It wouldn’t even matter how good you play the guitar or how well your guitar produces sound until your audience hears the original tonal quality.
Hence, you have a few ways, either position a microphone in front of your soundhole or get the best acoustic guitar pickup system. Therefore, you must choose a reliable acoustic guitar electric pick up over the microphones for noise-free crystal clear music.
The soundhole pickups are the type you want. Fishman, LR Baggs, DeArmond, and-so-on several renowned brands have already launched different acoustic guitar hole pickups with different feature sets and price tags.
If you’re confused about what to choose from the huge available options, try our selection of the best soundhole pickups to improve your acoustic tone today.
LIST OF BEST ACOUSTIC GUITAR SOUNDHOLE PICKUP
WHAT’S THE USE OF SOUND-HOLE PICKUP?
Sound-hole Pickup is a tiny device acting as a transducer. It captures the vibration of the guitar strings during strumming and converts those into meaningful electrical signals.
The main differentiating factor between an acoustic guitar and an electric guitar is the presence of guitar pickup in the latter. The in-built hollow soundbox of an acoustic guitar makes the resonating effect of the produced sound generate the loudness.
In addition, the soundhole pickup amplifies the sound of the acoustic guitar. So, it’s always a cheaper option to use a soundhole pickup than modify the acoustic guitar by installing a pickup.
Because of a solid body, the electric guitars often sound thin. The Piezo-electric pickups could make it artificially bright, but the soundhole pickups will add relatively a natural fuller sound. That is why the presence of sound-hole pickup is of utmost importance for electric guitars to yield loud and audible sound.
Which acoustic pickup should you pick?
When it comes to the best acoustic guitar pickups, you’ll get mainly four options with different advantages and disadvantages. They are the under-saddle piezo pickups, microphone-based pickups, bridge plate transducers, and internal mic pickups.
You’re now maybe thinking that what is the best acoustic guitar pickup? Have a close look at each type to determine which suits your playing style the best.
An under-saddle pickup has a construction of a very thin strip of piezo-electric crystal. The direct piezoelectric effect converts mechanical vibrations into electrical voltage.
This pickup is easy to install, you just have to drill a small hole. It gets placed in the saddle slot, sheltered directly underneath the saddle. So, the vibration source is much more weighted towards the strings rather than the guitar body.
Due to their placement, it sounds hard. The under-saddle pickup generates an overall good quality sound, but it lacks the authentic tonal quality. You’ll still find the under-saddle pickups in the most mid-priced electro-acoustic guitars.
External microphones can generate the best possible results in certain environments, but the process of setting them up for the optimum output can be frustratingly erratic. That’s why; the live performers avoid using microphones on the stage, where just audibility is not the sole concern.
On the contrary, microphones are a very good and efficient solution for solo classical gigs or any other musical performances where the movement of both guitar and guitarists remains relatively restricted.
The microphones are not only cheap, easy-to-install, as well. You don’t need to carry out the messy, even potentially damaging drilled installing/uninstalling process. So, the microphones are prone to feedback and picking background noise.
Bridge plate transducer
A bridge plate transducer consists of three to four coin-sized transducers; made of piezo-electric crystal. The transducer gets positioned inside the guitar on the bridge plate, usually beneath the saddle.
A good bridge plate transducer sounds more natural than the under-saddle pickups. Specifically, the quality of the lower mids and the bass is a lot more prominent. One thing more to keep in mind; heavily structured guitars with robust bracings may sound incredibly less powerful using a bridge plate transducer.
The transducers are available in two versions - single-coil and humbucker. The single-coil models sound clear and bell-like sparkly but couldn’t effectively eliminate the background noise, though far better than the external microphones. The humbucker transducer sounds warm and smooth; it even eliminates the guitar hum noise.
Internal mic pickups
The internal mic pickups refer to the tiny microphones; placed pretty much veiled; inside the soundhole’s lip. Often one can find internal mic pickups suspended from a guitar’s gooseneck, too.
Nevertheless, installation is quite effortless. Proper positioning of an internal mic can be aggravating. As a rule of thumb, the junction between the fretboard and the soundhole is a good position for installing internal mic pickups.
The sound quality is more sterling, eloquent, less harsh, and sweeter than piezo-electric transducers. The sole disadvantages of internal mic pickup systems are complexity and cost.
BEST ACOUSTIC GUITAR SOUNDHOLE PICKUP REVIEW
1. Luvay Transducer Pickups for Acoustic Guitar
The Luvay Transducer is a budget pick; that is a simple yet more than efficient solution to bring out the best sound from most stringed instruments. It fits with most instruments; like Guitars, Ukulele, Violin, Mandolin, Banjo, Cello, Kalimba, Harp, etc.
The astonishing sound, ease of installation, and use of this acoustic guitar transducer make us place it at the top position. You don’t have to drill anywhere. You just have to clip on the device near the soundhole, connect its cable to an amplifier, and you will be ready to rock the stage.
If you want to transform your acoustic guitar into a performance-ready guitar, look no further than Luvay Transducers.
2. Fishman Neo-D Magnetic Humbucker Acoustic Pickup
You can use Neo-D pickup on the steel-string guitars, and other acoustic guitars. The typical single-coil acoustic soundhole pickup usually captures the irritating guitar hum. Luckily, the humbucking design eliminates such noises.
Moreover, the Neo-D incorporates a powerful neodymium magnet; that is the reason behind the outstanding string balance and sparkling acoustic clarity.
There is no need for drilling for installation; you can clip the pickup device on the edge of the guitar soundhole. The port allows you to connect your guitar to any instrument rig or laptop for better sound.
The acoustic guitar magnetic pickup doesn’t have an integrated amplifier; you will still sound relatively louder, heavier, and darker, making it perfect for those; who play rock or blues. It’s a bit pricey, but the rich and well-balanced sound justifies the enhanced price tag.
3. DeArmond Tone Boss Magnetic Soundhole Pickups (009-9208-049)
What we found fascinating about this removable acoustic guitar pickup of the DeArmond brand are - its impressive aesthetics and functional design.
The aesthetic matches and complements any guitar; no one can understand that you have a pickup installed on your guitar until you plug the cable.
You could mount it permanently or keep it temporarily beneath the soundhole. The positioning is much more efficient in picking up nylon string vibrations.
The high-fidelity magnetic pickup technology naturally amplifies the sound of the nylon strings and keeps it soft yet loud. The inboard volume control knob helps you tune the guitar.
That’s why; we found this pickup suitable for playing folk and classical songs. The tonal combination of beautiful melody and harmony will mesmerize you for sure.
4. Fishman Rare Earth Acoustic Guitar Active Soundhole Pickup
The Rare Earth Humbucker is the big brother of the Fishman Neo-D, which packs more features and advanced technology inside the tiny package.
It combines the magnetic humbucker and active electronic transducer technology into a single package. Hence, you can comfortably switch between warm tones and between shimmering highs.
The clip-on design enables effortless installation, though you’ve to drill a hole if you want to mount it permanently. If you are after a nice-sounding cutting-edge acoustic pickup, look no further than the Rare Earth model of Fishman.
5. KNA NG-1: Best Piezo Pickup for Nylon String Guitar
After DeArmond, the KNA NG-1 is another best nylon-string guitar pickup; that makes your guitar sound naturally loud.
It is a bridge-mount pickup; that needs to be positioned evenly on the tie bar. No modification is required to your instruments; slight tuning and string tightening are needed before you start playing guitar.
The pickup comes with an elegant mahogany wooden case to complement the guitar. The passive design with lightweight assembly ensures the best possible natural warm sound with a maximum tonal sensitivity; that will leave you surprised for sure.
6. AMUMU SP30 Magnetic Wooden Soundhole Pickup
AMUMU SP30 is a single-coil magnetic soundhole pickup; that delivers impressive noiseless sound capturing guitar string vibration. It only works with the steel-string acoustic guitar.
The acoustic vibration transmits through the solid wooden housing in a better way so that you’ll get excellent string balance and clarity. Moreover, the package includes an advanced-quality lossless transmission audio cable; that generally gets used in the studios.
The wooden housing does not only make the guitar better sounding but complements the guitar’s aesthetic, as well. If you want something cheap but will sound decent and easy to install, the AMUMU SP30 is just for you.
7. L.R. Baggs Anthem: Best under-saddle pickup for acoustic guitar
The L.R. Baggs has different acoustic guitar pickups with different price tags; the Anthem is one of the best high-end acoustic guitar microphone pickup models. The best part of this model is the built-in preamp.
The preamp features just transform the complicated acoustic guitar into an easy-to-tune gigging instrument, making the pickup suitable for live concert performers. There are several controls; that will help you shape the tone as you want with ease.
Aside from the remarkable sound-amplification capabilities, we found the sound pickup capabilities of the internal guitar microphone impressive. The revolutionary TRU MIC technology and the integrated noise-canceling technology eliminate the chance of getting a boxy or honky sound or guitar hum coming from your guitar’s soundbox.
The under-saddle transducer contains their proprietary Element system; that offers the most dynamic range, excellent sensitivity, and body articulation. Likewise, every sounding feature complements each other and makes it one of the best sounding acoustic guitar pickups.
8. Donner DSS-6 Passive Acoustic Guitar Humbucker Soundhole Pickup
The Donner DSS6 is a double coil technology-enabled humbucker pickup model; that delivers crisp and clear soft sound by reducing feedback and noise.
The pickup is suitable for the 6-string guitars. In addition, it incorporates some controls for volume and tone adjustment, ensuring the best string balance.
It works with a magnetic field; that picks up the string vibration so that the external environment couldn’t affect the sound. The vintage Mahogany housing looks so elegant as well as produces the best balanced and clear tone.
9. Seymour Duncan Woody HC Hum-Canceling Soundhole Pickup
If you stay at least 30 inches away from your external amp, it won’t be a problem, as the pickup has already included a 14-foot-long cable for connecting it to guitar accessories.
Due to the hum-canceling technology, you may not get any annoying mains guitar hum, but you may still sometimes need such devices to play your acoustic-like an electric guitar.
When you plug your guitar into a digital recording console, the shiny, crisp, and clear high pitch will amaze you. You will appreciate the rich, warm and deep bass tone. The Seymour Duncan Woody HC provides the best quality sound at a budget range price point.
How to install soundhole pickup in a guitar?
Installing any one of the above-mentioned pickups will be a simple and straightforward job; that you can do by yourself using some basic tools. The installation process may vary from brand to brand and pickup styles.
Most pickups come with a detailed instructions guide; follow the same step by step. If it requires drilled holes, we suggest entrusting an experienced guitar technician.
You could watch this tutorial video before starting your DIY project.
Do I need a preamp?
Many guitarists are truly satisfied using the passive pickups, such as – the less expensive under-saddle or easy-to-install soundhole pickups. Frankly, they don’t even think of investing in active circuitry.
However, if you are a group performer, gig a lot plugging your guitar into the mixing panel, or audio quality is your primary concern, you’ll find the advantages of preamp invaluable.
Any of the guitar soundhole pickups we recommended above will absolutely serve you well. Now, the next question is, which will you buy? Hopefully, the buying guide will help you decide on the best one for you from the recommended options or others available.
We loved everything about the recommended models. If you find something better, let others know by commenting below. We’re welcoming your recommendation, as well.
Hey all, I’m Elise, I love to play music with the most lovely tuning instruments. I tried many of the musical instruments that I wished to play. Like me, many might have been seeking for good musical instruments. For those, I would like to provide a good list of instruments that I tried playing. This may help your search progress! Move ahead and read the articles.