The reader replied:
Thanks for the reply, I'm going to move the 1/4" jack 1 space from where you put yours. I noticed that where you located the piezo element was about 1" behind and, in the middle of the bridge. Did that work pretty good for you? I will be running my setup through a LR Baggs para DI into a Fishman acoustic amp. I should have no problem finding a workable tone solution.
I experimented with the pickup in several different places and wound up with it where most people recommended. For my experiment, I used two-sided Scotch tape, which is a lot weaker than the adhesive on the pickup. Once I decided where I wanted it, I used the pickup's adhesive. That said, the adhesive failed after a couple of years and I just glued the thing on.
With your setup, you'll have no trouble getting a good sound. It won't entirely satisfy you, but let's face it if it sounds more like a banjo than not, that is good enough for the acoustics in 99% of the places you're going to play. And if you go into a recording studio with it, they'll use a condenser microphone on the thing anyway.
Ceramic crystals vary between one and the next. Theoretically, if you buy a $120 one you'll get a better sound. But there is likely to be as much difference between two of the $120 ones as there will be between the $120 and the $20 one.
The mag pickups, like the "electric/acoustic" Backwoods 6 and several Goldtones have, do NOT sound more like a banjo than not. Most of them sound more like the single-coil Kent guitar I had in the 1970s and used for Beach Boy songs in cover bands. The advantages they have is that they don't need a preamp, they're not as prone to feedback, and they pick up almost no handling noise. So if you're playing in a roadhouse or someplace where the acoustics are terrible, the crowd is noisy, and you need to channel insane volume through a 50s-era PA system, they will be more useful than a piezo.
I've been trying to find a two-input battery-powered preamp that I could fasten to my mag-pickup-equipped banjos and mix between a piezo and the mag pickup so I'd be ready for anything. But the only ones they make are made to fasten on the strap, which is not as robust a solution as I need - I change instruments all night long, and I could see myself pulling the little cables to bits the third time I switched.
Sorry, more than you wanted to know.
Please let me know how it works out for you. - Paul