Guitar pickup: How to choose the best of 2021?
Today’s text is for you, guitarist, who wants to amplify your sound, but does not want to lose the unique timbre of your acoustic instrument. We’re talking about him, the guitar pickup.
With a guitar pickup you can have a modulated, equalized and amplified sound, and have your guitar and music ready for any situation. In this Guide, we will show you these situations, the right models for each one, and, of course, help you find the ideal one for you.
First, the most important
- There are basically three types of pickups: the magnetic, the contact and the fuse.
- The pickups can either be installed on completely acoustic guitars or on acoustic guitars with some type of pickup and equalization.
- Two of the most popular guitar pickups are Fishman and Tagima .
The best guitar pickups: The ideal ones for every situation
Below, we have chosen the best guitar pickup models on the market, considering a series of elements, such as the quality of the pickup, the accessories, features – even the battery was considered.
- The guitar pickup with better equalizer
- The model with the best capture
- The easiest pickup model to control
The guitar is a unique instrument, and, considering the number of guitarists out there, unparalleled. Its sound is equally special, from harmony to timbre. Capture is one of the most effective ways to amplify it, and in many situations, one of the most practical as well.
That’s because there is a wide variety of pickups, ideal for large shows or intimate performances. You’ll see them in the Buying Guide below, along with some of the best models and other selected information, all with a view to helping you find your guitar pickup.
What are the differences between the pickup for steel guitar and nylon guitar?
The sound differences between the steel string guitar and the nylon string guitar are easily noticeable. This happens due to the difference in the vibration of its materials, which generate the waves that are captured by our ears. The vibration of steel is more intense and sinuous, that of nylon more delicate and dry.
The capture of each one, therefore, has to be able not only to collect its sounds efficiently, but also to amplify these nuances.
The pickup for the steel guitar should be more focused on your strings and the impact of your fingers on them. In this case, a magnetic pickup (which we will explain later in this article) or a fuse pickup – which is at the bottom “end” of the string – is welcome.
The pickup for the nylon guitar should be more focused on the “final sound”, on harmony, that is, on capturing the strings played and those that resonate with the same quality. The contact pickup, which works like a “stethoscope” on the guitar, capturing the sound of the soundboard, or even the pickup fuse, work well.
Pickup for Fishman or Tagima guitar?
Two of the strongest brands in the guitar pickup market are Fishman and Tagima. Both have quality and tradition, but end up having different audiences, for having different specialties and sets of characteristics.
Fishman pickups are a kind of models of excellence, focusing on the quality of the pickup, with many of their models having a double pickup, and also with a tradition in the manufacture of “Humbucker” pickups, the main variety of the magnetic models.
Did you know? Humbucker pickups were invented by Seth Lover, an employee of Gibson, a traditional guitar maker, in order to reduce noise caused by interference.
Fishman products are widely used by high caliber professionals, both for large shows and for recordings.
Tagima pickups, in turn, are more “generalist”, betting on a balanced set, with quality of pickup and a greater focus on equalization, especially in “dialogue” with guitars, bass and other instruments of the brand.
They have good response in shows and a good cost-benefit in their average models – a good option, therefore, for amateur and independent musicians.
Is it worth having a guitar pickup with a tuner?
Anyone who has a guitar knows that, no matter how best stored, no matter how tight the strings are – whether nylon or steel – the tuning will always be necessary, and regular, to top it off.
Thus, nothing more practical than taking advantage of the capture to be installed to also have a better tuning. The device is unlikely to create problems for reproduction or generate any other conflict.
The only question is to “choose” the type of tuner, that is, the way of visualizing the process. Many models rely on the LCD panel – the screen – for equalization; others use a small LED lamp to indicate the correct setting.
How does the magnetic pickup work?
The electromagnetic (or magnetic, for the most intimate) pickup uses the concept of electromagnetic induction to function. This type of pickup is basically a magnet, except that it is surrounded by a conductive metallic wire, most of the time copper.
When the guitar strings are played, they “disturb” the magnetic field that the magnet generates, which causes a voltage, which is “transmitted” to the conducting wires, which lead it to the amplifier, generating the sound. This tension, I guess, has a behavior very similar to the vibration of the strings, therefore making the same sound as the string itself.
The magnetic pickup is normally placed, when loose, above the top, just below the strings. When it is embedded, as in guitars, it is just above the fuse.
Purchasing Criteria: How to Compare Guitar Pickup Models
Next, we’ll show you the most important details of guitar pickups. They are the essential characteristics of the models, which make them (or cease to be) ideal for you. Just notice, compare and choose.
- Active or passive
- Number of bands
A good way to compare guitar pickups is to install. In this case, which is the most practical installation, or which matches what you need or are willing to do. There are pickups, like some fuses, that need “interventions” in the guitar body.
For other models, such as the contact pickup, only a stable fixation is sufficient. The point is to align your needs and your resources, from the installation point of view.
Active or passive
The decision between active and passive fundraising relates to both practical and sound issues. Active fundraising is, at the same time, the fundraising that offers the most possibilities and the one that gives the most work.
This is because it allows sound equalization, but has a more complicated installation, in addition to the battery issue. If your need or desire for a more modulated sound goes beyond these practical barriers, active pickup is for you.
Now, if you are more attached to the specific sound of your guitar, nor do you need more powerful amplification, passive pickup may be the best choice.
Number of bands
The number of bands is another point to be noticed in the pickup of your choice. This number is proportional to your equalization capacity. In the equalization of the bands, you change the volume of the bass, middle and treble, to quote the basics.
This number does not necessarily make a model better, but more versatile, especially for concerts and other presentations. Ideally, however, this number should be seen as a “tiebreaker criterion” among pickups of similar quality.
Music is nothing without feeling, that immeasurable sensation when hearing a sound. Timbre is an integral part of that dynamic. So, it is very important that you note the tone of your guitar with the pickup of your choice, if possible.
You can look for a model that hardly changes the original tone, or want another one that makes your guitar more metallic, in short, the important thing is that you are satisfied with the way your sound comes out of the amplifier.