Recording acoustic-electric is easy because they have built-in pickups. But what happens when you want to record an acoustic guitar?
One option is to use a microphone but it can be challenging. Especially for beginners. The more flexible option is to use acoustic guitar pickups.
A soundhole pickup is a special pickup created for acoustic guitars. It can be placed on the soundhole and you can plug it into an amp or audio interface.
If you want to record your acoustic guitar and don’t know which pickup is the best for it, you came to the right place.
What’s The Best Acoustic Guitar Pickup?
Below you will find the best acoustic guitar pickups for recording or in general use. They differ by features, quality, and price.
1. LR Baggs Anthem SL
LR Baggs Anthem SL is a small, battery-powered acoustic pickup. It can be installed under a soundhole. It’s a pizeo-style microphone pickup that doesn’t require an amp. However, it is a great sounding pickup for recording or live performance. This LR Baggs pickup is an affordable and high-quality product.
And because it acts as a microphone you get a natural sound from the acoustic guitar. The sound it produces is organic, natural, and rich. It requires a 9V battery and can last up to 170 hours. Also, includes a volume wheel that allows you to control the output volume. This is a great solution if you play small club acoustic gigs.
2. Fishman Presys Plus
Fishman Presys Plus is a pickup system for acoustic guitar. It’s a very high-quality and feature-rich solution for recording acoustic guitars without a microphone. Because it comes with a preamp section, it must be installed into the acoustic guitar. So, you will need a guitar luthier to do the job.
Fishman pickups are great-sounding products and Presys+ is no exception. You have an option to change various settings such as EQ, notch, brilliance, and phase. Also, it has a built-in guitar tuner which is always a good option to have. The price is a little high but you get a full acoustic pickup preamp system.
3. Dimarzio Black Angel
Dimarzio pickups are well-known among electric guitar players. But they also make acoustic guitar pickups and Dimarzio Black Angel is my favorite one. It can be placed on a sound hole and supports 3.5″ or larger acoustic soundholes. It’s very easy to install and use.
This pickup uses a special magnetic element that gives it a wide range of sound. The sound that comes from Black Angel pickup is very clean, rich, and natural. You can record clean and high-quality acoustic recordings with this awesome pickup. This pickup is used by musicians like Mike Dawes and Antoine Dufour.
4. Seymour Duncan Woody
Seymour Duncan Woody is a very popular and affordable pickup for acoustic guitars. This particular model, SA-3HC is a hum-canceling pickup that is perfect for recording purposes. Can be installed on the soundhole very easily and comes in black and light colors. It gives full and warm acoustic tones.
All Seymour Duncan pickups are very high-quality and used by countless guitar players. And if you want to have the Duncan quality sound, you need to try this pickup. And because it’s a noiseless pickup, gives you an amazing playing experience. Works perfectly with a recording or live environment.
5. Dean Markley ProMag Plus
Dean Markley ProMag Plus is a very affordable pickup. The design reminds me of SE Woody pickup. It’s simple and produces a very good sound. If you have an affordable acoustic guitar and want to transform it into an acoustic-electric, this is a great option. You can easily mount it on an acoustic soundhole and comes with a 2 feet cable.
This Dean Markley acoustic pickup was my first one and I know how it works. Although it’s a cheap alternative, the sound is quite good and organic. It’s clean and can be used for recording. I have recorded many demos with it and some of them were used in the final product. But if you don’t need it for recording, you can use it on your live shows.
6. EMG ACS
We all know EMG pickups. But did you know that they manufacture acoustic guitar pickups? If not, I will tell you that they do. And EMG ACS is one of the best pickups for acoustic guitar. It’s a soundhole active humbucker with a very clean and rich sound. Its magnetic design helps to reduce noise.
Although it sounds amazing and mounts easily on an acoustic guitar soundhole, my favorite thing is the ease of use. EMG ACS uses the Quick-Connect system which is great for beginners. You just plug in some connections and it’s ready to use. Also, if the cable is damaged, you can easily swap it with a new one.
7. Lace California
You have may never heard of Lace pickups but they make affordable and high-quality products. My favorite one is Lace California which is simple, has a modern design, and awesome-sounding pickup for acoustic guitar. Whether you have an affordable or expensive guitar, you can use it with both of them.
The pickup comes with a female jack and 12 feet cable. The output is quite loud but it’s not distorted. It’s clean, rich, and retains the natural acoustic guitar sound and tone. It’s one of the best affordable pickups for any type of acoustic guitar. Lace makes other pickups too but this particular model is my favorite.
8. Bartolini 3AV
Bartolini pickups may not be well known but they make cool products. Bartolini 3AV is a soundhole pickup with a hum-canceling option. It produces very clean, rich, and natural sound. Comes with 10 feet cable and 1/4 plug. The magnetic circuit is very complex and of high quality which has a great impact on the overall sound.
This pickup mounts near the bridge and it helps to produce a more natural sound. It can fit with acoustic guitars that have soundhole dimensions from 3-1/2″ to 4-1/2″. It’s very easy to install and can make your acoustic sound much better which is great for recording or live playing.
9. Mojotone Quiet Coil
Mojotone Quiet Coil produces amazing sound and transforms every acoustic guitar into a recording machine. One of the easiest pickups to install on a soundhole. But the most important thing in pickups is the sound and it does its job perfectly. One of the best acoustic pickups in this price range.
Mojotone pickups offer great voicing and tone, the sound balance is very good, and the noiseless feature makes sure the sound is clean. Also, it’s very lightweight, can be mounted very easily, and uses two CR2032 cell batteries. If you are searching for a simple but good-sounding pickup for your acoustic guitar, try this one.
10. Fender Cypress
Fender Cypress single-coil soundhole pickup is my last recommendation. Fender pickups may not be very popular but this one is very good. Sounds great, has an affordable price tag, and offers Fender quality. Comes with a 15′ cable with a 1/4 jack.
Cypress pickup uses ceramic magnets and can give a new life to your instrument. The sound is very clean, rich, and natural. The unique feature of this pickup is Field Diffuser which helps to produce sweet highs and an overall balanced sound. It’s an affordable pickup from Fender.
Acoustic guitar pickups are a great way to make your acoustic guitar recordable. Also, you can use them live. Having a pickup for acoustic guitar is great for recording. You can record one part with a mic and use the pickup for another part. This will give you more diverse sound results. So, if you have an acoustic guitar and want to transform it into half electric, use one of these acoustic pickups.