Guitar Musician News

Acoustic Guitar Pickups

by on Dec.29, 2009, under General, Guitar Talk

Acoustic players consider acoustic guitar pickups because there comes a time in the life of every acoustic guitar player when they have honed their skills enough that it is time to perform. There are lots of venues where confident musicians can put the music they have perfected out on display. Almost all acoustic players, though, will want to make sure that they have some type of pickup on their guitar in order to maximize the performance potential.

What kinds of acoustic guitar pickups are there? There are dozens of styles of acoustic guitar pickups, each developed by one of dozens of manufacturers. There are two basic types: a pickup that is built into the guitar, and one that can be installed by the guitar owner. Pickups that are built in are the more desirable of the two, as they were placed and mounted within a guitar intended for the purpose. The pickup is located right where it can pick up the vibrations of the strings with maximum effect, and is usually also very accessible to the player for easy sound adjustment.

There are also several ways in which acoustic guitar pickups can be put through to an amplifier. The most common method is through a patch cord (which usually also needs an adapter in many types of sound systems). There are also dual pickup systems which can incorporate either a patch or a cord used for a microphone, but like with a combination TV/VCR player this type of acoustic guitar pickup will not always function at a premium level.

Classifying Acoustic Guitar Pickups

The kind of acoustic guitar pickups a person is using depends on the number of magnets that are incorporated into it. Single coil pickups are those with one magnet, around which a copper wire is wrapped. The audio given off by these types of pickup are typically brighter with more “twang”, useful for producing a country sound. The single coil, however, is also known for producing a buzz sound or hum. Double coils, which consist of two magnets, eliminate this hum and also have a heavier sound. Many guitar manufacturers will use a combination of single coils or a double coil to produce their sound.

Most acoustic guitar pickups will also have a range of features on board that allow the player to adjust the tone of the guitar. Typically, there will be a control for volume, bass, treble, mid, and an equalizer knob. These adjustments will help to set the tone with the already established levels on an amp when giving a performance.

Acoustic guitar pickups are a relatively new chapter in acoustic guitar history. Even the term acoustic guitar is a bit misleading, since up until the middle of the century almost all “guitars” were acoustic; the pickup had not yet been invented to broadcast the sound. The invention of the pickup meant that it was possible to play the acoustic in a band setting without compromising the level of the other instruments.

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