#1
Next most important thing with your guitar from tone is sustain. There will be parts where you want to hold your note for a long time.

What allows you to do so though? Distortion increases the life span of your notes. Is it the pickups? Do you really have to use infinite sustain pickups?

What makes sustain bad? Some of the higher frets on my guitar die off pretty quickly. I have an SG so the only way I can adjust the action is with the truss rod.

What are some infinite sustain devices?
#3
A compressor will do a lot for you. So will using guitars that are made to sustain—a big body with string-thru TOM is nice.

As for infinite sustain, you don’t have to use a sustainer pickup, but standing in front of a 4x12 with the volume blasting will eventually cause the kind of crippling tinnitus that will impair your playing later in life. Just ask Pete Townshend (well, write him a note, anyway).
#4
Infinite sustain? Well, there's the Fernandes Sustainer, the Sustainiac, and the special pickups on the Moog Guitar (which can also mute the strings). There's also the E-Bow.

To increase sustain, you'll want higher-quality hardware on your guitar. Also, you can lower your pickups if they're too high, since the pole pieces can decrease sustain if they're too close to the strings. The woods used in making the guitar can also affect sustain.

EDIT: And yes, a compressor can increase sustain, provided you have the decay set relatively high.
Last edited by Holy Katana at Sep 24, 2010,
#5
Sustain is created by the string vibrating for a long time. Thus, if the guitar is better and conducts vibrations better then it will sustain longer. Your pick ups then get the signal.

Over drive boosts the sustain because it makes vibrations that normally wouldn't be very audible into a sustaining note. Since, in a tube amp, the tube acts as a limit to how loud the note can be, if you boost the signal a ton, it's going to sustain and be a similar volume throughout the note. Hotter pick ups do the same thing.

Higher frets die off faster because the string has less room to vibrate. An open note can vibrate across the entire string, but for every fret you go up the neck, you cut out some of it's vibrations.

Easiest infinite sustain is playing at high volumes and putting your guitar in front of the speaker. This can be really controlled too if you're good at it, listen to the supernatural with peter green on guitar.
Last edited by Warrior47 at Sep 24, 2010,
#7
Quote by Warrior47
Sustain is created by the string vibrating for a long time. Thus, if the guitar is better and conducts vibrations better then it will sustain longer. Your pick ups then get the signal.

Over drive boosts the sustain because it makes vibrations that normally wouldn't be very audible into a sustaining note. Since, in a tube amp, the tube acts as a limit to how loud the note can be, if you boost the signal a ton, it's going to sustain and be a similar volume throughout the note. Hotter pick ups do the same thing.

Higher frets die off faster because the string has less room to vibrate. An open note can vibrate across the entire string, but for every fret you go up the neck, you cut out some of it's vibrations.

Easiest infinite sustain is playing at high volumes and putting your guitar in front of the speaker. This can be really controlled too if you're good at it, listen to the supernatural with peter green on guitar.

That's not how audio works. At all. The tube isn't a limit to how loud the note can be. It's the circuit itself. An amplifier of any kind has a limit to how much it can amplify a sound. Once it gets past that, you get clipping. Clipping compresses the notes, since louder notes can't get any louder without clipping. Clipping in a tube amplifier generally sounds more pleasant than clipping in a transistor amplifier, since it's not generally as harsh, unless you have several gain stages and preamp clipping. Although I actually like the harsh sounds you can get from clipped transistors.
#8
Quote by Clay-man
Alright thanks. I have a pretty cheap SG guitar, like really cheap, 200 dollars only. I could probably fix the sustain to be a little better but yeah.

By good sustain I mean like at :30
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vH3aC68QtA8


a rack full of fancy fx will get you that sound. sounds like he is using a wha (which is great for adding sustain just ask jimi) plus some delay and perhaps a harmonizer. he also is using a trem bar to keep the string moving. add to that high volume through a high quality amp and there you have it. bottom line is duplicating that sound with what you have really isn't going to happen. i wouldn't be upset about not getting that kind of sound out of your axe as it really isn't up to the task. better pickups will be the first place to start.
#9
I’m not entirely sure because the video quality blurs the logo, but it looks like the guitarist in that clip has a Fernandes Sustainer system installed in the neck pickup position. If you already have a guitar with active pickups installing a sustainer shouldn’t be too hard. Or you can just buy a Ferdandes with the unit installed.
#10
Can you use a sustainer system to just make is sustain but use another pickup to get the tone? It would be cool to have a sustainer but use EMGs.
#11
Quote by Clay-man
Can you use a sustainer system to just make is sustain but use another pickup to get the tone? It would be cool to have a sustainer but use EMGs.


This is the part where you actually go to the manufacturer’s web site and read the product documentation instead of asking questions that a quick google search can answer.
#12
Quote by Clay-man
Can you use a sustainer system to just make is sustain but use another pickup to get the tone? It would be cool to have a sustainer but use EMGs.

No, because it replaces the neck pickup. You could have an EMG in the bridge, though.

I don't really like EMGs. I have an 81 in my Epi SG, and I've really grown out of it. I never use it anymore, since I have better guitars, and it's really not good for much other than metal, IMHO, and you can get a good metal tone with passive pickups.
#13
Quote by Clay-man
Next most important thing with your guitar from tone is sustain. There will be parts where you want to hold your note for a long time.

What allows you to do so though? Distortion increases the life span of your notes. Is it the pickups? Do you really have to use infinite sustain pickups?

What makes sustain bad? Some of the higher frets on my guitar die off pretty quickly. I have an SG so the only way I can adjust the action is with the truss rod.

What are some infinite sustain devices?


Raising your action will help you a ton. What do you mean that the only way you can adjust action is with your truss rod? Your SG's bridge can't be moved up or down with the thumb screws?? I've never played an SG before so maybe there is something I'm un-aware of, but there should definitely be a way to raise and lower your bridge right?
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#14
The biggest factor for me for getting good sustain is one that I think is often overlooked.
String tension.
I was using .013-.056 in E standard, which as one would think, has loads of tension. The sustain was actually really bad, and I ended up getting frustrated, thinking something was wrong with my vibrato, or pickups, or EQ or something.
Recently I switched to .017-.070 in G standard, and the tension is far less. My sustain has also improved dramatically.

Really, it's just a simple matter of physics. More tension means that there will be less vibration, as it ends up that more force is required to 'move' or vibrate the strings. With less tension, the strings will move more freely and vibrate more, thus sustaining more.

That's the biggest factor, in my opinion. Also check the height of the pickups, as if they're closer to the strings the magnetic field will have more pull and deaden the movement.
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#15
No, because it replaces the neck pickup. You could have an EMG in the bridge, though.

A sustainer doesn’t replace a neck pickup, it is an active neck pickup.
#16
A stiff neck works nicely. After I refretted my Squier Affinity Strat the neck has been stiffer because of how I refretted it and the sustain is now better.
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Last edited by Gargoyle2500 at Sep 25, 2010,
#17
Quote by TheWaydown
Raising your action will help you a ton. What do you mean that the only way you can adjust action is with your truss rod? Your SG's bridge can't be moved up or down with the thumb screws?? I've never played an SG before so maybe there is something I'm un-aware of, but there should definitely be a way to raise and lower your bridge right?


Oh derp derp didn't realize that what the screws on the SG was for.

Just tried changing it and the sustain doesn't really change at all, but I did manage to get rid of some ringing on one of my strings.
#18
Quote by Clay-man
Next most important thing with your guitar from tone is sustain. There will be parts where you want to hold your note for a long time.

What allows you to do so though? Distortion increases the life span of your notes. Is it the pickups? Do you really have to use infinite sustain pickups?

What makes sustain bad? Some of the higher frets on my guitar die off pretty quickly. I have an SG so the only way I can adjust the action is with the truss rod.

What are some infinite sustain devices?



The truss rod isn't for adjusting action but for neck relief. Adjust the bridge height or nut height for action.

Sustain comes easier with distortion but compression can also add to sustain.
Technique as well - finger vibrato can increase a notes length for almost as long as you want.
feedback, under control by a combo of gain abd body position can also increase sustain.
New strings too.
There's a lot to it actually.
Moving on.....
#19
Quote by jpnyc
No, because it replaces the neck pickup. You could have an EMG in the bridge, though.

A sustainer doesn’t replace a neck pickup, it is an active neck pickup.

It does replace a neck pickup. The whole design of a sustainer makes it impossible for it to be a pickup. If it was a pickup, and a sustainer, it would feedback like none other.
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#20
If it's not a pickup then I should be able to use my EMGs at the same time it sustains the string.

Anyways that new string thing would probably factor in nicely since I haven't changed my strings in a good while.
#21
Chad (that guitarist) has a Sustainiac in that guitar. Its not possible for a Floyd to sustain that long on its own, you would hear the decay almost immediately. And Sustainiacs do work as a pickup, but only when they're turned off.
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