The 9 Best Violin Pickups in 2021: Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

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Finding a reliable and good-sounding violin pickup is hard, especially when you don’t know what to look for. We all want to play our violins with a great sound and volume, but we can’t all afford an expensive microphone or amplifier.

That’s why we wrote this article to review 9 of the best violin pickups currently on the market so that you can make an informed purchase decision before wasting time and money on something that doesn’t work well with your instrument!

Quick Answer: The Best Pickups for a Violin

Preview
Our Favorite
The Feather Violin Pickup with Flexible Micro-Gooseneck by Myers Pickups
Headway The Band Violin Pickup System
Fishman V-200 Classic Series Professional Violin Pickup
Barcus Berry 3100 Clamp-On Bridge Violin Piezo Pickup
KNA VV-3 Detachable Passive Piezo Pickup for Violin and Viola
Name
The Feather Violin Pickup with Flexible Micro-Gooseneck by Myers Pickups
Headway The Band Violin Pickup System
Fishman V-200 Classic Series Professional Violin Pickup
Barcus Berry 3100 Clamp-On Bridge Violin Piezo Pickup
KNA VV-3 Detachable Passive Piezo Pickup for Violin and Viola
Rating
Reviews
132 Reviews
61 Reviews
133 Reviews
119 Reviews
103 Reviews
Prime
Our Favorite
Preview
The Feather Violin Pickup with Flexible Micro-Gooseneck by Myers Pickups
Name
The Feather Violin Pickup with Flexible Micro-Gooseneck by Myers Pickups
Rating
Reviews
132 Reviews
Prime
Price
Preview
Headway The Band Violin Pickup System
Name
Headway The Band Violin Pickup System
Rating
Reviews
61 Reviews
Prime
Price
Preview
Fishman V-200 Classic Series Professional Violin Pickup
Name
Fishman V-200 Classic Series Professional Violin Pickup
Rating
Reviews
133 Reviews
Prime
Price
Preview
Barcus Berry 3100 Clamp-On Bridge Violin Piezo Pickup
Name
Barcus Berry 3100 Clamp-On Bridge Violin Piezo Pickup
Rating
Reviews
119 Reviews
Prime
Price
Preview
KNA VV-3 Detachable Passive Piezo Pickup for Violin and Viola
Name
KNA VV-3 Detachable Passive Piezo Pickup for Violin and Viola
Rating
Reviews
103 Reviews
Prime
Price

Best Rated Violin Pickup Reviews

Below are nine different violin pickups, and we’ll examine each one. There are multiple price points represented, as well as different mounting systems. You know how and what you play on your acoustic instrument, so you are the only person who can determine which one will work best for you.

#1. Myers Pickups The Feather Violin Pickup

The Feather Violin Pickup with Flexible Micro-Gooseneck by Myers Pickups
132 Reviews
The Feather Violin Pickup with Flexible Micro-Gooseneck by Myers Pickups
  • Myers Pickups introduces their new lightweight powerhouse. So light that we named it The Feather. So compact that it can be positioned on a multitude...
  • Fully equipped with an internally powered, active preamp to produce the richest sound your instrument can deliver! Power-source (included) is...
  • Complete out of the box, plug in and play! All mounting hardware included. Instantly turn your instrument into an acoustic/electric instrument with...

In at number one, we have to recommend The Feather Violin Pickup from Myers Pickups. The mounting hardware for The Feather is simple and straightforward, so there is no worry about it slipping off your violin. The unit is basically a tiny microphone, so once you mount the pickup, you can use the gooseneck to move the microphone close to an F-hole to get the sound you want.

The pickup has an internal battery, so you do not need an additional power source. Other than your violin, you only need an instrument cable to run from the pickup to the amp or PA system you’re using.

While we’re talking about violin pickups, The Feather works on other instruments, as well – guitars, ukuleles, even percussion instruments and some woodwinds. 

One of the best things about this pickup (other than its faithful reproduction of the acoustic sound it’s amplifying) is its weight (or lack thereof). Myers Pickups didn’t call this The Feather because it tickles. It’s unbelievably lightweight. Coupled with its performance, this is a terrific pickup that we highly recommend.

#2. Headway The Band Violin Pickup

Sale
Headway The Band Violin Pickup System
61 Reviews
Headway The Band Violin Pickup System
  • Easy instant fitting and transferability
  • Warmth and clarity of tone
  • Reduced feedback and body boom

Often, feedback rears its head as a significant issue with amplifying acoustic instruments. The Band does away with that with feedback rejection technology, which makes this a terrific pickup.

To mount it, you wrap The Band around the bout of your violin. Since The Band sits under the strings of your violin, you have virtually no chance of encountering issues with your bow and pickup getting tangled up with each other.

The Band doesn’t produce as pure a sound as putting a microphone at the F-hole of your violin or viola (The Band easily fits either), but it’s pretty close. A passive signal comes from the jack and allows you to run your cable directly into your amp without any other fuss.

This is an excellent piece of equipment that will more than meet your amplification needs.

#3. Fishman V-200 Classic Violin Pickup

Fishman V-200 Classic Series Professional Violin Pickup
133 Reviews
Fishman V-200 Classic Series Professional Violin Pickup
  • Piezo-ceramic pickup
  • Lightweight to minimize muting
  • An impedance matching preamp isrecommended, but not required

Fishman gives us a piezo-electric pickup in the V-200 Classic, which works differently than traditional microphones. Because of this, feedback is less of an issue, although it is still a possibility.

The best thing about this pickup is its mounting system. It’s very similar to the mounting system that holds everyone’s chinrest in place. That means the V-200 will stay where you put it, and it also means its mount is something we already know and understand. 

The quarter-inch carpenter jack has a lead coming off of it with the piezo-electric pickup on it, which you wedge between the wood of the violin bridge. From there, it picks up the string vibrations and sends them through the cable to the amplifier or PA system.

While this is a terrific little unit, it’s best used with a preamp. You can use it without a preamp, but Fishman recommends against that. Still, this is a great pickup.

#4. Barcus Berry 3100 Clamp-on Bridge Violin Pickup

Barcus Berry 3100 Clamp-On Bridge Violin Piezo Pickup
119 Reviews
Barcus Berry 3100 Clamp-On Bridge Violin Piezo Pickup
  • Clamps easily to the violin bridge and connects via cable to the 3100P output jack. Offers wide band frequency response and excellent string balance.
  • Feedback rejection feature provides excellent signal isolation for clear, true reproduction of the violin's sound.
  • No additional tools or holes to drill - making attachment and removal a breeze.

Barcus Berry’s pickups are well-known. The draw to this one is that it’s a piezo pickup that doesn’t require wedging anything anywhere, which is good because some of us don’t like pushing things into the intricate wood of the bridge.

The pickup body mounts with turnbuckles like the chinrest, and the piezo clamps onto the bridge. This allows for a good transfer of string vibrations from the bridge to the pickup. The downside is that if you don’t have the screws in the mounting clamp tightened enough, you can get some rattling from them. 

Some players also feel like clamping anything to the bridge acts as a mute. However, the volume gained by amplifying the violin probably cancels this out.

Mounted correctly, the 3100 will do great things for you and your amplified game. A nice feature, too, is that it is available for fractional-sized violins and violas, so if you play something less than a full-sized instrument, you can still use this pickup with no issues or modifications to it or your violin. 

#5. Kremona KNA VV-3 Violin Pickup

Sale
KNA VV-3 Detachable Passive Piezo Pickup for Violin and Viola
103 Reviews
KNA VV-3 Detachable Passive Piezo Pickup for Violin and Viola
  • Lightweight, wood-encased sensor delivers the natural sound of your instrument
  • Solid ebony, cork-lined 1/4" Carpenter jack holds firmly to the instrument via an adjustable cork-lined clamp
  • Detachable, or may remain installed when not in use

Another piezo pickup, the VV-3’s carpenter jack (encased in wood, so it blends in well with your instrument), mounts like a chinrest. The wood-encased sensor itself wedges into the bridge, meaning you don’t have as much of an issue with muting as you might with one that clamps onto the bridge.

Again, not being a microphone, the piezo pickup presents fewer feedback instances, though it’s not immune to the issue. 

Kremona gave us a lightweight piece of equipment that gets the job done. You won’t get perfect sound reproduction because this is not a microphone, but piezo pickups are popular and proven, so you shouldn’t find this to be a huge issue.

#6. Myers Pickups Carpenter Jack Violin Pickup

Violin Pickup Carpenter Jack with Micro-Gooseneck by Myers Pickups
24 Reviews
Violin Pickup Carpenter Jack with Micro-Gooseneck by Myers Pickups
  • Violin Pickup with flexible micro-gooseneck! Includes the new carpenter jack mount!!
  • The smallest (all-in-one) active/preamp pickup on the market today!
  • Instantly turn your instrument into an acoustic/electric instrument! Compatible with almost any musical instrument! Perfect for string instruments!

Myers makes great stuff. It’s no surprise that the Carpenter Jack is another outstanding Myers pickup. Very similar to The Feather, the real difference is the mount, as the Carpenter Jack is also very light. This particular pickup mounts with the same turnbuckle, chinrest-style system as others on this list, so you’ll get a seriously stable attachment.

The built-in preamp has a battery installed, which means you plug this in and forget about it. Use the gooseneck to position the microphone over the F-hole, and you’re well on your way to getting a faithful reproduction of your acoustic instrument’s tone.

Because it’s so small, the Carpenter Jack pickup brings to mind the word “unintrusive” and seems to be the kind of pickup you can quickly forget is on your instrument, allowing you to just play, man.

#7. LR Baggs Violin Pickup

LR Baggs Violin Pickup with External Jack Mount
35 Reviews
LR Baggs Violin Pickup with External Jack Mount
  • Superieur Despiau "Two Tree" maple bridge
  • Even string-to-string balance
  • Highly feedback-resistant

Unusual among pickups, the LR Baggs pickup is permanently attached to the violin’s bridge, which means you might need to have it professionally installed. But once you’ve trimmed the Superieur Despiau “Two Tree” maple bridge and get it set, you don’t ever have to worry about it again.

Since this piezo pickup works by transferring vibrations into electronic signals, it offers outstanding dynamic responses, and since there’s no diaphragm for a microphone, feedback is extremely rare.

Another great thing about this pickup is that it allows the player to do some things they might do with an electric violin while maintaining the natural sound of your acoustic violin or viola.

The external jack mounts onto the violin with a turnbuckle-style system. Once it’s attached, you can play without worrying about it ‒ the bridge is fairly permanent, and the jack won’t be going anywhere, either.

All in all, this is a really sweet setup.

#8. Barcus Berry with Preamp 3110 Violin Pickup

Barcus Berry 3110 Clamp-On Bridge Violin Piezo Pickup
5 Reviews
Barcus Berry 3110 Clamp-On Bridge Violin Piezo Pickup
  • Clamps easily to the violin bridge and connects via cable to the 3100P output jack. Offers wide band frequency response and excellent string balance
  • Package Dimensions: 6.096 H x 16.002 L x 21.336 W (centimetres)
  • Package Weight: 1.45 pounds

Barcus Berry’s clamp-on mounting system places the piezo-electric pickup on the bridge and holds it there without the need for wedging it into the wood. As with other piezos, the 3110 offers a low risk of feedback, and with the preamp, you get a nice, solid sound out of it.

Some pickups on this list have preamps built in, and some simply recommend using a preamp but don’t require it. Still, having one improves the sound from any pickup, so having a dedicated one with the 3110 means solid performance.

This is the kind of pickup you can leave on all the time or add and remove at will. Like the other Barcus Berry on this list, if you don’t get the clamp screws tight enough, you’ll deal with some rattling, so that’s something to watch. But it’s easy to install, which is always a plus.

#9. Andoer Cherub WCP-60V Violin Pickup 

Andoer Clip-on Pickup Pick-up for Violin with 1/4' Jack 2.5M Cable Compact Professional
260 Reviews
Andoer Clip-on Pickup Pick-up for Violin with 1/4" Jack 2.5M Cable Compact Professional
  • A professional pickup for violin- 1/4'' jack with 2.5m cable.
  • Clip-on design, easy to fix on violin stably.
  • Able to eliminate external noise.

This is our budget choice, an extremely affordable piezo pickup. The transducer itself fits into an F-hole, although it’s not a universal fit. It works best with larger F-holes. 

As an affordable option, the Cherub brings plastic materials to the table, which means a lightweight piece of equipment, but that doesn’t exactly instill confidence in its durability. 

As for sound production, the Cherub does what it’s supposed to, but since the pickup draws from vibrations from the whole violin’s body rather than the bridge, like most piezos, that means it will pick up finger sounds and other various squeaks.

The Cherub is a larger pickup, so if you’re concerned with a subtle appearance, this isn’t the one for you. But as an affordable pickup, it does its job.

How to Choose a Violin Pickup: A Buyer’s Guide

Pickups are electrical components that are found on electric guitars, electric basses, electric violins, and many other instruments.

These devices work like microphones and convert the vibrations of an instrument’s strings into electronic signals.

The signals that are converted by the electric pickups are then sent to an amplifier where they are projected at a volume that may have been difficult for the instrument to produce on its own.

You will find electric pickups used on both hollow-body acoustic-electric violins and solid-body silent violins.

While you are shopping for pickups for your violin, you will also find many great models to choose from.

Types of Pickups

With many different types of violin designs, different player needs, and different sound preferences, there are also many different types of violin pickup designs.

Violin pickups can be either removable or permanent. Within the removable and permanent violin pickup categories are several other types of violin pickups as well.

Removable Violin Pickups

Easy fit violin pickups, as exemplified by their names, are removable violin pickups that are easy to fit onto a violin when they are needed.

These pickups usually clip onto violins and are attached to another point of the violin so that the pickup can pick up the strings’ vibrations.

Easy fit pickups, however, are not always the best violin pickup options in terms of sound quality.

Bridge-mounted violin pickups are temporarily installed onto a violin’s bridge, allowing them to receive the vibrations of a violin’s strings directly.

In turn, the signals that these pickup output are very accurate.

Some bridge-mounted pickups make alterations to the sounds of violins, however, which can be either good or bad depending on your personal preference.

An under-the-bridge violin pickup is a type of pickup that is temporarily installed underneath the posts of a violin’s bridge.

This type of pickup receives string vibrations directly from the violin’s bridge and from the top of its acoustic chamber, allowing it to produce a highly accurate signal.

However, under-the-bridge pickups can be tedious to install and uninstall.

You will like under-the-bridge pickups if you want an amplified sound that is accurate to what you hear from your violin, but you may opt to keep the pickup on your violin.

A clip-on microphone can be attached to a violin to amplify its sound and is a type of violin pickup.

A similar effect can be seen repeatedly around the realm of music and theater, such as with the design of auditoriums, clip-on microphones need to be attached in specific positions on each violin to receive and amplify the best tones.

Therefore, installing a clip-on microphone and achieving an optimal sound does take some time and patience.

A contact microphone is a type of violin pickup that receives vibrations by making contact with some area of the violin.

These pickups work as both microphones and pickups, offering traits of both technologies.

Due to the fact that they are microphones, contact microphones need to be strategically placed on a violin for the best results.

Permanent Violin Pickups

Bridge replacement pickups are permanent violin pickups that are placed where a violin’s existing bridge is.

In fact, bridge replacement pickups are violin bridges.

However, these bridges are fitted with electronics that allow them to output the vibrations that they receive directly from the strings of violins.

Bridge replacement pickups are great permanent violin pickup solutions because you will only have to hook your violin up to an amplifier when you need to electrify your violin.

These permanent pickups need to be professionally installed by luthiers.

Therefore, installing a bridge replacement pickup on your violin can be costly.

What is the Difference Between Passive and Active Pickups?

Passive pickups and active pickups are two types of stringed instrument pickups that differ in how they convert string vibrations.

Passive Pickups

Passive pickups use magnets to generate electric signals from the vibrations of strings.

Passive pickup technology, however, is older and has been continually innovated due to the fact that passive pickups are highly susceptible to the effects of interference and feedback.

As a solution to these effects and a few other disadvantages, passive pickups are commonly paired with pre-amplifiers, which cleanly convert the weaker electronic signals that passive pickups produce into stronger output signals.

Pre-amplifiers, more often referred to as pre-amps, allow the signals from passive pickups to be strong enough to process further if desired. 

Without pre-amplifiers, the signals that are processed from passive pickups would have a lot of noise and distortion, producing unfavorable sounds for audiences.

Active Pickups

Active pickups are capable of producing strong electric signals through their usage of circuits, batteries, and various technologies.

Like passive pickups, active pickups use magnets as well however, the magnets that are used on active pickups are smaller, making them less susceptible to the effects of interference, noise, and feedback.

Active pickups are also paired with pre-amps.

Aside from their strong electric signals, active pickups are beneficial due to the fact that they allow musicians to have consistent sound qualities.

Passive pickups and active pickups are both still used on instruments due to the even sets of advantages and disadvantages that they have to offer.

Active pickups tend to be more expensive, while passive pickups are more cost-effective.

Passive pickups, despite their susceptibility to excess noise, produce an extended range of tones due to their ability to pick up subtle frequencies.

However, with lower-quality instruments, active pickups effectively clean up the instruments’ sounds and produce pleasing tones.

Active pickups also do not require additional pre-amps since they are already included in the pickups’ technologies.

Active pickups can effectively render an instrument useless if its batteries die due to the fact that they need power to function.

Important Features

When you are shopping for an electric pickup for your violin, there are several features that you may want to have over others.

Its Sound

The sound that a pickup outputs is probably one of the most important features to consider when buying a pickup for your violin.

You want one that produces a sound that is enjoyable for your ears but also is the most natural to your violin’s normal sound.

Many pickups, however, need pre-amps, which can further alter a violin’s sound.

But, you can also alter the sound of your violin using a variety of electronic effects.

Therefore, purchasing an electric pickup that provides the most natural sound may not be as important to you if you are interested in using effects with your violin.

Ease of Setup

Another important feature is how easy it is to set up your violin pick up and you want to look for one that is quick and simple to get going with.

Many violin pickups are easy to set up, but there are several that aren’t as well. 

If you do not want to have to set your violin’s pickup up every time you play, then a bridge replacement pickup may be a great option for you.

If you would like an electric pickup that is subtle, then there are several models that feature discreet designs.

Some electric pickups are noticeable and immediately alter a violin’s appearance, while there are other pickups that audiences will barely notice on a violin. 

Alternatively, you can choose a permanent bridge replacement pickup that has a small output jack.

Best Pickup Brands

You have a multitude of options that are available to you while you are shopping for electric pickups for your violin.

Headway Music Audio produces a very popular model that is known as “The Band”. 

The Band is a passive pickup that wraps around the entire body of a violin using a Velcro system.

The passive pickup technology that is used for The Band allows it to pick up an extensive range of tones.

However, unlike with many passive pickups, The Band does not struggle with feedback.

Barcus Berry produces several bridge-mounted violin pickups, but their 3100 model is a popular pickup among violinists.

The Barcus Berry 3100 simply clamps onto the bridge of a violin and has an output jack that clamps onto the side of the violin, making it easy for violinists to install and uninstall.

The 3100 has a feature that rejects feedback so that a clean and natural sound can be produced.

Myers Pickup makes a clip-on microphone type of electric pickup that is known as “The Feather”.

The Feather includes a built-in pre-amp that is able to clean up its signal, ultimately producing a natural tone for violins.

If a violinist would like the output signal of the microphone to be stronger, then they can actively make adjustments by turning the volume knob that is equipped on The Feather. 

As can be expected from clip-on microphones, which are mostly omnidirectional, The Feather needs to be carefully adjusted to amplify the best tones from a violin.

Price

Electric violin pickups exist within a range of prices.

You will be able to find removable pickups for as low as $40 and permanent pickups for nearly $500.

The Barcus Berry 3100, for example, is slightly over $100

If you choose to purchase a permanent pickup for your violin, you will also need to factor in the cost of its installation on your violin, which can vary based on who you bring your violin to, how busy they are with other instruments, and other factors.

Consider contacting your local violin shop before you purchase a permanent electric pickup for your violin.

Conclusion: Which One Should You Buy?

The odds are that if you’re looking for a violin pickup, you’re looking for a high-quality piece of equipment and aren’t sincerely thinking you can get off cheaply.

Go for The Feather from Myers. It mounts easily, it reproduces sound exquisitely, and it’s so light that you’ll quickly forget it’s there.

Nothing on this list is junk, but if you’re looking for the best of the best, The Feather will address your amplification needs without compromising your sound or your playing.

The Feather Violin Pickup with Flexible Micro-Gooseneck by Myers Pickups
132 Reviews
The Feather Violin Pickup with Flexible Micro-Gooseneck by Myers Pickups
  • Myers Pickups introduces their new lightweight powerhouse. So light that we named it The Feather. So compact that it can be positioned on a multitude...
  • Fully equipped with an internally powered, active preamp to produce the richest sound your instrument can deliver! Power-source (included) is...
  • Complete out of the box, plug in and play! All mounting hardware included. Instantly turn your instrument into an acoustic/electric instrument with...
Photo of author
Written by Izaak Walton
Izaak Walton is a violinist and violin teacher based out of Denver, Colorado. Izaak received a Master’s in Violin Performance at the University of Denver, and a Bachelor’s in Violin Performance from the University of Georgia. Exposed to a variety of violin methods and musical styles, Izaak built passions for music history, literature, and violin technique.