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Thread: Sustain...What Makes it Happen? Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
01-31-2013 01:25 PM
63Blazer
Re: Sustain...What Makes it Happen?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dccomputersa View Post
Pickups play a large part too, my guitar has 2 single coils and they do not sustain very well at all. the humbucker does!
That's kind of obvious but when we get all misty talking about wood and ultra thin finishes, the 800 pound gorilla in the room (single coil vs. humbucker) often gets overlooked.

While it's important for the string to retain energy, like Ryan P mentioned, the microphone picking up the voice (the pickup) is by far the largest factor.

For an acoustic you want the string to transfer to vibrating to the top for more volume, but for a solidbody, try to keep the energy in the string for longest, cleanest signal. Much of what we hear when plugged in is the work of the pickup. If you have a great, vibrating string, that's useless if the pickup is too far away from the string, or simply too weak. You can take a thin string with a lot of wasted energy being transferred to the wood and have that being amplified very well with a good strong pickup and nice amp. For the most part, most aftermarket pickups going through a medium 50 watts will give you more sustain than will be tasteful for holding a note lest you want to hold it so long as to annoy the music gods (check out 0:47 to 0:57 in attached video for an example of too much sustain or a single note being held far too long). Yes sustain and holding a note can be a good thing, but more is not always better:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6j4f8cHBIM
01-31-2013 01:23 PM
63Blazer
Re: Sustain...What Makes it Happen?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swirltop View Post
I was comparing my RG2570e that I just bought and my RG570 Swirltop last night and I noticed a very significant difference in sustain between the two. So I'm wondering what makes one guitar sustain so much more than another when their construction is so similar.

The RG2570E has the stock Dimarzio/IBZ pickups and an Edge Pro bridge while the RG570 has EVO's and an Original Edge bridge, although the RG570 had beautiful sustain with just the stock V7/V8 pickups as well.

When I was refinishing my RG570 and another guitar I used the neck, body, and bridge in a few other combinations so I would have a floating trem guitar to play, but none of those combos ever produced the same sustain. Even using another RG570 body with this 570 neck did not produce the same...

Is it simply some combination of neck and body that, when combined, just resonate magically together?
From my experience for solidbody guitars it's true while body and neck woods, bridge, and gauge of strings do make small differences, the pickups and amp and effects account for most of what I call sustain.

While I like a regular passive pickup through a small amp, there's no denying that on a solidbody, regardless of wood and bridge, an EMG 81 will sustain more on that particular instrument versus if you had a Seth Lover in the same position.

I would much prefer the tone of the Seth, but the 81 beats almost all other humbuckers hands down when it comes to sustain. Add something like a large Marshall or Boogie, then you can sustain and also get a noise ordinance ticket at the same time...but that never happened to me and I am sticking with that story!
01-31-2013 11:30 AM
aliensporebomb
Re: Sustain...What Makes it Happen?

There's a lot of factors but things I've noticed over the years. I'd walk past a series of guitars on the rack in a store and just hit the back of the headstock with my hand and hear how it rings out and you could hear big differences in even that.

Then I'd go down the rack just hitting the open low E - there was one particular guitar that was amazingly loud - almost like an acoustic guitar but it was a solidbody electric.
Acoustically loud guitars seem to be long sustainers in my experience.

Magnetic pull from the pickups can effect sustain but sometimes it's just a very fine piece of wood.

I have a neckthru construction guitar and that thing sustains quite a bit:


But one of the longest sustaining "alive" guitars I have is an Ibanez that just happens to be a big piece of mahogany with maple on top:



It's just a really resonant guitar and there are certain spots on the neck that if you play it just holds that note almost as long as you want to let it go.
01-29-2013 09:06 PM
Swirltop
Re: Sustain...What Makes it Happen?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan P. View Post
Yes, I agree. In fact, civil engineers put a great deal of effort into minimizing this type of vibration in the structures they build. The dimensions of buildings, bridges, etc. have to be carefully chosen to reject such vibrations.
HAHAHA Yeah a skyscraper with a resonant frequency that can be produced by wind shear would not be a good thing
01-29-2013 08:23 PM
Ryan P.
Re: Sustain...What Makes it Happen?

Yes, I agree. In fact, civil engineers put a great deal of effort into minimizing this type of vibration in the structures they build. The dimensions of buildings, bridges, etc. have to be carefully chosen to reject such vibrations.
01-29-2013 06:14 PM
Swirltop
Re: Sustain...What Makes it Happen?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan P. View Post
I can tell you as a physics major that it has absolutely nothing to do with "resonance," or anything like that. In fact, resonance in the body or neck is the last thing you want if you want good sustain. The only energy available to the vibrating system comes from you picking the string, and as more energy is transferred from the string into the body (wasted energy), less is available to the string to continue its vibration.
Well maybe it's more like the anti-resonant properties of the wood that absorb less of the vibrations of the strings and allow them to vibrate more efficiently and for a longer period of time resulting in more sustain...
01-29-2013 05:44 PM
Ibateur
Re: Sustain...What Makes it Happen?

I believe that sustain is a result of a balance between the magnetic pull of a pickup and a string's natural vibrations.
01-29-2013 05:39 PM
Ryan P.
Re: Sustain...What Makes it Happen?

I can tell you as a physics major that it has absolutely nothing to do with "resonance," or anything like that. In fact, resonance in the body or neck is the last thing you want if you want good sustain. The only energy available to the vibrating system comes from you picking the string, and as more energy is transferred from the string into the body (wasted energy), less is available to the string to continue its vibration.
01-28-2013 03:37 AM
satch_jr
Re: Sustain...What Makes it Happen?

I do have a little gap on one side in the neck pocket: the gap between the neck and the body is less than 1mm but still is there. I unfortunately don't have pictures showing the gap.
I know the sustain is quite weak, which is p****ng me off regularly.

I guess there is only one trick (as filling the gap with a small piece of wood will not improve the sustain drastically IMO): the sustain block.
I think about making my own sustain block, but I don't know what to choose as material: copper or brass...
01-26-2013 10:56 PM
Swirltop
Re: Sustain...What Makes it Happen?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob18 View Post
Just check out this video ww*.youtube*com/watch?v=zmFSivO5Tuk from 2.46 until around 3.40. Vai said that the reason why he love his EVO -technically- is the freq of wood of EVO body and neck are same, this is very very rare and that's why EVO can 'sing' the notes very nice...
I always thought he was full of crap on that one too, until I got this RG570. I never though a floating trem bolt-on neck guitar could sustain as well as this one does. It may be something totally different, but maybe the neck and body match up just right, maybe it's just a good chunk of body wood, or maybe it's the neck, but something about it is different than all the other RG's Ive ever owned... I guess I should just feel lucky
01-26-2013 08:09 PM
darrenw5094
Re: Sustain...What Makes it Happen?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RyansJem View Post
Hahahahahahaha, that made my night haha!
Can't believe he got off with that one.
01-26-2013 05:46 PM
RyansJem
Re: Sustain...What Makes it Happen?

Quote:
Originally Posted by darrenw5094 View Post
Did you just post that on the Jemsite?
Hahahahahahaha, that made my night haha!
01-26-2013 03:58 PM
darrenw5094
Re: Sustain...What Makes it Happen?

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewsfury View Post
watch all vais videos and you will see he is full of crapp.
Hes a wanker ( he will even tell you he is).
Did you just post that on the Jemsite?

Good guitar player though.
01-26-2013 03:41 PM
andrewsfury
Re: Sustain...What Makes it Happen?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob18 View Post
Just check out this video ww*.youtube*com/watch?v=zmFSivO5Tuk from 2.46 until around 3.40. Vai said that the reason why he love his EVO -technically- is the freq of wood of EVO body and neck are same, this is very very rare and that's why EVO can 'sing' the notes very nice...
watch all vais videos and you will see he is full of crapp.
Hes a wanker ( he will even tell you he is).
01-26-2013 01:45 PM
rob18
Re: Sustain...What Makes it Happen?

Just check out this video ww*.youtube*com/watch?v=zmFSivO5Tuk from 2.46 until around 3.40. Vai said that the reason why he love his EVO -technically- is the freq of wood of EVO body and neck are same, this is very very rare and that's why EVO can 'sing' the notes very nice...
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