How To Choose An Acoustic Pickup

Posted on by Jay Hale

Acoustic-Guitar-Pickups

Seymour Duncan takes all the guesswork and stress out of finding the best pickup for your acoustic guitar.  Let’s face it, chances are if you own an acoustic guitar, are it’s special to you. It feels like a part of you. When you decide to amplify it, you want to capture its tone as best you possibly can. It can seem like a daunting process, but it’s actually very easy. There are two main things to consider:

1. What kind of sound am I after? 
2. Will using it require me to modify my guitar?

Neither consideration should be taken lightly. But not to worry, Seymour Duncan has you covered. As the world’s leader in pickup design, Duncan has decades of experience in ensuring your acoustic guitar will retain all the sonic characteristics you want – you will not have to sacrifice your tone in any way shape or form!  So rule out Number 1, no worries there as there are multiple choices to choose from that will help you capture the sound of your acoustic that compliments your songs. As for your options for Number 2, there are several different Seymour Duncan models that can be used with nearly any acoustic guitar that require no modification whatsoever! Just pop it in when you need it, pop it out when you’re done. Want something a little more permanent? Duncan has that option, too. So the next question you’re probably asking yourself is…

Which Seymour Duncan Acoustic Pickup is right for me?

Since there are so many different types of acoustic players out there, ranging from subtle fingerstyle and strummed accompaniment to intricate two-handed tapping and percussive styles, we make a variety of pickups. From finger-pickers to folkies, avant garde, alt-rockers to singer-songwriters, we’ve got something for everyone.  Let’s first take a look at the removable, Quick Mount designs. 

Woody Acoustic Pickup

Got Woody?

The Woody Series: There are three different varieties of the Woody, but one thing they all have in common is the ability to be quickly installed or uninstalled on your guitar, and they all come in maple, black and walnut colors. We’ve all seen how obtrusive some detachable soundhole pickups can look. Not the Woody, they look fantastic. They also all share a sonic characteristic: They passively amplify the true sound of your acoustic without adding or detracting from the sound you fell in love with in the first place! They’re especially useful for singer-songwriters in that their moderate response gives you plenty of amplification while still allowing your guitar to blend nicely with vocals and other instruments. The Woody will fit most guitars with a soundhole diameter of 3.85 to 4.10 inches. They’re also priced to easily fit within the budgets of most musicians, and far less expensive than purchasing a microphone to amplify your instrument.  They’re available in Maple, Walnut, or Black finishes. Choose the option that best fits your style and sound needs:

Woody HC SA-3HC

The double-potted, hum-cancelling version

  • Quick-mount, passive, magnetic soundhole pickup
  • Hum canceling
  • Moderate output
  • Instant-mount
  • Housed in maple cover and double potted
  • Warm and rich tone with no 60-cycle hum
  • Great for strumming and delicate fingerstyle playing
  • Includes studio-quality 14′ cable.
  • Works with any guitar amplifier (acoustic guitar amp preferred), or plugged directly into P.A. systems or mixing consoles

Players: Joe Quigley / Lisa Loeb, Mike Dennis, Billy White Acre

 

Woody SC SA-3SC

The true single-coil version

  • Quick-mount, passive, magnetic soundhole pickup
  • Single coil
  • Moderate output
  • Instant-mount
  • Housed in maple cover and double potted
  • Crisp and clear tone
  • Great for strumming and delicate fingerstyle playing
  • Includes studio-quality 14′ cable.
  • Works with any guitar amplifier (acoustic guitar amp preferred), or plugged directly into P.A. systems or mixing consoles

Players: Kyle Ellison / Meat Puppets, Jamie Findlay

 

Woody XL SA-3XL


The professional-quality stacked soundhole design

  • Quick-mount, passive, professional-quality magnetic soundhole pickup
  • Hum canceling Stack® design
  • Adjustable pole pieces for the best possible string-to-string balance
  • Moderate output
  • Instant-mount
  • Housed in maple cover and double potted
  • Full-bodied, articulate, warm and rich tone with no 60-cycle hum
  • Great for strumming and delicate fingerstyle playing
  • Includes studio-quality 14′ cable.
  • Works with any guitar amplifier (acoustic guitar amp preferred), or plugged directly into P.A. systems or mixing consoles

Players: Matt Hocking / Edgar Winters, Courtney Love, Webb Wilder, T-Bone Wolk

 

Those 3 models alone cover a lot of ground, but we’re not done! Duncan give you even more options in the Quick Mount line, like:


The Acoustic Tube SA-1

Acoustic-Tube-SA-1 Pickup

You can’t go wrong with a classic. The Acoustic Tube SA-1 offers excellent acoustic response that brings out all the nuances of your performances, and also gives you more control with a built-in, easy-access volume knob.

Mounting the SA-1 couldn’t be easier. Its flexible mounts simply pop into the soundhole of your guitar (from parlor and auditorium to jumbo and dreadnought with soundholes between 3.85″ and 4.10″), and just as easily unmounts when your gig is finished. The SA-1 fits acoustic guitars with sound holes between 3.85″ and 4.10″ in diameter.

The SA-1 is very feedback resistant, and includes a short cable with a female 1/4″ output jack that you can connect with a standard guitar cable to your favorite amp, PA, direct box, or console.

 

Players: David Hidalgo / Los Lobos, Buddy Whittington / John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers

The Magic Mic™ SA-6

SA-6 Mag Mic Acoustic Pickup Microphone/MagneticThe Seymour Duncan Mag Mic combines a high-quality hum-cancelling Stack® magnetic pickup with an omni-directional condenser mic—all in one unit. This clever design blends the natural warmth with the full-spectrum detail of your instrument.

The magnetic pickup captures the strings and adds warmth while the omni-directional condenser mic conveys the instrument’s resonance, airiness, and unique character. Together they provide crystal clear acoustic tone that sounds just like your guitar, but at the volume you need it.

The Mag Mic’s magnetic pickup is always on. A convenient volume control allows you to blend in as much of the microphone as you want.

The Mag Mic can also handle loud volumes. It can even take on overdrive and intentional feedback. That’s why hard-playing Wiessenborn players like Ben Harper, David Lindley, Xavier Rudd, and Cindy Cashdollar choose the Mag Mic for their aggressive lap-style playing. The Mag Mic is removable, but can be permanently mounted if desired. It’s great at capturing all the dynamics, harmonics and is preferred by players who do lots of percussive and tapping style playing. 

Players: Ben Harper, David Lindley, Lenny Kravitz, Keb’ Mo’, Jeff Pevar / CSN, Kelly Joe Phelps, Peter Stroud / Sheryl Crow, Xavier Rudd, Bill Frisell

  

 

Wavelength™

d-tar_wavelength_preamp pickup

The Wave-Length combines a thin, piezo under-saddle transducer with an 18v, low-noise, high input impedance preamp, to create a system with twice the dynamic range of typical 9v systems. The 18v preamp is powered by two “AA” batteries. With 18 volts, your signal has more headroom, so hard strumming won’t distort as easily. The preamp has an input for a second source, like a magnetic pickup or a soundboard transducer.Compared to a more common 9-volt system, 18 volts allows far more headroom, resulting in increased clarity and less distortion when the strings are hit hard. And something most players will agree with is that having great tone inspires you to play better!

 

Wavelength MultiSource

Multi Source Acoustic PickupThe Multi-Source™ combines the popular Wave-Length™ pickup system with a condenser microphone for versatility, flexibility and, of course, the most natural sound possible from your acoustic guitar.

The Multi-Source starts with the Wave-Length unitary design, piezoelectric co-polymer under-saddle pickup coupled to an 18-volt, low-noise, high-input impedance preamp with twice the dynamic range of typical 9-volt systems. The 18-volt preamp is powered by two “AA” batteries. With 18 volts, your signal has more headroom so hard strumming or plucking won’t distort into piezo “quack” as easily.

With the addition of the highly-efficient miniature, omni-directional electret condenser microphone, you can amplify your acoustic guitar with startling clarity and accuracy. The mic is nestled in a special absorptive visco-elastic polymer shock mount for optimal isolation. Two low-profile knobs allow for master volume and microphone volume. Dial the microphone in to add just the right amount of “air”; dial it out to control feedback, if necessary. Speaking of feedback, the microphone channel has two stages of low frequency roll-off to combat any tendency towards low frequency feedback. Also, full coverage copper shielding on the pickup insures immunity to external noise fields. This system is quiet!

The Multi-Source comes in two versions: one for steel string and one for nylon string guitars.

 

The Sadducer™

Sadducer-Steel-Mono_BEAUTYThe Sadducer is a passive under-the-saddle piezo pickup designed to deliver an even frequency response for 6-string instruments. It uses six discrete piezo crystals, one for each string, resulting in a high-output, exceptionally even frequency response. It’s particularly useful for melodic players who make extensive use of their entire fretboard. Perhaps best of all, due to the fact that it is passive, it requires no external nor onboard preamp, batteries, or guitar body modifications. No boosting or smoothing of the signal is needed! The Sadducer is available in steel and nylon-string versions. It is, however, recommended the under-saddle install be performed by a qualified luthier.

So as you can see (and hear), Seymour Duncan provides a wide variety of options to amplify your acoustic. Have you tried any of the Seymour Duncan acoustic pickups? We’d love to hear what guitar you put one in. 

Written on September 23, 2015, by Jay Hale

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  • Rolls76

    Great right up!