From the world’s largest stages to local coffee shops, acoustic guitars are among the most popular instruments for professional and amateur musicians. When additional sound reinforcement is needed, acoustic pickups are essential.
It makes perfect sense, then, that there is a significant market for acoustic guitar pickups. Whether the pickups are part of the original manufacturing process or add-ons, they can help tremendously in terms of getting the best sound out of an acoustic guitar. However, with so many choices, it can be difficult to find the perfect pickup for your acoustic.
Though brand names aren’t the be-all-end-all when it comes to choice, knowing the top brands to look out for can be useful in finding your acoustic guitar pickup. In this article, we’ll look at what I believe to be the best acoustic guitar pickup brands on the market.
The top 8 best acoustic guitar pickup brands in the world are:
Let’s get into each of these brands in greater detail and explain why they belong in the top 8 best acoustic guitar pickup brands. I’ll share their country of origin, a bit of history, an example of a notable pickup, and a link to their official website.
Without the shadow of a doubt, Fishman is the world’s best-selling, best-known, most famous, and widely used acoustic pickup brand. They came up with some of the most iconic pickups in the world, such as the Fishman Matrix, and were the first to add a full condenser inside the body of the guitar as well.
Furthermore, they manufacture and sell OEM systems for some of the largest names in acoustic guitar, such as Martin and Taylor. If you are serious about your acoustic guitar sounds, you have to roll with the best; give Fishman a try today.
With this Rare Earth humbucker, Fishman achieved a balanced-sounding element that can faithfully reproduce the guitar’s sound with added warmth and round, fat low frequencies while keeping those singing highs in place. Furthermore, it is as easy to install as tightening a pair of screws and offers 240 hours of battery life. Finally, it is a neodymium magnet that is as lightweight as it is powerful.
Check it out in this video.
Fishman was founded in 1981 by Larry Fishman, and the company headquarters is located in Andover, Massachusetts, USA.
Official Website: fishman.com
Fishman is featured in other top brand articles at My New Microphone. Check out these articles here!
Together with Fishman, LR Baggs represents the pinnacle of acoustic amplification in the world. Indeed, some guitars like the highly-priced, epic-sounding Gibson Dove or Hummingbird include these pickups as a factory standard. In other words, Gibson believes the best match for their world-class, impeccable craftsmanship is LR Baggs pickups.
Moreover, the company recently expanded to offering preamp pedals to use live featuring state-of-the-art imaging technology. LR Baggs is a synonym for the best money can buy; it is a must-try before making an acoustic pickup decision.
Notable pickup: LR Baggs Lyric (link to check the price at Sweetwater)
The Lyric by LR Baggs is unlike any other acoustic guitar pickup you’ve tried before. The company was one of the pioneers of the soundhole pickup idea, but this time around, they created a piece that goes inside the body, right under the bridge. With this change of position, they managed to create a noise-cancelling piece that can fully reproduce the natural sound of the guitar without feedback problems or any added harshness or oomph to the tone.
Plus, it comes in the coolest tortoise colour with dedicated volume control for the soundhole.
Check this video to see it in action.
LR Baggs was founded in 1978 by Lloyd Baggs and is headquartered in Nipomo, California, USA.
Official Website: lrbaggs.com
Branching out into acoustic amplification territory was a natural move for Seymour Duncan. That being said, true to their heritage, they went the extra mile to create a more-than-interesting line of pickups and systems to choose from, solving gigging musicians’ real-life, real-world problems such as feedback or lack of low-end.
It is no surprise that one of the brands that invented the category of replacement pickups offers a wide variety of groundbreaking models that sound great and offer uncanny reliability.
Notable pickup: Seymour Duncan SA-6 (link to check the price at Sweetwater)
This is a revolutionary two-in-one approach to acoustic guitar amplification.
On the one hand, you get a stacked-coil, noise-free magnetic pickup that can be installed in the guitar with only a couple of screws in five minutes and sounds very close to the attack of your hands and picks up all the nuances of your right hand.
On the other hand, you get an omnidirectional condenser mic that can capture the true reverberation and sound of the wood in your instrument, adding warmth, lows, and body to the overall sound.
Finally, with a master volume and blend control, you can have exactly as much of each as you want at any volume that suits your playing. Check it out in action with this video.
Seymour Duncan was founded in 1976 by Seymour W. Duncan and Cathy Carter Duncan and is headquartered in Goleta, California, USA.
Official Website: seymourduncan.com
Seymour Duncan is featured in other top brand articles at My New Microphone. Check out these articles here!
Dean Markley started out experimenting during his free time while working at his music store. Such was his passion for sound that he came up with the now-legendary “Talk Box” pedal, popularized by Peter Frampton. Although that invention put him on the map, he didn’t stop experimenting, and, for example, cryogenically activated Blue Steel strings are his concept as well.
With such leverage and knowledge gathered refining the string-making techniques, when the first acoustic pickups came out, they were perfect sounding, beautifully voiced, and guitars cut through the mix like never before. If you haven’t already, it is about time you give them a try.
This revolutionary install, plug, and go approach is everything you would expect from a company like Dean Markley. To begin with, it is housed in beautiful maple wood to match the top of your guitar and give it a little more tone and resonance.
Secondly, its single-coil design adds attack and bell-like harmonics to the resulting sound with a factory-tuned voicing to achieve string balance. Finally, the female 1/4” jack makes it compatible with virtually any guitar out there.
Dean Markley was founded in 1972 by Dean Markley in Santa Clara, California. The company headquarters is now located in Glendale, Arizona, USA.
Official website: deanmarkley.com
Dean Markley is featured in other top brand articles at My New Microphone. Check out these articles here!
Growing up in Soviet-era Bulgaria, Vladimir Hranov soon found his passion in fixing electronic appliances. As he grew up, his passion became a hobby, and his job at Puldin Guitar Factory.
After Puldin dissolved, Vladimir continued to expand his knowledge beyond the boundaries of guitars and came up with one-of-a-kind piezo technology. Together with Nikolay Iliev (Kremona musical instruments distributor in the USA), they forged a line of innovational piezo pickups that have taken the industry by storm.
Notable pickup: KNA AP-2 (link to check the price at Sweetwater)
Stick-on piezo pickups aren’t the most popular among guitar players, but they are great to accommodate several instruments or amplifying a nylon-string guitar without touching its structure.
This great-sounding incarnation of that concept is a passive piezo pickup with a volume knob and detachable cable that can work on a cajón, ukulele, violin, and many more. Plus, with the detachable-cord design, you can leave it on during storage.
KNA Pickups was founded in 2005 by Vladimir Hranov as a brand of Kremona. The company headquarters is located in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
Official Website: knapickups.com
Parent Company: Kremona
Based in the USA since 1995, this company originated in Germany a decade earlier. It is the conception of a couple of music lovers who found a successful way to create an amplification system for vibraphones, marimbas, and other mallet instruments.
However, Dieter, a seasoned guitar player, was always searching for the best acoustic pickup in the world. Thus, he set out to create one that could be exactly the way he wanted. The result of so many years of relentless research and development became a groundbreaking pickup that allowed the company to grow non-stop to this day.
Notable pickup: K&K Sound The Pure Classic (link to check the price on Amazon)
The design in this acoustic guitar pickup is straightforward yet, utterly effective. It features four bridge plate transducers and a 1/4” jack. Once the transducers are in place, they are perfectly voiced to reproduce the guitar’s pure sound without any of the harshness, percussiveness, or low-frequency excess often associated with amplified nylon instruments.
This is a great choice if you want a warm-sounding, perfectly crafted, reliable, and easy-to-install pickup.
K&K Sound was founded in 1984 by Dieter & Karla Kaudel in Germany. The company moved to the United States in 1995 and is now headquartered in Coos Bay, Oregon, USA.
Official Website: kksound.com
Larry DiMarzio is a revolutionary pickup maker that is fearless in the broadness of its catalogue. The company not only makes great vintage-sounding pickups for replacing originals, but it also takes a bold approach in every direction imaginable to satisfy the needs of the world’s most discerning guitar and bass players. In that vein, when they branched out to the acoustic world, they did it with the same attitude, and the result is nothing short of amazing. Give DiMarzio acoustics a try and see for yourself why they are a legend.
Notable pickup: DiMarzio Black Angel (link to check the price at Sweetwater)
The Black Angel by DiMarzio is a passive magnetic pickup that comfortably fits the soundhole of virtually any acoustic instrument. Although it is a single-coil, magnetic pickup, the stacked-coil design gets rid of any hum, and the fine-tuned pole pieces bring balance to the resulting sound.
Plus, if you use it with another pickup, the phase switch can be a wonderful addition, especially in a live situation.
DiMarzio Inc. was founded as “DiMarzio Musical Instrument Pickups, Inc.” in 1971 by Larry DiMarzio. The company headquarters is located in Staten Island, New York, USA.
Official Website: dimarzio.com
DiMarzio is featured in other top brand articles at My New Microphone. Check out these articles here!
Ever since their conception, EMG pickups have always represented the furthest sonic boundary in the guitar world. From their metal-ready active pickups to the smooth and silky Stratocaster line, EMG managed to build a reputation for being the best active pickup brand in the world.
EMG's incursion into the acoustic pickup world was just what you would expect from a brand this size, and their active magnetic pickups offer some of the best tones in the industry. If you haven’t already, you should check them out before buying.
Notable pickup: EMG ACS (link to check the price at Sweetwater)
The ACS by EMG was designed to solve one of the most common problems in the acoustic guitar world: feedback. This stacked-coil design is a noiseless approach with a distinctive-sounding preamp voicing ready to make the most out of the pickup’s extended frequency range.
Moreover, they managed to dial in just the needed amount of low-end to compensate for the natural brilliance and high-end richness in any acoustic guitar.
EMG, Inc. was founded in 1976 by Rob Turner in Long Beach, California. Today, the company headquarters is located in Santa Rosa, California, USA.
Official Website: emgpickups.com
EMG is featured in other top brand articles at My New Microphone. Check out these articles here!