Pickup (music technology)

A pickup is a transducer that captures or senses mechanical vibrations produced by musical instruments, particularly stringed instruments such as the electric guitar, and converts these to an electrical signal that is amplified using an instrument amplifier to produce musical sounds through a loudspeaker in a speaker enclosure. The signal from a pickup can also be recorded directly.

Three magnetic pickups on a Peavey Raptor with the pickup configuration of a fat-strat (H-S-S). The bridge (right) pickup is a humbucker and the neck (left) and middle pickups are single coils.

Most electric guitars and electric basses use magnetic pickups. Acoustic guitars, upright basses and fiddles often use a piezoelectric pickup.