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The 5 Best Acoustic Guitar Pickups  Aug 2018

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1
Top choice
Best Acoustic Guitar Pickups - Kmise A1679 Acoustic Guitar Pickup Review Kmise
9 . 9
2
Best value
Best Acoustic Guitar Pickups - Clip-On Pickup for Acoustic Guitar Review Monoprice
9 . 4
3
Best Acoustic Guitar Pickups - Cherub GT-3 Gtone Acoustic Guitar Pickup and Preamp Review Cherub
9 . 2
4
Best Acoustic Guitar Pickups - Generic Cherub GT-4 Acoustic Guitar Preamp 3 B Review Cherub
9 . 0
5
Best Acoustic Guitar Pickups - Zorbes Guitar Driver LC-5 5 Bands Acoustic Guitar Review Zorbes
8 . 7

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Your Guide To Buying an Acoustic Guitar Pickup

By Dennis McGlothin

    If you have an acoustic guitar, you know that there’s nothing like the kind of intimate sound you get when it’s just you, your audience, and your guitar. Still, you probably also know that if you want to play in a room with more than a few people, you’re probably need a bit of help to have everyone hear you. That’s where an acoustic guitar pick-up comes in. One end plugs into your guitar, the other one goes into the amplifier, and then you’re ready to go. Here are some tips for finding the best acoustic pick-up for yourself or the musician in your life.

    • Undersaddle pickups: Undersaddle pickups are placed on the outside of the guitar, below the saddle. In general, they work well in environments where there is a lot of background noise, as they are a bit louder.
    • Bridge pickups: Bridge pickups are placed on the inside of the guitar, below the bridge. They generally don’t produce as much volume as undersaddle pickup, but they allow for a more nuanced sound.
    • Magnetic pickups: Magnetic pickups can be placed on a variety of locations on the guitar. The magnets aren’t there to hold the pickup in place; instead, they work by creating a magnetic field that is disturbed by the plucking of the guitar’s metal strings. Those disturbances are then transmitted to the amplifier.
    • Guitar-mounted microphones: Guitar-mounted microphones don’t work by capturing internal or external vibrations or magnetic disturbances. Instead, they operate like any other microphone: they take the sound that comes out of the guitar and amplify it, just like microphones that amplify singers’ voices.

    Here are some of the things that reviewers talk about when giving feedback on their acoustic pick-up purchase:

    Sound: Most reviewers talk about the sound quality their pick-ups produce, for good or bad. That makes sense when you think about what a pick-up is supposed to do. The best pick-ups provide sound so clear that it’s almost like listening to the guitar alone.

    Installation: The best acoustic pick-ups go on easily, without a lot of extra tools or equipment. Just as importantly, once they are installed, they stay in place until the user is ready to remove them.

    Versatility: Some acoustic pick-ups are designed to go on one area of the guitar and stay there. That’s perfectly fine, but many of the highest-rated pick-ups are more flexible. They can be attached to various parts of the guitar depending on the musician’s needs and preferences.

    Speed of use: Look for an acoustic pickup that can be used straight out of the box, or as close to it as possible. Ideally, you should be able to attach the pickup, plug it into your amplifier or mixer, and be playing in a few minutes.

    Versatility: Acoustic guitar pickups are designed to work with guitars, but there’s no need to worry if you play multiple instruments. There are a number of brands out there that can attach to more than just guitars, so you should be able to find a pick-up that meets all of your needs.

    Cable length: Be sure to check out the guitar pick-up’s cable length in the product specifications. If you know you like to move around onstage, choose a pick-up with a longer cord so that you have the freedom to go where you want. 

    AXL: AXL is an award-winning American guitar manufacturer. The company produces a number of different guitar models, along with accessories for them.

    Cherub: Cherub is an American manufacturer of guitar accessories. The company started off producing guitar tuners, but has since branched out to provide a number of other aftermarket products for musicians.

    Matrix: Matrix is a producer of a variety of amplification products, from pickups to PA equipment.

    L.R. Baggs: Named for its founder, who started as a guitar maker, L.R. Baggs is an American manufacturer of acoustic pickups and other amplification devices.