Before I learned to wind pickups I used piezos on all the instruments that needed amplification, but as their number increased the noise floor rose to a level where it got hard to hear the tones for the sounds and limit feedback. A few piezos were fine but ten or more used simultaneously got uncontrollable.  I ended up having to use individual multiband equalizers for each of them, and the expense (about $75 per instrument) was more than I could deal with.

I use 1" radio shack elements (about $1.50 apiece) broken out of their plastic shells for several of the instruments.  The main drawback I’ve experienced with them is the plethora of partials produced by steel soundboards with their long sustain times.  Recently, after experimenting with dozens of methods for mounting them, I have been dipping the elements in plastidip and mounting them sandwiched between neoprene pads and compressed to the soundboards with springs set in pipe caps welded to bars which are tensioned by bolts.  This adjustability of compression has allowed me to improve bass response (and reduce unwanted highs) considerably and dampen the tendency to feed back which has eliminated the need for multiband equalizers.  Used this way, these sound better than commercially available ones.

Another improvement has come from the use of direct boxes (Behringer) with a +20db switch which balances out the loss of volume that comes from padding and compression. 

To find the best locations for placement I use elements glued to refrigerator magnets.



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