A Quick Guide to Yamaha Acoustic Guitar Pickup Technology

Options abound when it comes to plugging in.

While it’s great to play an acoustic guitar unamplified, something special happens when you plug it in. With both steel-string and nylon-string instruments, the sound gets bigger, bolder and takes on a new dimension.

Have you ever wondered which acoustic pickup will work best for you when you want to play plugged in? Let’s check out what Yamaha has to offer.

SRT

When it comes to acoustic guitar pickups, Yamaha has a long legacy of technological innovation. Their APX line of acoustic-electric guitars, which debuted in 1987, featured hexaphonic pickups that offered a separate pickup for each string. Also included were preamp switches for mono or two different stereo output options.

In 2010, the company unveiled a technology called Studio Response Technology (SRT), which allows guitarists to achieve a distinctive tone by creating a custom blend of microphone and piezo pickup sounds. SRT combines advanced DSP technology with state-of-the-art recording techniques, so you can get studio-quality sound directly from your guitar’s output jack.

Piezo (short for piezoelectric) pickups, which are normally placed under the saddle of an acoustic guitar, only capture the sound of the strings and not the air moving around the instrument. Microphones capture the sound of the air, but the best results are achieved only when high-quality mics are used and the ambient space is carefully controlled, as you would find in a professional studio. SRT gives you the best of both worlds, allowing you to combine the bright, crisp sound of a piezo pickup with the warmth and organic, natural sound of a digitally-modeled microphone (in the case of advanced SRT2 technology, your choice of two vintage mics), along with the ambience of a professional studio environment.

Long thing pice of metal with an L-shaped piece at end.
SRT pickup.

In addition to a Blend knob that allows you to mix between the pickup and mic model, the SRT system includes low/mid/high frequency controls and a Focus/Wide knob to adjust stereo imaging. There’s also a built-in tuner, Automatic Feedback Reduction (AFR) and a Resonance control.

Acoustic guitar.
Yamaha A5R ARE.

Yamaha acoustic guitars equipped with SRT pickups include:

A Series:

  • A3M / AC3M
  • A3R / AC3R
  • A5M / AC5M
  • A5R / AC5R

L Series:

  • LL6 ARE / LL6M ARE
  • LS6 ARE / LS6M ARE
  • LL16 ARE /LL16M ARE
  • LS16 ARE / LS16M ARE

In addition, all Yamaha SILENT Guitar™ SLG Series models are equipped with SRT pickups.

TransAcoustic

Yamaha TransAcoustic guitar technology was introduced in 2016 and was first implemented in select L Series models. This revolutionary system utilizes a small metal disk called an actuator, which is installed on the inner surface of the guitar back. The disk vibrates when the strings are played; these vibrations are conveyed to the body of the instrument, and then out the sound hole into the air, enabling the creation of authentic reverb and chorus effects without the need for any external effect devices or amplifiers.

TransAcoustic (TA) guitars are also equipped with a piezo pickup, which captures the sound of the reverb and chorus produced by the actuator, as well as that of the strings themselves, sending the effected signal to the instrument’s output jack.

Because they can be played with or without effects, TransAcoustic guitars are eminently suitable for both live performance and recording. Three simple controls on the instrument allow you to turn the TA system on and off, blend the amount of chorus and reverb and select either Room or Hall reverb. In addition, a Line Out knob enables you to set the level of the piezo pickup.

Acoustic guitar.
Yamaha FG-TA TransAcoustic guitar.

The lineup of Yamaha TransAcoustic guitars includes:

  • LL-TA and FG-TA (steel-string, traditional western-size body)
  • LS-TA and FS-TA (steel-string, concert-size body)
  • CSF-TA (steel-string, compact parlor-size body)
  • CG-TA (traditional, classical nylon-string)

Atmosfeel

Atmosfeel made its debut in 2019 with the release of Yamaha FG/FS Red Label steel-string guitars, and it has since been incorporated into selected NX Series nylon-string guitars.

This unique system consists of a trio of elements: a piezo sensor mounted in the bridge, a mini microphone inside the guitar body and a proprietary synthetic sheet transducer underneath the soundboard. The contributions of the separate elements can be easily combined and custom-blended using three knobs on the side of the instrument.

Image of guy playing an acoustic guitar. There are titles of "Atmosfeel" with the built-in microphone, undersaddle pickup and contact sensor identified on the guitar.

In order to account for differing sonic properties, the piezo sensors on the nylon-string models vary slightly from those used in steel-string models. Specifically, their midrange has been revoiced, and a Treble knob replaces the Bass EQ knob to help accentuate the high frequencies.

Two acoustic guitar.
Yamaha NCX5 (left) and NTX5 (right).

Yamaha guitars equipped with the Atmosfeel system include:

Red Label:

  • FGX3 / FGX5 (steel-string, dreadnought size)
  • FSX3 and FSX5 (steel-string, concert size)

NX Series:

  • NCX3 / NCX5 (traditional classical nylon-string)
  • NTX3 / NTX5 (nylon-string with a slimmer neck profile and thinner body)

No matter what your musical preferences are, Yamaha has an acoustic pickup system that will suit your needs!

 

Check out these related blog articles:

Getting Amplified

Step Up to a Better Acoustic Guitar

Discover Yamaha TransAcoustic Guitars

Which TransAcoustic Guitar Is Right for Me?

MJ Ultra and the FG-TA TransAcoustic Guitar

“Breaking Amish” With My Yamaha FG-TA

Nylon TA on TV

Her Name Is Ruby

How to Record TransAcoustic Guitar Effects

Introducing the New Generation of Yamaha Red Label Guitars

Introducing the NX Series

Atmosfeel: The Next Generation of Yamaha Acoustic Guitar Pickups

Atmosfeel Technology Comes to the Nylon-String Guitar

 

Click here for more information about Yamaha A Series guitars.

Click here for more information about Yamaha L Series guitars.

Click here for more information about Yamaha SLG Series SILENT Guitars.

Click here for more information about Yamaha TransAcoustic guitars.

Click here for more information about Yamaha FG/FS Red Label guitars.

Click here for more information about Yamaha NX Series guitars.

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