In this video I review the pickup system that I use for my acoustic guitar. The guitar itself is a Martin D-35 which did not come with pickups installed.
Pickups: K&K Pure Western Mini pickups
These are transducer pickups. They attach (via glue) right under the bridge of the guitar (on the inside of body of the guitar – not under the saddle itself). This gives a much more accurate and natural tone than piezo pickups, which is what most acoustic guitar pickups are.
At under $100, these are a great pickup system for your acoustic.
Preamp: Ultrasound DI Plus
The K&K pickups are passive, which means there’s no preamp in the guitar to boost the signal. Most pickup systems that come in acoustic guitars have a preamp built in (which is why you have to use a battery). While the K&K system will give you enough output to run straight into a sound board, the sound will be much better with a preamp. I tried out several, and I really liked the way the Ultrasound sounded with the K&K pickups.
You get a bass and treble control, a notch filter, and a phase switch. You can output via XLR and quarter inch. If you use XLR to output, you an power the preamp with 48V phantom power, which is how I run it.
I’ve found this system very faithfully recreates the acoustic tone of my guitar. For about $200, you get a really nice pickup system that sounds far better than any piezo pickup I’ve ever heard.
These pickups will amplify everything – so any time you thump the body of your guitar you’ll hear it through the system. They are pretty sensitive so I recommend using a feedback buster.
How does it sound
Any of my song videos from the past few years feature this setup for the acoustic tone. Here are a few: