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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby Dave B » Tue Jun 26, 2018 6:28 pm

Interestingly, I'm not sure that that is a standard, off the shelf Fenandes system for the sustainer. It has 3 sustain modes (normal, harmonic and 'feedback') and the pickups are nothing like the ones I've played and owned. I'm also sure that the FSKs allow different pickups to be used and this one is fixed so that once you turn on the sustain, only the bridge is used regardless of the selector switch.

I'll just have to try and get my FSK mod'ed Ibanez back from my mate and have a bit of a fiddle to see whether I'm just mis-remembering. But I'm sure I used to be able to swell in multiple strings.....

The EOB, as Wonks said, is an interesting guitar that isn't really a Strat. Even with the sustainer off, it didn't come across as very Strat like sounding. The neck pickup is quite dull sounding and the bridge is a little strange, so positions 2+4 also sound wrong. It's in the ballpark, but it wouldn't be what I'd reach for when I wanted those sounds. Saying that, I had a blast playing it. I do like the way that the intensity control has replaced the second tone control so you can tweak how it all cuts in. And I got on better with the neck than Wonks.

I thought of it as 'what if someone offered you a guitar which sustained even more than a Les Paul, but weighed as much as a Strat' .. I think it's an interesting bit of kit for great guitar-based sound design. And that makes it an interesting addition to a collection; maybe not a one size fits all instrument, but a good one nonetheless.
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby Wonks » Tue Jun 26, 2018 6:56 pm

But the EOB doesn't 'sustain' like a Les Paul does. it doesn't take a lot of volume and drive to get a LP sustaining and it does in a way I'm far more accustomed to. It doesn't drop substantially in volume like the EOB did before the sustained note came through. Not saying it's wrong, just it just does it in a different way.
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby The Coastal Path » Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:19 pm

Three sustain modes are normal for the Fernandes 401 kit - Normal, harmonic and a blend mode - this is what the EOB Strat has. What's unusual on the EOB is the bridge pickup. FYI the pickup selector switch stops working on all sustainer guitars when sustain is activated - the neck pickup becomes the driver and only the bridge pickup produces sound - it's inherent to the circuit design. When switched off, the neck pickup sound you are hearing is the sustainer driver when working as a pickup.
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby ManFromGlass » Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:16 pm

I went back to the Fender site to see what they say about EOB chords sustaining. This is what I found. Seems the marketing dept knows how to avoid hard commitment. The instrument has authentic look, feel and tone of a classic etc etc .....

Image
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby Wonks » Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:36 pm

Not a hint of a soft-V near the nut on the EOB I tried. Chubby and round all the way down the neck.
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby Honch » Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:57 am

Dave B wrote:Interestingly, I'm not sure that that is a standard, off the shelf Fenandes system for the sustainer. It has 3 sustain modes (normal, harmonic and 'feedback') and the pickups are nothing like the ones I've played and owned. I'm also sure that the FSKs allow different pickups to be used and this one is fixed so that once you turn on the sustain, only the bridge is used regardless of the selector switch.
control so you can tweak how it all cuts in. And I got on better with the neck than Wonks.
.

As it is I've tried one EOB now. The FSK on it is as standard as it comes. No sustainer kit allows for different pickups to be used, at the same time as the sustainer. The middle pickup can't be used (if it's a strat), and no neck pickup. The only ones are the Sustainiac Model C (or whatever) where you clamp a large lump of magnet at the headstock and vibrates the whole guitar. Tip: Raise your guitar combo cab up to waist level, and stick your headstock onto it while playing on moderate volumes and you get the same "feedback" through the guitar. If you want infinite sustain with all pickups.

The EOB lures you into thinking that it sustains infinitely on all 6 strings EQUALLY AMOUNT ALL OF THE TIME. I think you just haven't waited long enough for the natural decay of the strings to "peter out" in order for you to hear the FSK kick in and stay on a specific note on ONE OR TWO STRINGS. I got inifite sustain on 2 strings at most. And it was hugely dependent on WHICH NOTE it was along the neck. If I did "octaves" so to speak, say I had one finger on the A-string at 7th fret (an E note) and another finger on the g-string at 9th fret (e-note) both kept ringing for ages, due to their natural resonant frequencies of both the wood and strings and body resonance. If I just moved it one fret above (making it an F) the results turned different, it was only the high G-strings "f" that sustained for infinity. Not the low one. And if I moved around, keeping the same pattern, the A-string "took over" and "rang" over the g-string. If I waited long enough.

If we remove the FSK sustainer altogether, all of us know that when we're playing with the mildest distortion, or at average volume, that while playing - say - solos you have to dampen the other strings that you're not playing with the side of your palm or other fingers. I e the other open strings starts to SYMPATHETICALLY RING and drone about when you whack just another tone or string. Now think of those other strings sympathetically droning when you have a full excited G-strings of any FSK sustainer. Of course, the resonance goes through all the body, bridge, nut and starts to excite the other strings too, albeit in a faint way. If those strings are at the same note (open) or harmonic of it, no wonder they start to jump out and may take over, and this can be misinterpreted at "all strings sustains for ever". It all depends on the rest of the guitar, resonant body wood, direct coupling between neck and body, and the manner of how much or little the bridge metal will carry vibrations from adjacent strings over to the strings that are not played.

Added on top of this should be pickup microphonics, and the speakers vincinity to the guitar. Even if you don't have volume turned up to feedback levels, the guitar will still be affected by the vibrations in the air. I mean, how many times doesn't we have to finger mute open strings with our fretting hand when doing something else with the right, even if it's not at loud volume levels at all?

- - - - - - -

So mind you this: If you were about to produce sustain on a string without any FSK, you have to tremulate with your pick just as you do when you're playing mandolins. You play mostly with close hand on mandolins, and you can't damp the other strings. Do that and take a listen. Stop tremulating (picking very fast on one string) abruptly and then quick stop the string you played, and listen to the resonant (reverb like) drones that all the other strings makes.

THIS is what happens with the FSK (or anyone else) kicked in too. Instead of tremulating, it excites the string quite loudly and with great oscillation, so all the other strings must resonate together too. And it's way different for different notes. But the resonating isn't a cause of the FSK. I think it's this difference that lures people into thinking that the FSK (and others) are sustaining infinitely for all 6 strings at the same time, EQUALLY as much. There's only one unit that does this, and it's the Moog guitar. The Keith McMillen thing hasn't reached the market yet, and is still in the prototype stages.

So this is different from guitar to guitar. But I think most people confuses this "infinite sustain" up with natural sympathetic drone resonance. They mixed it up. If all strings can be heard although you're just pressing one note down on - say - g-string and that note still rings "infinitely" through all the others, you may mistake the ones that are being actually excited by the FSK and the ones due to/thanks to normal through body resonance, sympathetic droning. The main thing is that they do sound the same in carachter so you can't really tell which ones are excited by the FSK and the ones that are just "droning around". I've done the experiment too with an E-bow, exciting just one string. The two adjancent got dampened but the low E started to "drone about" and was almost as loud as the E-bow sustaining note I was playing. Very annoying if the key wasn't suitable for that low open E-string.
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby Honch » Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:11 am

Oh, I forgot to say, I do still think EOB is an interesting guitar, by all means. I am only putting this out to those that are about to make the plunge that:

1. Don't expect it to be polyphonic on all 6 strings at the same time. Equally as much infinite sustain.

2. Don't expect to use ALL different pickups at the same time as the FSK kicks in. You can only use bridge pup with infinite sustain.

3. Don't expect it to be a guitar where you can change out pickups to any other 3rd party pickups. Stick with the stock ones that comes with it.

4. The actual neck pickup sound when not engaging infinite sustain is a bit on the weak side, but so it is with all FSK systems and not a specific "weakness" of the EOB guitar.

It's about the only caveats there is to know, or be wary about. if you collect all the rants of mine, it seems I am just damning it with faint praise, but no, I do actually recommend this guitar, as it is, for now, not that many that comes as a viable alternative to it.
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby Honch » Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:30 am

ManFromGlass wrote: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.

This is what lures people, and it did fool me too. The Fernandez Sustainer Kit (FSK) on all guitars does just allow for humbucker pickups in bridge position. The thing that fooled me, and you, was the stacked humbucker, and the ones THAT LOOKS LIKE SINGLE COIL from Seymour Duncan, but it is a humbucker pickup. Don't be fooled by the size. The EOB bridge pup is a humbucker actually. It can't be switched either, to a tap or split coil to "mimick" the sound of a single coil.

Only Sustainiac System with their Stealth sustainer pickup allows for a true single coil pickup in the bridge position. I have yet to see or come across any Fernandes guitar with a true single coil in bridge position with the FSK system on.
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby Dave B » Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:53 pm

Curiouser and curiouser. So I've retrieved my Fenandes retro-fitted Ibanez so that I could check to see if my memory was playing tricks on me. Turns out it was and it wasn't...

So, yes - I hadn't noticed that turning the sustainer on forces the signal through the bridge pickup. Mine does that. Shows how much attention to detail I have :)

But I was right about mine having only a 2 way selector switch for the sustain modes. And I don't have an intensity control on mine (as it's an RG which only has volume and tone so no spare pot to re-purpose). Having a look at the installation instructions for the FDK401 (which I'm fairly sure it is), I should have the above. Hmmnn.. I bought mine of fleaBay from a dealer who'd done the mod himself so I'm guessing he took pragmatic decisions. It might be nice to get it up to 100% though. So I think that it may need to be doctored a little bit to remedy these issues.

What I was surprised by was that it looks like if the battery is flat, then the output from the neck pickup drops - even if the sustainer isn't on. Fortunately, I have rechargeable batteries so I'll always be able to drop in something with a current if needed. Handy to know I suppose.
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby The Coastal Path » Sat Jul 21, 2018 9:43 pm

Dave B wrote:Curiouser and curiouser. So I've retrieved my Fenandes retro-fitted Ibanez so that I could check to see if my memory was playing tricks on me. Turns out it was and it wasn't...

So, yes - I hadn't noticed that turning the sustainer on forces the signal through the bridge pickup. Mine does that. Shows how much attention to detail I have :)

But I was right about mine having only a 2 way selector switch for the sustain modes. And I don't have an intensity control on mine (as it's an RG which only has volume and tone so no spare pot to re-purpose). Having a look at the installation instructions for the FDK401 (which I'm fairly sure it is), I should have the above. Hmmnn.. I bought mine of fleaBay from a dealer who'd done the mod himself so I'm guessing he took pragmatic decisions. It might be nice to get it up to 100% though. So I think that it may need to be doctored a little bit to remedy these issues.

What I was surprised by was that it looks like if the battery is flat, then the output from the neck pickup drops - even if the sustainer isn't on. Fortunately, I have rechargeable batteries so I'll always be able to drop in something with a current if needed. Handy to know I suppose.

If there is no middle position on the mode switch (ie just normal or harmonic 2-positions), you have the FSK101 board in the guitar. Many Fernandes guitars use this - it's identical to the 401, except it doesn't have the mix mode or intensity control. It's a fairly easy swap if you purchase a 401 board - it's the same size - the trickiest part is adding the sustainer pot. Personally I don't think the additional control / mode is worth the hassle.
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby Dave B » Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:51 am

Ah - that makes sense. Ta for that. :)
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Re: Sustainer Strat

Postby ManFromGlass » Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:16 pm

I have the Sustainiac Model C and have found what Honch described - certain notes sustain better than others. A difference from the EOB is that I can use my choice of pickups and guitar. Possibly some guitars will sustain some notes that others won't due to its own internal resonances. (I'm guessing here)
The cool thing about the Sustainiac is that you can really feel the entire guitar vibrating - it feels alive!
Interesting to hear about a competitor to the Moog guitar. Fingers crossed on price and success of sustain. A year ago I ordered through kickstarter the Vo Wand being developed by Paul Vo. Supposedly it is a roughly ebow sized, but thinner, device that uses the Moog technology to sustain. I think it is single string as opposed to more than 1 string sustain. I hope he finishes it soon - another cool device for music making.
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