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Best acoustic guitar pickup 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]

Last Updated October 1, 2020

Norman RyanI’m Willow Norman Ryan. My friends call me “stone” and it just kind of stuck. After spending over 47 hours comparing at least 13 acoustic guitar pickup, I am recommending the best acoustic guitar pickup of 2018

Eventually, I found something that would suit my needs but it occurred to me that I wasn’t the only one who might be having the same problems I did. Now I’m going to recommend a few acoustic guitar pickup you can pick from to get started quickly and easily.

Let’s get to it!

Best acoustic guitar pickup of 2018

Based on customer reviews and my own experience with the cowboy method I’ve found the best 3 acoustic guitar pickup on the market. Here are my top picks with detailed reviews, comparison charts and buying guides to help you purchase the perfect item for your needs. Come with me. I have taken the initiative to educate you on the top three best acoustic guitar pickup that you can buy this year.

Test Results and Ratings

Rank №1 №2 №3
Total 4.8 4.5 4.3
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Awards 1
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How to save up to 86%? Here is little trick.

You must visit the page of sales. Here is the link. If you don’t care about which brand is better, then you can choose the acoustic guitar pickup by the price and buy from the one who will offer the greatest discount.



№1 – Luvay Acoustic Guitar Soundhole Pickup

Luvay Acoustic Guitar Soundhole Pickup

Passive Soundhole Pickup,for Steel String Guitars
Includes 1/4″ Endpin Jack and volume/tone control
Turn your acoustic guitar into an acoustic-electric without expensive modifications
We’ve been using it for 4 months and didn’t notice any flaws.

Why did this acoustic guitar pickup win the first place?

I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! The material is stylish, but it smells for the first couple of days.
















№2 – SUNYIN Transducer Acoustic Guitar Pickup

SUNYIN Transducer Acoustic Guitar Pickup

❤ VOLUME CONTROL – Adjustable volume level will Avoid feedback squeal, The sound clear,warm and crisp,this piezo transducer pickup very convenient for Acoustic Classical Guitar Ukulele Violin Cello Mandolin Banjo etc.
❤ QUICK AND EASY INSTALLATION – Convenient and Quick Installation near by sound hole with self-adhesive backing that can be reused and will not hurt your beloved musical instruments,external pickups easy to contact microphone and AMP UP your instruments
It is not for the small jobs.
A little pricier than some of the other .

Why did this acoustic guitar pickup come in second place?

This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery. The material is pretty strong and easy to wash if needed. I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money.
















№3 – Luvay Guitar Pickup Acoustic Electric Transducer for Acoustic Guitar

Luvay Guitar Pickup Acoustic Electric Transducer for Acoustic Guitar

Turn your acoustic guitar into an acoustic-electric without expensive modifications
Easy to install: can be clip-on to guitar sound hole and connect the audio input with a standard 1/4″ connector
It will turn your acoustic music more powerful and electric
The clamp could be of better quality.
May be a little heavy for some users.

Why did this acoustic guitar pickup take third place?

I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. The material is incredibly nice to the touch. It has a great color, which will suit any wallpapers. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built.
















acoustic guitar pickup Buyer’s Guide

If you keep the before points in mind, you can easily go out to the market and buy acoustic guitar pickup, right? No!


Like any other type of technology, acoustic guitar pickups have a lot of terminology associated with them. The terms below are all commonly used to describe acoustic guitar pickups, and it’s important that you have a decent understanding of what they mean before making a purchase. Also, though this article may be aimed at guitar players, a lot of the terminology is going to carry over to any other acoustic instrument.

Piezo: While the mechanics at work behind piezo pickups are a bit complicated, involving special crystals that create an electric signal when put under pressure, the results are pretty simple. Piezo pickups are all around workable pickups, and considering that they’re relatively cheap to produce it’s no surprise that they’re the industry standard.

Contact/Transducer Pickup: Contact, or as they’re sometimes called transducer pickups, function by transferring the vibrations created by the top of your guitar into an electric current in a similar way to piezo pickup systems. Contact pickups are generally the easiest pickups to install, and relatively inexpensive.

Magnetic/Soundhole Pickup: Available in both active and passive variants (see definition below), magnetic, or soundhole, pickups function in exactly the same way as the pickups in an electric guitar. The wire wrapped around the magnet in the pickup allows the vibrations of your guitar strings to be transferred into an electric signal. Some of these pickups are designed to output a more realistic acoustic sound, while some cheaper models sound a bit cheesy.

Internal Microphone: While not technically a pickup, using an internal microphone system is a pretty common method of amplifying an acoustic guitar.

Multi-Source: A multi-source system is exactly what it sounds like, a combination of either two different pickup systems or a pickup system and an internal microphone.

Passive: When a pickup is described as being passive, it means that it simply passes the signal from your guitar to your preferred method of amplification with little to no alteration aside from the sound profile of the pickup itself. Think of this type of pickup as being similar to a standard microphone.

Active: Active pickups on the other hand operate a bit differently. Rather than just passing the signal along, active pickups generally give you more options to tweak your tone or adjust your volume. These pickups also add some gain to the signal, making them louder than their passive counterparts.


Seeing as how there are so many brands and types of acoustic guitar pickups available, we figured it would be helpful to give you a few examples of great pickups as a place to start. Every pickup below has its perks, and with the information above you should be able to find an item below that will work for you.

LR Baggs M80 Magnetic Soundhole Pickup

A different kind of magnetic soundhole pickup, the LR Baggs uses proprietary technology in order to capture the entire frequency range of your guitar. The unique free floating humbucker inside of the M80 acts as a 3D body sensor, faithfully recreating the tone of your guitar. The M80 also boasts the option to switch between active or passive modes, as well as an onboard battery check, volume control, and adjustable pole pieces to capture the perfect balance between each string.

Undersaddle Pickups

Perhaps the most common type of acoustic pickup is the undersaddle pickup, which consists of a small strip of six piezoelectric crystals that sit underneath the bridge and pick up the individual strings from underneath the bridge. These piezo pickups are very inexpensive and reliable and require minimal modification to the guitar itself. Piezo pickups are passive in design and, as a result, give very low output. They usually require a matching preamp to be installed in the guitar (which can mean routing out of the side of the guitar) or mounting the preamp and required battery inside the body of the guitar.

Magnetic Pickups

Magnetic pickups use the same electromagnetic technology to capture the strings of the guitar as electric guitar pickups and as a result, the sound produced is very similar to those on an electric guitar. These pickups usually mount directly above the strings in the soundhole of the guitar, and do not require any holes to be drilled into the guitar to install. Another benefit of magnetic pickups is that they are not permanently installed in the guitar and can be easily changed out or removed at any time without causing irreparable damage.

Microphones and Blended Systems

Blended pickup systems combine one or more of these pickup types with a condenser microphone built into the pickup system. These systems are designed to add some of the natural resonance of the guitar back into the signal with the microphone and blend it with the pickup source to create a full range system.

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A “best of both worlds” approach. Combines the best qualities of each pickup type with a microphone to capture a full, natural sound.

Expensive, requires special cables and/or modification to your guitar by adding a second output jack.


When used as a top, mahogany has a relatively low response rate (compared to other top woods), considerable density, and a low overtone content. Mahogany-topped guitars have a strong “punchy” tone that is well suited to country blues playing. When considered for back and sides, mahogany has relatively high velocity of sound, which contributes much overtone coloration.


Many acoustic guitars come with pickups/preamplifiers built in for playing in larger spaces where your acoustic sound needs to fill the room. Some guitars have preamps mounted in a hole cut in the side, while others are mounted inside the soundhole. There are systems that combine preamps, microphone, piezo pickups, EQ, and tuners into one easy controller, usually on the side of the guitar.


Intonation determines whether or not the notes play in tune as you move up the neck. If the distance between the frets (usually above the 12th fret) is off, the guitar will be incapable of playing in tune.

Tuning Machines

The secondhand acoustic guitar market is often a place where bargains are to be found – and it’s probably never been more buoyant. We provide some thoughts on buying a used instrument.

We’ve all heard stories about guitarists who have found six string gold in the pawn shops of yesteryear. Pre-war Martins for peanuts, Gibson and Fender electrics that turned out to be holy grail 1950s models – you know the sort of thing. Sadly, that kind of story is becoming less and less common as dealers just about everywhere have wised up, mainly, I suspect thanks to the internet and the easy immediacy of information available at the click of a mouse. But there are still some very good deals to be had on the used market today and so if you’re after an instrument that is both pre-owned and pre-loved, here’s a few things to look out for when inspecting any prospective new purchase.

A funny thing happened…

As anyone who has ventured into a guitar forum will tell you, there’s an awful lot of talk going on about different makes and manufacturers of acoustics 2hours a day, seven days a week. Some of it is extremely useful, some of it exquisitely nerdy, and some sadly misinformed. If you can sieve out the useful stuff, then it’s worth a little forum exploration in your quest to find out more about a potential purchase. Good information speaks for itself – users of the same make or model you’re interested in might have some useful stories to tell which reinforce your ideas about its value. Nerdiness can come in handy, too: insider info like which factory the guitar was built in, changes in ownership of the company concerned, good patches, bad patches in terms of build quality – all these can help bolster an opinion.

Neck and neck

While we’re talking about the neck and fretboard areas, check out the general condition of the fretboard. Any splits or hollows? These aren’t so easy to fix and they will affect the overall playability of the instrument. More importantly, is the neck straight? Check the action, too – is it unreasonably high or suspiciously low? If you know how to sight a neck – that is, the art of looking along the fretboard from the nut end to check for straightness – then do so. Many imperfections can be sorted out quite simply via the truss rod, but if you suspect anything seriously out of whack or are unsure, then it’s probably best to walk away.

Don’t fret!

One of the more obvious signs of wear and tear on any guitar is on its frets. It’s easy to see, too, but the signs of even moderately heavy usage in this region shouldn’t create too much cause for concern. If it’s a prestige make then the thought of an eventual refret shouldn’t put you off. Even though the idea of ripping all the frets out and replacing them sounds like a major operation, in the hands of an expert – and let’s face it you wouldn’t trust anyone else – the results are generally invisible. All you need to do at the time of purchase is to consider how much life you think the frets have in them and balance the cost of a refret somewhere down the line against what you’re being asked to pay.

One other check to carry out is to make sure there are no frets that have lifted or come loose. Both conditions should reveal themselves by carefully playing every note along every string. Loose frets make an unpleasant and very audible noise and a fret that has lifted with show up in either buzz in the surrounding areas or by a note missing altogether.

Tuner day

The mechanical nature of a string tuner is basically very simple – a capstan, a cog and some kind of threaded screw is practically all that’s involved at a very basic level. So there’s not an awful lot that can go wrong in this particular area. I’ve known tuners that look rusty, bent or slightly askew work perfectly and was once reassured by a guitar maker of high repute that the failure rate of a tuning machine is very low indeed. Furthermore, in the instance where you might want to change them in favour of some shiny new ones then replacements are readily available via mail order and it’s a very easy refit or upgrade to make.

Open back tuners can be subject to rust – I’ve seen plenty, but generally they still function – and sealed units are more difficult to diagnose by sight.

However, if the guitar you’re looking at is an older model and you are conscious of keeping its vintage vibe intact, then some exploratory twists and turns might be in order. Defects to look out for are a great deal of slack – that is there is movement in the tuner when you twist it that doesn’t seem to have any affect at all – or uneven, lumpy turning. Neither is fatal, and in the case of a vintage instrument it’s sometimes best to leave well alone, but it can make the job of tuning a little harder than it should be.

Saddle up!

String saddles can wear, too, although I’ve found that they’re quite hardy and don’t generally cause too much cause for concern. If everything looks fine down at this end of the string length and there are no Grand Canyon-type grooves visible in the saddle then all should be well.


If the guitar has a pickup fitted, asking to hear it plugged in is not at all unreasonable. Modern electronics onboard guitars are generally quite reliable and it should be an easy job to determine whether the pickup is working correctly or not. The only problem I’ve experienced personally in the past was that the under saddle pickup in one of my guitars developed a hum, which was tracked down to a minor preamp problem and easily sorted.

Gretsch G262Streamliner

Here we’ve gathered a carefully curated selection of the highest-scoring guitars to hit the mid-price category in the past few years. It’s not all Fender and Gibson, either – there’s a whole world of well-appointed designs now available outside of the high-end market.

This San Dimas echoes the Pro Mod spec sheet – Duncan pickups, neck profile and compound radius, switching arrangement – of the hardtail model, right until you get to the bridge bit itself.

Here, you get a Floyd Rose vibrato with locking top nut, with all the tuning stability and dive-bombing potential that entails. Like the equally Floyd-blessed So-Cal, here the vibrato occupies a recess in the guitar’s top to allow you to pull back its arm. That means you can do those accelerating motorbike impressions everyone with a Floyd did in the 80s.

The Ibanez AEG18LII is one of the more visually exciting guitars in this list with its eye-catching Violin Sunburst finish. Important features are a cutaway for excellent upper fret access, and quality Fishman electronics. It features a slender body, making it great for smaller players.

Dreadnought Guitars

The most popular acoustic guitar body shape.  Dreadnought guitars have large body shapes which will equate to a louder sound being produced. Due to the deeper soundbox the Dreadnought style will produce a very bassy, boomy sound. For the average player, this is the right style of guitar to go for.  This is however a fairly large guitar and may be a handful for a smaller framed individual.

Grand Concert Guitars

Classic body style acoustic guitars offer a generally balanced tone and a medium amount of sound projection. This type of guitar is a safe go-to for a variety of styles, and for this reason it is used both by players who favor intricate fingerpicking as well as those who tend to play with broader strumming techniques.


Dreadnought guitars tend to produce a deeper and more bass-heavy tone. They also tend to sound louder than the classic style body acoustic guitar. Because they have a heavy, driving aesthetic, they are popular amongst guitarists who utilize heavy strumming techniques.

Jumbo guitars are something of a hybrid of the previous two styles – wherein the body is similar to that of a classic guitar while the sound hole is more akin to that of a dreadnought acoustic guitar. These guitars are ideal for players who play standing up, as they can sometimes be uncomfortable to sit in one’s lap.


Intonation is the system by which an acoustic guitar’s notes play in tune as the player moves up the fretboard of the neck. Without proper intonation, a guitar won’t stay in tune and is useless for both live performance and recording.


Beyond changing the appearance that an acoustic guitar may have, the type of wood that is used to make the instrument can also alter the way that the guitar sounds. When the sound of the guitar vibrates from the strings and reflects off of the wood, the type of wood that is part of this process can have an effect on the end product.

Cedar tends to produce a brighter and more trebly tone. Because of its quick response, many players who favor fingerstyle picking prefer to play cedar tonewood instruments.

Spruce is generally regarded as the standard for acoustic guitar tops. It provides excellent resonance and is responsive to a high velocity of sound.

Nylon Strings

Classical acoustic guitars utilize nylon strings, which are better suited for the classical and flamenco style that these instruments are most commonly used for.

It’s important to not interchangeably swap guitar strings with instruments that they are not designed for. For instance, putting steel strings on a classical guitar that is designed for nylon strings can do serous damage to the body, as the neck of classical guitars are unable to handle the tension brought about by using the steel strings.


Many people credit Martin for producing the first dreadnought-style guitar, but Lyon & Healy has a pretty good claim too. In its 191catalogue was a Lakeside Jumbo steel-string measuring 11/inches across. During 1916, Martin subsequently made a small number of very similar guitars exclusively for Ditson.

This 12-fret model was recognisably a dreadnought, but Martin only started making the model under its own name in 193Although only 5/8-inch wider than an 000, the reduced waist added considerably to the body capacity adopted. The width remained the same but the depth was increased to compensate for the shortened body. This is the dreadnought design that remains with us today,  and it has undoubtedly been the most popular acoustic model of them all.

Its sound is characterised by a deep punchy bass and plenty of volume. The midrange can be scooped, but dreadnoughts are ideal for guitarists who need a powerful rhythm instrument that can also handle fingerpicking and flat picking. Dreadnoughts have been the model of choice for bluegrass players such as Doc Watson and Clarence White, while most of Stephen Stills’ and Neil Young’s best acoustic work was recorded with dreadnoughts, and fingerstylist Bert Jansch used one almost exclusively in later years.

Neck dimensions

There has been a trend over recent years to make acoustic guitars feel more like electric guitars. Necks have been getting thinner, fingerboards more curved and string spacing narrower. All this is ideal for the electric player who needs only to bash out an acoustic number now and again. However, some of the features that make things easier for electric players can be a hindrance for dedicated acoustic players.

Narrow string spacing can present problems for fingerstylists. Playing with your fingers demands precision – and even more so when the strings are close together. If you want to play alternating bass patterns with your thumb, you might get away with narrow spacing if you are able to use a thumb pick, but it’s harder if you’re using the fleshy part of your thumb.

Many pre-World War II acoustics had necks that were around 7/8-inch wide at the nut with 5/8-inch string spacing and 3/8-inch spacing at the saddle. Guitars built after the war generally had neck joins at the 14th fret and nut widths of 3/4-inch and 11/16-inch, with corresponding 1/2-inch and 7/16-inch spacing becoming typical.

To figure out what works for you, try playing a lot of guitars. Avoid making snap judgments, because adjusting to a wider spacing can take a while before you realise the benefits. Similarly, even if you like thin-necked electrics, it’s worth giving deeper necks and V profiles a chance.

Scale length

Like electric guitars, acoustics come with various scale lengths. Martin’s scales went from 24.inches to 25.inches, while Gibson’s traditional scale lengths are 23/inches and 21/inches. Taylor’s stock length is also 21/inches.

With the same gauge strings, the longer scale length will have greater string tension. This enhances definition and percussive snap, but a shorter scale will feel looser and generally sound mellower. Stretches and bending will also be easier with a shorter scale, especially if you have smaller hands.

Designed for Women

With their distinctively narrow bodies and short scale lengths, parlor guitars are the smallest of all six-string flattop acoustics—as much as three inches shorter than the modern standard of 25.inches. Often seen as a bridge between the traditional Spanish nylon-string guitar and the modern steel-string, parlor guitars served a specific function when they appeared in the United States in the late 1800s. They were originally built for women’s more compact frames, and they were named for their use as instruments intended to entertain guests in homes rich enough to include parlors.

In the mid-19th century, design distinctions between European and American guitars were minimal—both were compact by today’s standards, and built delicately to accommodate the comparatively weak gut strings. Near the end of the century, as European guitars became increasingly larger, some American companies, including Martin, continued building small guitar bodies while experimenting with structural elements—for example, X-bracing in place of the traditional Spanish fan—that would give them a heartier sound.

Popularity of parlor guitars waned by the early part of the 20th century when guitar makers began designing larger-body sizes structurally reinforced to handle the tension of steel strings. After Martin introduced the bigger dreadnought in 1931, to compete with other bluegrass instruments, parlor guitar sales began to wane. Today, thanks to modern sound reinforcement and recording technology, getting volume from a small instrument is no longer a big concern. And in the past decade, as guitarists have become more drawn to old music and vintage instruments, fascination with parlor guitars is on the rise. Guitar companies have rolled out new models across the spectrum of affordability—from high-end Martins to budget Washburns—for contemporary players drawn to the look and feel of the little instruments.

Grace Teague, of Grace Harbor Guitars, agrees that one reason there’s an increase in interest in parlor guitars today is that the small bodies are friendlier to women than jumbos and dreadnoughts. “Anything we can do to encourage women to play guitars is a good thing,” she says, adding that a parlor model was a natural for the new line just launched by distributor Dana B. Goods.

What Shape and Size

Jumbo guitars are perfect for rhythm guitar complimenting lead players and other instruments. The loud volume produced by having a bigger body provides you with fantastic sounding rhythm guitar, perfect for folk players or those wanting to take it solo and play and sing their song.

Parlor guitars are on the opposite end, with their smaller bodies they produce great midrange tones but have less volume than the jumbos.

Very comfortable guitars to hold, the parlor guitars are often the preference of blues and folk players because of their lower price tag.

What Tone the Guitar Has

Now the tone of any guitar, acoustic or not, is affected by many things. The bodywood arguably has the biggest affect on tone but the strings can also carry a lot of weight. So if you think your tone is too bright you can change the strings to something warmer.

Instead of talking about the individual wood each guitar is made of I decided I would highlight an overview of the tone to make things more accessible.

Different amps for different needs

Musician’s Friend has a wide selection of acoustic guitar amps, but you might be wondering what distinguishes one from another. The best way to approach that question is to first think about which kind of situation you’ll be using your amplifier in.

Amps for practice and home use

You might want a small acoustic guitar amp around the house for your practice sessions, especially if you tend to play quietly with other acoustic instruments. Sure, in your own home you can hear your guitar without amplifying it, however projecting your performance through a speaker can help you listen more critically while you play. Some practice amps, like the Acoustic A20, have a stage monitor-style design that angles the speaker upward so you can direct it toward you while you play. Its modest 20W power rating may also be adequate for very small-venue gigs. With two combo jacks that accept both mics and instrument inputs plus digital chorus and reverb effects, it offers a lot of functionality for a small price.

The Acoustic A20 uses an angled design for better monitoring during your practice sessions.

Some amps offer built-in effects such as chorus and reverb, that can add some shimmer and drama to your sound. The 15-watt, ultra-portable Fender Acoustasonic 15, for example, features a quality on-board chorus effect that you can dial in to your specific preference. It also has 3-band EQ on both channels to help you fine-tune your sound.

The Fender Acoustasonic is an ultra-portable practice amplifier with two channels, a mic input and onboard chorus effect.

In the studio

You can record an acoustic guitar in a number of ways. You can use a microphone placed near the soundhole, or if you’re using an acoustic-electric guitar, you can plug directly into an audio interface that is equipped with an instrument input. You can even just put a mic in front of your amp’s speaker and capture your sound that way.

However, if you are thinking of buying an acoustic guitar amp specifically for your home studio, you might want to consider a model that comes with extra features that help add depth to your recordings and makes it easy to capture your guitar’s signal.

Some manufacturers have begun making low-wattage modeling amplifiers that simulate different kinds of miked and amplified guitars, which opens up lots of sonic possibilities. Yamaha’s THR5A is one such model, featuring USB connectivity and a number of onboard effects, like delay, chorus, phaser, and reverb. It’s a great choice for the home studio guitarist who plays both acoustic-electric and electric guitars, giving you a range of amplifier and microphone simulations to create lots of different sonic textures.

The Yamaha THR5A is an acoustic modeling amp with multiple built-in effects and USB connectivity.

Take a video tour of the Yamaha THR5A’s amazingly diverse palette of sound possibilities.

Playing in a coffeehouse or small club

For some of the smallest venues, your practice amp might be able to give you a good, clean tone with enough volume to be heard. But if you want to be ready for larger spaces, you should look for an amp with a little more juice.

Within the range of 40 to 100 total watts, you’ll find plenty models to choose from with features to enhance your performances. For instance, if you are planning to plug in a microphone to sing along with your guitar playing, amps within this range typically will have everything you need. You’ll find separate channels for guitar and vocals and an XLR input for your microphone. (Some inputs identified as “combo” will accept either an XLR or ¼” jack for maximum flexibility.) On many models, each channel will have its own separate tone controls and effects so you can dial in the right sounds for each.

Some acoustic guitar amps also offer a 3.mm or stereo input so you can plug in a portable audio device such as an iPod or smartphone and play along with recordings or backing tracks.

It is important to note that the speaker size or configuration does not necessarily affect an acoustic amp’s ability to deliver good sound with decent volume. The Fishman Loudbox Mini PRO-LBX-500, for instance, uses just one 6.5-inch speaker driven by 60W of power to produce a surprising amount of volume with good fidelity.

The Fishman Loudbox Mini PRO-LBX-500 comes in a small package but delivers a powerful 60 watts of accurate tone.

Check out the Fishman Loudbox Mini PRO-LBX-500 in performance.

Another important feature you will find in these higher-wattage amps is feedback control. This may include a single push-button anti-feedback control or, in higher-end models, more elaborate controls that isolate frequencies that cause feedback. Marshall’s AS100D, for example, is notable for its precise per-channel feedback control, consisting of multiple knobs. It also has dedicated inputs for guitars equipped with piezo or magnetic pickups helping to optimize their sound. If you are playing in a venue that requires you to crank the volume, feedback-eliminating controls can really save the day.

With 50 watts per channel, multiple XLR inputs, and high-quality built-in effects, the Marshall AS100D is a versatile choice for small- to medium-sized venues.

The elaborate control panel on the Marshall AS100D Acoustic Combo Amp offers an array of tone-shaping and feedback-fighting tools together with great-sounding chorus, delay and reverb effects.

Jamming with a band

The 180-watt Fishman Loudbox Performer is one of the top-selling acoustic amps for guitarists who perform in groups.

While wattage this high might seem unnecessary for the typical solo performer, acoustic guitarists who play with a full band, especially one with a drummer, need the extra output to project a clean, undistorted sound.

Sheer wattage doesn’t tell the whole story either. Factors such as a low signal-to-noise ratios and enough dynamic headroom to prevent clipping (distortion) during loud passages contribute to pleasing, noise-free sound. High-quality, efficient speakers also help by converting the amplifier’s output into more volume.

The two-channel Acoustic A100 Combo generates plenty of volume thanks to x 50W of clean digital power. But it’s this amp’s versatility and warm acoustic sound that really sells it. Twin effects processors coupled with two combo XLR/instrument inputs let you dial in voices and instrument sounds to perfection. Bluetooth connectivity makes for a simple playback setup.

Dual 8” neodymium speakers keep the weight of the Acoustic A1000 100W Acoustic Guitar Amp down while delivering sound that impresses.

Our customers give the Acoustic A100 top marks for both its sound and easy operation.

Playing large and outdoor venues

Most larger clubs and music venues have built-in PA systems that make projecting your sound to the audience a matter of simply plugging into the venue’s mixer. However, many singer-songwriters and acoustic groups find themselves performing in large spaces that aren’t set up for musical performances and simply don’t have this kind of sound reinforcement equipment on hand.

For some, the solution is to purchase a complete PA system.

PA systems, however, consist of sizeable speakers, mixers and other gear that can be challenging to transport, set up and manage, especially if you have to control your sound while performing. Fortunately, there are much more compact and efficient solutions for singer-songwriters and small ensembles.

One such solution is the Fishman Loudbox Mini Songwriter Pack, which is a great little setup for the singer-songwriter who performs in small spaces. Musician’s Friend bundles the 2-channel 60W Loudbox Mini Acoustic Guitar Amplifier with an Audio Technica M4000S dynamic mic, 20’ mic cable, and tripod mic stand for a complete rig right out of the box.

The Loudbox Mini Songwriter Pack is a budget-friendly way to amplify guitar and voice with Fishman quality sound.

Taking a somewhat different approach, Bose offers its LSystems that include a column that houses a line-array speaker system. Separate bass modules deliver additional oomph in the lower frequencies. These systems are modular and can be purchased in a variety of configurations to match your needs. The Bose TToneMatch Engine is a digital mixer that makes for simple optimization of each instrument and voice. The speaker array provides excellent monitoring for the performers too—both the audience and performers hear the same mix.

The Bose LSingle BBass with TAudio Engine configuration is a versatile rig that can handle small ensembles and guitarist/vocalists.

Watch the band Northstar take their Bose LPA system on the road.

You can check out all the Bose Lsystem configuration options here.

Feedback control

Most acoustic guitar amplifiers over 20 watts include some form of feedback control. If you are playing in a situation where you need to turn your amp up more than halfway, this feature could be very important. When looking at this feature, consider both ease of use and the impact on tone quality. Some amps offer a very simple push-button feedback control that can cause a slight loss of richness in tone. Other amps include more elaborate controls such as notch filters that allow you to isolate the problem frequencies. However, these controls can take some experimentation to dial in just right.

Construction and Design

Once you understand the basics about how an acoustic guitar is designed and built, you will be able to see and hear subtle differences that will help you pick the best guitar for your needs.

Most acoustic guitars use a set neck, which means the neck is glued onto the body of the guitar. The alternative is a bolt-on neck, which is more commonly used with electric guitars. A heel provides additional support at the back of the neck, where it meets the body of the guitar.

The fretboard, or fingerboard, on the top side of the neck, and is usually a separate piece of wood that is glued to the neck. Fretboards are usually constructed out of rosewood or ebony.

Thin strips of metal, called frets, are embedded in the wood at half-step increments along the 12-tone scale, to indicate where different notes are played. Most guitar fretboards have inlaid dots or symbols on the odd-numbered frets, starting with the third – excluding the 11th and 13th in favor of the 12th, or the octave.

The body of an acoustic guitar is composed of the top, also called the soundboard, that is supported by internal bracing; the sides, and the back that together form a hollow chamber. The upper body curves are referred to as the upper bout, while the usually larger lower body curves are called the lower bout. The area between them is referred to as the waist.

The size and shape of the body influences both the sound and playability of the instrument. Finding a body shape that matches your physical and musical needs will help ensure you choose the right acoustic guitar. See Body Styles – Comfort and Resonance below for more.

The sound hole, through which sound projects, is aligned with the waist, at the base of the fretboard and is often fitted with a protective pickguard made of plastic or other materials.

The guitar’s strings are mounted to the body of the guitar at the bridge. Bridge pins anchor each string. The thin strip of either bone or plastic that spaces out the strings on the bridge, is called a saddle. The bridge transmits string vibrations to the guitar’s top resulting in the instrument’s sound output, also referred to as projection.

Acoustic-Electric Guitar Systems

Many musicians find it helpful to be able to plug in their acoustic guitar, but how does an acoustic-electric guitar work? These guitars boast the addition of a pickup system inside the body that turns the vibrations of the soundboard into electronic signals. These signals can be weak, so most acoustic-electric guitars use a preamp to make them stronger.

The preamp is typically located on the side of the guitar that faces up while playing. It includes volume and tone controls, and sometimes a built-in tuner.

Guild M-20 Concert Acoustic Guitar Natural

Concert acoustic guitars date to 185Their smaller size, generally about 13-1/2″ at the lower bout, give them a bright sound with a punchy mid-range. The smaller size is comfortable, and makes these guitars very playable for smaller musicians.

Unplugged album

The grand auditorium’s lower bout is sometimes wider than the classic dreadnought’s – generally 16″ – but the waist is narrower, creating a dramatic hourglass shape. These guitars have a greater range for volume and more balanced tone than smaller body styles.

Travel and Mini-Acoustics

Smaller players, musicians who travel frequently, and parents shopping for children, may also want to consider travel and mini-acoustic guitars. These guitars were designed for the comfort of smaller players, and for convenience when traveling, but many guitar manufacturers have invested significant time and resources into creating smaller-scale acoustic guitars that don’t compromise quality or sound.

Most mini-acoustics utilize the same familiar shape of a standard acoustic guitar, at about 3/4-scale, with 1to 20 frets. Others, often referred to as “backpackers,” have a narrow body that only fans out slightly from the width of the neck. Backpackers are designed to be durable, lightweight, and easy to pack.

Neck Width and Length

The thickness and width of guitar necks vary, depending on the size of the guitar body. It will not affect the sound of the guitar, but it will affect your comfort with the instrument.

Acoustic necks are usually listed as 12- or 14-fret necks. This number refers to the number of frets above the guitar body, not the total number of frets. On a 12-fret neck, the 13th and 14th frets will be on the body, and, thus, harder to reach than on a 14-fret neck, where they are extended beyond the guitar body. If you have small hands, look for an acoustic guitar with a smaller diameter neck.

Nylon vs. Steel Strings

It is a common misconception that a new guitar player should start with nylon strings, because they are easier on fingers or easier to play. But nylon strings and steel strings are not interchangeable on the same guitar, so it’s not a matter of progressing from one kind of string to another with experience. What should really drive your decision is what kind of music you want to play.

Nylon strings produce a softer, mellow tone. They are often used in classical and flamenco-style guitar playing, as well as some folk music. Classical guitars have a wider neck to provide more space between the strings, and shorter fretboard, than acoustic guitars that use steel strings.

Steel strings are more common, and are usually used by rock, country and pop musicians. Steel string acoustic guitars create a louder, brighter tone that is commonly associated with that classic acoustic guitar sound.

The 12-String Acoustic Guitar

Twelve-string guitars are a standard variation made by several different guitar manufacturers. They are commonly used by players who specialize in folk and blues music. Arlo Guthrie and John Denver are just two of many famous American folk artists who commonly used 12-string acoustic guitars.

12-string acoustic guitars have six string courses, each with two strings that are tuned to produce a chiming, chorus effect. Usually, the string pairs in the bass courses are tuned an octave apart while all treble strings are tuned in unison. Some guitarists prefer tuning the the second string in the third course (G) in unison while others opt to tune it an octave higher for bell-like ringing tones.





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Final Word

First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.

Most important, have fun and choose your acoustic guitar pickup wisely! Good luck!

So, TOP3 of acoustic guitar pickup



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