Six Of The Best – Acoustic Pickups

Getting a good live acoustic sound – using either a pickup, a mic or a combination of the two – is a tricky business. Here are six solutions.

Fishman Rare Earth Single Coil Pickup


Price £109

British fingerstyle star Jon Gomm swears by the Rare Earth and it’s a great choice for acoustic players looking for a soundhole pickup. The Fishman delivers a warm, well-voiced tone that’ll ensure you shine through the mix in a band. It’ll also handle effects well. With a neodymium magnet structure, newly designed mounting system and a low-current design that enables up to 300 hours of use between battery changes, it’s easy to see why Gomm and many others rely on this pickup.

Seymour Duncan SA-6 Mag Mic


Price £200

The Mag Mic, as the name suggests, has the benefit of combining a hum-cancelling magnetic Stack pickup with an omni-directional condenser mic. This allows you to dial in some high-end definition from the mic to balance the full-bodied warmth from the pickup. You get onboard master volume and mic blend controls,  and the pickup runs off a nine-volt-battery. It’s used by Weissenborn players such as Ben Harper, David Lindley and Xavier Rudd, too.

Takamine Tri-Ax 2


Price £229

Takamine describes the Tri-Ax 2 as “the most advanced and intelligent design in soundhole mounted pickups”. It has a built-in class A preamp and a dual-coil design that incorporates LR Baggs’ Tri-Axial Dynamic Technology, which is designed to pick up both string and body vibrations. It fits guitars with a soundhole larger than 3.5 inches and is highly resistant to feedback, noise and hum, with adjustable pole pieces and a passive/active switch, as well as a claimed battery life of a whopping 1,000 hours from a single CR2032 coin cell.

DiMarzio DP230 The Angel


Price £139

“It has always been one of our goals to create a magnetic pickup that reproduces the exact sound of an acoustic guitar,” says DiMarzio of The Angel, which offers the excellent definition that a magnetic pickup provides due to its close proximity to the strings, along with an improved, more natural sound. With a Rare Earth magnet on board, the DiMarzio will fit any acoustic guitar with a soundhole 89mm or larger.

LR Baggs M1 Soundhole Pickup


Price £149

The M1 is a patented humbucking pickup with a lower coil that contributes additional high frequencies, making for a more rounded overall sound. LR Baggs recommends the pickup for players seeking ™big acoustic tone with high feedback resistance∫. There are active and passive options, both with adjustable pole pieces, built-in gold plated 1/8-inch jack, a pre-wired strapjack harness and, in the case of the active version, 1,000 hours’ battery life from a single three-volt lithium coin cell.

Shadow SH Sonic Doubleplay


Price £169

Shadow SH’s Sonic Doubleplay combines a soundhole preamp and an active NanoMag pickup at the end of the fingerboard. The sonic preamp packs a two-band EQ, feedback-combating phase invert switch and volume control into its small frame, running on a pair of three-volt cell batteries. Shadow SH claims a battery life of 25 hours and it’s a lightweight, easy-to-install solution that enables you to blend the preamp and NanoMag signals to taste. What’s not to like?



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