A pickup is a simple transducer that converts one form of energy to another. Guitar pickups convert sound vibrations produced from the strings of a guitar to electrical energy that is then sent to an output that is normally a preamplifier or a sound gear directly.
There are many pickup systems available for your guitar. The points of differentiation are its response to the vibrations produced and its accuracy in conversion of the electrical current. If you understand each pickup design then it will be easier for you to choose the most appropriate one.
Let us look into the broad classification of pickup systems that are currently available.
- Undersaddle Transducer: This is the most common type available. It is made of a tiny strip of six piezo-electric crystals that sit beneath the bridge to effectively pick up vibrations from every individual string.
- Inexpensive and reliable
- Minimum modification requirements
- Handles louder volumes without any feedback
- Low output due to their passive design
- Needs a preamp to match it before installation
- Soundboard Transducer: This type of pickup is fastened to the insides of the guitar top or the bridge plate.
- Easy installation
- Better sound due to its top design
- Magnetic Sound hole Pickups: These are mounted across the guitar’s sound hole. Signal is generated due to the vibrations of the strings within the electro-magnetic field produced by the pick-up. These pickup systems capture clear and natural sound without the use of any preamplifiers or any modifications to the guitar.
- No preamplifiers required
- Less feedback
- Microphone Pickups: It consists of a small preamplifier built inside the body of the guitar. It is a self-contained unit.
- Flexible design
- Prone to feedback if placement of the mics are not correct
Conclusion: Shopping for the right pickup for your acoustics can get difficult with the variety of options available. Hence, the advice for today’s buyers are when in doubt, read reviews and trust your instincts in this case trust your ears. True to its name, L R Baggs Anthem pickup system, bags the overall prize for a good pickup. Go ahead and listen to it. It comes with a piezo element and an inbuilt microphone and produces good quality sound. Happy shopping!