5 Best Banjo Pickups – Buying Guide and Reviews

While Guitars get most of the limelight when it comes to popular string instruments, Banjo's are one of the most instruments to play and let's face it: everyone loves the sound of a Banjo. But what do you do if you need to amp up a Banjo to play alongside an amped up band? 

We've considered quality of build, quality of sound and value for money in our reviews of the 5 best banjo pickups on the market today.

At a Glance: Our Choice Of The 5 Best Banjo Pickups On The Market

Note: The links above take you to more information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon. If you do purchase something we get a small commission, which has absolutely no effect on the eventual price that you pay.

Buyer's Tips: What Should I Look For When Buying A Banjo Pickup? 

  • There are three different kinds of banjo pickup: piezo, magnetic and microphone pickups. Piezo pick ups tend to be budget-friendly and great for beginners, magnetic pick ups offer a higher quality of sound and less risk of feedback, and microphone pickups are excellent for controllability and versatility.

  • Ease of installation, feedback reduction and quality of sound and construction are all things which are important to look for when buying a pickup.

  • If you are looking for ease of installation, look for pickups that don't require drilling. For feedback reduction, it's best to go magnetic. Quality of sound can be more personal, but if you want the natural resonance of your instrument to remain, then a bridge pick up may suit you best, and if you want even more emphasis on the banjo's chunkiness, you may wish to go for a humbucker.

Here are our top 5 Banjo Pickups:

Banjo Pickup Reviews

1) "The Feather" Banjo Pickup (Editor's Choice)

'THE FEATHER' BANJO PICKUP with FLEXIBLE MICRO-GOOSE NECK by Myers Pickups ~ See it in ACTION! Copy and paste: myerspickups.com

The feather is an extremely popular pickup and offers simplicity and a natural sound as it is, essentially, a mini-microphone and pre-amp!

You can clip it on in a matter of seconds, and then adjust the mic's 'gooseneck' to wherever you think makes it sound best.

There's a small volume control, so you can really take charge of how much your instrument cuts through. And with this pick up, it will cut through!

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to install and remove
  • Gooseneck highly adjustable
  • Natural sound reproduction and feedback reduction
  • Expensive
  • May not reduce feedback as much as a magnetic pickup

Let's take a look at this pickup...

2) Gold Tone SMP+ Sliding Magnetic Pickup for Banjo

Gold Tone SMP+ Sliding Magnetic Pickup for Banjo

The Gold Tone pick up is a magnetic one, and though it's not as easy to install as The Feather, it's still not tricky, and you can do it yourself with a screwdriver and a spanner.

It's a humbucker, which enables the banjo to keep its deep resonance once amplified, and this also means it works without a pre-amp: just plug it straight in!

It's height adjustable, so you can choose how far from the head this pick up should be, to suit your sound the best.

  • Deep sound
  • Easy to install
  • No feedback
  • Less easy to install than a clip-on pickup
  • May take some adjusting to get balanced sound from each string

Let's take a look at this pickup...

3) EMG ACB-5 Active 5 String Banjo Pickup

EMG ACB-5 Active 5-String Banjo Pickup

This pickup is favoured by professionals, and – like the Gold Tone – is a magnetic humbucker which can be installed by yourself, using a few basic tools.

Its build quality is superior and innovative: the coils are spaced apart from each other which creates an additional acoustic quality and more resonance than any banjo pickup achieved before it.

This one has a steep price tag, but the professionals use it for a reason.

  • Easy to install
  • Extremely natural sounding
  • Superior build quality
  • Expensive
  • Less easy to install than a clip-on pickup

Let's take a look at this pickup...

4) SUNYIN Transducer (Budget Choice)

SUNYIN Transducer Acoustic Guitar Pickup,Piezo Contact Microphone Easily AMP UP for Acoustic Classical Violin Ukulele Mandolin Banjo Cello-Black

For those looking for something a little more cheap and cheerful, you cannot go wrong with the Sunyin Transducer.

The Sunyin is suitable for a variety of string instruments, and as well as being the cheapest on this list, it's also the easiest to install! You simply stick it on!

Of course, the sound quality will not match higher end pick ups and feedback may also be more likely, but you can control that using the small volume control on the side!

It's a popular choice, and perfect for those looking for something simple and effective.

  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to install
  • Versatile
  • Less immune to feedback than a magnetic pickup
  • Not as natural sounding as some other pickups

Let's take a look at this pickup...

5) Fishman Classic Series Banjo Pickup

Fishman Classic Series Banjo Pickup

Fishman have a great reputation in the world of pickups, and this banjo pickup is one example of why that's so deserved.

It is a well constructed humbucker design – which will reinforce that deep banjo sound – and it sounds great plugged straight in to an amp.

It's small, easy to control and has an unobtrusive design. This pickup, however, might be a little tricky to install on your own, and professional installation is recommended.

  • No feedback
  • Natural sounding
  • Small and well built
  • Professional installation is recommended
  • Expensive

Let's take a look at this pickup...

And The Winner Is...

Only you can decide which pickup is right for you and your banjo. You may have fallen in love with the depth of sound in the Gold Tone, or the professional level of the EMG. You might have been sold by the cheap and cheerful Sunyin, or the reputable Fishman.

However, our number 1 banjo pick up is the wonderfully light, versatile, portable and controllable "The Feather" Banjo Pickup.

The Feather is the only microphone-style one on the list, and though it doesn't promise to never feed back ever, it rarely does, and it's an extremely popular choice.

This pick up is named so due to its light weight, and can be transferred for use on any of your stringed instruments without any hassle!

The sound quality is superior and it picks up on the natural sounds of your banjo, you can even fiddle with the flexible goose neck to ensure that it's picking up sound from an angle that suits you and your sound!

Whichever pick up you decide is for you, we hope that you enjoy blasting your banjo, loud and proud!

Happy Strumming 🙂

Categories Banjo

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