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Acoustic Guitar Pickups

Acoustic guitar pickups are fitted to acoustic guitars to essentially make them electric acoustic guitars.

The addition of a pickup to your acoustic guitar allows you to plug it in to an output source such as a speaker or a guitar amplifier. Acoustic guitar pickups work by capturing the resonating vibrations from the body and strings and converting them to an electrical signal.

Do You Need an Acoustic Guitar Pickup?

  • Performing acoustic players will benefit from having pickups installed as they eliminate the need for uncomfortably standing behind a microphone
  • Do you play in a band? The direct signal from the pickup can cut through a live mix more easily than a microphoned guitar
  • The direct signal from the pickup can be recorded also with no need for a microphone – ideal for recording musicians and creating quick demos

There are a few different types of acoustic pickups that all work differently and have different tonal characteristics:

Undersaddle Pickups

  • Can be found on most entry level to mid priced electro acoustic guitars
  • Very affordable
  • Pickup sits underneath the bridge of the guitar
  • Passive – low output
  • Reliable
  • Often require a preamp to be fitted – can require modification to your guitar
  • Only captures the sound of the strings and not the resonant body
  • Cut through in live performances
  • Can reach loud volumes without feeding back – good for live performances
  • Can sound thin

Magnetic Pickups

  • Normally mount over the soundhole directly below the strings
  • Usually require no modification to your guitar
  • Easy to install, remove and replace
  • Should cause no damage to your guitar
  • Only captures the sound of the strings
  • Adjustable pole pieces
  • Great detailed string response
  • Can sound a bit like an electric guitar – output lacks acoustic qualities
  • More likely to feedback than undersaddle pickups

Contact Pickups

  • Uses sensors positioned on the body of the guitar or beneath the bridge
  • Amplifies both the resonating vibrations from the guitar’s body and strings
  • Authentic natural acoustic sound
  • Feedback more easily at higher volumes
  • Can require glue or other methods to fit
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