Violins are used in almost every type of musical genre and are one of the most versatile instruments. As an acoustic instrument, they appear in classical music and many different forms of folk music. When in the context of electronic instruments or brass instruments, however, as in rock or jazz, the acoustics of the violin are often not enough for the sound to cut through the texture of the group.

That’s where pickups come in. Pickups are useful, easy-to-use tools that amplify the sound of a violin and connect it to sound systems, to help with projection and amplification.

There are many kinds of pickups that come in a range of prices. In this guide, I’ll give you an overview of my favorite models and review some considerations to help you choose the pickup that works for you.

Quick Look: Best Violin Pickups

#1 Best Violin Pickup Overall: KNA VV-3 Detachable


As a professional violinist and teacher, I’ve often been in situations where it’s difficult to project over the group sound. Learning how to play with a pickup is an excellent way to ensure that you’re prepared for any musical situation, and it gives you the freedom to play any genre of music.

Not all pickups are created equally, however, so I hope this guide will help you make an informed decision that meets your musical needs.

What Is a Violin Pickup?

A violin pickup is a small device that clips onto the bridge of your violin. The pickup measures the vibrations that travel from your strings to your bridge and into the soundpost of your instrument. It then captures these vibrations as digital signals that match the original frequency of pitch that you play.

best violin pickup

Once these digital signals are recorded, they’re transferred into a signal that can be amplified and recorded, ensuring that the violin can be heard in the larger group sound or acoustic setting.

Pickups are essential for violinists who play in bands or large performance spaces. They’re also very useful for recording yourself, altering the sound of your instrument, and doing other technologically creative manipulations.

There are several types of pickups, but they’re all either removable pickups or permanent devices that attach to your instrument. They range from around $50 for the simplest models to over $500 for the most advanced technology.

Types of Violin Pickups

There are two overall categories of violin pickups: removable pickups and permanent pickups. Within these broad categories, there are a few different types. For violinists looking for a versatile, easy-to-use option, removable pickups are generally the best choice, since you can remove them easily when you’re playing acoustic music.

For violinists who always need amplification, the permanent options are a great choice.

Removable Pickups

Easy Fit Pickups and Bridge Mounted Pickups

These are the simplest versions of pickups, and both types are easy to attach and remove. Most versions clip directly onto your bridge. They offer the needed amplification, although most are rather low-fidelity pickups. There are higher-end bridge-mounted options that provide more quality while still being easy to use.

Under the Bridge Pickups

These pickups record vibrations from both the bridge and the top of the instrument, making their sound far more nuanced than the easy fit or bridge-mounted options. They’re much more difficult to attach and remove, however, so if you’re looking for a truly removable pickup, they might not be the choice for you.

Clip-on Microphones

In contrast to the strictly “pickup” options, these devices are actually just miniature microphones. They amplify your sound directly rather than first converting it into digital frequencies. They’re easy to use and great for basic needs, but offer far less control and accuracy than more high-tech pickup varieties.

Contact Microphones

Contact microphones provide the best of pickups and microphones. They’re very easy to attach and remove. They’re more expensive than the simpler models, but an excellent investment for even the fanciest antique acoustic instruments. This is the one for you if you’re looking for an excellent pickup without permanent installation.

Permanent Pickups

Permanent pickups are installed directly into your instrument and cannot be removed easily. They’re usually built directly into a specialized bridge for the instrument, and they’re comparable in price to removable pickups or traditional bridges. However, they must be installed by professional luthiers, so they come with the added cost of installation.

They’re highly customizable and a wonderful option for musicians who are almost always amplified.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Violin Pickup

So which pickup is right for you? Here are some things to consider when choosing the best option for you:

violin pickups

Removable vs. Permanent?

Which genres do you play most often? How often do you need amplification, sound manipulation or recording tools? If you move between playing acoustic violin and genres that need amplification, the removable options are probably the best for you. If you’re always amplified, or want the most reliable and customizable option, the permanent option is a great choice.


Pickups usually range from under $50 to over $500, depending on the type and quality. How often you use it, what exactly you’re looking for, and which type of pickup you want are all things to consider when deciding how much you’re willing to pay for the device.

What Do You Need From Your Pickup?

Do you just need basic amplification? Or do you want a device that will allow you to manipulate, record, and otherwise transform your sound? As with the type and price of the device, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. If you want basic amplification, an inexpensive removable pickup is probably all you need. However, if you’re looking for the nicest technology, you might want to choose a different option.

7 Best Violin Pickups

Here are my favorite violin pickups, in a range of types and prices:

1. KNA VV-3 Detachable Passive Piezo Pickup for Violin and Viola

  • Type of pickup: Bridge mounted, detachable pickup
  • How it’s attached: Cork-lined mount on the side of the instrument, attached to bridge
  • What’s included: Cork-lined carpenter jack, lightweight bridge clamp
  • Material & finish: 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 clamp for bridge
  • Best for: All-purpose amplification, best for violinists who aren’t interested in a pickup that requires an instrument modification or may remain installed when not in use. Professional sound with slight to no modification of instrument during installation. Handcrafted in Europe.

The KNA detachable pickup is a highly rated, affordable option for a basic pickup, with easy-to-use application features and excellent protection for your instrument. This is an excellent option for violinists looking for basic, high-quality amplification.

The pickup can be easily detached or left installed on the instrument with no acoustic detriment. It provides a professional sound without the need to modify your instrument. It’s handcrafted in Europe and is made with the best materials.

✅ Affordable
✅ Easy to use
✅ High-quality amplification sound
✅ Safe for any instrument
❌ Doesn’t include any more advanced features

Why I Recommend It

This is a great pickup for those looking for a basic, no-nonsense option. It’s easy to use and provides quality without being excessively expensive.



2. Barcus Berry Violin Pickup 1320

  • Type of pickup: Permanent pickup
  • How it’s attached: Directly attached to the bridge, requires instrument modification
  • What’s included: Pickup/transducer: unfitted bridge which incorporates a factory-installed piezoelectric transducer; output jack: Barcus-Berry model 3100P: 1/4″; adjustment key; installation instructions
  • Material & finish: Maple bridge, with black metal and plastic pickup components
  • Best for: Those looking for a permanent pickup, dependability, and quality

The Barcus Berry violin pickup is a highly rated and dependable model of permanent pickup at a very reasonable price. Be aware that this model does require instrument modification, and the bridge will need to be fitted precisely to the instrument. For best results, this should be done by a professional luthier.

✅ Affordable
✅ High quality
✅ Highly rated
❌ Requires installation
❌ Cannot be easily detached

Why I Recommend It

If you’re looking for a permanent pickup that’s affordable, this is a great option.



3. Barcus Berry Violin/Viola Pickup 3100

  • Type of pickup: Bridge mounted, detachable pickup
  • How it’s attached: Cork-lined mount on the side of the instrument, attached to the bridge
  • What’s included: Piezo transducer that clamps easily to the violin bridge and connects via cable to the included 3100P output jack. Attachment tools included.
  • Material & finish: Black metal and plastic
  • Best for: Those looking for an easy-to-use, detachable, and high-quality pickup

The Barcus Berry Violin Pickup 3100 is the essential detachable pickup for violins and violas. It’s easy to use and unobtrusive, and it provides an excellent amplification sound. It’s also a great option for those looking for something that works for violins and violas, making it even more adaptable.

✅ Affordable
✅ Easy to use
✅ No instrument modification required
✅ High-quality amplification sound
❌ Not a permanent option
❌ Doesn’t provide more advanced amplification features

Why I Recommend It

This pickup is perfect for violinists looking for an easy-to-use, low-impact, and high-quality pickup. This pickup will do everything that most musicians need and is quite affordable.



4. HEIMU Clip On Instrument Condenser Microphone + Universal Clip (for Violin)

  • Type of pickup: Clip-on microphone pickup
  • How it’s attached: Clips onto the side of the instrument, with a cable to attach to an amplification system
  • What’s included: Detachable cable and versatile gooseneck extender, flexible adapter system cooperate with mixer
  • Material & finish: Black plastic
  • Best for: Violinists looking for an affordable, simple-to-use pickup option

The HEIMU clip-on microphone is an affordable, very easy-to-use pickup solution for violinists  looking for a basic amplification system.

Because it’s a clip-on microphone and not a digital pickup, the accuracy of sound will be lower than more technologically advanced models, but for musicians who don’t need the range of ability of fancier models, this is an excellent, affordable, and easy-to-use option.

✅ Affordable
✅ Easy to use
✅ High quality, basic mic system
❌ Lower accuracy
❌ Higher visual impact

Why I Recommend It

If you’re looking for a simple and affordable pickup system, this is a great choice.



5. Headway Band Wrap-Around Pickup System Violin

  • Type of pickup: Under-bridge pickup
  • How it’s attached: Strapped around the instrument, near the bridge and soundpost, and secured on the bottom of the instrument
  • What’s included: Wrap around pickup strap, cables to attach to an amplification system
  • Material & finish: Black fabric and plastic, metal connector
  • Best for: Violinists looking for an easy-to-use, safe, and basic pickup system

Wrap-around pickup systems are great for violinists who don’t want to fiddle with bridge clip-on systems. They provide a secure and simple amplification system. They’re less accurate than more technologically advanced systems, but the added bonus of safety and simplicity is an attractive feature of these pickups.

✅ Easy to use
✅ Very secure
✅ High quality
✅ Good for simple amplification needs
❌ Less accurate
❌ More expensive

Why I Recommend It

This is a great pickup for those who do not want to fuss with their instrument’s construction or worry about attaching anything to the bridge. It’s a secure and easy-to-use amplification system.



6. Countryman Isomax II with XLR Connection

  • Type of pickup: Contact microphone pickup
  • How it’s attached: Inserted inside instrument’s f-holes, attached by cable to an amplification system
  • What’s included: Microphone and attachment materials
  • Material & finish: Black plastic
  • Best for: Violinists looking for the highest quality, easy-to-use amp, specifically those looking for a high-quality microphone system

The Countryman contact microphone pickup is an advanced mic system that provides an advanced range of recording and amplification technology. This pickup is very easy to use. You don’t even have to worry about attaching it to a bridge, and it provides violinists with a sophisticated acoustic result.

✅ Advanced technology
✅ Easy to use
✅ Very discrete
✅ Highly rated
❌ Expensive
❌ More features than most violinists need

Why I Recommend It

If you’re a professional musician looking for the highest quality acoustic technology, this pickup is a great choice.



7. Barcus Berry Violin Pickup with Preamp 3110

  • Type of pickup: Bridge mounted, detachable pickup
  • How it’s attached: Clipped to the bridge, connects via cable to an amplification system
  • What’s included: Preamp: 3000A Piezo buffer preamp with EQ; Output Jack: 3100P 1/4″ female, external mount; battery with 1,000 hours capacity
  • Material & finish: Black cables and clip, amplification box
  • Best for: Professional musicians looking for an easy-to-use, very high quality pickup system

The Barcus Berry 3110 pickup is the highest quality pickup I’m recommending. It’s a technologically advanced system that doesn’t sacrifice ease of use. It’s the preferred pickup of professional violinists David Pichette, Chris Cardona, and Melissa Reiner.

✅ Advanced capabilities
✅ Easy to use
✅ Low profile
✅ Highly rated
❌ Expensive

Why I Recommend It

If you’re a professional violinist looking for the highest quality pickup, this is the one for you.



Best Violin Pickup Brands

Several brands make excellent violin pickups. Here are a few favorites:

a violin and a violin bow

Barcus Berry

Barcus Berry instruments specializes in acoustic electric violins, transducers and preamps for guitars, brass and woodwind instruments, orchestral instruments, pianos, and harps. The company has been producing the highest quality products for 40 years and is a division of JAM USA, LLC.


KNA pickups have been leading the development of instrument pickups for decades. The company was founded by Vladimir Hranov, who grew up in Soviet-Bulgaria and began toying with pickups when he was just a kid.

With the fall of communism, Hranov formed a partnership with a North American distributor and eventually developed a leading worldwide producer of pickups for all kinds of string instruments.


HEIMU specializes in advanced microphones specifically designed for every type of instrument, from violins to bass drums, and provides products at an affordable price. This brand is perfect for musicians looking for the best microphones without dropping thousands of dollars on a product.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do you still have questions about which pickup is right for you? Below, you’ll find answers to some commonly asked questions:

How Much Do Violin Pickups Cost?

Violin pickups range from around $50 to several hundred dollars, and most models come in at around $100-$200.

What Are the Best Violin Pickups?

It depends on what you’re looking for, but for most purposes, clip-on, detachable electric pickups offer the most accuracy while still being affordable and easy to use.

Clip-on Microphone: Best for Simplicity

These pickups are generally the cheapest option and are very easy to use. They provide less accuracy, but if you’re just looking for a simple amplification system, this is a great option for you.

Detachable Clip-on Pickup: Best for Affordability

These pickups are easy to use, have low visibility, and are very accurate. If you’re looking for a high-quality, affordable option, this is a great choice.

Permanent Pickup: Best for Accuracy

If you’re a violinist who almost always needs amplification, these are a great, dependable, and accurate option. They require special installation, so they’re not the best choice for violinists looking for a simple and easy-to-use option.

Where Are the Best Violin Pickups Made?

Violin pickups are popular in every country where the instrument is widely made, and you can find high-quality pickups anywhere that instruments and musical accessories are sold.

Where to Buy Violin Pickups

You’ve decided which pickup to buy now what? I have some suggestions for the best places to buy your pickup:


Amazon has a huge selection of pickups and often for a lower price than other retailers. Because of their return policy and fast, affordable shipping, it’s possible to try a product out and easily return it if it’s not right for you.

Online Music Retailers

Other online music retailers are also a great option for finding a pickup. They often provide more information on the specifics of the product than Amazon.,, and are all great options.

Your Local Music Store

Your local music store almost certainly has a wide range of pickups to choose from, with the added benefit of allowing you to test out the product before purchasing it. If they don’t carry the model you’re looking for, there’s a good chance they offer the option to order the product to the store directly.

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In Conclusion

Violin pickups are an excellent tool for violinists who are looking to diversify their performance opportunities. They also provide new tools for making music. There’s a wide range of pickups on the market, so it’s important to consider what exactly you’re looking for and make sure to find a product that matches your budget and needs.

In this guide, I’ve given you an overview of pickup technology, my favorite pickup models, and answers to frequently asked questions. Happy practicing!