Sustain ... what is it ?

DrBGood

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Hear the can of worms open, but we can be civilised about this, can we ? I'm looking for a honest discussion, no hearsay please. Stay calm and evrything will be fine, We don't have anything else to do, don't we ? :h5:

- Is it only discussed in the mahogany guitar world à la Gibson/PRS or do Fender type players worry about it too ?

- Do any of you feel you're missing on sustain. All we hear about is how much "more" sustain this or that guitar have.

- Should sustain be measured only with clean tone or even unplugged ?

- Is sustain amp type related ?

- Is sustain using any pedal, fake sustain ?
 

Tubejockey

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...... and how much sustain do you really need?

In the real world sustain is a function of many things, most importantly amp feedback, gain settings, phase, etc. Changing something like a tail piece or top wrapping makes as much as NO difference at all in the grand scheme.
 

NorlinBlackBeauty

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I have a '73 LPC and a recent StratoParts build. They both provide ample sustain on their own. How much one is better than the other? Haven't given it much thought.

It seems to me a humbucker might have the edge on sustain given its larger more uniform magnetic field compared to a standard Strat type pickup.

The Lace Sensor Holy Grail pickups in the Strat build have a wider field than a standard single coil, but are not to the level of a Gibson type humbucker.

I have two tube amps with a lot of gain on tap. Gain has a tremendous effect on amplified sustain. More volume provides more sustain at similar gain levels.

I do not use pedals of any kind.
 
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sonar1

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Sustaining a note without overdrive on a guitar depends on how much string energy the guitar design and materials absorb.
With an amp certain notes may sustain longer than others.
If compression is used it may level the response and add some squash to all the frequencies.
Feedback can sometimes drive sustain infinitely on certain notes.
Then, there are E-bow devices that magnetically drive the string.
A Fernandes “Sustainiac” equipped guitar can provide infinite sustain on any note.

Ted McCarty wanted sustain on Les Pauls, but also tone. Rock maple has lots of sustain, but a brittle sound.

Any ol’ Fender bolt neck gives me enough sustain for the way I phrase, but sometimes I want to sing held notes out there for expression. Then, distortion is your friend.
 
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efstop

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I wonder if the Chinese built JOYO JTA-05 with a 5Y3GT or 5AR4 (depends on who you buy it from) will do the bloom thang. I won't have mine till next month.

Otherwise, I have sustain covered if I want it.
 

CB91710

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60% of sustain is in your left hand.
15% is in your volume and location relative to the amp.
The other 25% doesn't matter. The first two can carry enough sustain for "That Smell" whether the guitar is made from balsa, mahogany, or concrete.
 

Wuuthrad

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Sustain is non existent for practical purposes on a Classical Guitar.

Electric Guitar and Electronics tomfoolery (and props and thanks to all that have pushed the envelope) have given us endless harmonic sustain that rivals and surpasses the violin!

-edit- to answer your questions.

1) Fender released a signature model Strat with a sustainer Pickup recently (the Radiohead guitarist) and many other examples would suggest that brand or wood isn’t the only factor. Think EVH and basswood for example.

2) I only miss sustain when playing a Classical Guitar, but that’s a different instrument- polyphonic multI-timbral and with more dynamic range. Different animals so to speak. Guitar pedals are my friend. Also steel strings!

3) Sustain should be ( or rather is) measured clean and distorted. Whichever you like!

4) Sustain is absolutely Amp related, but not exclusively. For example, a good overdriven pre-amp will sustain more than one which requires “dime-ing” compared to when at low levels.

5) Not fake at all. Comparing the acoustic sustain of an electric instrument to its amplified affected sound is irrelevant in my opinion.

Interesting topic!
 
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rockstar232007

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Sustain is what makes it possible to give the notes their "soul".

Think of how singers control the length, and power of their breath/voices, to add emotion to their songs. Same concept with stringed-instruments.
 

M@nChild

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unfortunately for some, the only sustain we will ever produce is by lifting our leg and letting er ring out. but yeah left hand and techniques and stuff should get you there!
 


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