If you are in need of technical support, please visit our support and troubleshooting page.

General Information

Pick-up the World offers three types of pickups for stringed instruments, each having specific benefits and tonal qualities. The pickups can be mounted with adhesive tapes, compressed beneath bridge bases, or installed under saddles or structural members. Pick-up the World also offers a complete line of products for Percussion and World Instruments and specializes in custom pickup designs for unique applications.

Soundboard Transducers

Sound Board Transducers (SBT’s) – These offer the most accurate acoustic tone. These pickups are ideal for recording work and can produce recording quality sound. The response is smooth and detailed (much like a microphone), but is much more feedback resistant in live settings. For loud or large band situations, we recommend adding a UST. These are mounted with double sided adhesive tape to the soundboard.

Compression Pickups

Compression Pickups – These high performance pickups are compressed under the bridge feet of instruments with floating bridges. They are paper thin and give a perfect balance of string and body sensing, without damping the natural vibration transfer. They also have a relatively hot output and are very feedback resistant. These pickups are custom made to fit the bridge base perfectly and are invisible except for the output wire. Both mono and stereo versions are available for most instruments.

Under Saddle Transducers

Under the Saddle Transducers (UST’s) – These offer a natural woody tone that has a higher feedback resistance than an SBT, and a fast attack envelope that cuts through loud band stage volumes nicely. The sound can be a bit ‘one dimensional’ sounding for solo performances, but this is easily expanded by adding an SBT pickup in a ‘Duo’ configuration. All of our UST pickups install though a small hole on one end of the instrument’s saddle slot.

Frequently Asked Questions

Our sensors are made from a high tech polymer film originally developed for NASA and the US Navy. It shows great linearity over the entire audio spectrum and when properly installed, is one of the most transparent sounding transducers on the market. The outer wrap is a special metalized Kevlar cloth that is thin, fully conductive, 100% shielded and protects the sensor from damage.

Take a look at our ‘products’ page and follow the appropriate link next to your instrument. This section will provide you with instrument specific details and basic mounting and installation instructions. If you have a unique instrument or one that is unlisted please contact us for recommendations.

We recommend using a preamp with all of our products. Although many other manufacturers claim their products do not need a preamp, use of a preamp in most cases greatly improves product performance. The primary purpose of a preamp is impedance matching. The output impedance of our pickups is around 1 megohm and to realize the full low frequency spectrum of the output, it is advisable to plug it into a high impedance input. One megohm at the very least. Five to ten is most ideal.

Another reason for using a preamp is to increase the output level. Many amplifiers and mixing consoles are designed for stronger signals, or ones that are already preamped upstream. Though preamps are ideally not supposed to color the sound when all the levels are set to their ‘flat’ position, they all have different types of coloration and should be auditioned to make the best choice. Please contact us if you have questions about compatibility with preamps from other manufacturers.

This is somewhat subjective, but consensus seems to be that anything newer than 1970 could have been purchased from the factory with an endpin jack installed. If the instrument is older than that and is in collectible condition, other alternatives such as our ‘Vintage Systems‘ are available. Properly installed, endpin jacks do not pose any risk to the structure or tone of an instrument, and they are to date, the most reliable system for plugging in.

Yes. We have not found any acoustic preamps that are not compatible, though some are noisier than we would like and can color the tone in an interesting way. Once the signal is preamped, you can plug into foot pedals, loopers, effects etc. with no signal loss or degradation.

Yes, but this usually requires preamping the signals prior to mixing them together. Our output jacks are stereo ready and the signals can be routed to the tip and ring of the output jack.

When the pickup signal is not preamped upstream of the cable, the signal is susceptible to degradation from the inefficiencies of the cable. We have done a lot of research in this area and have found the best cables are fully shielded, have low capacitance, and need to be durable. When the pickups are run passively, good cables can be used without problems, but some A/B testing should be done to hear what a particular cable is doing to the signal. Pick-up the World recommends Planet Waves Cables as a good, affordable, readily available option.

Yes. We encourage experimentation and our customers have used them on everything from pots and pans, to furniture, typewriters and bizarre musical inventions. Just be gentle with them as the wire is thin and the sensor delicate. Please don’t get your pickup wet or expose them to extreme heat or harsh chemicals!

No, this could cause a short circuit in the output. PUTW manufactures all sorts of shapes and sizes of pickups for every conceivable application. If it appears a different size would be more appropriate for you, contact us to see if we can exchange it for a different model.

Yes. We do this quite regularly for people, and really enjoy the process of solving unique sensing challenges. The turn around time for custom orders is usually around 2 weeks.

Yes, we wholesale directly to builders without needing to jump through hoops or lengthy application processes.

Our buy direct prices are the same or slightly more than what the average retailer will charge and we encourage our customers to work with their local dealers when this is practical. Some people may not have a retailer listed nearby, but we are always interested in sending samples to new dealers and opening up retail sales accounts with reputable outlets. We even work through our dealers for custom orders, even if the correspondence was done directly with us. Our only interest is in creating win-win situations for everyone, and so far, we think we’ve done a pretty good job of this.

Most all of our business comes from word of mouth referrals or from people hearing musicians performing with our products. Whether we can offer an artist discount or not largely depends on the degree of talent and exposure an artist can provide.

We do not pay any of our endorsers, nor do we have binding contracts that specify that they only use our products. These professional relationships are very important to us, and we do everything possible to maintain the highest levels of respect and integrity towards our customers and business associates.

Call or e-mail us and we’ll send a brochure of all our products. We have no minimum order requirements and welcome any and all reputable retail outlets.

Yes. We try to assist educational programs in any way we can and are happy to discuss instrument needs and budgets.

Pick-up the World’s products and promotional materials are produced in Northern California by a dedicated staff of musicians.

If you find your amplified tone unsatisfactory, please visit our troubleshooting pages or contact us for installation support. 99% of the time unsatisfactory tone is caused by a faulty installation and is easily resolvable. We encourage and expect everyone to make informed purchase decisions. There are a number of great websites and many online resources that can help point you in the right direction when looking for amplification systems. Check out various forums and listen to the sound samples on Doug Young’s Acoustic Pickup Comparison Page.

If you have somehow purchased one of our products in error or would like to make an exchange, you may contact us within ten days of purchase for return authorization for your unused product. Returns without prior authorization are not accepted. Products purchased through third party retailers are subject to their return policies.

Basic telephone / email consultations are included in the purchase price of our pickup systems. We are a small company so it is difficult for us to engage in lengthy conversations about gear other than what we provide.

Do not for any reason solder, cut, iron, wash, fold or puncture the film. This will void your warranty. If you would prefer a different size element, please contact PUTW as we make numerous shape and sizes for special applications.

If the pickup is mounted externally, be confident in the integrity of the finish before mounting either the pickup or the jack adhesively. It is always best to mount the jack / clips to a tailpiece or other hardware when possible.

Pick-up the World (PUTW) or any of its affiliates will not be held liable for damage to instruments, objects or finishes. Please use common sense and discretion during the pickup installation. The adhesives used in our tapes are chemically friendly with most all finishes, but can cause chips to come off if the finish is delicate or has fine cracks. Please use your discretion and contact PUTW for alternative mountings if finish damage is a possible concern.

Pick-up the World guarantees all of its products to be defects in materials and workmanship for one year under normal use. If your product is out of our standard warranty period we will be happy to upgrade your product to current specs for a discounted fee. Please contact us for options.

We love hearing happy stories from our customers and this inspires us to continue pushing the envelope in the quest for perfect sound. If for any reason things don’t sound quite right, we gladly take whatever time is needed to assist in installation help and troubleshooting. Please feel free to contact us during our normal hours of operation with any questions, comments or support issues you may have.

PUTW will not share your personal information with anyone under any circumstances. 🙂

“Dudes y Dudettes – These things really work big time. It sounds huge and just like the instrument. Your system seems to have selected the most useful and most musical part of the signal without adding any irritants.”

– David Lindley

"Excellent sound, I am very impressed."

– Nick Forster, Hot Rize/E-Town

"I've tried just about every mandolin pickup out there...
nothing else even comes close!
Warm, rich, woody tone, no harshness, perfect string balance”

– James Nash, The Waybacks

"WOW. I think you guys are really on to something."

– Fareed Haque

"The Pick-Up World system can produce results that rival a very expensive microphone. It is easily the most full frequency range contact system I've ever heard. Its upper frequency response is especially impressive. Even overtones well above the fundamental notes come through with no attenuation."

– Steven Stone, Vintage Guitar Magazine

"Flat across the board. No EQ or notch filter. I turned up the volume, and I thought I was in heaven. No feedback. No"quack" The sound was nothing short of perfect. I give the PUTW a hearty two thumbs up!"

– Bill Chandler, Recording Artist

"I mounted the pickup on the front of the biscuit. My opinion? THE THING ROCKS!!!!!!! I am totally amazed at how good this pickup sounds on this National style Dobro. I couldn't be more pleased."

– Dave Skowron, The 13th Fret

"I'm very impressed by the sound, and the broad range of applications.On a big Yamaha Grand Piano, we monitored two #30's in stereo, and the sound was full and rich, with no apparent phase cancellation between the two signals. This would never be the case with microphones!"

– Dee Robb, Cherokee Studios

"The PUTW undersaddle pickup in conjunction with the internal preamp module are sufficient to drive just about any guitar amp. Tone and volume are very even for each string. Faithful reproduction of the acoustic sound. The voice sounds EXACTLY like the acoustic guitar, except much louder. Well worth the price."

– Ed Maier, Harmony Central

"This sounds exactly like the banjo does acoustically. It is open, warm, and inviting. A great product, probably the only one I would ever want to carry or recommend to my customers."

– Chuck Ogsbury, OME Banjos

"The future of drums is upon us. I've been testing a product by Pick-up the World on my congas, and it absolutely rocks! The sound is tight and percussive, and the pickups have many significant advantages over microphones. The installation is a snap, and the dynamic range and frequency responses are huge."

– Ben Jacoby, Recording Artist

“Very Very Natural. Like a Good studio Mic. I have NEVER EXPERIENCED such a Natural Tone out of an acoustic in my Life!!!! It will be no time before everyone is using this PU... I'm in Complete Awe, and will be buying several more for my other acoustics. Check this device out and I Guarantee if you are not Deaf and a pro, you will get one..Period!”

– Sean Mormelo, Harmony Central

"I just picked up my Weissenborn today from having the #27 installed. I've had a chance to sit down and play for a while, and it sounds great! Lots of low-end response, and a very full, natural sound. I'm very pleased. Thanks for making such a cool product."

– Mark Zarn, Performer & Recording Artist

"Once installed, the Pick-up the World created an amplified sound that closely resembled the voice of the guitar. It's wide dynamic range allowed it to respond well to soft picking and still sound good when the guitar was strummed forcefully. The pickup also did well at higher volumes, and its low mass resulted in a relatively high feedback threshold."

– Teja Gerken, Acoustic Guitar Magazine

"Folks, This is it! There may be better systems; but they are 5 to 10 times the price. The typical acoustic amplification system which has become the (commercial) musical and industry standard yields a bright "plink" with almost no overtones or sustain. The "Pick-Up the World" is attached to the guitar bridgplate. It has almost no mass. It receives and transmits the vibrations from the entire note. With a typical undersaddle or combo system, you eq and phase adjust your "dry" signal (taking out the "quack") and then adding "air" and sustain with reverb and compression. Now, I've turned that stuff off. The signal is already wet, thick, and woody! It's almost boring. I'm not spending hours twisting knobs, changing amp channels, experimenting with the sound. Just practice. Plug in at the coffee house. For the money; for the hassle freeness, for the simplicity, for the typical acoustic player; this is it”

– Brent Marchbanks, Harmony Central

"The whole sound has become three dimensional, and the transparency of the sound with this pickup is remarkable! The subtle nuances of the more delicate aspects of the instrument's sound can now be heard for the first time since this instrument was recorded with an AKG 414 and the recordings mixed and mastered by an expert in Nashville. Now it sounds like that live."

– Paul Saddler, on tour with Michael Martin Murphy