high and spicy sound, then there are more advanced and multi-technological options. Moreover, acoustic guitar pickups are more practical and helping amplify sound on higher degrees as compare to an external microphone.
Following are Given Some of the Basic Acoustic Guitar Pickups:
Note: With every pickup type, it has passive pickup and active pickup
- Passive Pickup: It don’t require any electronics to alter the tone before sending it to an amplifier. So, Is it essential to have a pre-amp when using the passive pickup? It depends on what you’re plugging into, because the preamps on the amp or mixer can boost the signal well enough -> You don’t need a preamp.
- Active Pickup: It have a pre-amp circuit built-in and require an electrical source to boots and increase signal sounds before sending to amp. The price is more expensive than passive, but it produce a much richer and louder tone.
Magnetic Soundhole Pickups:
The Sound-hole pickup is magnet with a coil of wire wrapped around it. They work the same way as electric guitar pickups: the strings create electronic signals when they vibrate in a magnetic field over the pickup.
- These are most basic pickups.
- They could be your first choice, as most of the people prefer to install these pickups before trying more advanced and more complex pickups for best acoustic guitar.
- They magnetize strings to amplify sound, thus you can say that they are similar to electric guitar pickups.
- Some of the companies that offer Best Magnetic Soundhole Pickups include Dean Markley, Lawrence, Seymour Duncan and EMG.
Surface Mounted Piezo Pickup (Soundboard Acoustic Pickup):
Surface Mounted Piezo Pickup work by sensing vibrations of strings and wood via crystal, converting them into electrical signals and to be reproduced by an amplifier.
- This type of acoustic guitar pickup is further divided into two types (another twist!) first Surface Mounted, second Bridge Mounted.
- Surface mounted pickups are installed to the top of the guitar or inside up against the bridge plate.
- Placement of these pickups is highly crucial for feedback potential and optimum tone as it is going to sense the vibrations of the wood.
- They are most suitable for solo performances.
- Schaller, McIntyre and Fishman offer Best Surface Mounted Piezo Acoustic Pickup.
Saddle Mounted Piezo Pickup (Undersaddle Acoustic Guitar Pickup):
The technology for making Saddle Mounted Piezo Pickup like Surface Mounted Piezo Pickup is used Piezo technology. The difference between it is the placement of pickup: An under-saddle pickup sits under the saddle, and Surface Mounted Pickup sits inside the guitar, under the bridge or outside (at top side of guitar) near the bridge.
- Owing to the popularity of Saddle Mounted Acoustic Pickup, companies like Takamine, Ovation, Martin, Seagull and many others manufacture electrifying pickups for their acoustic guitars.
- It is not necessary to drill holes in the acoustic guitar when you are installing these pickups as this will reduce worth and quality of your acoustic guitar.
- Instead of drilling holes for volume and tone controls just install pickup and endpin mounted preamp.
- Saddle Mounted Piezo acoustic guitar pickup is invisible to naked eye and it also offers high feedback resistance.
Dual Pickup Systems:
Each of the pickup described above has its own pros and cons. Thus the acoustic guitar lovers have invented something different to cater with this problem.
Different companies have introduced various dual pickup systems i.e. Fishman Rare Earth Blend. Such dual systems are created by combining two or more basic pickup types. Thus, in this way you can get nearly perfect sound quality by blending two or more than two acoustic guitar pickups.
Why Acoustic Guitar Pickups are Different?
Acoustic guitar pickups have many different and unique sounds. In fact, there are as many sound choices as there are individuals out there. Hence, if a person gives you a preference or a suggestion there is a possibility that he is telling you his own favorite.
There are hundred percent chances that your favorite might be way different from the acoustic guitar pickup suggested by your friend or by the shopkeeper.
Experience of the maker, quality of the best acoustic guitar pickup and personal choice of the individual is all that makes difference. You can summarize it up as “subtle difference, huge change”.
Pros and Cons of Installing Acoustic Guitar Pickup
Following are given pros and cons of installing acoustic guitar pickups.
- Soundboard acoustic pickup give you most natural sound similar to the sound of acoustic guitar being played in a room and best for solo playing.
- Soundhole acoustic guitar pickup is easiest to install. Moreover, you don’t need to do any modifications to the structure of your acoustic guitar.
- Undersaddle acoustic guitar pickup offer you a complete package of natural sound and elegant & easy installation.
- Soundboard acoustic guitar pickup may produce feedback. It also does not blend well into a loud ensemble.
- Soundhole acoustic guitar pickup can create an electric sound to the output signal. This badly affects sound quality (not natural sounds) of your acoustic guitar. Only work with steel strings.
- Undersaddle acoustic guitar pickup may produce a popping sound effect, especially if you “attack” the strings of your best acoustic guitar.
How to Buy Best Acoustic Guitar Pickup?
There are several factors that can help you choose best acoustic guitar pickups. Along with weighing pros and cons of available acoustic guitar pickups, there are some other factors that you should consider.
What kinds of Acoustic Guitar Pickup do you want?
Everyone has their own preference when it comes to playing acoustic guitar pickup. Some people like to have solo performances, others prefer band performances. Then there are closed space events like in auditoriums or community halls.
Some guitarist performers prefer playing in open space. Different acoustic pickups are recommended for different tastes and needs. Remember, there are as many pickup options as there are people in this world. Therefore, you should choose the one that perfectly fits your own choice.
Although most of the acoustic guitar pickups come in affordable price range, however, it is recommended that you should check and tally prices before making a final decision.
How to Test an Acoustic Guitar Pickup Before Buying it?
Now you have some authentic information about acoustic guitar pickups. So let’s start the hunt for the best one for your acoustic guitar. Remember that each pickup has its own unique qualities. Moreover, no two pickups will sound the same. Some pickups bleed off the high end whereas others may play a little more with the bass.
Thus, in order to choose the most suitable one you should try several acoustic guitar pickups. Expensive pickups do not mean the best pickup. What actually matters is how it sounds. Public opinion can also give you right suggestion, so start reading some rational reviews.
So, to Buy Best Acoustic Guitar Pickup, you Should Check:
- It has sliders or knobs to allow flat EQ response.
- The acoustic guitar pickup should dial up decently.
- The sound is amplified according to your taste.
- The acoustic guitar pickup mixes well with the mic.
- It is easy to install and does not ruin physical structure of your acoustic electric guitar.