There are instances that there is nothing greater than just sitting down and simply strumming your acoustic guitar after a long and tiring day. However, if you wanted to take your acoustic guitar up the stage, you will need a way to be heard. This is where acoustic guitar pick up comes in.
When thinking about guitar pickups, many individuals’ minds may likely jump to numerous types of acoustic guitar pickup system producing some of the highly favorite jazz, metal, county, or classic rock tones. You can even visualize the holy grail of guitar pickups. But aside from these things, there is still a lot more to learn about these acoustic guitar pickups.
These acoustic guitar pickups share a common lineage with the electric guitar counterparts. Electric guitars significantly trace its special origins to the needs in amplifying acoustic guitar so that these can stand out and be able to compete with woodwinds, drums, and horns of big bands. Most of the first attempts on this include mounting a microphone or a hybrid pickup under the strings of acoustic guitar. The last stage is running the guitar to the speaker.
Fortunately, acoustic multiple guitar pickups and even the electric guitars pickup have come such a long way to the extent that there are now plenty of options readily available to choose from and fit your unique needs as a player.
I recommend the Seymour Duncan Woody, LR Baggs Anthem pickup, LR Baggs M1Active or the Fishman Rare Earth humbucker acoustic pickup.
Learn More about Acoustic Guitar Pickups
Before you focus on ways to add a pickup to acoustic guitars, you first need to know what these pickups really are, reasons you need one, and how these acoustic guitar pickups work.
More like electric guitars, acoustic guitar pickups take your acoustic guitar’s sounds and then convert it to the amplified signal. If you convert and amplify the tone of an acoustic guitar, you will see that this has a dynamic and rich unplugged tone where the guitar’s resonance plays a big role.
There are actually three major types of an acoustic guitar pickup, Microphone, Piezo and Magnetic. Each type has its own distinct method to pick up sound and character.
Why Do You Need Acoustic Guitar Pickup?
Acoustic guitars are loud and clear by themselves; however, if you are going to play live in larger venues, amplifying your guitar is crucial. You can set up the mic at the front of the soundhole, but it’s more convenient and effective to add a pickup to acoustic guitar to incorporate good effects to your sound.
How an Acoustic Pickup Works
There are different types of pickup for acoustic guitars that can amplify your tone in unique ways. For instance, the Piezo and the transducer acoustic guitar pickup. These work by replicating vibrations of a specific part of your instrument usually placed directly underneath the bridge. This bridge typically includes a thin strip or bridge plate under the saddle. Soundhole pickup is positioned to your soundhole beneath your strings and then captures their resonance through the magnetic pole pieces.
On the other hand, microphone-based pickup systems make use of capsule and usually come in different mounting styles with external and internal goosenecks as the most common. Microphones are generally the fussiest among the three common styles of pick up, but these sound great. That being said, the microphone capsule is said to be a more subtle mechanism and can be vulnerable to feedbacks with a lack of proper understanding regarding its functions.
Nevertheless, modern microphone-based pickup in your acoustic systems have significantly evolved to provide more user-friendly features.
How to Add Pickup to Acoustic Guitar
This depends on how often you plan to use the acoustic guitar pickup. You can add pick up and have it installed. This might entail attaching the pickup inside the guitar and drilling a small hole for a plugin the instrument. Some pickups need a preamp, and with units installed, this might require a cutting hole in the box where preamp can be easily mounted.
There are instruments with internal pickup; however, the preamp is sometimes mounted within the instrument and with controls positioned in the sound hole. Thus, only the modification outside the instrument is actually where the plug can be found.
However, there are other pickups available that do not really need permanent modification or installation. The soundholes, for instance, are attached through popping pickup in the soundhole and, at times, secured with foam or rubber and plain screw mechanism. The cable comes right out of the pickup without requiring a plug hole. You can run a signal to preamp or pedalboard, or you can run this direct to amp or PA.
There are plenty of mics as well that can be attached outside or inside the guitar without actually changing the instruments or doing certain modifications. Some acoustic mics or small mics are sliding at the center of the guitar soundhole and connecting into a belt pack preamp.
These are extraordinarily accurate, giving you a clean and good acoustic tone, and since this is a microphone, this can pick up the sounds made by the guitar. It is, therefore, a good way of getting all beautiful percussive sounds produced when you tap your instrument.
The preamp has quite a few settings responsible for maximizing outputs depending on the type of guitar used to play with the right settings for nylon and steel strings. Sometimes, there is USB output, so you can easily connect your acoustic to your iPhone or iPad and make use of this in an array of guitar effects applications. Moreover, there is also an auxiliary input so you can combine the microphone signal if you want to from your internal pickup.
The nice things about microphones and pickups can easily be removed when you’re not using them. These can also be shared between many different instruments on stage.
The Importance of Adding Pickup to Acoustic Guitar
Pickups are known to be the fastest and easiest ways of improving the tone of your guitar significantly. Simply put, having poor pickup can make your acoustic guitar sound lousy; however, having great pickups can make even a simple guitar sound so good.
If you add a pickup to acoustic guitar, expect to see a big difference, particularly with your sound. But you should also note that amps also have their impacts. Adding pickup to the acoustic guitar is important because a pickup can decide what and how your amp receives. If you add a pickup to acoustic guitar, this can change the tone of your guitar drastically for the better.
Now that you have learned about acoustic guitar pickups and the proper ways to add a pickup to acoustic guitar, you might consider doing this now to put your acoustic guitar playing to new heights. Aside from adding pickup, there are still more other strategies you can do to improve the overall performance of your acoustic electric guitar.
If you take time to visit and research online, you will be able to access more relevant information and might as well find the right step by step guide on how to add a pickup to acoustic guitar. It cannot be denied that pickup is an important element of a guitar, so knowing how to add this can benefit you a lot as a guitarist or acoustic guitar player. So it pays to learn and be able to add the pickup and enjoy a much better acoustic guitar playing experience.
More things for acoustic guitars – reverb pedals for acoustic guitars