#1
Does the additional string pull from having 3 pickups vs 2 pickups have any substantial affect on sustain?
#2
Hm, haven't thought about that before. Not that I've ever been able to directly observe it, but there might be a tiny difference. EMGs have noticeably less string pull, so I suppose going from 2 to 3 full strength magnet pickups might give you a slight difference.

I doubt it's anything worth being concerned over, though. You'd never know unless you had two guitars next to each other, and even then I'd be very surprised if one was appreciably better. The individual setup of each guitar would matter way more.

TL;DR: Noticeable, maybe under controlled conditions. Significant, no.
#3
It depends on how you set the height of the pickups and the pickups themselves, but as long as you set up the guitar decently enough, you won't notice much of a difference.
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#5
You can't just say that Strats as a entire style have good sustain. There are plenty of Strat-style guitars in the world with crap sustain. This goes for any style or brand of guitar.

Anyway.

In theory, two pickups means less wood has been taken out of the body and less magnetic pull on the strings, so the guitar should sustain notes for slightly longer. The difference will be minimal, though, especially since one of the two remaining pickups will probably be at the neck positions. You also need to bear in mind that most 3-pickup guitars are top-routed, while most 2-pickup guitars are rear-routed, which also effects how much wood has been taken out. Then there's the problem of bar magnet pickups (e.g. standard humbuckers) against magnetic pole piece pickups (e.g. Strat single coils), as each has a different kind of magnetic field.

So, basically... there's just too many variables to say whether a guitar wil have more or less sustain with two or three pickups. It is safe to say, though, that simply removing the middle pickup from a Strat, for example, will not change anything in any noticable way, other than perhaps make the guitar very slightly louder acoustically or more prone to feedback if the hole left in the middle isn't covered.

Well, the other thing that can be safe to say is that a single-pickup guitar will out-sustain anything. Can't beat a Junior for sustain, you just *can't*.
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#6
Quote by ZepJunkie
Does the additional string pull from having 3 pickups vs 2 pickups have any substantial affect on sustain?


I don't think so. To my ear the sustain sounds about the same on my SuperStrats whether I have all pups engaged or just the bridge pup.
“You’re always learning about this thing every time you pick it up.” Keith Richards
#7
Can't beat a Junior for sustain, you just *can't*.


Can if you cheat- I have a Fernandes Ravelle Elite (which has the sustainer in it).
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#8
Quote by LP1951
I don't think so. To my ear the sustain sounds about the same on my SuperStrats whether I have all pups engaged or just the bridge pup.


i don't think that's what he means
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#9
Quote by MrFlibble
(...) which also affects how much wood has been taken out.


FTFY, just to soothe my inner grammarnazi.

Anyway, as we are on the subject, I've heard some people claim that a tremolo/floyd rose would increase sustain compared to a hardtail, because the vibration goes through more metal and is better 'connected' with the wood, thus increasing vibrations and sustain. Is there any sense in this. It does seem to me that the springs of a tremolo-equipped cause some sort of reverb-ish sound that might increase sustain..

Any ideas on this?
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Quote by Willowthewitch

The actual correct answer
#10
^ nah i don't think so. most people would say that most trems would decrease sustain. I'd tend to agree with them (though not to the extent that some players act like that means trems are stupid... if you need a trem you need a trem, and you don't often need 15 seconds of sustain anyway).
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#11
Quote by Dave_Mc
^ nah i don't think so. most people would say that most trems would decrease sustain. I'd tend to agree with them (though not to the extent that some players act like that means trems are stupid... if you need a trem you need a trem, and you don't often need 15 seconds of sustain anyway).


Fairly true. I myself have come to dislike trems to a degree, especially from a 'modification, string change and palm mute' side of view. I just don't use tremolo enough to justify having one, it's more of a pain than it does me good.

But I do have the feeling that guitars with a trem tend to be louder acoustically, due to the springs and the cavity. Would that improve sustain?
Gear:

Guitars:
LTD Viper 100FM
Ibanez RG320PG P2 (For sale*)
Ibanez RGA32 (w/ IronGear pups)
Epiphone Pro-1

Amps:
Vox VT15
or
Vox Tonelab EX
- through -
Peavey KB-300

* = PM me for more details


Quote by Willowthewitch

The actual correct answer
#12
Quote by TuningGamer
FTFY, just to soothe my inner grammarnazi.

Anyway, as we are on the subject, I've heard some people claim that a tremolo/floyd rose would increase sustain compared to a hardtail, because the vibration goes through more metal and is better 'connected' with the wood, thus increasing vibrations and sustain. Is there any sense in this. It does seem to me that the springs of a tremolo-equipped cause some sort of reverb-ish sound that might increase sustain..

Any ideas on this?


My Kramer Showster FR has almost as much sustain as my Les Paul. I always associated this with the metal loading, but my Kramer FR422 has great sustain too, so maybe the FR does contribute to sustain.
“You’re always learning about this thing every time you pick it up.” Keith Richards
#13
Quote by TuningGamer
Fairly true. I myself have come to dislike trems to a degree, especially from a 'modification, string change and palm mute' side of view. I just don't use tremolo enough to justify having one, it's more of a pain than it does me good.

But I do have the feeling that guitars with a trem tend to be louder acoustically, due to the springs and the cavity. Would that improve sustain?


nope, the opposite, i think.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#14
Trems take a substantial amount of sustain from your guitar because you're removing sections of wood from the guitar and you're also losing a lot of kinetic energy from the strings into the springs.
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#15
yeah exactly.

now- as i said, it's not enough to stop trems being useful if you actually use a trem (and also some people like the softer attack and/or it suits certain guitars e.g. strats), i don't have much time for people who act like nomatter how useful a trem is it doesn't justify the decreased sustain (because apart from anything, you don't always need maximum sustain). But it'd be silly to claim it doesn't affect the sustain at all, i think.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#16
Like damn near everything about guitar physics/mechanics, it's "all other things equal, yes, this will change it." The problem there being that, even on two of the same model, with the same hardware, and as close to the same cuts of wood you can get, there will be differences significant enough to get in the way of any definitive answer, and the changes are sometimes so little they're negligible, if even noticeable.

So, yes, the magnet on the third pickup will certainly reduce sustain- whether or not you'll be able to tell, and if you can if it'll be enough to warrant skipping it, is a separate answer.
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#17
^ yup.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?