The best thing about having an acoustic guitar is its versatility. They are just perfect to several musical genres and styles, are easy to care for, and portable as well. The disadvantage is when the guitar needs to be heard by more than a group of a few people gathered in a small room. Consequently, acoustic guitar pickups came into play that allows the instrument to be plugged into some kind of amplification.
There are several different types of acoustic guitar pick-up available with varying size and price range including the built-in “natural” pick-ups, “sound hole” or “clip on” pickups, and pick-ups that come with on-board electronics. The best acoustic guitar pickups will always have an integrated ‘pre-amp’. It boosts the signals before it leaves the guitar. This is useful in producing a truer and cleaner tone as the signal reaches its final destination.
A pre-amp operates on a battery, and on most of the acoustic guitars the power is supplied with a nine volt battery that is attached to the guitar – usually inside the body.
The natural pickups are the ones that are permanently installed on the acoustic guitar, but in a “non-intrusive” installation that does not require any sort of modifications done to the guitar’s body. No major drilling or cutting. Consequently, these pickups do not have on-board controls for EQ and volume, but do usually come with a pre-amp.
Sound Hole or Clip-on Pickups
These happen to be the most fundamental acoustic guitar pickups and are generally ‘passive’, which means that they do not come with a pre-amp that could enhance the signals. Most of them are not designed to be installed permanently on the guitar. They can be easily clipped onto the bridge or area around the sound hole. They are considered as an inexpensive alternative for anyone who merely wants to casually plug their guitar into a PA or amp, but not really recommended for a gigging musician.
Most of the acoustic guitars come with pickup systems that are pre-installed. But if yours is not equipped with a pickup then you can easily buy one and install. It is not, nevertheless, a job for the inexperienced! Serious damages could occur to your guitar while installing a pickup so be certain to have it done by a luthier or qualified guitar tech. browse through Trusty Guitar, and look at the different options you have for buying and installing the right pickup for your guitar!