Why Does My RGA121 Have The Worst Sustain Of Any Guitar I've Ever Used? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-16-2007, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
 
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Why Does My RGA121 Have The Worst Sustain Of Any Guitar I've Ever Used?

Really... my RGA121 has the worst sustain of any guitar I've ever played and I can't figure out why. My cheap-o B.C. Rich has better sustain. I've had my RGA121 set up twice, had strings from 10s to extra thick meant for detuning on it, and I've even tried tilting the saddles back to put more pressure on the strings all to no avail.

What the hell is going on? It seems like the G string is by far the worst. It's so bad on the upper frets (10 all the way up) that I can't even play singing passages in songs without replucking a lot as the sustain just fades out within a couple seconds.

The one and only thing I can think of that could possibly be the culprit is that some of the upper frets are too high and they cause anything played before them to be fretted out quickly but even if I play on the last fret (24) the sustain still sucks. Maybe concluding it's a saddle thing - but how could that be? And how could that be fixed.

I brought the guitar into the shop and physically showed the guy what was happening and we whipped out another RGA (321f that they had on the shelf) and it was pretty crappy in the sustain too. That was discouraging because now I can't know for sure it's just my guitar. The shop guy said the only thing they can do is send it to friggin' Japan were it was made to have it looked at. But he said they rarely do anything to 'send-outs' unless they really find something.

What in God's name is going on and how can I fix it? This is my favorite guitar of all time (that I've played) but with horrendous sustain it's not fulfilling the dream.
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-16-2007, 09:53 PM
 
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Re: Why Does My RGA121 Have The Worst Sustain Of Any Guitar I've Ever Used?

Sorry to hear you're having troubles man. Had some issues on my strat similar to this.

First off, I checked how much vibrational room the string had on the upper registers. Granted, you're going to have to find a middle ground between low action/movement room, so try and strike a balance. Mine needed neck and saddle adjustment.

Next, I'd make sure that my strings were sitting in the correct position in the saddles. Sometimes, depending on the bridge, if they're not in a certain area, it'll kill tone and sustain. Check that out also.

Check for loose parts that are in contact with the strings. Machine heads not so tight? Nut coming off? If the guitar isn't vibrating as a whole piece, it's going to sustain less.

Lastly, back your pickups off a little. You may be getting stratitis.

Hope some of this helps, good luck with the diagnostic.
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-16-2007, 11:46 PM
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Re: Why Does My RGA121 Have The Worst Sustain Of Any Guitar I've Ever Used?

Try lowering the pickups.
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-16-2007, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Why Does My RGA121 Have The Worst Sustain Of Any Guitar I've Ever Used?

I'll try taking the bridge pickup out as it being a X2N (biggest magnet on a PU out there) it may be pulling the strings. I had to bore the screw mounts a little as it was since the X2N is so fat it was sitting way to close to the strings but it doesn't seem to close now... I'll take it out all together and see how the neck PU reacts none the less (it's a "The Breed" which is the best gosh darn neck PU I've ever heard and goes really well with the X2N).
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-17-2007, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Why Does My RGA121 Have The Worst Sustain Of Any Guitar I've Ever Used?

Hmm, okay wow. I took the X2N out (just unscrewed it and had it hanging out of the guitar) and used the neck PU, which I backed off, and it seems pretty good sustain wise. By pretty good I mean not frustratingly bad but nothing to phone home about and the G string was still being dumb - not as much as before but there's sure as hell something going on with the G string.

Anyway, then I screwed the X2N back in and, yeah, you can definitely tell there's less sustain (I still used the neck PU). This seems weird though as the X2N isn't that close to the strings. How far away should it be? It's farther away than, say, my Seymour Duncan Distortion bridge PU is in my Les Paul. And my Les Paul still has better sustain.

Still... with the X2N taken out all together the guitar's sustain is wack. The way the sound dies down is not normal. It does not fade in a linear way like the string sound usually does on a guitar. It has this almost noticeable change in tone a split second after you pick, then the sound fades SO quickly like something is touching it. You should hear the highest string on the 24th fret with the X2N in - it has less than a second before it fizzles out to complete silence. I'm not talking to low for playing I mean absolutely no sound as though I'm touching it with my finger. And on the 24th fret there can't possibly be anything, like another fret, getting in the way.

The problem has to be bridge/saddle related. The 24th fret on the B.C. Rich (with it's crap PUs) has pretty damn good sustain.

Spending a lot of money on the guitar then finding out the sustain blows sucks. (hehe, oxymoron). What I really want is another RGA121 to thoroughly compare.
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-17-2007, 02:31 AM
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Re: Why Does My RGA121 Have The Worst Sustain Of Any Guitar I've Ever Used?

The neck pup will cause more string pull problems than the bridge one and you will hear 'wolf tones' in extreme cases. I'm not convinced it's that anyway. I bet you have too much neck relief and the bridge is set low to compensate. This would 'choke' the strings higher up the neck. Read your manual and check it, adjust the truss rod and reset the bridge height.
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-18-2007, 12:01 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Why Does My RGA121 Have The Worst Sustain Of Any Guitar I've Ever Used?

Yeah, I'm totally going to adjust the truss rod as I've always figured it was fret related. And the only fret fixing options are neck/bridge adjustments or filing the actual frets.

Though, like I said I had thing set up twice and both times the tech told me he couldn't find anything wrong with the guitar.
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-18-2007, 09:56 AM
 
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Re: Why Does My RGA121 Have The Worst Sustain Of Any Guitar I've Ever Used?

Adjusting the neck is a good place to start and the pup height is also important especially when you are using such a hot pup.

I own the RGA121 with a JB/Jazz combo and I haven't had any sustain issues but I was lucky to get them set at the proper height since they are direct mounted with no adjustability.

I'll go back and play around a little more and see if I notice anything that may be of more help.
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-18-2007, 11:28 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Why Does My RGA121 Have The Worst Sustain Of Any Guitar I've Ever Used?

^Thanks. The most noticeable sustain problem is the 11, 12, 13 and 14th fret on the G string (standard tuning). The other two unwound strings in that area also have lame sustain but the G string is horrendous. It also kinda' looks like the 12th fret is slightly shorter (I'm talking super slightly) than the 13th which of course would cause a problem with fretting out.

Question: Are all the frets put in originally at the EXACT same hight or does the manufacturer apply different heights down the neck? I ask this because the RGA321F I tried at the music shop seemed to have the same 'ever-so-slightly' shorter 12th fret also and, like I said in a previous post, that RGA seemed to have bad sustain on the G as well (which lead me to believe RGAs' sustain may just not be that great all together - but I've never heard anyone else complain of the RGA's sustain).
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-18-2007, 11:33 PM
 
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Re: Why Does My RGA121 Have The Worst Sustain Of Any Guitar I've Ever Used?

Johnny you must have gotten a lemon, i have 3 RGA's and they ALL Sustain for days, sorry about your luck.
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-19-2007, 02:09 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Why Does My RGA121 Have The Worst Sustain Of Any Guitar I've Ever Used?

^Well, if I did indeed get a lemon what can I do about it? The shop guy said he can have it sent out to the manufacturer (in Japan) but I'd like to know what the hell the problem is in the first place. The manufacturer won't do anything to the guitar if they can't diagnose a problem.

Can someone take a picture of their RGA positioned horizontally that shows the neck connecting to the body? I'm looking at my RGA and it kind looks like the neck props up slightly at the very end of the finger board - which would essentially make a bow in the neck that makes the last frets higher than the ones before it, causing fretting out.
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-19-2007, 02:50 AM
 
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Re: Why Does My RGA121 Have The Worst Sustain Of Any Guitar I've Ever Used?

neck on securely, as in bolted down tight
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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-19-2007, 03:27 AM
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Re: Why Does My RGA121 Have The Worst Sustain Of Any Guitar I've Ever Used?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Two Tone View Post
Really... my RGA121 has the worst sustain of any guitar I've ever played and I can't figure out why. My cheap-o B.C. Rich has better sustain. I've had my RGA121 set up twice, had strings from 10s to extra thick meant for detuning on it, and I've even tried tilting the saddles back to put more pressure on the strings all to no avail.

What the hell is going on? It seems like the G string is by far the worst. It's so bad on the upper frets (10 all the way up) that I can't even play singing passages in songs without replucking a lot as the sustain just fades out within a couple seconds.

The one and only thing I can think of that could possibly be the culprit is that some of the upper frets are too high and they cause anything played before them to be fretted out quickly but even if I play on the last fret (24) the sustain still sucks. Maybe concluding it's a saddle thing - but how could that be? And how could that be fixed.

I brought the guitar into the shop and physically showed the guy what was happening and we whipped out another RGA (321f that they had on the shelf) and it was pretty crappy in the sustain too. That was discouraging because now I can't know for sure it's just my guitar. The shop guy said the only thing they can do is send it to friggin' Japan were it was made to have it looked at. But he said they rarely do anything to 'send-outs' unless they really find something.

What in God's name is going on and how can I fix it? This is my favorite guitar of all time (that I've played) but with horrendous sustain it's not fulfilling the dream.
From what you're saying, it sounds like the problem is severe. I suggest these simple trouble shooting tips on sustain:

1. One way to trouble shoot is to get a straight edge and see if the neck is bowed. Place one end of the straight edge at the 1st fret, and lay it down across the fretboard, the neck should dip slightly in the middle around the 12th fret, a tiny bit of space is expected and acceptable. Check the neck.

2. Check the frets. It requires a special tool that can cover 3 frets at a time, if it teeters back and forth on any set of three frets, likely the middle fret is too high.

I owned an RGA121NTF, and I had no problems with sustain, in fact, it was the best constructed guitar I have EVER played. the articulation, and neck was astounding. Not just eh, good enough, but so good I could tell from just playing it.

The problems you are having are troubling to me because typically fret and neck bowing has the symptom of fret buzz. Do you have any fret buzz?
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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-19-2007, 06:59 AM
 
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Re: Why Does My RGA121 Have The Worst Sustain Of Any Guitar I've Ever Used?

Quote:
Originally Posted by clnh5 View Post
Johnny you must have gotten a lemon, i have 3 RGA's and they ALL Sustain for days, sorry about your luck.
3 RGAs ummm! Post pics Sorry to hijack thread, but the idea of having several RGAs as little hitmen for different jobs is awesome, I want one in every single colour eventually
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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-19-2007, 01:18 PM
 
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Re: Why Does My RGA121 Have The Worst Sustain Of Any Guitar I've Ever Used?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andelusion View Post
3 RGAs ummm! Post pics Sorry to hijack thread, but the idea of having several RGAs as little hitmen for different jobs is awesome, I want one in every single colour eventually
I like your "hitmen" theory.

RGA's ROCK!!!! IMHO, Ibanez hit a BIG home run with that series.
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Tags
bridge pickup , duncan distortion , finger board , fret buzz , gauge strings , guitar tech , high gain amp , les paul , neck bow , neck pup , neck relief , neck screws , seymour duncan , seymour duncan distortion , truss rod , upper fret , upper frets , wound strings

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