Even though there’s lovely proximity about playing an acoustic guitar that is absurd to beat, if you want to perform with other musicians, you’re going to have to either position a microphone in front of your soundhole or invest in one of the best acoustic guitar pickups.
The best acoustic guitars are famous for their deep, rich, and distinct tones. This is why numerous manufacturers hype their choice of tonewoods over other brands.
When it comes to playing in the studio, a quality microphone is your best bet at projecting that classic pure acoustic sound. It is possible to use that same microphone set up to teach the far corners of a decent-sized venue.
However, fitting a pick up to your acoustic guitar lets you amplify your playing without being stuck in front of a microphone.
Ultimately, the best acoustic guitar pickup will depend on your playing style and, of course, the budget. However, there are lots of options at all price points available.
- What is a Acoustic Guitar Pickup?
- The History of Acoustic Guitar Pickups
- Top Acoustic Guitar Pickups Review
- 1. Fishman Infinity Matrix VT Pickup
- 2. Seymour Duncan Acoustic Soundhole Pickup
- 3. Seymour Duncan Single Coil Acoustic Guitar Pickup
- 4. K&K Pure Mini Acoustic Guitar Pickup
- 5. LR Baggs iBeam Active System With Volume Control
- 6. LR Baggs Anthem Acoustic Guitar Pickup
- 7. Fishman PowerTap Infinity Acoustic Pickup
- 8. Mojotone Quiet Coil NC-1
- 9. Seymour Duncan Woody SA-3XL
- 10. Fishman Rare Earth Humbucker
- How to Install an Acoustic Guitar Pickup: Step-by-Step Instructions for Beginners
- Step 1
- Step 2
- Step 3
- Step 4
- Step 5
- Step 6
- Step 7
- Step 8
- Step 9
- Which Acoustic Pickup Should you Pick up?
- Undersaddle pickup
- Bridge plate transducer
- Magnetic coil soundhole pickup
- Internal mic pickups
- Do I Need a Preamp?
- FAQ for Top Acoustic Soundhole Pickup
- What is an acoustic soundhole pickup?
- How do acoustic soundhole pickups work?
- What are the benefits of using a acoustic soundhole pickup?
- What are the disadvantages of using a acoustic soundhole pickup?
- Who might use a acoustic soundhole pick up?
- What condition does an acoustic pickup need to be in to be effective?
- How can I clean an acoustic soundhole pickup?
- How much do acoustic soundhole pickup?
- The main differences between a magnetic and acoustic sensor?
- What is the best acoustic guitar pickup?
What is a Acoustic Guitar Pickup?
How the pickup is installed is what differentiates a sound-hole pickups from other types of pickups. Because its installed in the sound-hole of the acoustic guitar you don’t have to drill into the bridge or mount batteries on the interior of the guitar.
Sound-hole pickups are typically are self-contained and just mounted with a couple of clips that are tightened to hold it in place. Because they are placed where the sound waves come out of the guitar they also can pickup tone produced from the body of a guitar. For more information on the different types of acoustic guitar pickups visit our article on different types of acoustic guitar pickups.
The History of Acoustic Guitar Pickups
Before we go searching for the best acoustic guitar pickups, it is interesting to look briefly at their development. Guitars have been around a while. Historically they came from Spain, probably from Malaga, in the 16th Century, but they were always a solo instrument. In the 1920s, it began its journey into mainstream music and was included in small jazz bands and quartets.
You could hardly hear it. The quest for volume started. A quest that funnily enough is still with us today.
There were some strange attempts at making the guitar sound louder. Some of them were quite funny, but then along came the all-metal resonator guitar. It did provide a volume boost, nowhere near enough, but the resonator guitar is still with us today. Ultimately though, the pickup was the answer.
The first came along from an ex-Gibson designer Lloyd Loar in 1930. The Mid-30s and DeArmond gave us the first commercially available magnetic pickups. In 1936, Gibson, who by nature is usually one step behind others, brought out their own. Gibson went big on the idea during the 50s, building them into acoustics like the J-160e.
Martin brought out their version in the late 50s, and it was all hands to the pumps now to get it right.
Development took a sideways, and some would say more effective turn in the 70s. The sound of these ‘acoustic’ pickups just didn’t really sound ‘acoustic’ at all. But then Glen Campbell asked Ovation for an electric version of their acoustic. Ovation was a relatively ‘new kid in town’ having been established only in 1965.
Some well-known manufacturers, no names mentioned, tried to discredit their guitars. But the wider public and a bunch of musicians saw them as what they were. Very good indeed. Campbell playing this fiberglass body, suddenly found the ‘acoustic sound’ but loud. He played, and he could really play, and performed solos with it.
Asia, new to the international guitar world, were watching, and the Japanese manufacturer Takamine brought out their version. This Palathetic pickup used six individual transducers set under the bridge one for each string. They had clarity and warmth. They were and are good.
The boys down in Kalamazoo put down their coffee and realized they were behind. We could go on with this fascinating story but suffice to say since then the standards have risen. There are now some great pickups that make acoustic guitars sound like acoustic guitars.
Top Acoustic Guitar Pickups Review
Acoustic guitar soundhole pickups are a way to amplify your acoustic guitar without altering your guitar or expensive installations. With just a few steps you can have your acoustic guitar ready to play through and amplifier with all of its tone captured and no major alterations to your instrument.
These pickups will provide the amplification you need to play in a larger venue or to blend in with other instruments in the band. They produce tremendous sound quality and help you translate your music into something that can be enjoyed by all.
These pickups are known for quality and will carry a slightly higher price, but are well worth it for those who don’t want to lose the tonal qualities of their acoustic instruments. Because they don’t require evasive or time consuming installations these models will have you on the stage performing in now time!
Soundhole pickups come in multiple styles and sizes providing and option for just about any ones requirements. While there are other options besides soundhole pickups this article focuses on the sound hole options as they are the least invasive to install.
See our reviews of the best soundhole pickups below.
1. Fishman Infinity Matrix VT Pickup
The Fishman PRO-MAT-NFV is modified to perform even better with modern acoustic guitar amplifiers. This pick up, and preamp system is the most recent evolution of the company’s flagship matrix. The clear and transparent tone and dynamic string response have been paired with a variety of new design features and performance enhancements.
Some of those features include an endpin jack mounted preamp in a brand new design featuring a soft-touch housing as well as a redesigned enclosure of the soundhole mounted tones and volume controls. In addition to these features, you’ll find that the unique scoop tone control cuts mids while boosting bass and treble.
These features are further enhanced by the integrated LED low battery indicator located on internal preamp. This system is suitable for nylon, 12 string, and bass. Ultimately, professional installation is recommended.
- Clear and transparent tone
- Dynamic string response
- Ease of installation and use
- Does not come with instructions
2. Seymour Duncan Acoustic Soundhole Pickup
The Woody HC Hum-Canceling Soundhole Pickup contains instant mounting and unmounting. It also has an attractive maple cover that looks great on your guitar. Aside from that, if you already love the sound of your acoustic, this will simply amplify the sound passively without allowing anything to detract from it.
It’s especially useful for singers,songwriters, as well as folk strummers. The series offers a modest response that gives you more than enough application while allowing your guitar to blend nicely with vocals and other instruments.
The Woody HC Hum-Canceling Soundhole Pickup fits almost any acoustic guitar sound hole and has the latest range from 3.85 inches to 4.10 inches. It’s also budget-friendly for most musicians and is a much more economical option than buying a mic for your acoustic application.
- Quick mount
- Plugs directly into PA systems
- Easily slips out of sound hole
3. Seymour Duncan Single Coil Acoustic Guitar Pickup
The Woody series offers a modest response that gives you lots of amplification while letting your guitar blend nicely with vocals and other instruments.
The pickup fits easily on any acoustic guitar sound hole with a radius range of 3.85 inches to 4.10 inches. They are priced for the budget of most musicians and are a much more affordable option compared to buying a mic for acoustic amplification.
Some of its most attractive features include a quick-mount option, passive, magnetic sound hole pick up, single-coil moderate output, instant mount housed in maple cover, and double potted warm and rich tone with no 60 cycle hum.
It’s great for strumming and delicate fingerstyle playing, which includes studio-quality 14-inch cable. The pick up works with any type of guitar, although an acoustic guitar is preferred. It can also be plugged directly into a PA system or mixing console players.
- Single coil
- Quick mount
- Moderate output
- Unbalanced string output
4. K&K Pure Mini Acoustic Guitar Pickup
The K&K Pure Mini Acoustic Guitar Pickup is a transducer only system. It does not include a bench or onboard electronics and you can expect just pure pickups. It is easy to be fooled by the sound of some competitors “thin sounding” passive systems, but this pure system is definitely different.
The system sounds rich and full and has more than enough output to drive most PA systems and amps directly, even without a preamp. The advantages of this pure guitar system are that it transmits a significant portion of the sound-board since they are not as close to the strings as under the saddle pickups. The 3 transducers are designed to pick up a specific string pair. And also “listens” to the adjacent area on the bridge.
These pure pickups do not sound harsh or percussive since they are not under pressure. The pure system ensures that strings are nicely balanced, which is a known problem with under-saddle pickups. This is a great passive mode, and unlike under saddle pickups which passively can sound thin and trebly, the system puts out a nicely balanced, full, warm range signal.
Due to the pure systems location on the bridge plate under the bridge, feedback resistance is comparable to under saddle transducers. The pickup installed on the bridge is less likely to produce feedback compared to one’s attached to the open sound-board. Therefore the 1/8 inch thin sound-board acts like a diaphragm and vibrates along with loud sound signals from speaker cabinets.
So this can be compared to the kind of feedback experienced on an acoustic guitar. The thicker bridge area is also a lot harder and less resistant to vibration from an outside source because of its mass. In both our tests, the steel-string and classic guitars equipped with an under-saddle pickup plus the pure sound achieve the same gain before feedback with both systems.
- Pre-wired no soldering required
- Includes 1/4 inch endpin jack
- High output – no battery required
- Hard to install
5. LR Baggs iBeam Active System With Volume Control
This is not what you might call your usual acoustic guitar pickup attachment. In fact, if we are to be very honest, you will need to be adept at practical things to be able to fit it correctly. You will certainly have to be handy with a drill as there is a hole in the body to make. Many of us with little or no dexterity will have to take it to a guitar tech to fit it. It states easy to fit, but not so for a lot of people.
It has a different design to most pickups that have bridge plate sensors. This employs two sensors that move with the soundboard, trying to catch every nuance in sound. As far as we can see, there are some ‘interesting’ fittings but more on this later.
It is designed to fit most X-braced acoustic guitars and comes with a placement jig. It has a Class A preamp. The overall sound is quite good when it is not too loud. When you increase the volume, it starts to sound quite boomy. That may well lead to feedback before very long. It is, however, a nice sound when played quietly.
We mentioned some interesting fittings. The main assembly mounts to the bridge plate using a peel and stick adhesive. Not a system of attachment used by many manufacturers. Another interesting design installation is the velcro pouch to hold the battery. I think at this price point that most people would be hoping for security with fittings.
There is no doubt that it will improve the sound of your guitar if you can get the fitting right. But at this price point, and it is expensive, there might not be many takers. We think this is a great shame. The sound is good, and the design of the pickup is creative. But they really needed to get themselves sorted out with the fitting.
- Transparent and dynamic tone
- Switchable active and passive modes
6. LR Baggs Anthem Acoustic Guitar Pickup
Once again, when it comes to the best acoustic guitar pickups it’s nigh-on impossible to see past LR Baggs Anthem pickup and microphone setup. It is used by the likes of Jake Bugg and Marcus King, and perhaps should be considered the industry standard. It’s not cheap, but nor is it prohibitively expensive, and if you are serious about your tone and need a pickup option for the stage or studio, this is it.
There is none of that thwacky artificiality that you sometimes get with acoustic pickups. No feedback. The Anthem system positions a piezo-style Element pickup under the saddle and combines it with a condenser mic that’s mounted 3mm from the underside of the bridge plate. The mic performs just as a studio mic would. It is noise-cancelling and has a flatter frequency response that is responsive to your instrument.
The soundhole preamp is discretely mounted and gives you control over volume, phase inversion, mic trim and mix, the latter letting you dial in the right amount of low-end from the element pickup. There is also a battery check feature, too, so you know you’ve got enough juice to get through a show.
- Outstanding transparency
- Feedback and noise-free
- Suits all styles
7. Fishman PowerTap Infinity Acoustic Pickup
Fishman’s flagship acoustic pickup system has been upgraded with a Tap body sensor complementing the Matrix under-saddle pickup to help capture every nuance from your playing. This is the best acoustic guitar pickup for guitarists who play percussively – you’ll love its feedback-free performance and the transparency.
Elsewhere, we’ve got the redesigned soundhole-mounted controller as seen on the excellent Matrix Infinity VT outfit. The Unique Tone control enables you to cut mids and boost lows and highs for quick scooped tones. The repositioned voicing switch allows you to match the pickup’s performance to the guitar, the amp or indeed the occasion. There are options for narrow, wide and split saddles and the pickup/preamp serves steel or nylon strings equally.
As ever, installation is not for the inexperienced, so we would co-sign Fishman’s advice to get a professional in to do the job.
Options: Wide (1/8″ Gibson), narrow (3/32” Martin) and split (Lowden) saddle formats, gold hardware
- Great for percussive players
- Dynamic and transparent tone
- Wide variety of options
8. Mojotone Quiet Coil NC-1
Mojotone’s Quiet Coil NC-1 is a fantastic option for anyone who’s sick of acoustic pickups changing the personality of their instrument. Mojotone has apparently “solved the soundhole pickup problem”, and we think they’ve got quite a persuasive argument.
The Quiet Coil NC-1 is, as the name suggests, noise cancelling. It’s got a 6V active preamp that supplies the necessary power to suppress any extra noise and feedback, so it’s great for live work as well as for use in the studio. The two CR2032 batteries have up to 1,000 hours of life in them and with two bright LED indicator lights, you’ll never get caught off guard with a dead battery.
The NC-1 is specifically voiced and EQ’d like a microphone to emphasize your guitar’s pure, natural acoustic tone. It’s also designed to have perfect string balance and volume with bronze or phosphor bronze strings, hence the lack of adjustable polepieces, or the need for specific NC-1-friendly strings. It’s lightweight and compact too, so your picking hand can carry on doing its thing without worry. Unfortunately the NC-1 is currently only available in the US, but is still a fantastic option for anyone who wants an extra special acoustic pickup.
- High-quality components
- Well-balanced tone
- Incredible battery life
9. Seymour Duncan Woody SA-3XL
As a fuss-free, wallet-friendly option, this hum-cancelling option from the Californian pickup titans is hard to beat. For a start, it’s easy to install and similarly easy to remove. Those looking for the occasional electro-acoustic solution for gigging will find a lot to like in the Woody. It looks good, too, with natural finish options including actual real maple and walnut that should complement a wide range of acoustics.
The Woody is non-intrusive fit any acoustic with a soundhole radius between 3.85” and 4.1”. The pole pieces are adjustable, so you can fine tune output for each string. And best of all, this Woody is humbucking; sometimes the last thing you want when playing a delicate fingerstyle passage is 60-cycle mains hum in the background.
Of course, if you’re on an even-tighter budget and need it for amped-strumming at the odd gig where a little hum is not too big a deal, you could save 20 bucks and go for the singlecoil Woody. This could make it the best acoustic guitar pickup for beginners – also check our guide to the best acoustic guitars for beginners.
- Easy to fit, easy to remove
- Great value
10. Fishman Rare Earth Humbucker
Fishman’s Rare Earth soundhole pickup has been an industry stalwart for a long while, and in its many forms has helped open up a world of opportunity to many acoustic players all across the globe.
This latest iteration of the Rare Earth humbucker has been re-voiced and re-tuned to deliver a delectably smooth treble response – something which many acoustic pickups struggle to achieve. An active humbucker equipped with a neodymium magnet, the Rare Earth offers incredible string balance and sparkling clarity, without sacrificing the natural warmth and depth of your acoustic tone.
Preamp-wise, the Rare Earth is basic – but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The low-current design of the preamp is actually one of its biggest strengths, allowing up to 300 hours of battery life. Along with easy installation thanks to the redesigned mounting system, the Rare Earth is great for anyone who wants the reassurance of an industry-leading brand on their pickup.
- Fishman is one of the best in the business
- Impressive battery life
- Easy to install
How to Install an Acoustic Guitar Pickup: Step-by-Step Instructions for Beginners
Competing with a band armed with an acoustic guitar presents some obvious challenges. However, it is possible to boost your acoustic for stage performances. So let’s take a look at how it’s done.
Acoustic guitars don’t stand much of a chance when it comes to drum kits; however, that’s no reason to abandon it side stage. There are lots of acoustic pickup systems available on the market today featuring different strengths and technologies.
One of the most popular and commonly installed pickups is the under-saddle pickup. This is great for stage performances since it is nice and isolated and also gives a good selection of the natural sound of the guitar, only louder.
Some pickups contain additional features such as being able to run without a battery, EQ units or multiple input sources for a microphone. The under-saddle pickup, however, is the best all rounder.
What you’ll need:
- New pickup system
- Pack of strings
- 9v battery
- Cordless drill
- String cutters
- String winder
- Round needle file
- Quality 12mm spade bit
- 2.5mm twist bit (depends on your pickup)
- Steel ruler
- Adjustable spanner
- Mechanical pencil
- Sanding board with 80 grit and 240 grit sanding paper
This is where you need to remove the strings from your acoustic and keep the parts side. Thereafter remove the saddle carefully using soft pliers and take a look at the saddle slot. Ideally, there shouldn’t be any plastic or paper shims inside, and the surface of the bottom should be smooth.
In this step will be adding a new gizmo in between the bottom of the saddle and the bottom of the saddle slot so ensure that the height of the strings is not raised.
Thereafter measure how thick your under-saddle pickup is and reduce that from the bottom of the saddle. If there were shims present, you should subtract that from the thickness so that you can chuck them away.
If you can get away with not using the shims, it will lead to better sound. Use a sanding board with 80 grit paper stuck on to reduce the bottom profile of the saddle and reach the ideal height.
The saddle should always be kept at 90°, so be aware of this and then follow with a finer sanding board to finish.
It’s crucial that the bottom of the saddle slot is completely flat. The sanding board should take care of this for you; however, it is still worth checking. Hold the saddle up to the light against a short metal ruler and check for gaps and light shining through.
For the under-saddle pickup to pass through, you’ll need to drill a hole. Drill a hole in the bottom of the saddle slot noting the location of the wire on the pickup until you break through inside the guitar.
The pickup wire should not be trapped or snagged, and it should go through the hole that was just drilled. It may be necessary to file away the edges of the new hole to suit.
In this step, you need to check that there’s no sawdust in the slot and thereafter fit the under-saddle pickup into the saddle slot. It’s pretty common for this to be on the top or like this, where we have to install it from below. The pickup is very delicate, so don’t force or bend it as it is also costly to replace.
The B band uses a “strap jack” which combines a jack socket with an endpin so you don’t need the old endpin and you can simply unscrew it. For drilling out the 12 mm hole, a decent quality spade bit is very useful. Masking tape will help protect the finish as you drill it but work as slowly and accurately as you can.
Now that the hole is drilled it’s time to plug in the battery, pickup and control connections into the main preamp. Since each make and model is different, it’s best to check the manual to see if there’s a specific way around that’s required. Install the endpin and tighten up the nuts on the outside of the guitar.
Which Acoustic Pickup Should you Pick up?
Let’s get one thing straight, before adding to the muddle by contradicting ourselves! An acoustic guitar pickup is not a microphone. Simplistically, a microphone works by converting moving air – sound waves – into electrical voltage. Piezo acoustic guitar pickups, which are a form of transducer, are sensitive to vibrations from a solid surface – most likely your guitar’s soundboard or bridge – and, under pressure, convert those vibrations into voltage. Lastly, magnetic coil pickups convert the vibration of your (magnetic) strings into voltage.
It’s useful to understand the difference in order to appreciate why each technology sounds different. When an audience listens to us playing they’re hearing sound waves, quite literally moving air, so it follows that a microphone will capture the most authentic acoustic listening experience. It’s just too bad they’re often a pain to set up and use. All of the other solutions are picking up vibrations from a small part of the body of the instrument, or the strings, which unfortunately makes their capacity for producing an authentic reproduction somewhat limited.
Now for the contradiction. Some of the best-known acoustic guitar pickup products feature microphones, usually in partnership with a piezo transducer. Life’s complicated enough, so you’ll often find them labelled ‘acoustic pickups’ for convenience. We’re going to include them in this guide too.
All these solutions have their fair share of advantages and disadvantages, so let’s run through the pros and cons.
As we’ve already alluded to, large, standalone, external microphones produce the best possible results, but set-up can be agonisingly hit and miss. For obvious reasons they’re not suited to exuberant live performances either. Some small instrument microphones, such as the DPA 4099 and Audio Technica ATM350GL, are designed to be clamped to the outside of your guitar where they can give stellar results. They may look a little awkward, but they are a wonderful solution for solo classical performances or any other musical genre where the guitar and guitarist remains relatively still.
Another advantage of using these instrument mics is cost. They’re not cheap but they can easily be moved between any guitar in your collection without a messy, potentially damaging install/uninstall.
The downside of using a microphone, other than set-up time and the risk of moving beyond its reach, is that it can pick up a lot more than just your guitar. Finger noise, your breathing, other performers, air con, traffic noise, audience members – you name it, it’ll find it. Microphones are also prone to feedback.
An undersaddle pickup is a thin strip of crystal piezo conductor that converts vibrations into voltage. As the name suggests, it sits in the saddle slot, hidden directly beneath the saddle. Cosmetically, there’s no clue a pickup has been installed other than the subtle tell-tale sign of an endpin jack.
Generally, undersaddle pickups can sound very good, but because the vibration source is weighted more towards the strings than the body of the guitar they can lack authenticity. Additionally, because of their placement they tend to have quite a hard tonal character – they’re often accused of sounding ‘quacky’ and a bit on the bright side.
On the, ahem, bright side, they are relatively easy to install. Just one small hole needs to be drilled at the base of the saddle slot, plus another for the endpin jack. The saddle will also need to be shaved down a tad. Uninstalling an undersaddle pickup is also very easy but will require a new saddle or shim.
Bridge plate transducer
A bridge plate transducer comprises three or four piezo transducers, typically the size of small coins, that sit inside your guitar on the bridge plate, usually positioned directly under the saddle. Once again, they make for a very neat, completely covert install.
Judging one pickup type against another is always going to be subjective but the consensus is that a good bridge plate transducer can sound more natural than an undersaddle pickup. Certainly, the lower mids and bass are a lot more pronounced. Nevertheless, they can still sound a bit sterile when compared to a microphone.
Bridge plate transducers, together with their close cousins soundboard transducers, can be heavily influenced by a guitar’s tone woods, build and bracing. It stands to reason that the more freely a guitar vibrates, the more voltage a piezo transducer will produce. Therefore, heavily built guitars, or those with more robust bracing, may sound substantially less powerful than their lighter-built counterparts. Something to bear in mind if you’re demoing a bridge plate transducer on somebody else’s guitar.
Installation is slightly fiddlier than for an undersaddle pickup because you’ll be working inside the body of your guitar, but it involves nothing that should unnerve a competent DIYer. Because they thrive on vibration, these transducers need to be fixed as tightly as possible to the bridge plate, which is usually achieved by using superglue. Be warned, this does make uninstalling them less straightforward but it’s not impossible.
Soundboard transducers work in a very similar way but usually comprise just one transducer that can sit anywhere on the soundboard inside the guitar. Most sound best glued or taped close to the bridge.
Magnetic coil soundhole pickup
A magnetic coil soundhole pickup is easily identified as a big rectangular lump straddling the soundhole. It looks, and behaves, like an electric guitar pickup with a cluster of magnetic poles/rods or bars/rails readily converting string vibration into voltage.
Both single coil and humbucker versions are available. As you’d expect, the former sound sparkly, clear and bell-like but with the potential for noise. The latter sound warmer, smoother, have a higher output and lack the propensity to hum.
They can perform wonderfully when you play close to the nut but tend to sound progressively more electric as you work your way up the fretboard. And, of course, a magnetic coil pickup will only work with magnetic strings, so if you rock a nylon strung guitar (like Willie Nelson) you’ll hear diddly squat.
The main advantage of the soundhole pickup is that they’re a doddle to fit. Provided you don’t mind a loose cable dangling from your soundhole you can even bodge a temporary install within just a few minutes.
The disadvantages are that traditionally these pickups were unsightly and sounded artificial, but it’s worth conceding that the well-known brands have improved both the appearance and sound quality of their pups immeasurably over the past decade or so. They’re a good option if you want to invest in just one pickup that can be swapped around a variety of guitars. Or, perhaps you just love the sound of a humbucker in an acoustic, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Internal mic pickups
We’ve left internal mic pickups for last because invariably they’re used in combination with the piezo transducer solutions listed above. Commonly, they’re small microphones that are tucked pretty much out of sight, just inside the lip of the soundhole but sometimes you’ll find them suspended from a gooseneck too.
Just like the external mic options they sound more authentic, sweeter, more soulful and less strident than piezo transducers. To benefit from the best of both worlds, high-end solutions will include a piezo transducer – undersaddle or bridge plate – and an internal mic, together with a sophisticated preamp. EQ sliders and a blend control enable you to find the best tone possible.
The only disadvantages of these systems are cost and complexity, although installation is still relatively straightforward. Positioning an internal mic can be a frustrating affair, but somewhere close to where the fretboard meets the soundhole should work well. It’s a one-time job, so once you’ve found the sweet spot you’re good to go.
If it’s on a gooseneck or swivel mount then pointing it towards the back of the guitar will decrease the bass response and vice versa – useful to know if you’re often playing venues with less than perfect acoustics.
Do I Need a Preamp?
Frankly, many guitarists are very satisfied with a passive, inexpensive, easy-to-install undersaddle or soundhole pickup without ever feeling the need to invest in active circuitry. However, if you gig a lot, find yourself frequently plugging into a mixing desk or just demand the very best audio quality then you’ll find a preamp invaluable.
A preamp does much more than just boost your signal. Available as either onboard or external units, most will boast basic tone and volume controls at the very least. More sophisticated units will feature three- or four-band EQ and, if you have a dual mic and piezo transducer setup, a blend control. This enables you to dial in clarity from the piezo or fullness and warmth from the mic to taste.
It’s always preferable to EQ your sound as close to the beginning of the signal chain as you can, rather than try to fix tonal issues using your amp or a mixing desk. With a skilful touch, the EQ controls on a preamp can absolutely transform a piezo transducer, replacing that characteristic thin, tinny, synthetic sound with a tone that’s both rich and full.
FAQ for Top Acoustic Soundhole Pickup
What is an acoustic soundhole pickup?
An acoustic sound hole pickup is a pickup that is placed inside the body of a guitar or other stringed instrument, usually at the bottom of the body. It can be used to amplify and enhance acoustic sounds, such as those created by plucking strings or by using sympathetic vibration.
How do acoustic soundhole pickups work?
Acoustic soundhole pickups are used to pick up the vibrations from a guitar’s soundboard, which is then turned into a signal that can be amplified.
Soundhole pickups work by using a microphone. The microphone is placed in the sound hole of the guitar and picks up vibrations from the soundboard. This signal is then amplified and sent to an amplifier that feeds it into your speakers, headphones, or earbuds.
Acoustic soundhole pickups are typically used by acoustic guitarists who want to amplify their performance without having to plug in their instrument. They can also be used by electric guitarists who want to play acoustically but don’t have an amp handy.
What are the benefits of using a acoustic soundhole pickup?
Acoustic soundhole pickups can be used for a variety of reasons. They can be used to practice and improve your playing or they can be used to record your songs.
The benefits of using acoustic soundhole pickups are numerous. You will not have to spend as much time finding the right tone and you will not have to worry about the noise pollution that comes with electric pickups.
The acoustic sound hole pickup is a great option for any guitar player who wants to make their instrument sound more like an electric guitar without having to spend a lot of money on equipment upgrades and repairs.
What are the disadvantages of using a acoustic soundhole pickup?
There are many advantages of using an acoustic soundhole pickup. It is easy to install and can be used with a variety of guitars. However, there are some disadvantages that you should be aware of before making the decision to buy one.
Soundhole pickups are quite common among acoustic guitarists, but they have their disadvantages as well. One disadvantage is that it may not be easy to use them with a mic or amplifier. Another disadvantage is that they don’t always provide the most accurate signal for recording purposes.
Who might use a acoustic soundhole pick up?
Acoustic soundhole pick-ups are a relatively new innovation in the guitar market. They are designed to be placed near the sound hole of a guitar and amplify the vibrations of the strings.
Some of the common uses for acoustic soundhole pick-ups include; playing in noisy environments, recording acoustic instruments, and recording vocals.
This type of pickup is also used by some people who want to amplify their own voice while playing an instrument.
What condition does an acoustic pickup need to be in to be effective?
An acoustic pickup is an instrument that converts vibrations into an electrical signal so that it can be amplified and played through speakers or headphones.
An acoustic pickup needs to be in a condition that allows it to pick up sound waves efficiently. It needs to be in a condition that can make the sound waves vibrate freely without any obstruction.
The condition of the pickup is important because if it is not properly functioning, the sound quality will not be as good as desired.
How can I clean an acoustic soundhole pickup?
This is a common question that might be asked by guitar players. One of the easiest ways to clean an acoustic soundhole pickup is by using alcohol and water. This method can be done in two steps: first, wet your paper towel with alcohol, then rub it on the surface of your pickup with the paper towel until you have cleaned off all of the dirt or grime from it.
The second step would be to use soap on your wet paper towel and scrub away at the surface of your pickup with it until you have removed all of the dirt or grime from it as well.
How much do acoustic soundhole pickup?
Acoustic soundhole pickups can be purchased at any musical instrument store or online. They start from around $30 and go up to $400+ depending on the features and quality of the product.
The main differences between a magnetic and acoustic sensor?
A magnetic pickup is a device that picks up the vibrations of the strings and converts them into an electrical signal. It has two coils, one of which is connected to each of the two poles of a magnet. The magnets are positioned over the string and move with it as it vibrates. The signal is then amplified by a preamplifier before being sent to an amplifier or power amplifier for further processing.
An acoustic pickup captures sound waves using a microphone and converts them into an electrical signal using transducers such as magnets and coils. This pickup also has two coils, one of which is connected to each pole of a magnet, but they are positioned underneath the bridge or saddle where they pick up vibrations from the strings instead of moving with them like in the magnetic pickup.
What is the best acoustic guitar pickup?
Acoustic guitars have three main types of pickups: magnetic, piezo, and optical.
The best acoustic guitar pickup is the magnetic pickup. It has a wider range of frequency response and is more durable than the other two types.