DiaForce : The End of the Traditional Guitar Pickups!

Well, that’s what the Fraunhofer Institute researchers who created the DiaForce film seem to think. The argument is almost a leitmotiv : “DiaForce could replace the guitar pickups” (I read this here, there and there too). And I feel like they go a little hasty !

The DiaForce film is made of amorphous carbon and is piezoresistive meaning that its conductivity is pressure sensitive. The tailpiece of the guitar is coated with the DiaForce film. When the strings tension is modified that changes the pressure on the film. The modification of the pressure leads to a variation of the resistance of the film. This is measured by the sensors on the film. Then the signal is translated into a digital signal, and sent to a computer software that records this.

This innovation is kinda cool… That’s for sure though I see it more as an improvement of the piezo sensor! I even can see how it could be interesting in a studio environment in order to process the recorded guitar tracks  with a software. But… There is always a but…

  • Guitar players like to play with an amplifier because it is a huge part of their tone !
  • Guitar players like to play with effects because they are a huge part of their tone !

As it is I don’t see where are the amp, and effects in the soundchain… Let me correct this… If I understand this well, the amp, and effects come after the digital conversion of the signal by the computer ! I’m not sure that this is optimal… And when it will be maybe they would call it Variax ??

  • Why do all the latest guitar innovations have to involve a software, a computer or a smartphone ? Did I say all of them? No… there is the Evertune bridge which is a 100% mechanical yet brilliant innovation!
  • If that was a major innovation for guitarists… Why do they only communicate on high tech, and gadgets websites?
  • Honestly… Before you try to put that in production, don’t forget to do a market survey ! I am rather sure that no one would buy this…

Well… At most I think that this invention could could complement an electric guitar just like the piezo sensors coupled with electromagnetic pick-ups or it could replace the traditional piezo sensors on the acoustic guitars ! Some would say it’s already a big plan…

I don’t really have the answer to that question though you could guess what I think… But I’d like to hear your thoughts on that matter ! Is it really the end of electromagnetic pickups as we know them?

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