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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Dec 17, 2017 3:22 pm

ManFromGlass wrote:I have the original and 2 mode ebows

I have an original eBow too.

Oh yes there is also that clamp on one with 6 little wheels that is back in production. Choices, choices!

Ah, the Gizmo/Gismotron invented by Lol Creme and Kevin Godley of 10cc fame IIRC
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby ManFromGlass » Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:10 pm

What are the odds? I walk into the local (small) music shoppe and they have an EOB strat hanging on the wall. I didn't have time to plug it in and give it a real test but the chunky neck was a very different experience for me. Not a bad thing but definitely different. It did feel pretty good. The staff had all,played it and were very enthusiastic about the guitar and how it sounds, with and without the sustainer on.
I must go back. But I'm wondering if I should learn stairway to heaven first so I can fit in with all the teenagers trying out guitars..... :lol:
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby Wonks » Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:20 pm

I'd try 'Sweet Child O' Mine' first. ;)
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby BJG145 » Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:33 am

I'm a sucker for gadgets and guitars with too many switches, so I wandered into the local guitar shop today to check this out. That neck really is chunky. Not knowing how these things work, I was also a bit surprised to find that the switch that activates the sustain bypasses the five-way pickup selection, apparently leaving you with three separate modes of operation for the sustainer pickup. It's nice, but I think this one's probably not for me.
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby The Coastal Path » Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:08 am

On all sustainer guitars, when the circuit is activated, only the bridge pickup is functional - and this pickup has to be a humbucker.
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby ManFromGlass » Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:36 pm

This just occurred to me to ask -
If any of you have tried the EOB strat and also happened to have tried the Fernandez Sustainer I would like to know which guitar in your opinion can produce the greater range of sound colours? I'm assuming that there is a Fernandez model that also has a humbucker near the bridge, but I haven't checked this. I'll do this now.
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby Honch » Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:21 pm

While I haven't tried out the EOB strat as of yet, I think it seems a welcome addition to the "sustainer" niche branch of guitar technology. There are some myths in this thread that needs to be debunked.

1. Neither Fernandes sustainer, nor Maniac Sustainiac systems does polyphonic infitite sustain, i e chords. It's the toughest guy on the block that wins, mostly the thickest string with the loudest oscillation. Maybe you get a little "chords" at the initial strum but that's natural decay, you should listen to when the sustainer takes over and excites the strings, and it just picks the strongest one. Period.

2. The only ones that does full polyphony equally as loud and good, are the Moog Guitar PLUS the ancient Roland GR-500 guitar synth with additional panel and huge multi-pin cable. That one needed slight "infinite sustain" on chords in order to not make the synth crap out due to weak sensing and detecting stray noises and notes to convert to synth sounds. You could create infitite chord sustain, faintly, with no synth sound involved just the clean guitar sound. No harmonics there though.

3. That the bridge pickup needs to be a humbucker is totally BS, on both Fernandes, Fender EOB strat, and Maniac Sustainiac systems. The main culprit is the final DISTANCE between the bridge and neck sustaining pickup. Some Telecaster systems with slanted pickups doesn't work that well (or at all) with either systems, and is just due to the distance's too short between them. So, not that many 24 fret guitars will work. 22 fret will perform better. And if you put a humbucker in bridge position you've actually made the distance a bit closer towards the sustainiac pickup at the neck anyway. If you have too close distance, the whole system will just squeal like a badly made pickup with lots of microphonics inside. Which is the susbsequent caveat emptor to all pickups used in conjuction with any sustainer systems: Make sure all other pickups are perfectly and TOTALLY devoid of any microphonics and properly waxed/potted!

4. Sustainer systems onboard eats batteries for breakfast. External power supplies are not recommended by any of them. It puts a "earth" or "ground" haze to the sounds with ripples, and buzzes and whatnot. Thus, use them sparingly. Unplug as often as you can.
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby Dave B » Sun Jun 17, 2018 1:55 pm

Honch wrote:1. Neither Fernandes sustainer, nor Maniac Sustainiac systems does polyphonic infitite sustain, i e chords. It's the toughest guy on the block that wins, mostly the thickest string with the loudest oscillation. Maybe you get a little "chords" at the initial strum but that's natural decay, you should listen to when the sustainer takes over and excites the strings, and it just picks the strongest one. Period.

Er ... are you sure? Are we talking crossed definitions of 'poly' here? Because I've played (and own) Fenandes based guitars which do happily play chords. What I didn't realise is that the system needs adjusting to your requirements a bit to get that - good players like a certain (low?) calibration to the system so that the sustainer works gradually to just add extra length to an existing (well played) note. I prefer when the system is set stronger (?) so that you can swell notes just by fretting them. This gives the ability to swell chords in. It's pretty much the reason I got that particular guitar...
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby The Coastal Path » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:28 pm

Honch wrote:While I haven't tried out the EOB strat as of yet, I think it seems a welcome addition to the "sustainer" niche branch of guitar technology. There are some myths in this thread that needs to be debunked.

1. Neither Fernandes sustainer, nor Maniac Sustainiac systems does polyphonic infitite sustain, i e chords. It's the toughest guy on the block that wins, mostly the thickest string with the loudest oscillation. Maybe you get a little "chords" at the initial strum but that's natural decay, you should listen to when the sustainer takes over and excites the strings, and it just picks the strongest one. Period.

2. The only ones that does full polyphony equally as loud and good, are the Moog Guitar PLUS the ancient Roland GR-500 guitar synth with additional panel and huge multi-pin cable. That one needed slight "infinite sustain" on chords in order to not make the synth crap out due to weak sensing and detecting stray noises and notes to convert to synth sounds. You could create infitite chord sustain, faintly, with no synth sound involved just the clean guitar sound. No harmonics there though.

3. That the bridge pickup needs to be a humbucker is totally BS, on both Fernandes, Fender EOB strat, and Maniac Sustainiac systems. The main culprit is the final DISTANCE between the bridge and neck sustaining pickup. Some Telecaster systems with slanted pickups doesn't work that well (or at all) with either systems, and is just due to the distance's too short between them. So, not that many 24 fret guitars will work. 22 fret will perform better. And if you put a humbucker in bridge position you've actually made the distance a bit closer towards the sustainiac pickup at the neck anyway. If you have too close distance, the whole system will just squeal like a badly made pickup with lots of microphonics inside. Which is the susbsequent caveat emptor to all pickups used in conjuction with any sustainer systems: Make sure all other pickups are perfectly and TOTALLY devoid of any microphonics and properly waxed/potted!

4. Sustainer systems onboard eats batteries for breakfast. External power supplies are not recommended by any of them. It puts a "earth" or "ground" haze to the sounds with ripples, and buzzes and whatnot. Thus, use them sparingly. Unplug as often as you can.


Well I don’t want to deny your experience of the sustainer, but all 6 of my sustainer guitars happily sustain chords evenly. As for the bridge pickup needing to be a humbucker, you will find that’s what Fernandes claim is required - but I dare say it may be possible to make the system work with a non recommended single coil - I’ve never tried. I’ve certainly never seen a single coil sustainer guitar by Fernandes or anyone else - which is a shame as I prefer the single coil bridge sound.

I play my sustainer guitar for around an hour a day and expect to get around 2 months usage from one battery - but there are plenty of folk who have had sustainer guitars that seem to be far more greedy - the setting of the intensity pot makes a big difference.
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby Honch » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:09 pm

From Maniac Sustainiac website:

"Q. Can I sustain chords with the Sustainiac sustainers?
A. Sustainers work "so-so" on this. They are mainly solo devices. You can get some good doubles, and even a few triples to sustain on most instruments. You can play a 6-string chord which will tend to swell for a second or two. But then, one, two, or sometimes three strings will usually "win out" after a few seconds. This is true in general for both acoustic and magnetic type sustainers. We do quite a lot of electronic processing to equalize the performance of large diameter strings and small diameter strings on Sustainiac sustainers. However, the physics of both types of sustainer favors the sustained vibration of the larger strings.

On magnetic sustainers like the Stealth, the larger strings are more easily pulled by the magnetic driver. On acoustic sustainers like the Model B, the wood more readily transmits low frequency sounds. "


"HEXAPHONIC MODEL ? We do not currently make a hexaphonic sustainer. These have six (or 7 etc.) independent sustainers. They allow complete sustain of chords. There are no immediate plans to make one. Occasionally, we get such a request but not very often. The size and complexity of such a sustainer would make the "STEALTHY" concept obsolete. Retrofit of such a sustainer would be a major project. The expense would be quite high. Furthermore, for most soloing, there would not be a great advantage. We may eventually do this, but not in the near future unless the request rate increases. "


http://www.sustainiac.com/st-pro.htm#hex

Nowhere else have I found to read that the Fernandes Sustainer kits works differently. On one review site, they said the following though:

"Playing chords – You will need to balance the strings out with the pickup pole pieces and pickup height to get the response even across all strings. I worked on changing some string thicknesses to better balance chords. There is a tendency for the chord to loose one or two strings if left ringing for some time"


It's a major chore to change out equal tension or thicker string gauge PLUS adjusting pole pieces (if your other pickups really has adjustable pole pieces) to get the least amount of chords out. Some chords may ring better, but loses out 2-3 strings eventually, and as you move up the neck, the ringing and resonance naturally becomes shorter so it takes more for the sustainer to drive them. Also the highest notes on high e-string doesn't track at all. Where I would like it to be held infinitely. When you bend it, it just peters out. I've tried a Maniac Sustainiac, but owned a real Fernandes Sustainer (Revolver pro) guitar, but sold it. For quite a few years, so I had my time to dwell on it a bit.

On another note, here's one with single coil in bridge position:
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby Honch » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:29 pm

BTW the reason I sold the Fernandes, but decided not to pursue the Maniac Sustainiac either, was the following:

1. At least two vids on YT claims the Fernandes Sustainer (both kits) lasts like just 20-30 MINUTES on one battery, lithium, carbon, alkaline or not.

2. Sustainiac lasts the same numbers as above but in HOURS.

3. Both systems can't be played with the regular volume set low, IN THE HARMONIC MODE. You can't do volume swells on the guitars volume knob. For some circuit design reason, it results in a high pitch squeal, that you can't get rid of. However, in fundamental mode (not harmonic), this is no problem at all. Then the high squeal is gone.

4. The distance between bridge pickup and Sustainiac/Fernandes has to be set at some distance. Too long or too short distance will make the resulting effect weaker. Or distorted, squeal if it's too short. This is not stated anywhere, but can just be done by trial and error. This is important should you have a 21 fret guitar, or a 24 fret guitar.

The Fernandes guitars I've seen with single coiled pickups in bridge, MAY be of the clandestine model, like some DiMarzios or SD. Like regular pole pieces on top, but stacked humbuckers underneath. I do have installed both of them and Fernandes takes way longer than the Maniac, but still 8 hours. Many of them came back after a few years, and wanted regular pickups back again, they got fed up with any of the systems. Like, the actual sustainer bit, no matter Fernandes or Sustainiac.

Keith McMillens systems is totally hexaphonic and can work with any pickup..at a price though. But I've yet to see that system hit the market. A NAMM both teaser only? To show the concept?
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby ManFromGlass » Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:51 pm

This is all great information, thanks. When I finally get to try the EOBrien strat I'll test for high e string, volume swells, low strings and chords. Still if most positions on the neck sustain nicely this guitar will make it onto my very short list of next purchases.
Now to get a high paying gig .......
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby The Coastal Path » Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:32 pm

My experience is that some sustainer guitars seem to work better than others. I have a couple of Fernandes ones (an FR standard and a Monterey delux) where the high e string doesn't seem to sustain as well as others, (as you noted on your guitar Honch). I also have three self-mod ones where the top string sustains perfectly in all positions with string bends without problem - indeed all the strings sustain, including full chords, allowing me to trigger long sustaining myth pads via a Tripleplay synth system.

One clue to our different experience of sustainer guitars may be that the last mod I did, the sustain was poor, especially on the top string in high positions. Attempting to improve things, I tweaked the intensity pot only to break off the cap... (I'm rubbish at these things) and so I ordered a new board. Putting in the new board - changing nothing else - and suddenly the sustain was great, including on the high e string with full tone bends. Make of that what you will, but it certainly seems not all sustainer guitars (including Fernandes own brand) are created equal, and perhaps not all sustainer circuits function as well as they might.
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby Honch » Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:25 pm

The Coastal Path wrote:My experience is that some sustainer guitars seem to work better than others. .... Make of that what you will, but it certainly seems not all sustainer guitars (including Fernandes own brand) are created equal, and perhaps not all sustainer circuits function as well as they might.

Yes that's mostly true. That even the same Sustainier from Fernandes or Maniac Sustainiac STEALTH systems may require too much of tinkering, and calibrating afterwards, so it's no set in stone. It's too many things that must gel with the other pickups used, distance both between pickup, distance to strings, and whatnot. Open, slightly microphonic pickups is a bitch to make even the slightest sustain without any squealing.

When I used to work as a repairman in a partly owned music shop before internet and online shops killed things, I installed 2-3 Fernandes systems on guitars that already had HB pickups. Those 2-3 came back and wanted them changed out to Maniac Sustainiac. I installed Sustainiac too on "brand new" or first installement, i e on guitars that hadn't had any system before. It took a while. The customers were pleased with the Maniacs moreso than the Fernandes. A couple of years down the road they got fed up, and either sold them, traded them in, or lifted the system out again.

I don't think Fender has changed the EOB pickups at all, they use the same Fernandes sustainer kit that has ever been there, with no betterment or development at all. It's a too niched genre or effect to go into. Hence there are basically just two on the market still, these two, Fernandes and Maniac Sustainiac. BTW the Fernandes "sustainer" pickup works as a neck pickup too when not sustaining, and has poorer sound, and weaker output than Maniac ones. The STEALTH system from Maniac uses BiLateral driver which means you can have any pickup /single coil / humbucker in bridge position, slanted too. But when reading their "caveats" and browsing the site, there's just too many things and terms that must be fulfilled beforehand before you install it. Everything has to be checked out that it works with each other, and the guitars total scale and fret numbers too. Maniacs SEEMS to work best in conjunction with other active pickups, like EMG. Even and balanced sustain throughout the strings.

But still, no one of these I did, where polyphonic in any way. The chords just lasted a bit longer, but then, eventually the thickest gauge strings won out. Maybe 2 string I could get running at the same time, which isn't bad by any means. As it is, most people I know, won't use it polyphonically in chords beacuse when they solo they can't dampen the other strings, so stray notes are left open and starts to feed back. The still want it for solos.

Nonsense tale of caution: Old 70s hard rock band from Scotland, Nazareth, with their guitarist Manny Charlton, are often "accused" for using a sustainer of some sort, like E-bow on their 2 most famous hits, "This Flight Tonight" and "Love Hurts". Both contains whining slide solos, however, this is neither e-bow or something else. It's just that Manny turned the amp up loud in the studio, stood close to it, and it sustained infinitely, naturally, and he just moved the slide up and down on one string. Those two hits, came way before any E-bow or something else was invented.
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby Honch » Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:35 pm

As far as I can tell, at least Maniac has changed out their Stealth system, twice, to the better. Now they have some additional "aux" box attached that doesn't require as much space inside the guitar. Fernandes have just come up with it once, and left it at that, no matter how cumbersome and battery drainy it is.

but still the EOB guitar seems interesting.
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby Honch » Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:46 am

AFAIK, Maniac Sustainiac stealth are installed OEM on select Schecter and custom Ibanez models, as they don't want competitors stuff in their guitars. Here's a new one for you, the new .Strandberg guitar Boden, which has won accolades in the Djent genre, has very very close distance between pickups, and yet it works (maniac).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOoJEezoQl4
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby Honch » Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:14 am

As it is, if I would like optimal feedback or sustainer on my guitars it would be something polyphonic (hexaphonic or whatever you call it) but one that only increases the decay and sustain of the strings as you move up the neck. Like it would just be "even" out the decay of the string. Like when I hit and bend the last fret on the neck on the high e-string it will ring and sustain just as long and as much as the open string. And when I move down it gradually decrease the energy and letting the natural decay of the string comes into play more and more. And when doing just open chords and open strings, the sustainer is virtually inactive.

It would be enough to me. AFAIK no sustainer "senses" this today.
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby Honch » Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:19 am

A last wish though:

The Maniac Sustainiac website stinks sooo 80s today. Underlined text, capital words inside the text, and lots of quotation marks and italics, and yes, a cluttered read, that is not easy on the eyes. I wished they could hire some professional, or learn it by themselves how to produce a professional site, that is easy on ones eyes. No other site I've seen has underlined text that isn't a link too.

Way amateurish.
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby Wonks » Tue Jun 26, 2018 5:00 pm

Dave B and I tried out an EOB Strat today in Andertons.

It's a decent guitar, but it's not really a Strat, just a Strat-shaped guitar. The neck is on the chunky side for a Fender neck; not the thickest I've played but thicker than I really like.

The sustainer was fun for a bit, but it certainly didn't hold chords and ended up with a rather generic feedback-style note than something akin to the sound of the guitar itself. It's response altered depending how loud the amp was as well, but you can't always have the amp turned up for the quickest response.

For £911, I'd expect a bit more. I'm sure it could probably be set up to behave slightly differently, but it's a lot of money to spend on something that might come in useful on one or two songs song, and didn't sound special enough to use as a guitar in its own right.

This is obviously a subjective quick review, so you may feel differently after trying one.
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby Honch » Tue Jun 26, 2018 5:44 pm

Great, Wonks!

Thanks for the brief review! Now that EOB do has the Fernandes Sustainer built in, a stock unit, without mods, and there you go, not holding chords or polyphonic in any way. But as with all other things, it seems people have to try it out first, and be scrutinizing it, and then usually make up their own minds, of "do I really need this ... or is it just a toy?"
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