#1
Short and sweet: I know a lot about how a guitar works. Enough that if you give me the parts and a wiring diagram, I'm confident I could build one with a simple electronic configuration. I know nowhere near as much about amps. I've about exhausted everything I can think of short of an electronic overhaul to improve my Carvin's sustain, which I feel like there should be more of.

I'm wondering though, could my amp - A Blues Junior from 2008 - be causing the lack of sustain? If so, how could I fix this and/or should I look into a new one? As well, the amp's used as a clean base, and the majority of the gain comes from a Boss ST-2, not the preamp.
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#2
There are pedals for such things, but i thing the key is this;

How high is the volume on your amp? Are you fingers secure on the strings? Are you not clipping the strings with say your jacket when you're picking?

I'm not aiming to be patronizing btw Better to get the silly stuff sorted before say over-hauling an amp and so on
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#3
You could just mod the guitar with a Sustainiac. There's other benefits beyond the sustain...
#4
I just got a BJ a few weeks back and though I wouldn't say its a sustain monster, I wouldn't think anyone would note a lack thereof. When I turn mine up to around 5 on both pre and post its got plenty of sustain for my tastes. I'm just using a MIM Strat too, so nothing terribly nice on that end.
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#5
Let the amp do more work - a big part of sustain is volume.

Certainly when I think of an amp like the Blues Jr I think Fender bite and crisp attack but I don't think of singing sustain like a Mesa or even a cranked Marshall. I don't know if the Power Stack is a great choice of pedal either, to me that says too much attention paid to digital jiggerypokery to mimic the dynamics of a tube amp that means less attention being paid to making it sound great. Also it's a bit redundant to have a pedal that emulates the characteristics and dynamics of a tube amp when you already have a tube amp o_O.

I'd say ditch it and use a more straight-up OD pedal to boost the Jr, but also make it work a bit harder...give the preamp more to do and get the power tubes breathing a bit. You might want to get something like a Jekyll and Hyde, that'll give you a tubescreamer clone overdrive and a distortion side which you can use to blend a little more dirt into the sound if you need it - that'd certainly help with smoothing out lead lines and making notes last longer.
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#6
Quote by Anthony1991
There are pedals for such things, but i thing the key is this;

How high is the volume on your amp? Are you fingers secure on the strings? Are you not clipping the strings with say your jacket when you're picking?

I'm not aiming to be patronizing btw Better to get the silly stuff sorted before say over-hauling an amp and so on


Preamp is on 5, master is on 2. My fingers are fairly secure on the strings. I'm not wearing a jacket, so I don't think it's clipping them.

Quote by jetwash69
You could just mod the guitar with a Sustainiac. There's other benefits beyond the sustain...


I'd prefer not to have to buy and have a $230 active system installed if I can avoid it.

Quote by steven seagull
Let the amp do more work - a big part of sustain is volume.

Certainly when I think of an amp like the Blues Jr I think Fender bite and crisp attack but I don't think of singing sustain like a Mesa or even a cranked Marshall. I don't know if the Power Stack is a great choice of pedal either, to me that says too much attention paid to digital jiggerypokery to mimic the dynamics of a tube amp that means less attention being paid to making it sound great. Also it's a bit redundant to have a pedal that emulates the characteristics and dynamics of a tube amp when you already have a tube amp o_O.

I'd say ditch it and use a more straight-up OD pedal to boost the Jr, but also make it work a bit harder...give the preamp more to do and get the power tubes breathing a bit. You might want to get something like a Jekyll and Hyde, that'll give you a tubescreamer clone overdrive and a distortion side which you can use to blend a little more dirt into the sound if you need it - that'd certainly help with smoothing out lead lines and making notes last longer.


Well, I wasn't expecting singing sustain, but I was expecting more than the four seconds at most it gets, with the last second barely audible. As for the power stack, I bought it less to sound like a tube amp, and more for the whole "stack in a box" thing, which, while it's not the same as an angry Marshall behind you, it does a pretty decent job at - Until now I hated all of Boss' distortion boxes.

Getting another pedal may be a possibility, but I'd prefer not to if I can, as I'm planning to blow a few months of savings on a new acoustic on Friday, so I don't have a lot of cash to throw around. I do have a tubescreamer if that'll fit the "straight-up OD pedal" bill, and a Distortion III for the "distortion side" part.

And with the whole volume thing, I'd like to crank it, but I'm not exactly in a position to do so due to those around me.
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#7
As a big fan of Carvin gear (I've got a lot of it), I hate to admit that their guitar pickups aren't known for sustain; particularly the C22 series. The hotter M series might be better, but not a lot. I've got their hottest Super Distortion model in a Schecter Custom C-1 Exotic right now and they'll probably be coming out soon in favor of a set of Duncan Distortions. You might want to try a different pickup in your Carvin. Great guitars, but the company is long overdue for a new series of guitar pickups.
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#8
Quote by FatalGear41
As a big fan of Carvin gear (I've got a lot of it), I hate to admit that their guitar pickups aren't known for sustain; particularly the C22 series. The hotter M series might be better, but not a lot. I've got their hottest Super Distortion model in a Schecter Custom C-1 Exotic right now and they'll probably be coming out soon in favor of a set of Duncan Distortions. You might want to try a different pickup in your Carvin. Great guitars, but the company is long overdue for a new series of guitar pickups.


Aye, given a lot of people seem to hate their pickups, I've been thinking that may be it for a while, but both because I don't want to alter it that drastically if unneeded, and because of the above acoustic taking my money, I'd prefer to have that as a last resort if possible. If I do switch over though, what would be a decent HSH set for a the kind of tone I'm looking for?(Essentially something like what I have on my second album, but a little more articulate, and, a clearer low-end, and, as the thread should suggest, more sustain)
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#9
Duncan JB (Bridge); Duncan Alnico Pro II (Single-coil midlle); Duncan Jazz (neck).
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#10
Quote by FatalGear41
Duncan JB (Bridge); Duncan Alnico Pro II (Single-coil midlle); Duncan Jazz (neck).


Well, I can't find any decent demos, but the Alnico Pro just needs to mix well, and the JB/Jazz pairing is a pretty common set, so finding a set to demo if changing the pedals and amp settings doesn't solve anything shouldn't be too difficult.

In the meantime though, still looking for a cheap/free solution, anyone?
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#11
Dude, I've been reading your threads about the sustain issues you're having with this guitar.

Bottom line... no amp, pedals, normal pickups are going to fix a dead sounding guitar. Go over the instrument and make sure everything is solid. If you're still having issues dump it and get on with playing music. Really.
#12
Quote by BobDetroit
Dude, I've been reading your threads about the sustain issues you're having with this guitar.

Bottom line... no amp, pedals, normal pickups are going to fix a dead sounding guitar. Go over the instrument and make sure everything is solid. If you're still having issues dump it and get on with playing music. Really.


I'm aware, and I've been keeping it on a stand instead of taking it with me because of its issues so I could keep moving, but not only do I have a lot of sentimental value in this thing, but it also gets me playing more creatively than my other guitars, so I really want to get it working.

And unplugged, the guitar sustains just as long as all my other guitars, so I know it's on the electronic end, so not everything is solid. I'm just not sure whether it's the pickups, the pedals, or the amp, and I'm hoping to find out sometime soon, but in the meantime, someone who can figure it out over the internet would make things easier, hence all my asking.
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#13
I also think the issue may be your pickups. There aren't really any other obvious things it could be, especially when your guitar sustains longer unplugged than when through an amp. It should be the opposite.
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#14
Quote by Offworld92
I also think the issue may be your pickups. There aren't really any other obvious things it could be, especially when your guitar sustains longer unplugged than when through an amp. It should be the opposite.


Not longer, but more or less the same, and I know it can be more - I've played less resonant guitars that've sustained longer. It's definitely much more articulate acoustically though.
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#15
Do other guitars sustain longer with your amp/pedals? I think it's got to be your pickups.
#16
Oh come on guys, this is GG&A. TS you need a Mesa Mark IIC, 4 or 5.

There ya go, normality has been resumed. Life can continue.

TS: turn up the volume.
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#17
Volume is your friend.

You need adequate compression for sustain.
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#18
Quote by Bidley
Do other guitars sustain longer with your amp/pedals? I think it's got to be your pickups.


Like I said, that's what I have a feeling it is, but I want to try every possible angle with something like an amp or a pedal or new strings or something that's an easy swap or something I can test in a store before I rip the pickups out, spend $200 on three pickups, whatever the shop charges for the install, and pray the shop guy doesn't screw up the wiring.(Since I know someone is going to suggest it, I'm not very good at soldering, and this is in no way the kind of wiring I want to start sharpening my skills on.)

Quote by Cathbard
Oh come on guys, this is GG&A. TS you need a Mesa Mark IIC, 4 or 5.

There ya go, normality has been resumed. Life can continue.

TS: turn up the volume.


Finally, it's just not GG&A without someone suggesting Fralins, Fulltones, or Mesas for the a pickup, pedal, or amp issue, respectively.

Quote by bubb_tubbs
Volume is your friend.

You need adequate compression for sustain.


To both of the above: Tell that to the engineer on one side of my room and the college professor on the other. One reason I have to keep it so low is because otherwise I get the cliche "Turn that noise down!" remarks.
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Last edited by necrosis1193 at May 31, 2011,
#19
try raising your pickups and possibly turning up your mids.
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#20
Quote by InanezGuitars44
try raising your pickups and possibly turning up your mids.


Mids are a hair away from the top of the dial, as I like a mid-heavy tone. Tried scooping them before someone suggests they're causing it, they're not. And I spent a good three hours playing with raising and lowering the pickups over the weekend, no dice.
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#21
Quote by necrosis1193

I'd prefer not to have to buy and have a $230 active system installed if I can avoid it.



Well if you're going to change the pickups anyway, then I recommend you change just 1. Swap out the neck for a... ...Sustainiac.

Just kidding. But seriously it's not active in the same sense as an EMG is; the only active part is how it simulates the neck pup by processing the input from the bridge. The bridge tone is still passive for most conventional intents and purposes (but no, it won't work if the battery is dead). The best reason to get a Sustainiac is for controlled feedback effects and harmonics.

But at $230 plus battery box, plus extra swithches, plus guitar body cutting, it's something you might just want on 1 to 10% of your guitars (depeneding on how many you have, assuming you have at least 3-4. It's nice to have, but in moderation. I only have it in one of my guitars.

When I want more sustain in my other guitars, I turn up the compression, lower the noise gate, and raise the gain. Reverb can help too. Also you might want your neck joint checked out.
#22
Quote by jetwash69
Well if you're going to change the pickups anyway, then I recommend you change just 1. Swap out the neck for a... ...Sustainiac.

Just kidding. But seriously it's not active in the same sense as an EMG is; the only active part is how it simulates the neck pup by processing the input from the bridge. The bridge tone is still passive for most conventional intents and purposes (but no, it won't work if the battery is dead). The best reason to get a Sustainiac is for controlled feedback effects and harmonics.


It's not the active tone thing that had me concerned about active pickups, I know the sustainiac sounds different. It was the routing for the battery box - Not only does that add a lot to the cost of the work to get done, but it's also a big, permanent change. And believe me, I may be fighting it right now, but I would love a sustainer pickup; I've wanted a guitar with one ever since I had no idea how Steve Vai got that feedback so controlled when I thought it was natural. But I don't want to route my first - and currently only - High-quality, US-made guitar for it.

...That, and that the pickup alone costs more than all three of the others combined.

But at $230 plus battery box, plus extra swithches, plus guitar body cutting, it's something you might just want on 1 to 10% of your guitars (depeneding on how many you have, assuming you have at least 3-4. It's nice to have, but in moderation. I only have it in one of my guitars.


Believe me, once I have a decent job and can afford to start doing things like this regularly, since it has enough room in the routing to hold a battery, the strat's getting a sustainiac. I'll get it eventually, but now's not the time is all.

When I want more sustain in my other guitars, I turn up the compression, lower the noise gate, and raise the gain. Reverb can help too. Also you might want your neck joint checked out.


The only compression would be from the distortion pedals, and there's no noise gate, so I don't think either of those are it. Will try raising the gain and reverb though. And I actually hadn't considered the neck joint, what should I look for as far as issues with it?
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#23
Quote by necrosis1193
... And I actually hadn't considered the neck joint, what should I look for as far as issues with it?


The screws should be the correct torque (i.e., not too loose, not so tight it splits wood or strips thread. Make sure there's no cracks or neck angle issues. Sometimes there's a bunch of polish paste crammed in the neck pocket that can cause problems.
#24
Quote by jetwash69
The screws should be the correct torque (i.e., not too loose, not so tight it splits wood or strips thread. Make sure there's no cracks or neck angle issues. Sometimes there's a bunch of polish paste crammed in the neck pocket that can cause problems.


Check that the neck is sitting snuggly in the pocket. If it is a bolt-on check that all screws are tight. If its a set neck, can you see any small recesses in the joint which might suggest a badly set neck - i.e. incomplete contact between the neck and joint.

Have you also checked your bridge and nut?

I honestly think there is something off with the construction of your guitar. True that pups do impact sustain, but their impact is not that drastic to severely impact your sustain time.

Also, while sustain can be long, reaching 6 to 7 seconds, its unrealistic to expect a 15 or 20 second sustain.
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#25
Quote by ragingkitty
.... its unrealistic to expect a 15 or 20 second sustain.


I was messing around the other day and decided to time it on my Squier and my Schecter--got around 45 seconds on each of them with my cheap rig (RP-355 pedal through VOX DA5 amp). And the Sustainiac in the Schecter was in the O F F mode. Both are bolt-on necks. I didn't pull the Xiphos out of its case to see if the neck-through would sustain any longer.
#26
If you can't turn it up, why not get an attenuator or some kind of reamping thing?
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