Hi guys/girls,

I have been playing on a Strat since I started playing. (I am running it through a Vox VT40+, if that helps?)

Basically, I am wondering if anybody can give me tips or hints on how to get better sustain without using a pedal or booster, the sustain on my axe is terrible (about 3 seconds long haha)

Any help would be much appreciated,


Work on your vibrato specifically and generally make your picking and fretting technique better. You need to fret cleanly and pick with the right amount of force to get decent sustain in the first place, then your vibrato should carry the note; what can help is letting the note ring for a while and applying vibrato as you feel the note just beginning to die, but for that to work it needs to be relatively slow and at least a full semitone if not tone wide vibrato that returns to the starting pitch between each bend.
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Stratocasters are know for having a lot of attack (usually named quack). This sounds comes from 2 things: (1) the single coils, as they capture the string only in one position you get more attack, and (2) the bolt on neck.

To enhance sustain in any guitar first make sure make sure that your left hand technique is proper, get new strings, and get change the hight of the pick ups, if they are too close the stop they string because of the magnet pull and if they are too far away they don't catch the vibration properly. Also adding more overdrive will help a lot!!!

If this fails maybe the problem is your pickup, some pickups are better for sustain than others check out Dimarzio HS4 or Area 58 or 61 for a neck/middle position or Area 61 or virtual vintage heavy blues 2 for the bridge
Thanks for the tips, the guitar itself is 24 years old and hasn't been cleaned up until boxing day 2012. I removed a lot of the dirt from the pickups and changed the strings, I also raked the lickup height a little bit and those three things have really helped. I also tried to work on my sustain but it has a very aggressive 'Angus Young' sound to it
Again, thank you for helping

They amp may have something to do with it. I owned a Vox VT40 for a while. It has very aggressive noise depressors, this caused sustain to suffer since the electronics in the amp would cut off the signal once it started to decay the slightest bit.
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What kind of Strat are you using? Cheaper guitars (Squiers etc.) and even "Standard" Mexican Strats are made from lower-quality woods, as well as more pieces of wood glued together, and do not resonate as well.
I'm using a 1989 Squier by Fender Strat.. it is branded as a Squier but it was made in Korea :/ my dad bought it a while ago (24 years) I think the body is basswood.. I'm not 100% sure..

And I find that the Vox VT40+ goes muddy after a while( on most channels).. the sustain rings for a while and then it fuzzes up and goes quite weak and it replaced by crackling and the occasional feedback squeal..
Last edited by VoXBOss2011 at Jan 28, 2013,