#1
Okay, so i have an Ibanez S520EX fitted with EMG 81/85 combo and Ernie Ball Regular Slinkies that stays tuned down one and a half steps. C# standard.

It's a generic setup, but the damn thing has no sustain. I thought it might have been the pickups having had them recently fitted, but the issue remains even with out the guitar plugged in. I don't even think I can hold out an entire quarter note of a song without the note just dying.

What could possibly be causing this? The strings? The guitar itself? (God forbid, i love this guitar) because the issue remains no matter how hard you strike the string.

Please help. I'd rather not have to sell this one for a thicker guitar or one of a different wood build...
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#2
possibly pickup height? (correct me if im wrong please)
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#3
neck bow, intonation problems, there are a bunch of possible reasons. why don't you inspect the guitar more or take it to a shop... if it happens without the guitar plugged in then it's obviously not the pickups

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#4
Could be your amp too. Are you using any digital pedals? If so, check your noise gate configuration.

If not, take it to a shop.

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#5
I read in the Gear For metal thread, your guitar has a bridge called "Zero Resistance" or something like that, and for some reason gives no sustain. Something along those lines. I believe Shinozoku said that.
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#6
get thicker strings. regulars being, 10's. if your playing one and a half steps down the tension will be way less, making the sustain way less. try some 12's, or maybe 11's at that tuning
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#7
Quote by Srgt. Pepper
get thicker strings. regulars being, 10's. if your playing one and a half steps down the tension will be way less, making the sustain way less. try some 12's, or maybe 11's at that tuning


i'm gonna try that first. I'm praying it's not the bridge, because that thing is amazing. I can torque it to hell and back and never go out of tune.

How would i know if it's the intonation?

PS I appreciate all the answers so far
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#8
Your neck could be slightly bowed cause the strings to touch/rub on frets.
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#9
it's not the bridge man, the ZR is a great design, and isn't going to kill sustain any more than any other tremolo system. You have to consider what would cause your strings to stop vibrating prematurely. ie, bad/high fret, bad neck bow, action too low, binding at saddle or nut, etc... I would take it to a shop and have new strings and a proper setup done to it. A pro setup can make a world of difference, especially if it's never had one. If possible, try and stay to watch it done, so you can do it yourself in the future. It's not hard really, and can make a big difference in playability and sound.

and btw, intonation isn't going to have anything to do with sustain. Setting the intonation is related to pitch accuracy, making sure the guitar is in tune on all the frets.
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Last edited by Erock503 at Aug 19, 2009,
#10
Quote by DiSTuRBeD -26-
I read in the Gear For metal thread, your guitar has a bridge called "Zero Resistance" or something like that, and for some reason gives no sustain. Something along those lines. I believe Shinozoku said that.

If it's the ZR2, you won't have crap for sustain. But the regular one should be fine. Check your neck relief and pickup height.
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#11
It's probably the fact that you use regular string gauge to tune to C#. Duh!

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#12
Quote by Shinozoku
If it's the ZR2, you won't have crap for sustain. But the regular one should be fine. Check your neck relief and pickup height.

you sure about that man? I haven't tried one, but I find it kind of hard to believe they would put a crappy trem on their prestige models, while leaving better trems on their lower end models. I have an Edge Zero trem and have no such problems with sustain.
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#13
Quote by Dr.Pain-MD
It's probably the fact that you use regular string gauge to tune to C#. Duh!


I have my Epi SG in C standard with 9's and I can hold out for longer than he can as it sounds.
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#14
Quote by Erock503
you sure about that man? I haven't tried one, but I find it kind of hard to believe they would put a crappy trem on their prestige models, while leaving better trems on their lower end models. I have an Edge Zero trem and have no such problems with sustain.


Yep, the Zero Resistance 2 (ZR2) bridge has big sustain issues, especially coupled with such a light guitar.

I'm not too sure about the older S-series guitars, without the ZR2 bridge, but it seems that Ibanez players will generally advise buying used and getting an older S-series. Could just be the older is better, etc. etc. mentality though
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Last edited by no.mop at Aug 19, 2009,
#15
This is a little long so sorry.....

There a couple of theories here as to why there is a sustain problem... and there is by the way. Back in the late 80's to early 90's when this guitar was in it's heyday, the mahogany used was top quality, Original and Lo-Pro trems, and pups that were just barely over the threshold to what would be considered high output USA F series). The original Ss had the block heal, which provided a substantial piece of wood into the body. This guitar would sustain for days. These features made this guitar the legend it is today. When they became all-access necks (I believe in 92 or 93) there was a slight drop in the sustain. But then it again it had some to give up. I own two 93 models, and I would give up my first born before I would give up either guitar. Both of the early renditions of this guitar were not without fault. They were a little muddy depending on your setup, pulling up on the trem, you would usually hit wood, before you hit the note you wanted (better on the original edge models)....stuff you can work around. But these were high-end instruments imo. Over the years Ibby has systematically screwed with the S series, usually not in a good way. I have seen Lo-Trs, Q series, INF series, and whatever other junk was available on the factory shelve pups. The body and necks have progressively gotten thicker, quality has taken a nose dive, and the finishes have been less than desirable.

To answer your sustain questions, I believe there are three contributing factors. The first is the body. The woods that used to be used were high end tone woods...(if you ever have the chance to refinish an original S guitar, do It. these woods were amazing). The stuff they are using today, is probably good for furniture building, beyond that, they are not very resonant, are not well matched to the necks, causing whatever little resonance there is to conflict with the vibrations produced by then necks. What causes an acoustic guitar to sound better than others...the resonance of the body. If that lacks, then you got some pretty good fire wood.

Next is the trem...the Edge and Lo-Pro were awesome examples of high-end Ibanez Engineering, with quality Gotoh construction. Anything else they put on it has been a disaster. There are wide spread reports of problems with ZR trems and sustain, even with RGs. Not sure why, other than mass, and the amount of surface area that transfers vibration to the body (knife edge contact to post, with the large posts were the best. Can’t tell what is even making contact anymore with all these ball-bearings.) I will give kudos that this was an interesting design, that was meant to fix a lot of problems inherent with the original knife edge trems, but something is not right with it. Add in there the mismatched radius of the bridge to neck, which is ridiculous, and this does not help playability.

Finally and probably the most important on imo, are the pups. The original pups used were the F series which matched with this guitar very well, minus a little muddiness. The F1(Neck) was close to a Dimarzio Breed, and F2(Bridge) was closest to a Tone Zone. Look at the specs of these pup, and you will find that the bridge was barely in the high output category, and the neck was medium output. Then came the Q-Series pups, which were not all that bad and was an attempt to clear some of the muddiness. Never thought they did a good job at that though. A little hotter than a PAF. Then there were INF...which should be banned from the country. They are complete and utter junk for anything that involves distortion. They especially don’t work for mahogany body guitars. Even if the guitar was capable of sustain, there is no way the signal is getting to your amp with these pups. Now they are installing these fairly high output pups in the Prestige Line, which by all accounts is now causing magnetism problems.

An awesome S needs to have a thin, good quality mahogany body, so the thing can resonant, a good HQ trem, to keep it tune and work well with the body and medium to high output pups to transfer the signal. The thin necks were a bonus. On a body this thin (despite attempts to thicken it up) with this wood produces very complex harmonics and a pup with a wide range of dynamics is needed to pickup these tones. The latest trend is to put pups with such a high output pup in them and such a high magnetic field pulling on the strings that there is no prayer that the guitar would sustain.


Kind of a backstory on the S-series sustain issue...

Yes, it's long, but it's a good read
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#16
i'm gonna try the heavier gauge strings and see how that works. if that doesn't work i have a comp/sustain pedal somewhere i can pull out... ugh. i think i'm due for a gear upgrade soon.
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#17
Quote by no.mop
Yep, the Zero Resistance 2 (ZR2) bridge has big sustain issues, especially coupled with such a light guitar.

I'm not too sure about the older S-series guitars, without the ZR2 bridge, but it seems that Ibanez players will generally advise buying used and getting an older S-series. Could just be the older is better, etc. etc. mentality though

wow, way to screw up a good thing Ibanez. I know that problem didn't exist on the older models, my friend had one that kicked ass. I'm not having any issue with the Edge Zero either, but it's a different design than the ZR2, and a thicker body with the RG. That's a shame.
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#18
As far as I know, the magnets in active EMG's aren't very strong, but you could try lowering them a little (having the pickups too close to the strings can cause the pickups' magnets to pull on the strings, thus decreasing sustain).
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#19
^Correct. The magnetic field on actives won't be strong enough to pull on the strings enough to affect sustain. Because of the weak magnetic field, actives should be closer to the strings than conventional pickups.
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#20
Quote by Dr.Pain-MD
It's probably the fact that you use regular string gauge to tune to C#. Duh!

This.

TS, your string vibration is dying in no time, and that means no sustain...if you want notes to last you need your strings to be at a tension slightly higher than that of your average rubber band.
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#21
Just fitted the guitar with some EB 12-56 strings. Problem remains =/ I guess it's just a design flaw in the guitar.

Pretty depressing, but I did get a chance to play on a Schecter Hellraiser Solo6 at guitar center. A potential replacement
Send this to you my master...
Here's to getting worse,
hope it kills you faster...
Show me how it hurts to rot from the inside out...
This vigil burns until the day our fires over take you,
Our father we forsake you.
#22
I actually just evened out the action and changed string on my Kramer last night/today, adjusted pickups a few days ago, and where it had massive sustain issues before, it has much better sustain now.

Sorry about your Saber, though
Then there's this band called Slice The Cake...

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Stupid name.
Probably picked "for teh lulz"

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