The arrival of electric guitars in the ‘50s was not the end of acoustic guitars. If you need an acoustic guitar during rehearsals and live performances, a guitar with a built-in pickup is usually your first choice. But if you already own your favorite acoustic guitar without a pickup, you’ll have to go back to the place of purchase to add a pickup to it.
This article will introduce you How to Choose the Right Acoustic Guitar Pickup? and suggest some high-quality pickups that you need to know when buying an acoustic guitar.
What is the Pickup for Acoustic Guitar?
A pickup is a device that receives the sound signal from a guitar and then transmits it to an external audio system. Pickup makes the acoustic guitar sound amplified many times when performing on stage. The pickup used in the recording will help the recording signal to be “cleaner”, without mixing external noise.
More specifically, the pickup is a magnetized device capable of generating a small signal when a disruption occurs in its magnetic field, usually due to vibrations of the strings. This signal then moves around the coils inside the pickup. It then transmits to the amplifier where the signal is amplified, and then it is transmitted externally through the speakers.
The signal generated is what is emitted from the amplifier you hear, the installation of pickup and its unique features are very important. A variety of factors influence the sound quality of a pickup, including the material used, the type of magnet used, the string material, the length of the cord, the way the cord is wrapped, the overall size of the pickup., its position on the body of the guitar, the lifetime, etc.
That’s why there are so many options when it comes to pickup, and it isn’t easy to choose the right pickup for acoustic guitars.
Guide to choosing the right pickup for acoustic guitar
Choose a pickup with the high-quality sound
A general rule is to choose the type of pickup for warm, full, loud and clear sound. For a clearer and slight sound, the single-coil pickup is a good choice. But there is a wide range of options for this type of pickup. Therefore, there are several methods to help with pickup selection and some important notes to keep in mind.
Passive pickup and Active pickup
The next key factor related to pickup selection is how the pickup works. Pickup has 2 main types: Active and Passive. There are also many more complex pickup types, but these are the two types of high technology with very unique features.
Passive pickup requires the guitar to be plugged into an amplifier connected to the power source because the pickup itself is not capable of acting as a pre-amplifier to increase the signal they receive. Active pickup has a charged source inside the guitar, and most use 9V batteries or the like. It allows the expansion of the guitar sound adjustment when using the control panel mounted in the machine.
Consider the pickup equipment
Another important point to remember when searching for a suitable pickup is the ability of the guitar. Some guitars are designed for specific acoustic music or pay attention to sound quality, which affects the way the pickup interacts with the sound produced by the guitar. Electric guitars often have a hard body so they produce very different vibrations than an acoustic guitar.
Acoustic guitars create sounds that can be heard through the shape of the body of the instrument, and create sound by capturing and amplifying realistic sound waves as they propagate in the air and around the body. The same pickup type but will have different effects when used for electric guitars and acoustic guitars.
Best Acoustic Guitar Pickups
1. Undersaddle Pickup
Undersaddle Pickup is one of the most popular choices of Pickup when buying an acoustic guitar. This type of pickup allows the guitar’s sound brighter and thinner when it is installed at the end of the string.
However, because the sound quality is so small, an additional preamp must be installed to increase the signal as originally. Undersaddle Pickup is still extremely popular because they add brilliance to any guitar performance on stage.
2. Magnetic Pickup
Magnetic Pickup uses technology similar to Pickup in electric guitars. It is usually mounted above the guitar’s soundhole, taking sound directly from the vibration of the strings. Unsurprisingly, this pickup makes the acoustic guitar’s sounds quite similar when buying an electric guitar.
The truth is better than expected, the timbre of the notes is separated and balanced from the Magnetic Soundhole Pickup. But, like the Undersaddle Pickup, it does not receive warm, rustic sound from an acoustic guitar.
A piece of useful information for those who buy an acoustic guitar but do not have Pickup is that most of the Magnetic Pickups are easy to install. The pickup is located on the soundhole and sometimes there may be a string hanging on the outside of the guitar, which can be overcome by inserting that string inside the soundhole to increase the aesthetics.
3. Soundboard Transducer Pickup
Soundboard Transducer Pickup is similar to Undersaddle Pickup, especially you can install it anywhere (under the guitar, inside or outside the body of the guitar is possible). This pickup works by receiving signals from the vibration of both the strings and the acoustic guitar body. That, at the same time, produces a natural sound, creating a rich and warm tone of acoustic.
That’s all about How to Choose the Right Acoustic Guitar Pickup and 3 popular pickups that you need to know when buying an acoustic guitar. We hope that with the sharing information above, you can choose the best Pickup that suits your favorite acoustic guitar.