10 Best Acoustic Guitar Pickups of 2024

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Shopping for acoustic guitar pickups isn't always easy. There's a ton of advanced technology and very specific design characteristics that can be quite overwhelming to the uninitiated.

Besides, how different can they be? An acoustic guitar is going to sound like an acoustic guitar no matter what, right?

Well, no.

In fact, acoustic-electric guitar players have been historically plagued with bad sound quality that simply does not represent the best of what their instrument has to offer.

That has all changed in recent years, however. The market for acoustic guitar pickups is absolutely bursting with incredible offerings featuring innovative design, cutting-edge technology, and all kinds of useful features.

And we've rounded them up below. Whether you're looking for a high-end permanent addition to your guitar or something affordable you can easily pop on and off for the occasional jam session, we've got it here.

Our top pick for the best overall acoustic guitar pickup is the LR Baggs Anthem. To us, this pickup represents the best of what the market has to offer when it comes to performance, versatility, and value.

But there are tons of other great choices for every player's needs. Take a look for yourself!

Quick Summary of the Best Acoustic Guitar Pickups

  1. LR Baggs Anthem Acoustic Guitar Pickup (Best Overall)
  2. Seymour Duncan Woody SA-3XL (Best Value)
  3. Fishman PowerTap Infinity Acoustic Pickup (Best Dynamics)
  4. Mojotone Quiet Coil NC-1 (Best Single Coil)
  5. Fishman Matrix Infinity VT (Best Piezo System)
  6. DiMarzio The Black Angel (Best Magnetic Acoustic Pickup)
  7. LR Baggs M80 Acoustic Guitar Pickup (Best for Versatility)
  8. Fishman Neo-D Humbucker (Best Budget Acoustic Guitar Pickup)
  9. K&K Sound Pure Mini (Best Transducer Pickups)
  10. Fishman Rare Earth Mic Blend (Best Microphone Pickup)

Best Acoustic Guitar Pickups

1. Best Overall – LR Baggs Anthem Acoustic Guitar Pickup

An LR Baggs Anthem Acoustic Guitar Pickup on a white background.

SPECS

  • Type: Microphone, Piezo
  • Position: Bridge Plate, Undersaddle (3/32" and 1/8" Saddle)
  • Active/Passive: Active
  • Built-in Preamp: Yes
  • Controls: Volume Control, Blend Controls, Phase Switch, Mic Level

It's hard to think of anything bad to say about the LR Baggs Anthem pickup. It's versatile, discrete, user-friendly, and, most important, it sounds incredible.

There's good reason this pickup system is almost unanimously considered one of the best, if not the best, acoustic guitar pickups industrywide.

The Anthem combines a piezo-style Element pickup with a condenser mic for a sound with incredible clarity and balance.

None of that honky, cardboard-box tone here -- the Tru-Mic system is designed for noise canceling as well as feedback control, so you get nothing but your guitar's natural tone.

It mounts nearly invisibly just inside your guitar's soundhole but offers easily accessible volume and tone controls at your fingertips.

If you're looking for what we think is hands-down the best acoustic guitar pickup, look no further than the LR Baggs Anthem.

2. Best Value – Seymour Duncan Woody SA-3XL

A Seymour Duncan Woody acoustic guitar pickup on a white background.

SPECS

  • Type: Humbucker
  • Position: Soundhole
  • Active/Passive: Passive
  • Built-in Preamp: No

The Seymour Duncan Woody is a great no-frills acoustic humbucker that provides great value at its price point.

It's a no-muss, no-fuss, easy-to-install (and just as easy to remove) hum-bucking pickup with adjustable pole pieces -- great for any beginner or player on a budget.

The appropriately named Woody has a pleasing polished wood housing, available in a number of finishes, that lends itself well to the acoustic aesthetic. More importantly, it delivers a bright sound with surprising clarity and depth for a passive pickup.

While not every player wants a cable running along the outside of their guitar, there's something to be said for the easy install and removal of this pickup.

If you need an every-once-in-a-while type of pickup that won't permanently alter your guitar, this is the pickup for you.

3. Best Dynamics – Fishman PowerTap Infinity Acoustic Pickup

A Fishman Matrix Powertap Infinity acoustic guitar pickup system on a white background.

SPECS

  • Type: 2 x Piezo
  • Position: Bridge Plate, Undersaddle (3/32" Saddle)
  • Active/Passive: Active
  • Built-in Preamp: Yes
  • Controls: Volume Control, Tone (flat to scooped), Blend Control, Voicing Switch, Bass Boost (internal dip switch)

Fishman delivers unsurpassed innovation with the Powertap Infinity, which combines a Rare Earth Humbucker with a tap body sensor for a pickup and preamp system that allows you to channel all the dynamics of your acoustic playing into an electrified performance.

The Fishman Rare Earth under-saddle pickup boasts all the warm sound and clarity you'd expect. Add to that a body sensor that gives your body tapping a yet-unseen degree of resonance, and you've got a pickup and preamp system that accurately captures the percussive side of your playing.

To top it all off, the Powertap Infinity allows you to split the signals and run them out in stereo. Imagine the possibilities when you factor in effects, looping, etc.

The Powertap is a truly versatile system that's THE acoustic pickup for any player looking to level up their dynamics.

4. Best Single Coil – Mojotone Quiet Coil NC-1

A MojoTone Quiet Coil NC-1 acoustic guitar pickup on a white background.

SPECS

  • Type: Single-coil
  • Position: Soundhole
  • Active/Passive: Active
  • Built-in Preamp: Yes

If your acoustic-electric tone sounds like someone shaking a duck in a cardboard box, Mojotone has the solution for you.

The Quiet Coil NC-1 is an active pickup that captures the "miked-up" acoustic sound in favor of the artificial tone often brought by soundhole pickups.

The Quiet Coil features a low-noise preamp that brings out the best in your acoustic guitar's tone while safeguarding it against feedback.

It's compact and low-profile, easy to install, and, as a nice touch, features cork padding to protect your guitar's finish where it's mounted.

With the Mojotone Quiet Coil NC-1, you get the great sound you'd get from microphone pickups but without the noise or tricky installation. It's a great option for anyone looking to get the best of both worlds out of their acoustic guitar pickup.

5. Best Piezo System – Fishman Matrix Infinity VT

A Fishman Matrix Infinity VT acoustic guitar pickup system on a white background.

SPECS

  • Type: Piezo pickup
  • Position: Undersaddle (3/32" Saddle)
  • Active/Passive: Active
  • Built-in Preamp: Yes
  • Controls: Volume, Tone (flat to scooped), Voicing Switch, Bass Boost (internal dip switch)

The Fishman Matrix Infinity VT features the Fishman Acoustic Matrix piezo pickup, with the addition of a preamp system that boasts great tone and tons of control. Altogether, the Matrix Infinity VT makes a compelling case for one of the best piezo pickups on the market.

The Infinity VT brings tons of switchable controls to the table, so you have unmatched control over your acoustic tone in a live setting. Not only do you have volume and tone controls, but you also get a voicing switch that allows you to accommodate your guitar's size and setting.

While installing this system isn't necessarily something you'd want to take on yourself, we think you won't mind the commitment.

If you're looking for one of the best piezo acoustic guitar pickup systems, you've found it in the Fishman Matrix Infinity VT.

6. Best Magnetic Acoustic Pickup – DiMarzio The Black Angel

A DiMarzio Black Angel acoustic guitar pickup on a white background.

SPECS

  • Type: Rare Earth Magnet
  • Position: Soundhole
  • Active/Passive: Passive
  • Built-in Preamp: No
  • Controls: Phase Switch

The Dimarzio Black Angel is just a great-sounding, no-frills passive acoustic pickup. It employs a rare earth magnetic element as well as two coils to effectively eliminate the noise you'd expect from magnetic pickups, all while providing natural, responsive sound.

The Black Angel includes a phase switch that makes it ideal for pairing with other pickups. If you want a magnetic pickup to go along with your microphonic and/or soundhole pickup, this is a great option for you.

While it's not the cheapest option for a magnetic pickup, we believe the added versatility of the phase switch as well as DiMarzio's reputation for great-sounding pickups, make the Black Angel a compelling candidate for our list of the best acoustic pickups available.

7. Best for Versatility – LR Baggs M80 Acoustic Guitar Pickup

An LR Baggs M80 Acoustic Guitar Pickup on a white background.

SPECS

  • Type: Humbucker
  • Position: Soundhole
  • Active/Passive: Active, Switchable to Passive
  • Built-in Preamp: Yes
  • Controls: Volume, Active/Passive switch, battery check

The M80 is another very impressive offering from LR Baggs. As you'd expect from Baggs, this pickup translates your guitar's natural acoustic tone very accurately, no small feat for a soundhole humbucker. It also includes an above-average number of useful features to go along with the above-average price.

In addition to sounding great, it's super versatile, with an active/passive switch for maximum control. Another feature that sets this pickup apart from the competition is the inclusion of a floating second coil that acts as a reactive 3D body sensor to capture every nuance of your playing.

Far from the most affordable option on this list, and another tricky install to be sure, this pickup isn't for everyone. But if you're looking for tons of useful features and a pristine, accurate representation of your guitar's tone, the M80 is a great choice.

8. Best Budget Acoustic Guitar Pickup – Fishman Neo-D Humbucker

A Fishman Neo-D Humbucker acoustic guitar pickup on a white background.

SPECS

  • Type: Humbucker
  • Position: Soundhole
  • Active/Passive: Passive
  • Built-in Preamp: No

Fishman is known for manufacturing some of the best acoustic guitar pickups on the market. While it may seem shockingly affordable, the Neo-D Humbucker is no exception. It's a simple, noise-free magnetic acoustic humbucker that's easy to install and sounds great.

Here, Fishman has employed a similar design to their renowned Rare Earth series, using a Neodymium magnet for amazing clarity and balance.

For what it's worth, it's voiced especially for bronze or phosphor bronze strings. And there's no invasive install or tricky controls.

With the Neo-D, you get all the great sound of a Fishman for a price you won't believe. For a great passive soundhole pickup that's one of the better acoustic guitar pickup deals available, pick up one of these today.

9. Best Transducer Pickups – K&K Sound Pure Mini

A K&K Sound Pure Mini Acoustic guitar pickup system on a white background.

SPECS

  • Type: SoundboardTransducer Pickups
  • Position: Soundboard
  • Active/Passive: Passive
  • Built-in Preamp: No

Many of us will, at some point, face a predicament in our acoustic guitar careers. You have the acoustic instrument of your dreams, but you want to add a pickup.

You don't want to damage your precious instrument... what to do? This is where the K&K Pure Mini pickup comes in.

This pickup delivers full, rich, and especially natural sound, thanks to the transducers' location on the bridge plate. This allows them to pick up the vibrations of the guitar and not just the string sound, plus it's ideally placed to provide feedback-free performance.

And the kicker -- it's very affordable! The K&K Pure Mini seems too good to be true, especially for those of us who want acoustic pickups but dread having invasive procedures performed on our acoustic guitars. But it's not. Kudos to K&K -- our guitars (and our ears), thank you!

10. Best Microphone Pickup – Fishman Rare Earth Mic Blend

A Fishman Rare Earth Mic Blend acoustic guitar pickup system on a white background.

SPECS

  • Type: Humbucker, Microphone
  • Position: Soundhole
  • Active/Passive: Active
  • Built-in Preamp: Yes
  • Controls: Blend

Bringing home our list of the best acoustic guitar pickups is the Fishman Rare Earth Mic Blend. If you're not sure what kind of pickup is best for you, this combined humbucker/microphone pickup could be a good choice.

This impressive system combines Fishman's Rare Earth stacked coil pickup with a mini hypercardioid electret microphone to capture at once your guitar's sustain and resonance from its string vibrations as well as the more ambient tones of the body and soundboard.

You get a great pickup and a high-quality microphone in one with this system. For an incredible three-dimensional sound from your acoustic guitar, you can't do much better than the Fishman Rare Earth Mic Blend.

Best Acoustic Guitar Pickups Buyer's Guide

Hopefully, by now, you feel pretty confident in your knowledge of acoustic guitar pickups.

But if not, don't fret. We've not only compiled this great list of the best acoustic guitar pickups, we've also included this handy buyer's guide to ease your shopping pains.

There's also a useful FAQ section to help you learn as much as you can about acoustic guitar pickup technology and aid you in your search for the best acoustic guitar pickup for you.

Pickup Type

In case you haven't picked up on this yet, there are several different types of pickups available for acoustic guitars.

First, a word about placement. There are soundhole pickups, undersaddle pickups, and soundboard transducers. Each of these is more or less what it sounds like -- soundhole pickups mount on the soundhole, etc., etc.

Acoustic pickups come in single-coil and humbucker, just like electric guitar pickups, as well as piezo and microphonic. These all have slightly different qualities, so it's worth diving in to determine which is best for you.

Sound Quality

While the goal of a pickup is generally to capture the natural sound of your acoustic guitar, the different types of pickups are designed to enhance different elements of your guitar's sound.

Magnetic pickups will pick up the vibration of your guitar's strings the same way an electric guitar pickup would. They're great for using effects but tend to have less of a natural quality.

Piezo pickups usually mount under the guitar's bridge, capturing the vibrations through the soundboard and generating a more natural tone. To produce the right vibrations for your style, get the best guitar pick from our lineup.

Finally, a microphone pickup is just what it sounds like–a small internal microphone that mounts inside the body of the guitar. They tend to sound great but can cause feedback problems.

Ultimately, the pickup you choose depends on what kind of sound quality you most desire from your guitar and what trade-offs you can stand in order to achieve that quality.

Installation

Did somebody say trade-offs? The installation of acoustic guitar pickups can be among the most painful part of the process, especially because it often involves permanently altering your prized guitar, which is a costly procedure if done by a qualified professional.

Some pickups, however, are designed for easy DIY installation. If you're not comfortable with complex installations, opt for a pickup that can be easily installed or removed without any hassle, like the Seymour Duncan Woody SA-3XL.

Brand/Price

It shouldn't be hard to determine your budget range when it comes to grabbing a new pickup. How much money do you have in your bank account? Great, that should give you a pretty good idea of what price range you should consider.

Just kidding -- we will, however, say that acoustic guitar pickups are relatively affordable across the board, especially compared to most acoustic guitars themselves.

When selecting your pickup, consider how much use you think you're going to get out of it. It's worth spending more for a pickup you're going to be depending on for years of live performing, for example.

The reputation and reliability of the pickup manufacturer shouldn't be an issue if you're consulting this list. We've included only established brands with a history of producing high-quality pickups, so you know you're in good hands with us.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between active and passive pickups?

Active pickups require a power source (usually a battery) to function and often offer a higher output level and more control over the tone.

Passive pickups, on the other hand, do not require a power source and have a more natural and organic sound.

Consider whether or not you're going to want to control your tone, and especially consider whether you're going to be using effects. If so, an active pickup might be right for you.

If you're more of a plug-and-play person, you might be perfectly happy with a good passive pickup that accurately captures your guitar's sound.

Can I install my pickup myself, or do I need professional help?

The answer to this question depends on the pickup and your level of expertise.

Many pickups are designed for easy installation and can be done as a DIY project. However, more complex installations, such as undersaddle pickups, may require professional help to ensure proper placement and wiring.

Ultimately, if it's in the budget, it's never a bad idea to go to a qualified professional, especially when the prospect of permanently altering your valued instrument is at hand.

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

Installing your new pickup will usually have a minimal impact on the acoustic sound of your guitar. However, the extent of this impact varies depending on the pickup type and installation method.

Obviously, the bigger and clunkier the pickup, the more likely it's going to affect your guitar's sound, as well as its playability. But really, these should be minor concerns in the grand scheme of things.

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

Again, installing a pickup in your acoustic guitar raises the prospect of permanently altering your instrument. Not to worry, though. There are plenty of acoustic guitar pickups that do not require permanent modifications to the guitar itself.

Many pickups, like the K&K Sound Pure Mini transducer pickup, are designed to be non-invasive and can be easily installed without any drilling or alterations.

However, some pickups may require minor modifications, such as a small hole to accommodate the output jack. We again urge you to see your local luthier or guitar repair professional if you have any doubts concerning the installation of your new acoustic guitar pickup.

Verdict

By now, you're sure to have picked out your new acoustic guitar pickup.

But if not, we understand. There are so many amazing offerings on this list -- how can you pick just one?

For us, it was easy to pick the LR Baggs Anthem Acoustic Guitar Pickup as our favorite. It simply provides everything one could want in an acoustic guitar pickup.

But there are picks included above for the minimalist as well. We encourage you to take another hard look at our list, head over to Sweetwater, and pull the trigger on one of these awesome pups!

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