Difference Between Active Pickup and Passive Pickup

What is Active Pickup?

Active pickups are those guitars that have a power circuit for generating signals, this signal is generated as strong and with less background interference.

Pickup Active pickups use a preamp connected to a 9-volt battery or sometimes an 18-volt battery. This pre-amplifier allows both to cut and boosted frequencies to give you more control over your guitar and tone produced.

Active pickups use magnets and coils connected to batteries to generate sound. Active Pickups provide a better sound projection, and signals are salient and very clear to listen to. In Active Pickups, the battery acts as an external power source, helping to produce a clear sound signal.

Active pickups have more output and provide a better sound projection than other pickups. Active pickups are built-in and produce a powerful signal that enhances your voice and provides better sound quality and enhances the sound produced by the wending.

Guitars with active pickups are considerably expensive and preferably used by a professional guitarist. Active pickups have better sound quality because the signals produced are very high.

What is Passive Pickup?

Passive pickup guitars are wire wound and don’t need any external power supply like batteries, etc. Passive pickups work on a combination of magnets and coils and sound is produced by the winding of strings.

Most of the Passive Pickups consist of three components, one is a coil of wire, magnets, and bobbins, which wrap the coil around the guitar. All three components play an important role in the performance of passive pickups.

Due to the weaker signal, the sound from passive pickups is not very clear, it produces a dull but clear sound. Passive pickups are not battery-operated guitars. Passive pickups are wrapped around the guitar and produce a weak signal. As compared to Active Pickups, Passive Pickups have limited output.

Passive pickup guitars are affordable and can be a great choice for beginners and a good choice for practices and in the first stage of learning guitar.

Difference Between Active Pickup and Passive Pickup

  1. Active Pickups are those Pickups that produce higher signals to circuit guitars. Whereas, Passive Pickup is wires wrapped around the guitar and produce a lower signal than active pickups.
  2. Active Pickup is battery-operated guitars, whereas Passive Pickup doesn’t require batteries.
  3. Active Pickup gives a better quality tone, whereas Passive Pickup gives a lower quality tone due to limited output.
  4. Professional guitarists use active Pickups. On the other hand, Passive Pickups are great for beginners.
  5. Active Pickup guitars are considerably more expensive than Passive Pickup guitars.

Comparison Between Active Pickup and Passive Pickup

Parameters Of ComparisonActive Pickup Passive Pickup
DefinitionActive Pickups are a power circuit used for generating sound signals.Passive Pickup is wire wound around the guitar and doesn’t need any external battery support.
Quality Of Tone ProducedActive Pickups provide better sound quality.Passive Pickups have slightly worse sound quality due to the limited output.
BatteryActive Pickup runs over the battery. Passive Pickup does not require batteries or an external power source.
UseActive Pickup is used by a professional guitarist.Passive Pickup is mostly used by beginners.
PriceActive pickup guitars are expensive.Passive Pickup guitars are not overpriced.


  1. https://asa.scitation.org/doi/pdf/10.1121/1.399836
  2. https://a.pomf.cat/zjnuis.pdf