If you’re thinking of buying a guitar pickup, we’re here to help. Read on to learn more about these helpful devices and read our expert reviews.

What is a Guitar Pickup?

A guitar pickup is a device that is placed inside the body of a guitar to amplify its sound. Guitar pickups are generally connected to a preamp, which amplifies the signal before it goes to the amplifier. There are two types of guitar pickups: single coil and humbucker. A single coil pickup consists of only one coil of wire wrapped around a magnet. A humbucker pickup contains two coils of wire wrapped around magnets.

Why do I need a guitar pickup?

Often overlooked by novices, the humble pickup has the most influence on your sound. After all – it’s the piece of equipment that actually picks up the noise created by your strings!

It’s in your best interest to have quality pickups. It doesn’t matter how much you spent on your guitar, strings, amp, or pedals if your guitar’s “microphone” is bad.

Like an amp, the make and model of your pickups have a big impact on the resulting sound. Different pickups have different sensitivities and ranges.

Guitar pickups are designed to pick up vibrations from strings and convert them into electrical signals. These electrical signals then go to the preamplifier, which amplifies the signals before they go to the amplifier (amp). The amplifier then sends these amplified signals out to speakers. Without a guitar pickup, the string’s vibration would not be picked up at all.

How does a guitar pickup work?

The guitar pickup works by picking up the vibrations created by the strings. When a string vibrates, it creates a magnetic field. The magnetic field causes a current to flow through the pickup coil. As the current flows through the coil, a voltage is produced across the terminals of the coil. This voltage is what we call the output of the guitar pickup.

The pickup’s output signal is amplified by the guitar amplifier. Amplifiers vary widely in design and function. There are several different types of amplifiers including tube amps, solid state amps, and hybrid amps. Tube amps are still popular among musicians today. Solid state amps are less expensive than tube amps, but are not nearly as loud. Hybrid amps combine both solid state and tube technology.

What type of guitar pickup should I use?

There are many different types of guitar pickups available today. Single-coil pickups are the most popular among musicians and electric guitarists. Humbuckers are becoming increasingly popular due to their versatility. Both types of pickups have pros and cons.

Single-coil pickups

Pros

  • Simple design
  • Easy to install
  • Cheap

Cons

  • Noisy
  • Not suitable for acoustic guitars

Humbuckers

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Great for acoustic guitars
  • Less expensive than single-coils
  • More durable

Cons

  • May require additional wiring
  • Requires more space
  • Can be more difficult to install
  • Needs to be replaced regularly

Best Guitar Pickups by Type

See our reviews and recommendations for the best pickups for your guitar. Whether you play an electric, acoustic, or bass we have reviewed the top pickups for each category.

Best Guitar Pickups by Brand