- Pickups aren’t just for electric guitars (but you knew that already, yeah?)
- Amplify your nylon string guitar with one of these pickup systems.
- Find a pickup to suit any guitar, regardless of shape or size.
Getting a pickup for your classical guitar is a great way to amplify the instrument in a convenient and effective way, especially for live performances.
Naturally, a mic setup may be the best way to accomplish this task and capture the instrument’s natural sound and nuances. However, this is not always the easiest approach.
With pickups, you don’t have that massive hassle, and can still get the job done. In this article, we’re going to talk about the best pickups for classical guitars.
(What type of acoustic guitar do you have? Check out this article to make sure this guide is right for you.)
What Are The Best Pickups For Classical Guitar?
Our choice for the best pickup for classical guitar is the Seymour Duncan Wavelength Duo Nylon. This pickup offers natural sound and is a great value overall.
For those on a tight budget, the Schaller Oyster is our value choice. And for those that need the best, the LR Baggs Anthem offers a fantastic solution that tames feedback and gives you natural sound. It’s our premium option as it comes with a heftier price tag than the other options on this list but gets amazing results.
Here are our candidates for the best pickups for classical guitar.
- Seymour Duncan Wavelength Duo Nylon (Best Overall)
- Schaller Oyster (Best Value)
- LR Baggs Anthem (Best Premium)
- Fishman SBT-C
- Kremona KNA-NG1
- L.R. Baggs Lyric-Classical Mikrofon Set
1. Seymour Duncan Wavelength Duo Nylon (Best Overall)
The ultimate pickup company offers a fantastic solution for nylon string guitar amplification. The Seymour Duncan Wavelength Duo features an under-saddle transducer and omnidirectional condenser mic that captures the natural sound of your acoustic at its most resonant point: under the saddle and bridge.
This pickup system was specifically designed for your nylon-stringed acoustic guitars and is our best overall choice for this list.
Specifically designed for your nylon-stringed acoustic, the Wavelength Duo features an under-saddle transducer and omnidirectional condenser mic that captures the natural sound of your acoustic at its most resonant point: under the saddle and bridge.
- Under-saddle pickup system with an omnidirectional mic
- Unitary piezo element for even string response
- Multiplier circuit for taking AA’s 9 volts to 18 for more headroom
- Omni-directional electret condenser mic housed in a special absorptive visco-elastic polymer shock mount
- Two low-profile knobs mounted in the soundhole for master volume and mic volume control
The Seymour Duncan Wavelength Duo Nylon uses a unitary piezo element for superior even string response.
The two AA batteries that run the system are bumped from 9 volts to 18 with a multiplier circuit, offering you more headroom to push volume whenever necessary. All of this while doing away with the undesired piezo “quack.”
The Wavelength Duo features an omnidirectional electret condenser mic that is housed in a special absorptive visco-elastic polymer shock mount.
This ensures that the mic is kept isolated, protected, and focused on capturing your classical or flamenco guitar’s natural resonance inside the body.
The Wavelength Duo also features two low-profile knobs mounted in the soundhole for controlling the master volume and mic volume.
You can choose to bring the mic up for more air or take it down to restrain feedback. Additionally, the mic channel has two stages of low-frequency roll-off to dampen any feedback that might appear.
To top it off, a full-coverage copper shielding on the pickup ensures that external noise is kept at bay.
Simply put, the Wavelength Duo Nylon is a great choice for a classical and flamenco guitar pickup, made specifically for nylon string guitars.
2. Schaller Oyster (Best Value)
The Shaller brand has developed a stellar reputation as a manufacturer of several tools for a variety of stringed instruments.
The Oyster pickup system is a great choice for amplifying your nylon string guitar offering a warm and realistic sound to your instrument. Additionally, this pickup system is easy to install and remove.
Amplify your acoustic instrument with a great-sounding pickup by Schaller. The Oyster Acoustic Instrument Pickup consists of a single piezo-capsule and 1/4 " jack.
- Innovative and precise
- Sounds great
- 2 Oyster Piezo pickups with a socket for interior mounting
- 3-head, bridge plate transducer
- High-quality 1/4″ jack socket including cable strain relief, screw nozzle, and strap button
- Variable color sound depending on placement
- Weighs 66g
The Schaller Oyster pickups give your instrument a natural, warm, full sound, without the need of having active switching or preamps.
The resulting sound is achieved through the interplay of the membrane and the piezo. The Schaller Oyster system is fixed to the instrument with the use of double-sided adhesive tape that does not damage the surface of the instrument.
The package includes a 35 cm cable, high-quality 1/4″ jack socket including cable strain relief, screw nozzle, and strap button. The Schaller Oyster also offers secure mounting and great shielding and has a capacity of 74 pF.
Schaller recommends a minimum output impedance of 1 (to 5) Ohm. They also recommend that you try different position options as this will directly affect the sound of your amplified instrument.
However, Schaller also states the three most common positions for placing it:
- Under the strings, in front of the bridge, between the second and the third treble string (B and G)
- Directly onto the treble side of the bridge
- Behind the bridge on the treble side
Overall, a solid choice for classical guitars and other instruments, all with Schaller’s quality and expertise.
3. LR Baggs Anthem (Premium Option)
The LR Baggs Anthem is a superb sounding nylon-string pickup system that is the result of over 30 years of effort.
The Anthem is a very well-designed microphone that delivers a clean, clear, and dynamic classical/flamenco guitar tone.
The engineers at LR Baggs made it a point to create a system that avoids that unwanted “boxy sound” as well as feedback. The Anthem is our premium choice for the most discerning players.
The LR Baggs Anthem Tru-Mic Acoustic Pickup will change the way you look at mic pickups! The Anthem is strictly a well-designed microphone that picks up your guitar - clean, clear, and full of dynamics.
- Microphone acoustic guitar pickup
- Feedback-avoiding design
- Noise-canceling technology to avoid “honky” or “boxy” sound
- Tru-Mic system for eliminating placement issues
- Volume, Mix, and Phase controls inside soundhole
The LR Baggs Anthem is a Piezo, Tru Mic system with proprietary noise-canceling technology that avoids that undesirable honky/boxy sound and keeps your acoustic tone sounding as pure and natural as your instrument will allow.
LR Baggs also gave special attention to the uniquely designed placement system that picks up the sound of the vibrations of your entire soundboard. This makes the Anthem surprisingly free of placement issues.
Additionally, the control unit of the Anthem is quite lightweight and features just the essentials: Volume, Mix, and Phase. These controls fit nicely inside the soundhole for easy fingertip access.
With the Mix control, you can blend between the augmented mic and the full-range pickup. The Anthem also features a multi-segment battery check to maximize battery life.
Overall, this is an ingenious system that is worth every penny, offering your true tone and tremendous value.
(The Yamaha THR3IIA is a wireless amp designed for all types of acoustic guitars. Check out our full review here!)
4. Fishman SBT-C
Fishman has developed a stellar reputation as one of the best at producing guitar pickups and related equipment. They are especially known for their high-quality solutions for capturing the sound of acoustic instruments.
The Fishman SBT-C can be used in a variety of instruments, from classical guitars, dulcimers, and steel string guitars.
It features great build quality and can capture the warm and natural sound of many different acoustic instruments.
With this pickup, transparent tone is achieved with the SBT-C soundboard transducer. An impedance-matching preamp is recommended, but not required. Easy installation with no alteration!
- Soundboard transducer for transparent tone
- Impedance matching preamp recommended
- Professional installation recommended
- 3/32″ (2.4 mm) saddle slot sidth
- 1.67″ (42.4 mm) string spacing
The Fishman SBT-C pickup is capable of reproducing a full, natural, transparent tone. It can be installed on any type of acoustic stringed instrument equipped with a flat soundboard.
Although the SBT-C pickup offers relatively easy installation on nylon string guitars and similar stringed instruments, Fishman recommends that a professional is sought for installing it.
This pickup can be mounted onto a classical guitar, a steel-string guitar, a dulcimer, and similar stringed instruments, including a piano.
The installation may be performed either on the outside of the instrument or inside the soundhole in order to keep the transducer safe.
In instruments with small soundholes (dulcimers, for example), internal installation may not be feasible.
As a general rule, the transducer should be mounted over a freely vibrating location and not over a “dead” structural brace. The exact location for best results should be determined by experimentation, hence Fishman’s recommendation of employing professional help when installing.
Fishman also recommends an impedance-matching preamp but states that is not required either. The point of using such a preamp is to help realize the full frequency response potential of the pickup and ensure that cable runs longer than 10 feet can be done without a loss of quality.
For best results, use high quality, low capacitance ¼” shielded instrument cable (models SBT-HP and SBT-E) or the provided cable (SBT-C).
This will ensure minimal tone coloration and hum. Overall, the Fishman SBT-C pickup is a great option to capture the sound of your nylon string with great quality and accuracy.
5. Kremona KNA-NG1
The Kremona KNA-NG1 is a piezo pickup that goes underneath the strings behind the saddle.
This ensures that the sound transfer is much more effective than underneath the saddle, like in most piezo pickups.
This pickup is quite unintrusive and looks like a tiny piece of wood, making it seem like a part of the guitar from a distance. For this reason, it is a good option for live performances.
NG-1 is the logical choice for musicians wanting to professionally amplify the natural sound of their nylon stringed guitars without modification.
- Delivers the natural sound of your nylon-string guitar
- No modification to your instrument necessary
- Wooden sensor casing is lightweight and unobtrusive
- Detachable, or may remain installed when not in use
- Includes 8′ foot detachable cable
The Kremona KNA-NG1 was specifically designed as an unobtrusive pickup for classical and flamenco guitars.
It is placed on the tie block behind the saddle ensuring that the piezo pickup does not interfere with the sound of your guitar. This positioning also ensures that the performer can play freely and without being concerned about accidentally hitting the pickup.
Usually, classical guitar pickups like the KNA-NG1 present feedback problems. However, the folks at Kremona were able to tame this problem significantly.
The KNA-NG1 can be used conveniently for casual gigs where you need your guitar to sound good but don’t want to deal with an elaborate set of mics or other solutions.
You should also consider a preamp pedal to have greater control over the KNA-NG1, although it’s not required.
The Kremona KNA-NG1 produces a natural and clear sound that has enough brightness to cut through a room full of people in a gig.
This is a fantastic option for amplifying your nylon string guitar, with transparent sound, unintrusive placement, and a great price. Overall, this is a great value pickup.
6. L.R. Baggs Lyric-Classical Mikrofon Set
The L.R. Baggs Lyrics Classical Guitar Pickup/Microphone Set is a fantastic solution for amplifying a nylon string guitar.
This classical guitar pickup/microphone system includes a microphone, an endpin jacket, a preamp, and cabling. It provides an elegant solution to the eternal problem of feedback when miking nylon string guitars onstage.
Engineered for live performances, the Lyric Classical provides much of the same benefits as external miking while achieving unprecedented feedback resistance and isolation for the stage.
- TRU MIC noise-canceling technology
- No pickup
- Analog signal conditioning
- All discrete mic preamplifier
- Soundhole volume control
The L.R. Baggs Lyric-Classical Mikrofon Set is an elegant and effective solution for amplifying your nylon string guitar sound effectively.
This unit is small and unobtrusive, with an internally mounted microphone that is less than two inches wide, a remote volume/presence control unit that mounts along the edge of the soundhole, an output jack that mounts to the guitar’s tail block, and a battery bag.
The Lyric system features minimal and simple wiring, running from the mic to the preamp to the output jack. Clips are provided to hold the wiring in place.
To attach it, all you have to do is peel off the mount’s protective cover and press it in place, with no additional glue necessary.
The control unit uses the same peel-and-stick mounting with a thumbwheel volume control and a set-and-forget presence control that is adjusted with a tool provided for this purpose.
The L.R. Baggs Lyric Set is mounted to the bridge plate rather than suspended in the air like many other internal mics, and so it captures the full range of the soundboard’s projection in addition to resonance.
Its unique design and circuitry provide maximum gain, tighter low frequencies, and rejection of extreme reflections. Simply put, the Lyric delivers warm, natural, and dynamic tones that are quite close to a guitar’s inherent acoustic sound.
This makes it a very useful solution for recording nylon string in the studio on the go as well as onstage.