As with any electric stringed instrument, the pickups that you choose will solely define the sounds that you’re able to produce. The pickups will decide how much amplification you’re able to produce from your instrument, which will not only allow your instrument to be heard properly against other instruments, but also the overall quality of your production.
When it comes to your mandolin, an instrument renowned for being a folk-related acoustic instrument, if you’re looking to invest in a pickup, the chances are that this will be solely aftermarket decision.
With guitars (electric, bass or otherwise), you’ll find that you have dedicated positions on where you can place your pickups, depending on how the guitar’s been made.
However, with a mandolin, you’ll find you have a lot more freedom with where you place your pickups, ultimately opening a door for a lot more opportunities for creating a personal sound.
This, of course, depends on how your mandolin is designed and the shape of your instrument, yet the installation process will remain effortless. This means when you’re choosing the pickup that’s right for you, you can really zero in on what pickup you want and the tonal sounds that you’re looking to create.
So, whether this is the first time you’ve considered buying a pickup for your mandolin, or you’re looking to upgrade or replace your existing one, we’ve done the hard work, so you don’t have to.
Today, we’re going to explore the four best mandolin pickups, helping you take your instrumentals to the next level.
Schatten BM-1 PRO Passive Bouzouki/Mandola Pickup
To start off this list of best mandolin pickups available today, we’ve chosen this widely popular pickup from Schatten, a complete pickup kit that gives you everything you need to get going and start producing your amplified mandolin sounds with minimal effort.
In terms of compatibility, this pickup can be used on Bouzouki, Mandola, and flat-top mandolins as the ideal bridge pickup. All you need to do is simply position the pickup next to your bridge, stick it on using the included Velcro-backed strips, plug it in and you’ll be ready to go at a moment’s notice.
This means there’s no need to cut and change your instrument and there’s no complicated installation process, perfect for beginners and experts alike.
On your pickup, you’ll find a built-in volume control setting, so you can even take control of the sounds you’re producing directly through the pickup while you’re playing!
You can even take this affordable mid-range pickup with you wherever you go since it runs on a passive system, meaning it doesn’t run on batteries, so there’s never the risk of it running out of charge!
With an included two-year warranty and the ability to plug into a preamp effortlessly, so you can have control over your EQ settings, this is sure to be a pickup that will serve you reliably for many years to come.
- Effortless installation process using Velcro strips
- Ideal for any sized mandolin
- Built-in volume control feature
- Passive operation requires no batteries
- May require EQ adjustments on a preamp for best sound
Luvay Piezo Contact Microphone Pickup
When budget is a concern, you’ll be looking for a pickup that still provides you with outstanding quality sounds while remaining affordable, so you’re not breaking the bank. This is the exact niche that the
Luvay Contact Microphone pickup fulfills.
Easily the lowest price mandolin pickup on this list, you’ll also be surprised to know that it’s fully compatible with all your stringed instruments, including mandolins, guitars, violins, banjos, cellos and more, giving you all the power you need to amplify all your stringed instruments effortlessly.
This pickup is especially easy to install simply by sticking it in and around the area of your mandolin’s bridge which uses a special kind of adhesive that you can use over and over again without it losing its stick.
What’s more, thanks to the mini design of this pickup, it will be able to fit anywhere without getting in the way. It even comes with a 10ft amplifier cable, so you can sure that you’ll reach your amplifier without it getting in the way.
Inside the pickup, you’ll find a high-quality microphone that produces a crisp and clear sound while producing minimal interference or unwanted feedback or squeals.
All in all, this comes together to produce a high-quality mandolin pickup that’s ideal for beginners or those looking for a quick fix to their amplification problems.
- Compatible with all kinds of stringed instruments
- 10ft amplifier cable for optimal reach to your equipment
- 4 reusable sticky pads for superior connection
- Minimal feedback or interference produced
- The sound is low-quality compared with professional pickups
- Will requiring experimenting with the position to work well
Fishman M-200 Classic Series Professional Mandolin Pickup
If you’re looking to upgrade and install a professional, premium quality pickup to your mandolin, there may not be any need to look further than the Fishman M-200 Classic Series. Despite the premium price tag, this is a pickup that won’t leave you disappointed.
What sets this pickup apart from the rest is the fact that it proudly features a piezo-ceramic pickup element which has been masterfully crafted in an adjustable ebony replacement bridge. This means you can position and move your pickup effortlessly around your mandolin while maintaining the high level of quality and response you would expect from a high-priced model.
In terms of compatibility, this pickup is suitable for archtop-style mandolins, so you shouldn’t have a problem getting it onto your instrument. However, if you want to make sure everything is running and sounding perfect, Fishman recommend that you get this pickup installed professionally.
One of the biggest issues this pickup has is getting it to sound right on the EQ with the rest of your instruments, or even as a standalone instrument. In short, you’re going to need fiddle about with your settings until you find what works for you.
You may also need an impedance matching preamp for the best sounds, but this isn’t an essential piece of equipment.
Nevertheless, once you’ve found the perfect setup with a quality installation, this pickup will instantly bring your mandolin sounds to life, taking your performances to a new level entirely.
- Suitable for all archtop-style mandolins
- Adjustable ebony replacement bridge
- High-quality piezo-ceramic pickup for best sounds
- Minimal feedback, even at high volumes
- Premium price tag
- May require professional installation and matching preamp for best sounds
LR Baggs Mandolin Pickup with External Jack Mount
To conclude our list of best mandolin pickups, we’ve chosen this truly outstanding pickup which remains one of the most popular on the market. Sitting in the mid-range price bracket, it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or professional musician, this pickup will tick all the boxes.
In terms of quality, the entire outside of this pickup is constructed using a flexible film sensor that responds like a microphone to pick up your sounds. Inside the pickup, you’ll find opposing neodymium magnets that can detect even the most sensitive of movements for the best pickup response you’ll need for the best sounds.
What makes this pickup stand out from the crowd is the fact that it operates with a radius pickup, meaning it will simply pick up the sounds that you’re making regardless of where you position it. This means you have the real freedom to experiment with what you’re doing so you can find those perfect sounds.
With the freedom of mounting positions in mind, you can easily attach this pickup to your mandolin using the highly durable putty that has been included with every pickup set. This simply sticks onto the back of your pickup and then on your mandolin.
You’ll also find clear adhesive pads for positioning in other areas of your mandolin, and there are even permanent VHB pads for when you find the sweet spot that you don’t want to lose.
It goes without saying that this gives you the complete freedom of choice that you simply don’t get with other pickups, especially not mandolin pickups.
With the ability to work as a microphone, this pickup also includes the essential jack mount you need to connect it to your amp or speaker system, allowing you to amplify your music no matter where you are!
- Effortlessly placed with pickup anywhere on your mandolin for the best response
- Comes with fixing putty, adhesive pads, and VHB pads
- Included jack mount for easiest connection to speakers or amp
- Neodymium magnets for outstanding sound quality
- Expensive mid-range price bracket
- May take several tries to find what works for you
It doesn’t matter what kind of sound, quality level or budget you’re looking for when it comes to mandolin pickups as it’s safe to say there’s a lot of options out there for you to choose from.
Any of the four mandolin pickups we’ve listed above will work fantastically with your instrument, and you can be sure that you’ll be enjoying your amplified sounds in no time at all!