Piezo Transducers: Pickups?

Are piezo transducers considered pickups? Depending on which website you look, you will find them described both as just transducers and as pickups. Is it incorrect to describe them as pickups?


Shadow SH B1 : This transducer on the Shadow website is not described as a pickup what so ever. However if you look at various online retailers, the same transducer is either in a pickup category or it is actually described as a pickup.

Furthermore, there are other pickup maker sites that do describe their piezo transducers as pickups, such as this Fishman example.


Last edited by bachfantasia at Jul 9, 2015,
I always thought a "transducer" was anything that converted one form of electrical impulse to another form. Maybe the terms are interchangeable like a microphone is actually a transducer and sends out a signal while a speaker, which is a also a transducer, can reproduce sound and conversely is also capable of being used as a large microphone. I know my Epiphone Ultra II has a Shadow-mag on it it is described by Epiphone as a pickup in their ads.

So I'm not sure but if a Piezo transducer is a pickup then I would guess a humbucking pickup is also a transducer..... Huh? Dam good question. I give up. Sorry.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Jul 9, 2015,
I'd say that "pickup" is just a generic term. A passive magnetic, active magnetic, piezo, polyphonic, optical etc are all pickups
A transducer is any device that converts a variations of a physical quantity into an electrical signal. In guitars, they are converting the vibration of the saddle and/or top into an electrical signal which the amplifier then powers up and turns back into sound. So yes, they are pickups.

The only reason magnetic pickups (electric guitar pickups) aren't also referred to as transducers is because they don't directly detect a physical quantity. They create a magnetic field around the strings, and any disturbances in that magnetic field produce an electrical signal. And since electric guitar strings are made out of ferrous metals, they produce that disturbance when vibrating. So magnetic pickups are detecting an effect of string vibration, rather than the vibration itself, which technically precludes them being considered transducers as well.
Nit-picking, sorry, but my engineering courses taught that a transducer induced a change in energy from one form to another (slightly different from "induction", which takes place in a transformer or coil that converts incident electrical energy into output electrical energy of the same form).

By that definition conversion from mechanical to electrical (piezoelectric devices, magnetic pickups, capacitive detectors such as condenser microphones, ...) are performed by transducers, but so is the reverse (speakers, relays, et cetera).