Piezo madness

(Work in progress ...)

Piezo is it! Piezo is it! Piezo is it!

Asking people who believe this, the resulting answer always is a swell of the marketing hype that manufacurers of piezo pickups unleash to their audience - regardless what harm they do to the instrument.

When were piezo element invented? ...

"French physicists Jacques and Pierre Curie discovered piezoelectricity in 1880. The piezoelectric effect results from the linear electromechanical interaction between the mechanical and electrical states in crystalline materials with no inversion symmetry."(Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piezoelectricity)

In audio technology piezo pickup systems were used in record players in times of post world-war-II up to late 1960ies, since audio industries were not able to produce coils that were small enough to build electro-magnetic pickup systems. But with the invention of electro-magnetic pickups the piezos vanished quickly from the market, since these were known for their harsh and  screetchy sound ...



Of what is a piezo pickup essentially made? ...

The easy answer is: 'sand'. This 'sand' is bound by an electriccally conductible ceramic substrate, that keeps the crystals closely together which is essential that a piezo element can work at all.

which in turn is bound

Piezoelectric Ceramics
  • Barium titanate.
  • Lead titanate.
  • Lead zirconate titanate (PZT)
  • Lithium niobate.
  • Lithium tantalite.
  • Potassium niobate.
  • Sodium tungstate.

What does a piezo element actually do? ...


Frequency range of piezo elements ...


Linerarity of piezop elements ...


Types of piezo pickups ...

  • Disks/plate
  • Bars or tubes (for 'under saddle' mount)
    • soft (tubes)
    • hard (bars)


What have these types all in common?


Conclusion: Piezo pickups are soundboard killers in any shape and color they are coming along. In particular with nylon-stringed instruments they sound quacky and twangy.

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