Acoustic guitar soundhole pickups are a way to amplify your acoustic guitar without altering your guitar or expensive installations. With just a few steps you can have your acoustic guitar ready to play through and amplifier with all of its tone captured and no major alterations to your instrument.
These pickups will provide the amplification you need to play in a larger venue or to blend in with other instruments in the band. They produce tremendous sound quality and help you translate your music into something that can be enjoyed by all.
These pickups are known for quality and will carry a slightly higher price, but are well worth it for those who don’t want to lose the tonal qualities of their acoustic instruments. Because they don’t require evasive or time consuming installations these models will have you on the stage performing in now time!
No time to read on the details? Here out choice for the top acoustic guitar pickup and best value acoustic guitar pickup.
Soundhole pickups come in multiple styles and sizes providing and option for just about any ones requirements. While there are other options besides soundhole pickups this article focuses on the sound hole options as they are the least invasive to install.
See our reviews of the best soundhole pickups below.
|Fishman Rare Earth Mic Blend Active Soundhole Acoustic Pickup||56 Reviews||$300.96||View on Amazon|
|Fishman Rare Earth Humbucker Magnetic Soundhole Acoustic Pickup||139 Reviews||$246.07 $199.95||View on Amazon|
|Seymour Duncan Woody XL Adjustable Pole Pieces Soundhole Pickup Black||6 Reviews||$99.00||View on Amazon|
|L.R. Baggs M80 Acoustic Guitar Magnetic Soundhole Pickup||52 Reviews||$249.00||View on Amazon|
|Seymour Duncan Woody HC Hum-Canceling Soundhole Pickup||239 Reviews||$59.00||View on Amazon|
|Fishman Neo D Single Coil Magnetic Soundhole Pickup||805 Reviews||$39.95||View on Amazon|
What is a Soundhole Pickup?
How the pickup is installed is what differentiates a sound-hole pickups from other types of pickups. Because its installed in the sound-hole of the acoustic guitar you don't have to drill into the bridge or mount batteries on the interior of the guitar. Sound-hole pickups are typically are self-contained and just mounted with a couple of clips that are tightened to hold it in place. Because they are placed where the sound waves come out of the guitar they also can pickup tone produced from the body of a guitar. For more information on the different types of acoustic guitar pickups visit our article on different types of acoustic guitar pickups.
How to pick your perfect sound-hole pickup.....
With so many choices out there its hard to narrow down exactly what you need because everyone has different likes and dislikes. Here are some of the items that you should consider when choosing a sound-hole pickup for your guitar.
Size of device - Seems obvious but it only takes a few min to measure your acoustic guitars sound-hole to make sure that it can accommodate the sound-hole pick.
Type of of pickup - single coil vs humbucker, Single coils will usually have a clearer sound but they do typically have a slight hum sound. Humbucker's have a fuller sound and as the name suggests they don't have the 60mhz hum. Which is the best? it just depends on the sound you like. Another option is microphones, they can be blended with the magnetic pickup and give you a really balanced acoustic tone.
Batteries - Is the pickup active or passive? Passive pickups work without the need of a battery, Active pickups require a battery for use and will allow you to 'sculpt' your sound to your liking. Also if you are looking for an active pickup the ones that have small batteries in the pickup itself are less intrusive as you don't need to figure out where to mount the battery.
What controls come with it - Sound-hole pickups come with a variety of controls ranging from none at all, volume, built in equalizers, to pole adjustments. Again what is best really depends on the individual, however for me volume and pole adjustments are nice to have so that you can control volume from the guitar and you can balance the tone of your guitar by adjusting the pole height.
Length of cord - Depending on how your setup when playing you may have special requirements on the length of the cord. Its always good to know what your getting so your not surprised when you get it.
Can the output jack be end pin mounted - I know we said for sound-hole pickups there wouldn't be any changes required to your guitar. This is a slight change that anyone can do and its not required for the pickup to work, but it is a nice to have if your going to leave the pickup on the guitar all the time. If the jack can be end-pin mounted you just pull the pin out of your guitar and slide the jack into the hole and voila! you don't have a chord coming out of the sound-hole of your guitar anymore.
Our reviews for the top models on the market today
The Fishman Rare humb pickup gives you everything in one package. You have the warm tone of the humbucking pickup and the cardioid mic for capturing ambient tones from the body of the guitar. This pickup offers quick install or semi-permanent installation. The sound of this pickup is nothing short of amazing.
- Bass Roll-off
The Rare Earth hum-bucking magnetic pickup has been re-voiced giving it a warmer tone than its predecessor. The volume wheel which is easily accessed via the sound hole allows you to control volume without having to go back to your amp to adjust. The pickup is easily mounted with just a Phillips screwdriver allowing for quick and easy installation. If you prefer you can install as an end pin. While our choice is the humbucker version of the pickup, there is and identical pickup with single coils also available. For sound and simplistic design The Fishman Rare Earth Humbucker sound-hole pickup is one of our favorite pickups. If you prefer the single coil design view the single coil version here on amazon.
The Seymour Duncan Woody XL acoustic sound-hole pickup comes in 3 colors; maple, walnut and black. This magnetic noiseless pickup provides a warm sound thanks to its humbucker design. Because the poles are adjustable you can configure its so that you get the exact tone you are looking for on each string. This product comes with the Allen wrench and an extra pole in case you are using a solid G string. The pickup is double potted keeping them resistant to feedback. This is one of the simpler designs of the Pickups we like and it gives you great tone with very little setup required. No batteries, no end-pin mounting, just clip it into the sound-hole and enjoy!
The M80 magnetic sound-hole pickup gives you the best of both worlds with its design to allow you both passive (by-pass the pre-amp) and active (with pre-amp) at the flick of a switch. Another feature that separates the LR Baggs M80 model is that it uses a patented "floating" humbucking coil that sense the body vibrations as well as the string vibrations giving more depth to the tone that is being amplified.
Other nice features are the adjustable poles. The pickup also comes with an Allen wrench and to extra poles.
The one drawback for this pickup based on our criteria is it is really made to be installed with the end-in meaning you need to spend a little extra time in the setup or take it to a Luther to have it install so that the warranty is covered. However if your willing to go that extra step you will have an awesome sounding acoustic guitar when played through your favorite amplifier.
the Woody HC or Hum-Canceling sound-hole pickup is our choice for the best value it comes with everything you need to get started, there are no adjustments to be made and you just start playing after clipping it into the sound-hole. It's one of the more affordable sound-hole pickups that we reviewed and produces a very rich sound. As with the XL version of this pickup it comes in 3 colors Maple, Walnut and Black. If you prefer the brighter sound of single coils check out the woody single coil model.
If you're looking for something that installs a little more permanently, you may want to look at some of the other models.
The Fishman Neo-D Magnetic sound-hole pickup is Fishmans entry level pickup. It has the same neodymium magnet as the Rare Earth models, but without all the bells and whistles. You have a choice of 2 colors dark brown or woodgrain. One nice feature of this pickup have the screws to tighten the attachment to the soundboard so you don't have any issues with the pickup moving. Also the single coil will give you a bright clear tone. If you prefer the warmer thicker sound of a humbucker check out the humbucker model on amazon.