The SetupIn order to present a fair comparison of a variety of pickups, the same violinist, Matt Bell, recorded each sound sample on his own acoustic violin. For control/comparison purposes he recorded an unamplified acoustic sample of the violin as well. A Tascam recorder captured the sound coming from a Fishman Loudbox Mini while Matt played wirelessly from an adjacent room with the door closed to eliminate acoustic tone bleeding into amplified tone.
There are a number of considerations you must take into account when selecting a pickup. Do you want a permanent pickup solution or something that is removable? Is how quickly and easily the pickup can be installed and removed an important factor? Beyond volume, how important to you is tone reproduction? What are you willing to spend on a pickup?
Pickup types for bowed string instruments can be divided into two main categories: permanent pickups (usually bridge replacements) and removable pickups. As we will see, there are several different types of removable pickup, which suit different performance needs.