So I just wondered, do pickups effect the amount of sustain you get from a certain guitar?
Im mainly talking about humbuckers...
If they do, then how? ..How hot they are? Actives vs. Passives? What? And please dont mention any sustainer pups.. They're obvious.

Also debateable, everything effecting sustain. I know that mass effects, but Id also want to hear the constructions effects the sustain. Bolt-on/Neck-thru/Set-neck?

I think the type of guitar affects sustain more than pickups. Type of Wood, set neck vs bolt on, string through vs trem, the angle of the head to the neck (more angle, more sustain) vs string trees. All these things contribute to sustain.

I have a set of dimarzio superdistortions in my gibson lp studio. They are great sounding! I don't think that they have more sustain than the stock pickups. Better tone, yes.

I put a Seymour Duncan Invader in the bridge position of a Fender Strat and a screamin' Demon in the neck position. Good distortion tones and dark cleans. Sustain? Still none. Probably will never have sustain.

Put Hot Rails in a telecaster. Loved it!!! Same sustain though. But teles have that natural awesome tone and sustain.
In my experience hot actives provide the best sustain with a neck thru guitar, bolt on's generally have horrible sustain from my experience but that was a strat (and an expensive one at that) but then again ibanez's have good sustain too. Wood is a huge factor also, mahogany provides incredible sustain. Best sustaining guitar i've ever heard is my schecter blackjack c-1 ATX, has better sustain than any les paul i've ever played. Apparently it's a set neck, but i don't see how it is because there is no point where it looks attached, i just say it's neck thru because nothing about it looks set neck.
Quote by dimarzio77
I think the type of guitar affects sustain more than pickups. Type of Wood, set neck vs bolt on, string through vs trem

So in each of these cases, which is better/best?
Sustain is seriously affected by so many things it is ludicrous to try to chase that too far. If you have a tremolo bridge, that will affect it because the strings aren't able to transfer vibration to the body as well. If you have a stop tail bridge it is usually a little better, but if the holes for the bridge posts are painted then it will reduce the sustain. String thru body bridges tend to have better sustain. Neck-thru and Set necks tend to really improve sustain, but with bolt ons as long as the neck pocket is tight and the wood of neck is touching the wood of the body without paint or finish "disrupting" the transference of the vibration of the strings, then that would improve sustain. Even the type of nut on the guitar affects sustain. Pickups can also affect sustain. Active pickups don't actually provide more sustain, but the way they amplify tends to amplify the vibration after a passive pickup would let the signal die.
Ironically a sustainer (when off) can supress your guitar's natural sustain - how come? Well, sustainers typically use stronger magnets vs pickups ....this results in more 'damping' of the strings natural 'swing' ...many owners report 'tone suck' with the likes of Fernandes & Sustainiac .....that'll be the extra magnetic pull these things have when switched off.
Last edited by HankMcSpank at Jun 19, 2011,
Higher output pickups should pick up and amplify the movements of the strings louder, but I'd think the difference has more to do with volume in that they'll just be louder.
Adversely, really strong magnets in the pickups and pickups being set very close to the strings will kill your sustain because of the magnetic pull.

About neck joints. I'd think a very well done bolt-on would have the best sustain, all things being equal - more rigid parts (like the bolts) should transfer vibrations better. However, set-neck and through-neck are more commonly associated with well built guitars because they're harder to do. I'd very much like to see a bolt-through guitar - one piece from head to tail like a neck-through, but then with the wings bolted on. Probably kind of tough or awkward to do.