|1. HDE||2. K&K Pure Mini||3. Luvay|
Music has been telling many stories since ancient times. The guitar is a huge part of music culture. Audiences love to hear soothing and beautiful music that is produced from the guitar. It takes them to the musical world with its slick and stylish sound.
The power of this instrument has been since few genres and musical eras where countless tunes have been played. The guitar songs have some best moments in the history that makes this instrument versatile.
However, if you want to play a different tune, you no more have to buy a new guitar instead can buy the best guitar pickup to improve the tone and hear softer and rounder tone.
A change of pickups can change your guitar’s tone and make an average instrument a great one. It is an accessory that allows you to listen to the beautiful sound produced from guitar and transmit outside by cutting down unwanted noise.
A guitar pickup is a device that converts the vibrations of guitar strings into electrical signals. These signals are then sent to a guitar amplifier, which boosts them to audible volumes.
A pickup is a metal coil wrapped around magnetic pole pieces that generates a magnetic field to replicate frequencies. These are detected by the pickup when your guitar strings vibrate as you’re playing and then amplified.
Several factors can affect what frequencies a pickup attends to – involving the type of magnet and number of coil windings – and this controls its character and the kind of fortes and limitations it may have for different musical styles.
Whether you want to know what the best guitar pickups are or need to replace the old pickup as you need to modify your guitar or just looking to customize your guitar with best pickups. We are here to help you with comprehensive information about guitar pickups.
You must now go ahead and look for the best guitar pickups available in the market.
Top 15 Best Electric Guitar Pickups 2020
The 5*1 inch of the soundhole pickup is made of superior quality plastic material, which is quite easy to install. It clips to the soundhole of the acoustic guitar and connects to the audio input with a standard 1/4″ connector.
The players must clip the pickup on the sound holes and connect the lead to the ¼ input; you are ready to use the pickup.
The intuitive lead has a long cable that is of 3 meters to give ample room to move around. It has a 9-foot cable with a 1/4″ mono jack to plug into an amplifier or other audio input.
The pickup can cause interruption to the strings when they are not positioned correctly and can create unwanted humming noises.
Players must try various positions and find a position where all the strings are producing the same kind of pickup vibration.
This guitar does it best to pick the tone of acoustic guitar. Though there is no volume control for the pickup, it can crank up the volume without any kind of distortion.
- Clear and full tone
- Easy to amplify or record using guitar
- Easy to install
- Easy to convert acoustic into an electric acoustic guitar
- Can play classical rock
- It won’t sound great when you are playing in the live studio
2. K&K Pure Mini
It is the best type of pickup that can produce natural, woody and resonant tone when you play with an acoustic guitar. It provides excellent sound. The three transducers that is equipped with a pick with different strings while giving ample space around.
These are placed away from the transducers. However, you can detect it on the under-saddle pickup to amplify the guitar so that it spreads across the soundboard. It gives a natural tone, which for few pickups would be tinny.
Due to soundboard reverberations and the strings that are shared amongst the transducers, it offers you with excellent sound quality. The 1/8″ thin soundboard can act as a diaphragm and vibrate along with loud sound-signals from speaker cabinets.
The pickup allows you to play the original tones of acoustic guitar. It is placed under the bridge plate of the guitar. It is made of plastic and designed to place correctly inside the guitar.
It gives a rich sound that will not have any impact on the original sound produced by the guitar. It allows you to generate a unique sound quality. The sound is powerful, and the pickup can be used without any amp.
It is ideal, especially when you are playing the guitar in small coffee shops instead of insignificant musical events. It produces the output for different types of amps. Therefore you do not need to spend any bucks in buying an amp.
- Passive pickup
- No battery is required
- Easy to install with minimal drilling
- Used in conjunction with steel or nylon strings
- Produce good sound quality with less feedback
- Feedback problems when playing at a high volume
If you are looking for the best guitar pickups that work for multiple instruments, then this model pickup is an excellent choice. You can use the pickup for acoustic guitar, ukulele, violin, kalimba, harp, and banjo and so on.
It is a single solution that helps you to amplify the sounds in no time. You can mount or remove the pickup system from the guitar as per your preferences and make the musical instrument sound louder.
The installation process of the pickup is simple, and all you need is tape so that you can attach the pickup sensor to the hole of the musical instrument. You can get four stickers that are a perfect fit for the pickup size.
You can easily mount the pickup as soon as you get to the instrument. You can plug in the jack to the system to enjoy the sounds that are produced by the musical instrument. Brass plating material plug, antinoise disturbance comes with 10 ft amplifier cable (standard 1/4″ connector).
- Easy to adjust the volume with the control knob
- Generate crisp and clear sound quality
- No battery is required
- Easy to setup
- Anti-noise disturbance
- Can be used for different musical instruments
- Adhesive offers an excellent grip
- Receive a lot of feedback from the surroundings
- Works only with steel string guitars
4. Dean Markley Pro
This is the best pickup to amplify the guitar. The Pro Mag balance and maple wood housing would offer you with an excellent response from the acoustic pickup. The bell-like harmonics would allow you to compose the tones better than other pickups.
It balances the strings, i.e. the bass strings and treble strings to give out the same volume of the ring. The 15-foot low noise and double-shielded cable with a ¼ inch nickel jack would give ample freedom to move without having to worry about the noise or the unwanted hum.
- Single coil pickup
- Perfect string balance
- Produce less noise by cancelling unwanted noise
- Easy to install
- Gives a rich tone
- Humbucker is delicate
5. Amumu NEO-SP31
This is the cost-effective yet the entry-level pickup. If you are giving a live performance at the concert and want to rock the stage, it is an ideal option. This installation of the pickup inside the guitar is easy to be done without the assistance of technicians.
The housing of the pickup is done using solid Beachwood with soft rubber foam. The sound hold diameter of the acoustic guitar ranges from 3.82 inches to 4.33 inches. The Neodymium magnet transducer offers the perfect balance in the string and produces the acoustic sound.
The single-coil that is wrapped using the hand-wound oxygen-free copper would give powerful bass and the response that is of mid-range.
It runs without a battery and comes with low current and high impedance design. It is a perfect fit for steel-string acoustic guitar. When you connect the soundhole pickup to the guitar and restring, you are good to play on.
- Easy to setup
- Promote excellent recording
- Give excellent string balance
- Pickup would not last longer
In case you wish to replace the old pickup with a new one, then this pickup is an ideal choice for your guitar. It is compatible to install in different models of the electric guitar. It has Alnico 5 humbucker pickup and six non-adjustable slug pole pieces along with six adjustable screws.
It is fully wax potted pickup and sealed to avoid unwanted noise and feedback. It is easy to set up and use. As they come with screws and springs.
- Generate excellent sound
- Easy to set up
- Humbucker break quickly
7. L.R. Baggs Anthem-SL
There is a dynamic studio mic that produces the sound to give a live performance. The Tru mic is mounted inside the bridge plate and will hover over the surface about 3 mm to take full benefit of the boundary effect. The proprietary mounting system will come with the noise cancellation feature that will remove unwanted noises when you are performing on the stage and give excellent feedback suppression.
There is a balance in the frequency of response and have excellent clarity of the sound produced after the amplification. The mic option will do a great job in improving the tone. The pickup has a remarkable battery life.
The Anthem S system would be mounted under the bridge plate, and the mic is put in the pickup. The guitarists can play an external and internal sound that ultimately gives you the best sound. Battery life is 70+ hrs, single 9V.
- Active pickup
- Easy to set up
- Transducer mic is put together
- Better control options to attain your favourite tone when performing on stage
- Have very less control over the Anthem
If you want the best guitar pickups that can produce a warm and clear sound without any noise in the background, you can choose Randon Acoustic Guitar pickup pickp. This pickup is suitable to be installed in other instruments such as violin, Ukulele, Banjo, Cello, Harp, Kalimba, and Mandolin, and so on.
The two-sided tape and self-adhesive Velcro would remove the unwanted external noises and would not have an impact on the sounds that are produced by the surrounding objects. It gives you a crystal clear quality sound.
The stick patch transducer will work in conjunction with the sound source. It is easy to install, and you can stick it onto the instrument to minimize or reduce the damage caused to the instrument body.
The audio jack of 9.65 inches can take the place of the endpoint and quickly mount the strap., The audio jack can replace the endpin and install the strap.
- No battery is required
- Do not need to make holes
- Produce a clear tone without any muddy sounds
- Enjoy playing the guitar
No sound will be lost, or the hum would be generated. It is ideal for singing, soft trebles and smooth bass. The design will eliminate the unwanted components and promote proper coupling between the guitar and transducer.
The transducer sensitivity is improved to give a lively performance with excellent dynamics. The best thing about this model pickup is that you do not need to cut a hole to insert the pickup and it is easy to install.
Be it you are using the nylon or steel strings, but the superior quality endpin jack pre-amp made with the metal body will improve the sound produced by the guitar and give an acoustic tone.
- Can be used in all kinds of guitar
- Assure excellent performance
- Easy to install
- No sound is lost
- Piezo that gets in touch with the soundboard will produce the sound of guitar body along with everything that touches the guitar
If you want a clean and precise tone after the amplification, you must use this model pickup. It controls the tone and volume. You can use this type of pickup for acoustic guitar that is equipped with a sound hole and steel strings.
This 12-hole soundhole pickup is an excellent accessory for music to improve the sound produced by the guitar. This comes with an amp connection cable along with the jack.
It produces the sound with accurate quality and less feedback. The felt backed clip would offer high protection to the guitar from the scratches and other damages.
It is easy to setup. You need to connect the 3.5m guitar lead to the guitar amplifier. It is suitable for all types of acoustic and classic guitars.
- Easy to install
- Easy to control the tone and volume
- The tone has no impact on the sound
The SG-1 assures to improve the amplification naturally without making any changes. It is easy to install SG1 securely amidst the pins and bridge saddle.
The cable that is provided is of 1/8 and ¼ inches and easy to detach. You can install the pickup without making any modifications to the instrument.
The wooden sensor casing in which the pickup is wrapped is lightweight and is not obstructive. It delivers a clear and accurate sound when you give a live performance.
- Easy to install
- Produces crisp sound
12. Ascendas EQ-7545R
The pre-amp unit can be directly mounted to the side of the acoustic guitar. The Curve pre-amp would give an on-board equalizer that allows you to control the volume. It clarifies the signals before it hits the amplifier.
The rod-style piezo transducer pickup can be attached to the jack plug and can be detached when required. When the cord is not plugged, the jack with an automatic off circuit will turn off the pre-amp.
The built-in battery gives an excellent battery life. The Mono 1/4″ jack with a circuit that turns the preamp off when the cord is unplugged.
- Can fit comfortably in the acoustic guitars or cigar box guitars
- Amplify the sound that is produced using guitar
- Easy to setup
- Battery life is excellent
- Sound quality is natural
- Components are of cheap quality
The simple yet powerful pickup is easy to install, and you can improve the amplification without drilling holes to your plush guitar. The hot rail dual blade humbucker pickup is compatible to use in electric guitars.
The pickup is thoroughly wax posted and sealed to avoid unwanted noise as well as feedback. You can produce rich sounds from the guitar when you are playing in music venues.
The one 4 cores cable can be switched to single. You can install this on the guitar with the help of a coil-split switch. Resistance total is 15-16k ohms, single-coil pickup is 7-8K ohms.
- Easy to install
- Produce clean sound
- Produce low output
The Kepma is a great pickup that is good in performance without costing you an arm and a leg. The pickup is lightweight and easy to carry anywhere. It produces beautiful tones that impress your audience when playing live. It is suitable to use in all acoustic guitars.
You can produce excellent reverbs, chorus and delay. The Kepma pre-amp system allows you to enhance the tone and give quality sound effects like in-studio without using any amplifier.
You can adjust the tone and get the back with your acoustic guitar. The transducer trim pot allows you to adjust the intensity and mix, whereas the mic pot gives a fine-tuned output.
You can use the best guitar pickups temporarily or permanently. It runs with the battery that allows you to play continuously for 30 hours.
The battery is equipped with a USB port to charge. The long endpin jack for permanent installation comes with ¼ Hi-Z output along with strap peg cover.
- Amplify the sound of the guitar
- Easy to install
- Low output is produced from the transducer
- There are issues with pre-amp jack
If you are looking for a pickup to amplify the sound produced from the guitar, you must look at this model pickup. It gives you adequate control over the music so that the audience can enjoy rich sound while you are performing.
It is easy to setup. You can have the amplification without having to drill the guitar or do any modifications that may damage the musical instrument.
The three transducer pickup system will amplify the sound of a musical instrument. The pre-wired piezo mic will save a lot of your time and allow you to install the pickup easily. The best part of the pickup is that it eliminates unwanted feedback and noise.
The noise produced from the surrounding objects is also cancelled. It is a perfect fit for different types of musical instruments such as banjo, violin, and viola, cello, and so on.
- No battery is required
- No battery is required
- Easy to install and use
- The acoustic bass is not great
Factors To Look For While Buying The Best Guitar Pickup
The pickups come in two different types of designs.
Single Coil Pickup
A single-coil design pickup has one magnetic coil of wire. The common single coil you will find has wire wrapped around six magnetic pole pieces, one for each string.
The single coils will have a sharp, brighter sound with plenty of trebles.it produces the sound with the help of clean and undistorted amplification settings. It is the coil pickup that is made by wrapping the wire around the pole pieces six times.
There is a cover that gives protection to the wire. However, this type of pickup will produce some background buzz, which takes a toll on the musical experience. Few players like this excess noise as it produces vintage sound.
Few musicians would not like to enjoy pristine single-coil sound that has no hum. The single coils are ideal for playing different types of musical styles such as blues, indie, country and alternative.
The humbucker features a dual-coil design that thickens up the tone, adding more sustain and higher output. Each coil is wrapped in a different direction to a central magnet. The unnecessary hum would be removed with the coils that are wrapped in two different directions.
The tone produced by this type of coil is thick, warm and loud compared to the single coils. This type of coil pickup is perfect for classic rock, hard rock and metal music.
The softer tone of humbucker makes it ideal for playing jazz music, especially when you are using this type of coil in the neck position on the hollow body guitar.
2. Passive Vs Active
Another critical factor to consider when buying a guitar pickup is whether it is active or passive one. The passive pickups look like the conventional coil design and are a popular type of pickups in the market.
These pickups use low current and high voltage. The output generated would be improved when you wrap the bobbins with additional wire or with the help of powerful magnets.
When you increase the output of the pickup, it has a significant impact on the tone, such as making a terrible noise and produces external sound.
If the magnet is dominant, then it can reduce the string vibration, reduce sustain and give a dynamic response.
Active pickups have the same kind of construction as passive pickups. However, the circuit will use an active pre-amp to improve the strength of the signal and allow low voltage designs. It has only a few wraps around the coil and uses a less effective magnet.
It reduces noise and gives a consistent tone. You can avoid loss of frequency using long cables. There is clarity when using high gain distortion amp settings.
The P90 is the best compared to the single-coil and humbucker pickups. It is a specific type of single-coil pickup. P-90s are larger and more complex, and therefore produce a warmer sound. Since this sound essentially falls between a traditional single-coil and a humbucker.
It produces higher output when compared to the single-coil pickups, but do not provide the output that is given by humbucker. The tone of the pickup is deep. It is best suited to play blues and rock music.
The biggest factor affecting pickup tone is the type of magnets used within. This is another factor that has an impact on the output of best guitar pickups. Few of the types of magnets from which you can choose the one that can produce the tone you want to include:
It is the weakest of all as it is made of cobalt. It does not have much magnetic power. The strings are not influenced mostly by the magnetic pull. It is the popular choice of magnet to use in neck pickups. It produces a soft tone.
Many pickups use this type of magnet. The tone produced by this magnet is soft and clear and is very sweet. It sounds musical with a crisp tone. It offers best note separation for complicated chords.
The sound produced by this type of magnet is hotter and edgy. It produces a highly aggressive tone. The notes are put together during heavy distortion. It makes it an excellent choice for lead guitar.
Not many players find it worthy. Though you get the power of the ceramic magnet, the warmth it offers is similar to Alnico V. You can retain the woodiness of the guitar tone while raising the tone with the amplification.
This type of magnet will sound powerful and bold, especially when you are using it at the upper mid. It is widely used to play heavy metal and hard rock genres.
Choose the right pickup covers that give ample protection to the wire coil from severe damages. However, you need to select the right material with which the covers are made since it has an impact on the magnetic field and resonant peak.
The cover that is made using ferrous material would affect effect the magnetic flux, whereas the plastic cover won’t have much impact.
Budget is one of the most important factors while considering buying the pickup. Choose the pick up after checking its bells and whistles but purchase the one that allows you to produce the tone that you are going to play in the live performances.
The pickups come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Beforeplanning to buy a guitar, you must make sure that it connects to the guitar well and it allows you to play your favourite musical sounds.
Amp is another essential thing you need to consider while buying pick up. You can place this between the pickup and amp. The amp will improve all the sounds that are produced. The amp must work well with the pickup. It makes sure to keep the music clear and smooth.
First Determine which type of genre you would like to play. The style of music you are going to play is a critical part to choose a pickup. Every pickup has a different effect. The type of music you want to make will help you choose the right pickup.
10. High Vs Moderate Output
The output of the passive pickup can be increased by adding more winds of copper wire. Three different options are available. These include – high output model, moderate output and vintage style.
These pickups will produce the output that is lowest and will produce the classic sounds. Based on what you would like to play, you must choose the output. If you have high output, it is easy to play despite distortion, and if the output is low, it produces clean sound.
Working Of Guitar Pickup
The pickups in the guitar will improve the sound of the guitar. The pickups come in different sizes and shapes. Every pickup has a different purpose.
For instance, you cannot use the same pickup that you use to play for country music and hard rock. If you don’t get the right pickup, then it becomes hard to get the tone.
Pickup is a magnet that is wrapped with wires. It generates the magnetic field whose effect will move towards the strings. You can find the strings that are made using nickel or steel.
The ferromagnetic strings will quickly gel with the magnetic field. With the moving of the strings, the magnetic field is produced, and it keeps changing.
The wire that is wrapped around the magnet will pick the vibrations from the strings. These vibrations will change the magnetic field and pass a small electric current to the coil. The current is supplied until the power hit the amplifier and sound is generated.
Types Of Pickups
1. Acoustic Pickups
There are different types of acoustic pickups available in the market. Few of them include:
2. Transducer Pickups
Transducer pickups are recognized for their lifelike representation of an acoustic instrument’s tone. These pickups will produce an excellent tone when you install in your acoustic guitars. They work in line with the soundboard of the instrument and translate the response received into an electrical signal.
They work based on how the soundboard is reacting to the captured vibrations of strings. It produces reflective sound. The downside of using this type of pickup is that it is highly sensitive to feedback.
3. Piezo Pickups
It is a kind of transducer pickup, but you find this type of pickup been installed under the saddle. The pickups hear the sound that is produced by the strings compared to the guitar. There sound is considered more synthetic.
The strong mid-range hump is known as a piezo quack. These are highly resistant to the feedback and are an ideal option to choose for your guitar when you are performing on a bigger platform. It produces a high volume of sound that mesmerizes the crowd.
4. Soundhole Pickups
These are the electric pickups that you can fit directly in the acoustic guitars. It produces the tone that is of electric quality. If you buy a high-end soundhole pickup, you can generate the sound that would be lifelike.
The technology used in this pickup is similar to that of the microphone, which offers you an excellent response. It does not produce any unwanted noise and feedback.
The best thing about the pickup is that it is resistant to feedback and produce a lifelike tone. These are non-invasive, affordable and lightweight.
5. In Body Microphones
It is not a pickup, but you can make in body microphone work along with the pickup. It produces a realistic and acoustic tone. However, these are prone to feedback and are expensive compared to the other types of acoustic pickups.
6. Electric Bass Guitar Pickups
This pickup is used for playing jazz bass. The pickups will generate a warm and clear tone and are widely used by the musicians who play jazz music. This pickup can also be used in rock music.
The pickups are split into two halves. One half is lying on the other one. It is widely used by musicians who play rock and punk music to produce a punchy tone.
FAQs on Electric Guitar Pickups
1. What Is Acoustic Guitar Pickup?
To amplify an acoustic guitar, we need to convert its acoustic sound into an electrical signal, which requires a pickup.
When you’re playing in loud gigs acoustic guitar pickups are a more convenient option, as they allow you to move around, they provide more volume before feedback, and they isolate your guitar’s sound from other instruments.
The pickups that are widely used in acoustic guitars are piezo pickups. These pickups are placed inside the bridge saddle so that they are not visible. The working of the pickup will be from the vibrations that are extracted from the saddle.
This type of pickup will make use of piezoelectric crystal to pick the vibrations. They need a pre-amp to translate the signals before generating the output. Though you get passive guitar pickup that does not use pre-amp, it produces very low volume.
The magnetic pickups are also available, but these are widely used in the electric guitars. There are a few models of acoustic guitars that use the microphone as pickup.
However, these do not produce a clear and accurate sound. You can use a microphone and piezo to improve the sound of the acoustic guitar.
2. How To Install A Pickup On A Guitar?
The challenge with pickups is that you can’t hear what they sound like in your guitar until you put one in. Be cautious when you’re about to change the parts on your guitar, especially if it involves soldering. Use the correct tools will help prevent you from damaging parts such as screws.
The installation process of pickup on any guitar depends on the pickup type you have. It is challenging to install the pickups in the guitar with piezo models. You need to pay attention to the installation instructions that are given by the manufacturer. There are a few models of pickups that allow you to install the pickup without drilling the guitar or making any modifications.
The soundhole pickups can be placed directly in the soundhole that is given for the instrument and attaches using the clamps. If the best guitar pickups are big in size, then you would need to remove the strings from the instrument and install it.
On the flip side, piezoelectric pickups would need professional help to install the pickup in the instrument. You must drill the hole under the saddle on one end to install the component.
3. What Is A Soundhole Model Of Pickups?
It is easier to use, a soundhole pickup than to have a pickup installed in an acoustic. The soundhole pickups are magnetic. Few of the sound holes would be microphones. These are lightweight and are easy to install.
The soundhole has attached the cable, and you can directly plug in this cable to the amplifier. This is an effective way to add pickups to the acoustic guitar without doing any kind of modification to the instrument.
This pick up is designed to be used temporarily and can be easily and quickly interchanged between guitars.
The pickups are cost-effective. On the other hand, this type of pickup would not offer the sound quality that is offered by a piezo pickup. The soundhole model of the pickup has permanent installation.
For installing these pickups, you must drill a hole in the instrument to install both the jack and cable. The cable will maintain a good connection between the jack and the pickup.
4. Can You Make The Active Pickup Work Without Using A Battery?
The active pickups will work only with the help of batteries. You can get anywhere from 1000 – 4000 hours of battery life in a guitar with active pickups. The battery will supply the power required to run the pre-amp.
You can also connect pre-amp to other sources which can supply the power other than batteries, but this becomes difficult. How long the battery will last depends on how often you play, whether you leave your guitar plugged in all the time and the type of battery you use.
You need to have pre-amp for various reasons. The active pickups are known for reducing the humming noise and interference that would take a toll on the tone. The active pickups produce crystal clear sound and high output signal.
5. How Much Must You Spend To Install A Pickup In An Acoustic Guitar?
The price of the pickup depends on your budget. You must choose between the high end and low-end models as per your preferences.
If you are buying piezo pickups, then you must hire a professional to install the pickup carefully under the saddle. It is the additional amount you must spend but it is worth it.
You do not need to spend a considerable amount of money on the guitar with electrical capabilities.
6. How To Quickly Change The Guitar Pickups?
When you are replacing the old pickup with the new one, you must take a picture of the old pick up and carry out the whole installation process at a suitable place.
If you know how the guitar works, you must remove the strings and clean the area where the pickups were installed earlier. You must de-solder the wiring and remove the pickups that were installed before.
The colour-coding of wiring differs from one manufacturer to another. You need to check the instructions given by the manufacturer carefully to install the pickup in the guitar. You must learn how to wire the pickup.
Once you have gained the idea, you must solder the wire and place the pickups at the right location. After placing, you must tighten the screws and attach the strings.
Choose The Best Acoustic Guitar Pickup To Improve Your Performance
The guitar is a wonderful musical instrument. However, even the best model of guitars would require help to amplify the sound. Guitar pickups offer this assistance It’s not very difficult to find the pickup that is best for you by checking all criteria.
We have listed the top 15 acoustic and electric guitar pickups along with the pros and cons. You can read each and choose the one that is a perfect fit for you to give performances in small or obig events. You can buy the pickups listed inthis article without breaking the bank.
The knowledge you gained would help you hunt for the best acoustic or electric pickup for your guitar. It can also help you to avoid spending on the guitar that does not suit your needs.