Music

The 6 Best Banjo Pickup In 2017 – Reviews & Buyer Guide

best banjo pickup
best banjo pickup
Source: lrbaggs.com

Rock Your Gigs And Recordings With The Best Banjo Pickup

Whether you are a hobby Banjo player or a professional, having a good Banjo pick-up is crucial for a great sound. Banjo pickups come in three basic types such as the piezoelectric pickups, the magnetic pickups, and the microphone pick-ups. As if that wasn’t enough the market is filled with a plethora of different types that you can be overwhelmed with the choices.

Reading individual reviews can help but can be time-consuming. To help you pick the best banjo pickup, we have handpicked the best ones on the market and reviewed them all in one place. Find out which one will suit your requirements.

Review of The Best Banjo Pickups

#1 Fishman Classic Series Banjo Pickup

Fishman Classic Series Banjo Pickup

The easiest way to narrow down on the best banjo pickup is to look for a brand that is an expert with pick-ups. Fishman is one of the best when it comes to pick-ups and we recommend the Fishman Classic series Banjo pickup. This compact device is high on performance and will leave you amazed.

Great sound

You will be surprised at the quality of the sound produced and the amplification, so much so that no pre-amp is required. Simply plug the pick-up’s jack to the AMP and you are good to go. The tone is very warm and as close to the natural sound of your Banjo as possible. In fact, you will be able to immediately notice how acoustic the sound is instead of being an electrically amplified sound.

Well-constructed

This magnetic pick-up quite small and comes with a humbucking coil and a neodymium magnet to cut out unwanted noise. The compact pickup fits easily on to the coordinator rod of your Banjo and works with 3 x 3V batteries that last 5000+ hours of playing. The design also allows for easy changing of batteries, unlike others types where they are attached inside the body. To top it all, it is also very easy to install.

Notable features

  • Compatible will all metal-string banjos
  • Battery-operated pick-up
  • Small, light and an unobtrusive design
  • Natural sound reproduction
  • Handy volume control in the pick-up
  • Easy to install

Overall assessment

The Fishman classic series Banjo pickup is great for both professional gigs and studio environments. Though the under $200 price tag may seem a little expensive to some, it is just a little extra you pay for a complete peace of mind and some great sound reproduction.


#2  Schatten BJ-02 Player Series Banjo Pickup with Jack

Schatten BJ-02 Player Series Banjo Pickup with Jack

How about a Banjo pickup that actually makes you Banjo sound like a Banjo? The Schatten BJ-02 pickup is not only loud but reproduces the exact tone of your Banjo. It also comes at such an affordable price tag which makes it all the more worth your money.

Excellent Banjo sound

Most Banjo pickups do a good job of amplifying the sound produced, but only a very few like the Schatten BJ-02 reproduce a natural tone. In fact, it is so natural that you won’t need any modification of the output.

One size fits all

Whether your Banjo is a 5-string, 6-string or tenor type, this pick-up will fit them all. It will also fit Banjos of different sizes. As it is quite small and fits under the head of the Banjo it won’t be in the way of your playing.

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Easy to install

There is absolutely no drilling required to mount your pick-up. It comes with everything you need for the installation which takes less than 10 minutes of your time. What’s even better, taking it off is much quicker and will take you only a few seconds.

There is also no soldering or additional wiring required as everything needed comes in the box. The jack is mounted together with the pick-up and hence gives the convenience of everything in one.

Notable features

  • Equipped with the popular BJ-02 series sensor
  • Comes with a rail-mounted external jack
  • Superior feedback suppression and tone reproduction
  • Light-weight construction
  • Backed up by a two-year warranty

Overall assessment

Without a doubt, the Schatten BJ-02 is a great pickup that is value for your money. From natural sound reproduction to anti-feedback design to a small size, it is everything you can ask for in a quality Banjo pick-up.


#3 Gold Tone SMP+ Sliding Magnetic Pickup for Banjo

Gold Tone SMP+ Sliding Magnetic Pickup for Banjo

Magnetic pickups have an edge over the other type of pickups due to the fact that they naturally have less feedback. If you are looking for the best banjo pickup that is loud as can be and won’t give any annoying feedback, then the Gold Tone SMP+ will be a good choice.

Humbuck pickup

Forget annoying interference, as this pickup uses a humbucking construction. Due to this your Banjo sounds more natural and has a deep bass response. What’s even better, you won’t need any preamp to modify the output and but can simply plug it into an AMP.

Easy to install

Installing your pick-up can be done quickly and easily as it comes with everything you need in the box. The SMP pickup comes with a slotted bracket and can be quickly secured with the two screws and wing nuts provided. This whole set-up can be neatly mounted on to the coordinator rod and will slide to any position on the rod. It is also height adjustable and lets you decide how far you want the pick-up from the head.

The output jack comes with a convenient mounting plate that you can fix to your banjo with the screws and nuts provided. You won’t have to wait too long to hear the magic or deal with the hassle of soldering or modifying the rim.

Notable features

  • Compatible with all Banjos using metal strings
  • Does not require preamp and can be plugged directly into the AMP
  • No feedback problem
  • Easy to install and no soldering, drilling holes or altering the rim is required
  • Height adjustable bracket to avoid contact with the head
  • 5-year warranty

Overall assessment

The Gold Tone SMP+ is truly a hassle-free way to amplify the sound of your Banjo. With a good tone coloration and accurate sound reproduction, it will be a great pick-up for your money.


#4 The Feather Banjo Pickup With Flexible Micro-Goose Neck By Myers Pickups

BANJO PICKUP, with FLEXIBLE MICRO-GOOSE NECK by Myers Pickups
BANJO PICKUP, with FLEXIBLE MICRO-GOOSE NECK by Myers Pickups

If you love the simplicity and the natural sound produced by microphone pick-ups then ‘The Feather’ by Myers pickups will be a great choice for you. It is one of the top pickups that is preferred by hobbyist and professionals alike.

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Great design

The Feather comes with a 6-inch gooseneck which is flexible to find your sweet spot. It is really a yogic gooseneck that can flex and contort itself any way you want. The saddle clip holds the gooseneck and lets you secure the pickup to your instrument.

Powerful

Looks can be deceptive and this fits the feather’s description perfectly. True to its name, the pickup is super lightweight and really compact but yet so powerful. The sound reproduced is so natural and warm that you will instantly fall in love with it. Volume controls allow your instrument to cut through even a power-packed gig.

All-in-one

If you play a lot of string instruments, it makes sense to get ‘The feather’ which is compact, lightweight and easy to fix and take off. Mounting your pick-up is a breeze as it comes with a patented saddle-clip. You can even fix it permanently if you don’t want to be taking it on and off. It works on a coin cell CR1220 that will last many playing hours for a complete peace of mind.

Notable features

  • Natural sound reproduction and reduced feedback
  • A flexible gooseneck to position the microphone at the sweet spot
  • Saddle clip for securing the pickup to your instrument and easy removal
  • Pre-amp with strap clip and volume control
  • Plug and play convenience

Overall assessment

If you want a versatile and portable pick-up for one or more of your stringed instruments, consider ‘The feather’ by Myers pickups.


#5 K&K Banjo Twin Pickup

K&K Banjo Twin Pickup
K&K Banjo Twin Pickup

If you like your banjo pickup to be twice as nice, then you should consider the twin pickup from K & K. It is a fuss-free pick-up that will produce nice and natural acoustic banjo tones. Why should you buy cheap and poorly built pickups when you can buy the best Banjo pickup for almost the same price?

Easy installation

You can permanently fix your pickup to your instrument without going through laborious modifications or drilling. All parts that need to be mounted come with double-sided adhesive tape for quick and easy installation. Simply peel and stick onto the inside of the banjo head and you are good to go.

Catamaran mounting

Don’t worry that the acoustic sounds will be picked up because the pick-up is stuck to the banjo head. This issue is avoided by a special ‘Catamaran’ technique wherein only the outer edge of each of the pickups is in contact with the head. Therefore, the center is free-floating and gives the same effect as any other pickups mounted on the banjo head. The jack can be mounted outside, drilled to the inside on installed in one of the slots on the rim.

Notable features

  • True and natural Banjo sound reproduction
  • Works well regardless of the Banjo picking style
  • Works even in passive mode when amps are used
  • Easy set-up using peel-off adhesive strips on pick-ups
  • Simple and lightweight design

Overall assessment

The best Banjo pick-up does not have to be expensive. The K & K Banjo twin pickup is great value for your money as you can get it for under $100. The sound is natural and loud enough, but if you want a more colored sound, then you might need to shape it with a pre-amp.

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#6 LR Baggs Banjo Pickup

L.R. Baggs Banjo Pickup
L.R. Baggs Banjo Pickup

 

The LR Baggs Banjo pickup is a fine example of a pickup that blends into the design of the instrument. The sensor is part of the Banjo bridge and hence picks up the natural sound of the Banjo and reproduces it effortlessly. If great looks and natural sound reproduction are what you are after, you will love this pick-up which is more of an artistic addition to your instrument.

Natural sound

The pick-up uses a 3-dimensional vibration sensor to pick up what is being played. As the sensor is built into the bridge, there is no hollow sound as in the case of stick-on pick-ups. Due to its non-dampening effect, nothing is taken away from the sound and all you hear is true and natural sound of the Banjo plus the amplification.  As there is no contact with the head of the Banjo, feedback is reduced and so are other noises from the instrument.

Great design

Function, looks, and performance all come together in this great-looking Banjo pickup. An ebony-capped maple bridge adds to the elegance of the instrument and also hides the pick-up for an unobtrusive look. The jack and the mounting systems can be customized to suit individual requirements.

Notable features

  • A 3-dimensional vibration sensor that picks up the true tone of the Banjo
  • Pick-up integrated into a 5/8 inch maple bridge
  • Aesthetically appealing pickup that is compatible with 5-string Banjos
  • Can be easily set-up in minutes
  • Perfect for open-back and resonator Banjos
  • 5 years warranty

Overall assessment

Don’t even think twice if you want an elegant-looking pick-up that will hardly be noticeable on your instrument. But the performance is something that cannot go unnoticed with rich and warm Banjo tones that can be further shaped using a pre-amp. It also comes at a pocket-friendly price and is great for both hobbyists and professional Banjo players alike.


Final words

Finding the best banjo pickup does not have to leave you confused with the mind-boggling number of options out there. When you have all the best ones reviewed under one place, it just makes your task easier. To make it better, there is also one that fits every budget. We hope that our review of the top Banjo pick-ups has helped you find the one that best fits your requirements.

Resource links

  1. http://www.schattendesign.com/banjo.htm
  2. http://www.bluestarmusic.com/Schatten-BJ-02-Player-Series-Banjo-Pickup-with-Jack_p_1017.html
  3. http://www.eaglemusicshop.com/prod/banjo-amplifier/smp-plus-banjo-pick-up.htm#description
  4. https://www.banjoteacher.com/banjo-supplies/banjo-pickups/smp-sliding-magnetic-pickup-from-goldtone.html
  5. https://www.fishman.com/products/series/classic/banjo-pickup/
  6. https://www.myerspickups.com/pickups/the-feather-series
  7. http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/232383
  8. https://www.elderly.com/l-r-baggs-banjo-pickup-jack.htm
  9. http://www.bluestarmusic.com/LR-Baggs-Banjo-Pickup-Piezo-Bridge-Transducer-58_p_16.html

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