March 21

8 Best Acoustic Guitar Pickups for 2024: Top Choices

If you've ever plugged in your acoustic guitar and thought it just didn't sound as good as it should, you're not alone. The secret to getting that rich, true-to-life sound lies in finding the right acoustic guitar pickups. For those of us who love music, it's all about capturing the essence of our guitar's sound, whether we're performing for an audience or laying down tracks in the studio.

Pickups are essential for amplifying the natural sound of an acoustic guitar and enhancing your overall playing experience. They help highlight what's unique about your guitar's tone, bringing your music to life. Thanks to modern advancements, guitarists now have a variety of pickups to choose from, each offering something different to meet individual needs.

But, sifting through all these options can be a bit daunting. There's a lot to think about, from different types to the specifics of installation. However, there's no need to worry. We've got your back! In this guide, we're going to walk you through the different kinds of guitar pickups. We'll explain what sets active and passive pickups apart, offer some installation guidance, and help you find the best pickup for your guitar. So, let's get into it and find out how you can get the best sound from your acoustic guitar.

Quick Summary of the Best Acoustic Guitar Pickups

What are Acoustic Guitar Pickups?

Pickups are devices that capture your guitar's sound and turn it into electrical signals. They're important for amplifying your acoustic guitar.

We can find different types of pickups:

  1. Magnetic pickups: Use magnets to create an electric current, capturing the guitar strings' vibration.
  2. Piezo pickups: Respond to changes in pressure from string vibrations, producing an electric signal.
  3. Soundboard transducers: Pick up the vibrations directly from the guitar's soundboard.
  4. Microphone pickups: Capture the sound of your guitar, much like a regular microphone would.

Each type has its unique benefits and setbacks. Magnetic pickups, for example, tend to have a more crisp and clear sound. Piezo pickups, on the other hand, excel at producing a natural, warm tone.

When choosing a pickup, it's important to consider your desired tone and performance needs. Different guitars and playing styles will suit different pickups better. Conduct some research and try various options to find the perfect match.

Best Acoustic Guitar Pickups

We've compiled a list of the top acoustic guitar pickups for you below. Let's dive in!

Best Overall Acoustic Guitar Pickup - L.R. Baggs Anthem Acoustic Guitar Pickup and Microphone

L.R. Baggs Anthem Acoustic Guitar Pickup and Microphone

A top choice for authentic, studio-quality sound on stage.


  • TRUMIC technology for rich, dynamic sound
  • Mix control for versatility in blending elements
  • Noise-cancelling mic for feedback suppression


  • Slightly quiet compared to other pickups
  • High price point
  • May require professional installation

We were blown away by L.R. Baggs Anthem Acoustic Guitar Pickup and Microphone. The patented TRUMIC technology really sets this pickup apart, delivering a warm and faithful sound quality. This makes it ideal for those looking for a natural, amplified sound in live performances.

The Anthem offers a mix control that allows you to blend the TRUMIC with the Element Pickup. This versatility ensures that your guitar's unique character shines through, resulting in a personalized sound. The noise-cancelling mic technology eliminates any unwanted resonances from the guitar's interior, making this pickup perfect for use on stage.

That being said, the Anthem is slightly quieter than some other pickups, so you may need to adjust your setup accordingly. The price point is also a bit steep, but we believe the exceptional sound quality justifies it. It's also worth noting that professional installation is a good idea for this product, as it requires precise placement of the microphone and pickup.

In conclusion, the L.R. Baggs Anthem Acoustic Guitar Pickup and Microphone is a fantastic choice for musicians seeking authentic, rich sound on stage. While it's a bit quieter and pricier than some competitors, the overall quality and performance make it well worth the investment.

Best for Tone Customization - Fishman Matrix Infinity VT Acoustic Pickup (Narrow)

Fishman Matrix Infinity VT Acoustic Pickup (Narrow)

You should consider this pickup for its clear sound, ease of installation, and versatile controls.


  • Clear, transparent tone
  • Easy to install
  • Soundhole-mounted controls


  • Might need professional installation
  • Low battery indicator could be better
  • Requires 9V battery (not included)

As a musician, you'll appreciate the Fishman Matrix Infinity VT Acoustic Pickup for its incredible sound quality. The Acoustic Matrix Under saddle Pickup provides a clear and transparent tone, ensuring your guitar's unique sound is preserved.

Installation is relatively simple, just remember to take your time. Although Fishman suggests having it professionally installed, many users have successfully done it themselves. Just keep in mind that you'll need a 9V battery to power the pickup, which is not supplied.

One great feature is the soundhole-mounted rotary controls for volume and tone adjustment. This setup makes it easy to tweak your sound on-the-fly during a performance. Plus, the unique tone control balances mid, treble, and bass frequencies, giving you full control over your sound.

Our only gripe with this pickup is the integrated LED low battery indicator, which could be more prominent. But overall, the Fishman Matrix Infinity VT Acoustic Pickup (Narrow) is an excellent choice for musicians looking to amplify their acoustic guitar's sound without compromising tone.

So go ahead and give this reliable and easy-to-use pickup a try. You won't be disappointed!

Best for Natural Acoustic Sound - K&K Pure Mini Acoustic Guitar Pickup

K&K Pure Mini Acoustic Guitar Pickup

Trust us, this pickup is worth considering for its natural sound and easy installation.


  • Natural, uncolored sound
  • No battery required
  • Easy to install with tools provided


  • Limited tone control features
  • Needs careful placement during installation
  • May not fit all guitar models

Let's talk about the K&K Pure Mini Acoustic Guitar Pickup. We've tried it, and it offers a high-quality, natural sound that stays true to your guitar's acoustic tone. Its passive design ensures that the sound remains unaltered and authentic, without needing a battery.

Installation is quite simple, thanks to the included tools and clear instructions. However, you'll need to be cautious and patient when placing the pickup, as it uses instant adhesive or double-sided tape. Ensuring the proper positioning is crucial for optimal sound performance.

One potential downside is the limited tone control features, with no knobs or tuners in sight. However, we think this simplicity helps maintain the pickup's natural sound. Just keep in mind that it might not fit all guitar models, so double-check before making a purchase.

Overall, the K&K Pure Mini Acoustic Guitar Pickup is a solid choice for those wanting a natural, uncolored sound from their acoustic guitars. Just make sure it's compatible with your guitar and be careful during installation, and you'll enjoy great sound quality!

Best for Dynamic Playing - L.R. Baggs M80 Acoustic Guitar Pickup

L.R. Baggs M80 Acoustic Guitar Pickup

You should consider the M80 for its ability to capture your guitar's true acoustic sound.


  • Full-range body sensitivity
  • Active or passive operation
  • Feedback resistant


  • Expensive
  • Might sound muddy on some guitars
  • Installation process required

We tried the L.R. Baggs M80 on our acoustic guitars, and the results were impressive. This pickup captures the entire frequency range of the guitar's tone woods, adding warmth and complexity to the amplified sound. The patented, free floating humbucking coil acts as a 3D body sensor that responds to the guitar's movements, producing a resonant body signal.

Switch between active and passive settings with a flick of a switch. The active setting engages a preamp with built-in EQ and audiophile circuitry for that high-fidelity sound L.R. Baggs is known for. The passive setting lets you bypass the preamp for battery-free performance.

Installing the pickup is relatively easy for the average person, though you may need to bore out the strap button for permanent installation. However, it's worth the effort to achieve a natural, amplified acoustic sound without tinny or buzzy qualities. Keep in mind, this pickup may sound muddy on some dreadnoughts, but overall, it's a solid investment for genuine acoustic amplification.

Best Budget Acoustic Guitar Pickup - Fishman Neo-D Humbucking Acoustic Pickup

Fishman Neo-D Humbucking Acoustic Pickup

Get this pickup for a balanced, clear tone without the need for a battery.


  • Exceptional string balance
  • Sparkling acoustic clarity
  • Easy installation


  • Cord quality could be better
  • Not very loud
  • Strings may touch the pickup

If you're looking for a great acoustic guitar pickup, let us introduce you to the Fishman Neo-D Humbucking Acoustic Pickup. With its neodymium magnet structure, you'll enjoy exceptional string balance and sparkling acoustic clarity from your instrument.

On top of that, the low-profile, high-impedance design doesn't require a battery, making it an easy addition to your guitar. You'll love the hassle-free installation as it slides right into your guitar's soundhole.

We do have to mention a couple of drawbacks though. First, the cord's quality isn't top-notch, so you might not want to leave the pickup in when not in use. Secondly, the volume output may be too soft for some, and the strings might touch the pickup. Regardless, the Fishman Neo-D Humbucking Acoustic Pickup is a solid choice for amplifying your acoustic guitar's sound naturally and effortlessly.

Best for Versatility - DiMarzio Black Angel Pickup (DP234)

DiMarzio Black Angel Pickup (DP234)

You should definitely check out this pickup for top-notch dynamic response and excellent sound coverage.


  • Quick connect
  • Rare earth magnet
  • 1.66 Kohm resistance


  • Only 1 conductor
  • Battery powered
  • Matte black look may not suit all

As guitar enthusiasts, we are ecstatic about the DiMarzio Black Angel Pickup. Why? First off, it captures the full range of your acoustic guitar, handling all those highs and lows with ease. No gaps found here! The experience feels so smooth and genuine.

What's also fantastic is its responsiveness. The Black Angel Pickup adapts to your playing style, whether you're going soft or strumming hard. It has a knack for capturing that true sound coming directly from the string. You'll surely appreciate how it enhances your performance.

Now, there are a couple of minor drawbacks. With only 1 conductor, it may limit some wiring possibilities. Despite being battery-operated, don't worry - the pickup remains power-efficient. And if you're not into the matte black aesthetic, it might not be your cup of tea visually.

So, in conclusion, the DiMarzio Black Angel Pickup (DP234) offers that dynamic, versatile sound you're craving. Don't let the minor cons stop you from exploring this gem for your acoustic guitar. Make your music shine!

Best for Quick Installation - Seymour Duncan SA-3HC Woody HC Acoustic Pickup

Seymour Duncan SA-3HC Woody HC Acoustic Pickup

The Seymour Duncan SA-3HC is perfect for musicians seeking an easy-to-use, warm-toned acoustic guitar pickup.


  • Easy installation
  • Warm, rich tone
  • Hum-canceling


  • Price compared to alternatives
  • Inconsistent sound levels
  • Cable length (14' may be excessive)

Acoustic guitarists, listen up! Seymour Duncan's Woody HC SA-3HC is a quick and hassle-free solution to amplify your instrument. Easily pop it into your guitar's soundhole, and you're ready to go.

While playing, you'll notice the warm and rich tone this pickup gives your acoustic guitar. Chords sound full, and fingerstyle playing comes across beautifully. The hum-canceling feature is a game-changer, ensuring your performances stay noise-free.

Keep in mind that the SA-3HC is a bit more expensive than some non-name brand options, but it's backed by the well-known Seymour Duncan brand. Also, some users have mentioned uneven sound levels, but this may be a minor issue for most. Lastly, the 14-foot cable could be too long for some setups, so consider that before making your decision.

In conclusion, the Seymour Duncan SA-3HC Woody HC Acoustic Pickup is a reliable option for acoustic guitarists seeking an easy-to-install pickup with a warm, rich tone. Give it a try and see if it fits your needs.

Best for Detailed Sound Capture - Fishman Rare Earth Mic Blend Pickup

Fishman Rare Earth Mic Blend Pickup

You’ll love this pickup for its natural sound, easy installation, and versatile blending options.


  • Balanced, high-resolution sound
  • Easy installation, no alteration needed
  • Adjust pickup and microphone blend


  • May require some tweaking
  • Pricey compared to alternatives
  • Batteries needed

As musicians, we value pickups that accurately capture our guitar’s true acoustic tone. The Fishman Rare Earth Mic Blend Pickup achieves this with flying colors. Its humbucking pickup and miniature electric condenser microphone blend deliver a natural and powerful sound.

Installation is a breeze. No need to worry about making alterations to your beloved guitar. Plus, the rotary control located under the pickup lets you easily mix the microphone and pickup sounds, creating your ideal tone.

However, we should note that you might need to tweak the settings to find that sweet spot. Although the price is higher than some alternatives, we believe the quality justifies it. Don’t forget to stock up on LR44 batteries, as two are required for this system.

In conclusion, the Fishman Rare Earth Mic Blend Pickup is a solid choice for any musician seeking a natural sound with easy setup and blending options.

Best Acoustic Guitar Pickups Buyer’s Guide

Sound Quality

First things first, always prioritize sound quality. Obviously, we want a pickup that performs well and enhances our guitar’s natural tone. Compare pickups and look for ones with excellent reviews regarding sound clarity and accuracy.

Pickup Type

Next up, let’s discuss the various types of pickups. Common options are magnetic, piezo, soundhole, and microphone-based systems. Each type has its pros and cons, so understanding which suits your needs best is crucial.


Ease of installation is another vital factor. Some pickups don’t require permanent alterations to your guitar, while others might need professional installation. Weigh your options carefully – if you’re unsure, consult a professional.

Budget and Value

No matter your budget, it’s essential to spend wisely. Try to find a pickup that offers the best value for your budget. Look for quality components and excellent performance within your price range.

Brand Reputation and Reviews

Lastly, always consider brand reputation and customer reviews. A well-established brand tends to offer reliability and better customer support. Additionally, reading customer reviews can provide valuable insights into the pros and cons of specific pickups.

Remember, our goal is to find a pickup that suits our individual needs, so don’t feel limited by our suggestions. With a bit of research and patience, you’ll find the perfect acoustic guitar pickup for you. Good luck!


We’ve talked about some top-notch acoustic guitar pickups in this article. Features like sound quality, compatibility, and budget are essential factors to consider. It’s crucial to know what you’re looking for to make the best choice.

The standout pickup for most of us is the LR Baggs Anthem. Why? It offers top-notch performance, value, and versatility. Its blend of mic and under-saddle pickup delivers that natural sound we all crave.

For the best bang for your buck, the Fishman Rare Earth Humbucker is hard to beat. It brings high-quality sound enhancement without breaking the bank.

There are pickups for specific needs too, such as:

  • The Seymour Duncan Woody for live performances.
  • The K&K Pure Mini for recording sessions.
  • The Barcus-Berry 1457 for classical guitars.

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. The best pickup for you depends on your guitar type and playing style. Think about what you value most; is it natural sound, ease of installation, or specific features?

We recommend trying different pickups or listening to sound samples for better decision-making. Nothing beats hearing the difference firsthand.

Ready to make a choice? Go ahead and visit your local music store or do more research online. Trust your knowledge and intuition; you’ve got this!

Lastly, we’d love to hear your experiences with acoustic guitar pickups. Share your thoughts in the comments section and help build a strong, supportive community. Happy playing!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between active and passive acoustic guitar pickups?

Active pickups have built-in preamps, powered by batteries. They boost the signal, reduce noise, and offer consistency in sound. In contrast, passive pickups don’t require power and give a more natural, warm tone. Pick your preference depending on your unique needs.

What’s the difference between a soundhole pickup and a piezo pickup?

A soundhole pickup is placed in the guitar’s soundhole, capturing the vibrations from the strings. They produce a magnetic, electric-like sound. On the other hand, piezo pickups are placed under the saddle or soundboard, sensing vibrations and giving a bright, acoustic tone. Choose between these pickups for different sounds.

Will installing a pickup change the acoustic sound of my guitar?

Installing a pickup may affect your guitar’s sound slightly. Most pickups, especially the non-invasive ones, have minimal impact. However, depending on the type and installation, it could affect the guitar’s overall resonance. Keep this in mind while deciding on a pickup and its installation method.

Do I need to modify my guitar to install a pickup?

Some pickups need modifications, such as drilling holes or adjustments to the saddle. Others require no modifications at all, like soundhole pickups. Assess your guitar and consult with a professional to determine what’s best for your instrument without causing damage.

What is the most used guitar pickup?

Many guitarists prefer the LR Baggs Anthem or the Fishman Rare Earth Blend. These pickups are popular for their great sound and versatility. Your ideal choice, however, depends on your specific needs, playing style, and budget. So, explore various options and find the one that suits you best.


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