10 Best Acoustic Guitar Pickups
Ever played an intimate gig or even a rowdy bar where you’re desperately trying to make your acoustic guitar heard over the sound of clinking glasses and chit-chat? Enter the world of acoustic guitar pickups, the unsung hero of the acoustic performer. While a microphone does a stellar job capturing the sound, there’s nothing quite like a reliable pickup to give you the control and amplification you need. Ready to dive in? Here’s our pick of the top 10 acoustic guitar pickups for all those unplugged enthusiasts out there.
Acoustic Pickups Guide
1. L.R. Baggs Anthem
The Full Package
When you talk about acoustic pickups, it’s hard not to mention L.R. Baggs. The Anthem is an absolute beast. This true-mic technology ensures that your guitar’s natural tone shines through without any of the pesky feedback. With a blend control to mix between the mic and the under-saddle pickup, it’s versatility galore!
2. Fishman Matrix Infinity
Tried and Trusted
Fishman is like that reliable old friend you can always count on. The Matrix Infinity is a staple in the acoustic amplification world, and for good reason. Its soundhole-mounted rotary controls for volume and tone make adjustments a breeze. Plus, the voicing switch caters to all guitar body sizes.
3. Seymour Duncan Woody HC
Keep It Simple, Silly!
Want something less intrusive? The Woody HC is a simple soundhole pickup that does the job and does it well. It’s a hum-cancelling pickup, which means you’ll get less of that annoying buzz. The maple housing also gives it a natural aesthetic, blending seamlessly with most acoustics.
4. K&K Pure Mini
The K&K Pure Mini is a passive three-transducer pickup system designed for steel-string guitars. It’s all about capturing the guitar’s vibrations in their purest form. With no batteries required, it’s a plug-and-play solution for purists.
5. Taylor ES2
Specifically designed for Taylor guitars (but usable with others), the ES2 or Expression System 2 uses a behind-the-saddle design, which tends to capture more of the guitar’s natural essence. With onboard tone and volume controls, tailoring your sound is just fingertips away.
6. DiMarzio Black Angel
Elegance Meets Functionality
DiMarzio isn’t just about electric guitars, folks. The Black Angel is proof of their prowess in the acoustic department. A passive piezo pickup that sits right in the soundhole, it captures a broad frequency range. Plus, its phase-switching capability helps in fighting feedback, especially when you’re juggling between multiple sound sources.
7. L.R. Baggs M80
More than Just a Pickup
Another masterpiece from L.R. Baggs! The M80 isn’t just about amplifying your sound; it’s about capturing the very essence of your guitar’s character. This magnetic soundhole pickup offers a built-in 3D sensor that picks up the entire frequency range of your guitar – from string vibrations to the body’s resonance. And oh, it’s active, so expect a boost in your dynamics.
8. Fishman Rare Earth Humbucking Pickup
Fishman’s Rare Earth series has garnered quite the reputation, and this humbucking version is no exception. Known for its brilliant string-to-string balance and great clarity, this active magnetic pickup is a powerhouse. Its neodymium magnets ensure you get a warm and full amplified tone. Plus, the humbucking design ensures that any annoying electronic buzzes and hums are kept at bay.
9. Shadow SH141
Shadow might not be as commonly known as the likes of L.R. Baggs or Fishman, but the SH141 is a testament to their quality. An active single-coil pickup, it promises a clear and bright tone. It’s got onboard electronics with an easy-to-reach volume control right in the soundhole. For those who like a bit of oomph in their amplification without going overboard, this is a solid choice.
10. B-Band A3T
The Underdog Surprise
Last but by no means least, the B-Band A3T system integrates both an undersaddle pickup and a preamp. What’s unique? It’s not a piezo. Instead, B-Band uses a proprietary emulsion film that promises a more natural sound without the quirks of a typical piezo. The onboard preamp comes with a 4-band EQ, volume control, and even a digital tuner. Talk about the full package!
So, there you have it, the top 10 acoustic guitar pickups, each with its unique flair and function. Remember, the best pickup isn’t necessarily the most expensive or the most popular. It’s the one that complements your guitar, suits your playing style, and feels right. So, plug in, turn up, and let the world hear your acoustic soul!