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What is a Piezo pickup?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by MrFortuneCookie, Aug 25, 2000.


  1. Could someone please tell me what a piezo pickup really is? What type of sound it has, what the advantages would be, if any?
     
  2. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    HAAH! I know this one!

    "Piezoelectric" means having the propoerty of changing electrical properties under a change of pressure. So these crystals (no, I don't know what the material actually is) are placed under a bridge which is under a vibrating string. As the string vibrates, the pressure on the crystal vibrates as well, so the output of the crystal approximates the string's vibrations.

    As far a tone, these things tend to be brighter than magnetic pickups or microphones. This *can* be good for violins and other acoustic instruments. Some think they're a little thin for bass, though many swear by their piezo basses. Some call them brilliant, some call them harsh. Two sides of the same coin. A matter of taste, I guess.


     
  3. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    A lot also depends on their quality and how they are treated electronically. Unlike bass guitars, with their medium-high impedance outputs, piezos are in the millions of ohms. If you plug the output of one straight into a typical amp, they sound brittle and have lousy bass. They need a buffering preamp with an input impedance of 1-10 megohms in order to play well with a circuit. A classic example is the early 90's Fender A/E which has undersaddle piezo and Lace Sensor pickups -- the piezo is fed directly to the pan pot, and that arrangement really doesn't do it justice - a preamp with that high ohm input value is required for matching and best results.
     
  4. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    Great question for the Pickups forum...

    Will C.:cool:
     
  5. How do you pronounce piezo anyways?

    Is it like pie zo or pee ez o?

    :)
     
  6. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    Yes. <g>

    I've heard it 'peeezo' 'pie - zo' and I say 'pee-A-zo' but I don't think anyone actually knows the correct pronounciation.

    Though I just checked and Webster has a three syllable pronounciation that kinda close to mine; I can't reproduce it because the markings aren't available even in the extended characters:

    pe (soft e) - a (long a) - zo (long o)

    pe-A-zo


     
  7. I'm European. Dutch actually, but not very far from knowing how to pronounce it. Bob said it right pe-A-zo. Optional 't' before the 'z'.

    Piezo is a crystal, as said before. To be more precise, it's crystalline silicon oxide. Sand. If you put pressure on it, it produces a voltage. Hence piezo pikups. If you put a voltage on it, it moves. Hence piezo tweeters.

    Ever had a lighter with an electric ignition? Piezo crystal smashed into each other produce 10,000 - 50,000 volts. And you get a spark.

    Fun stuff, piezo.

    Joris.
     
  8. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    dammit joris, it was a simple question, you had to go and get technical. you're just trying to impress everybody. :rolleyes: :D
     
  9. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    C'mon John, you're an ....
    :eek:
     
  10. Learn to live with it, John! But you must be glad I'm as sarcastic as you are.....

    And.........

    Should you find yourself in need of useless wise-ass technical details completely off topic, please feel free to knock on my door some more........ at your service!

    :D :D :D

    Luv' ya man.....
     
  11. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
  12. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
  13. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    hugs all around :p {brad you need to take a bath} :eek:
     
  14. mayfairmistress

    mayfairmistress

    Aug 19, 2000
    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
     
  15. mayfairmistress

    mayfairmistress

    Aug 19, 2000
    yes but see i actually understood joris's explaination yours was just all rambl-ish. and dont tell me i dont know anything cause im an electronics student. i know stuff. i also know that i am completely ignorant and you dont need to remind me constantly.
     
  16. John's explanation in the referenced thread was succinct and to the point.

    Your profile says you are 15. Your words in the last 2 threads I've read tell me you have an abrasive personality. They also tell me that you are obviously jealous of people who are smarter than you.

    It's better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you are an idiot, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

    Sorry to propagate the negative vibes.

    Chris
     
  17. I hope you were being sarcastic, kid, else you got no business here. You're making it hard for me to live up the board's rules which state one has respect for all others on this board.


     
  18. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I hope you were being sarcastic, kid, else you got no business here. You're making it hard for me to live up the board's rules which state one has respect for all others on this board.

    People, think of this as a test:D



    John, is it still sarcasm if you're alone in the woods and... never mind.

    Bath??...it ain't even Saturday:eek:
     
  19. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Joris, I'm thinking of a number between pi and absolute zero...

    Technical enough?;)*


    *Clearly no bass content
     
  20. mayfairmistress

    mayfairmistress

    Aug 19, 2000
    you people make it sound like theres this big thing that we all need to be worked up about. yes i was being sarcastic but it really doesnt seem like you really care if i was being sarcastic or not. look, im not ignorant, i know im not ignorant, its just people like you that take everything personaly and asume im ignorant and go acting like im ignorant tend to make me act ignorant. you get what you give. <-and yes i did expect this reaction so dont go putting that back on me-> by the way, im still laughing at you.