sustainers for stringed musical instruments

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Here are the MAIN QUESTIONS and some answers about sustainers in general, and in particular the Sustainiac® Sustain Systems.

  1. Can the SUSTAINIAC "pickup" replace one of my pickups?
  2. How does the Sustainiac sustainer work?
  3. Please elaborate on this.
  4. Why would I want to buy a Sustainiac sustainer when I can get the same effect with my own amplifier?
  5. Why does a transducer (driver ) have to attach to the guitar? Can't you just make Sustainiac sustainers like other stomp boxes?
  6. Why does the Sustainiac STEALTH PRO driver have to go next to the neck? My neck pickup on my (blank) guitar is my favorite pickup!
  7. Why does the STEALTH PRO sustainer automatically switch over to the bridge pickup when the sustainer is on?
  8. Will the Sustainiac STEALTH PRO sustainer change my tone?
  9. I have heard that you make more than one kind of Sustainiac sustainer.
  10. Which type is better: Acoustic or magnetic sustainer?
  11. Will the intense vibration produced by a Sustainiac MODEL C Sustainer harm my instrument?
  12. I have an older Sustainiac MODEL B Sustainer. Can I use the transducer of the new Model C with the old Model B?
  13. Will I have to change my playing style to use Sustainiac sustainers?
  14. Who uses Sustainiac sustainers?
  15. Can I use Sustainiac sustainers on my bass, or acoustic guitar?
  16. Are Sustainiac sustainers the same as other sustainers?
  17. Another company tells me that they bought your patents. Is that true?
  18. What is a BILATERAL DRIVER and why is it so special?
  19. Since the STEALTH PRO sustainer runs on a single 9-volt battery, is as good as an 18-volt sustainer?
  20. What's the deal with MIX mode? Why do you call it that? Can I get MIX MODE with the Stealth PRO like I have on my old Sustainiac GA-1/GA-2 sustainer?
  21. Do you make a Sustainiac electroacoustic-type sustainer that doesn't have a wire hanging off the headstock?
  22. Are the Sustainiac sustainers anything like an Ebow?
  23. The Sustainiac STEALTH PRO uses a stereo output jack to connect/disconnect the battery. I already use such a jack for my internal guitar preamp. Can I leave this out of my Stealth PRO installation?
  24. Can I use the Sustainiac STEALTH PRO sustainer with my Roland synth pickup?
  25. I have an old Sustainiac GA-1 or GA-2 sustainer. Do you work on these?
  26. Can I sustain chords with the Sustainiac sustainers?
  27. Can just send you my guitar body (without the neck) to have you install the Sustainiac STEALTH PRO sustainer?
  28. Can I use my own toggle or push-pull controls on the Sustainiac STEALTH PRO sustainer?
  29. Which is better: Toggle or push-pull controls?
  30. How much does it cost?

(1) Q. Can the SUSTAINIAC"pickup" replace one of my pickups?

A. This is the number one question people ask. The short answer is "yes". The Sustainiac STEALTH PRO is actually a SUSTAIN SYSTEM. The driver of the system looks a lot like a pickup, but itís more than that. It functions as an active neck pickup when the sustainer is OFF. But, when you turn the sustainer ON, it functions as a magnetic string driver. See the next question. Also, go to REAL SUSTAIN vs. FAKE SUSTAIN, Sustainiacâ "Stealth PRO Ô" and Sustainiac â"Model C" pages.

(2) Q. How does the Sustainiac sustainer work?

A. The Sustainiac Sustainers make controlled feedback sustain. It's like playing in front of a loud amplifier: If you hold your guitar near the speakers, the intense sound will blast the vibrating strings of your guitar. Then, instead of the string vibrations dying out like they naturally do, they often keep vibrating. Sometimes they break into interesting harmonics if you hold the guitar in the right position.

Here is how Sustainiac Sustainers accomplish this feedback: First, the pickup signal is processed and amplified by the Sustainiac circuit. Then, the processed and amplified pickup signal is connected to a patented Sustainiac STRING DRIVER TRANSDUCER (just "driver" for short). The driver, which is attached to the guitar, turns the amplified guitar note into vibrational energy. This vibrational energy is then fed back into the strings. The string vibration becomes more intense. And so on. A played note will actually last forever. (Or, until you want to stop it, or until the electricity goes away, whichever comes first.)

We make two basic types of sustainers: ELECTROMAGNETIC (Sustainiac Stealth PRO sustainer) and ELECTROACOUSTIC (Sustainiac Model C sustainer). For more information, go to SUSTAINIACâ STEALTH PRO Electromagnetic sustain system, and Sustainiac â"Model C" sections, and REAL SUSTAIN vs. FAKE SUSTAIN.

(3) Q. Please elaborate.

A. Sometimes this is called sympathetic vibration. A classic example is the famous shattering of a crystal glass when a singer with a powerful voice sings a note loudly, near the glass. The Maxell audio tape commercial demonstrates this. It is said that the opera singer Caruso could shatter glasses in this manner. When the singer sings a note at precisely the natural ringing frequency of the glass, the glass vibrates in response to the note. If the voice is powerful enough, the vibrations can build up to a high enough amplitude that the glass actually shatters. In order for this to work, the singer must sing the note at precisely the frequency at which the glass rings when you thump it. This is the "natural resonance frequency" of the glass. If the singer is even slightly off-pitch, then the glass will not vibrate.

When you play a note with an electric guitar, the speaker vibrates at precisely the frequency that is played. The sound that blasts the guitar body and strings is precisely the natural vibration frequency of the string being played. If the amplifier is very loud, the string doesn't lose vibrational energy, it gains it! The string vibration amplitude increases until a point of equilibrium is maintained, where the vibrating string will not stretch any more unless you turn up the volume or hold the guitar closer to the amplifier speaker.

If you move the guitar, sometimes the note will break into a harmonic or change from a harmonic to a fundamental. Or, the string might just stop vibrating abruptly. This happens because you are changing the time it takes sound to travel from the speaker to the guitar body and strings. This produces what is known as a phase shift. Phase shift can enhance the feedback, change string vibration harmonics, or even stop the feedback instantaneously, depending on the amount of phase shift.

A very simple way of looking at it is to think about pushing somebody on a swing: You add a little energy each time the swing passes by. It sustains its vibration provided you give the push at the right time, and also provided you donít stop pushing.

For more information, go to REAL SUSTAIN vs. FAKE SUSTAIN, Sustainiacâ "Stealth PRO Ô", and Sustainiac â"Model C" sections.

(4) Q. Why would I want to buy a Sustainiac sustainer when I can get the same effect with my own amplifier?

A. Because the feedback you get from the Sustainiac Sustainer is much more intense and predictable than amp feedback. Has the following situation ever happened to you?:

You create a great solo using amplifier feedback that works perfectly on one stage (or studio), but won't work at all somewhere else. This happens just because the room acoustics have changed. It happens all the time. It's frustrating and sometimes embarrassing. Not with Sustainiac Sustainers! The patented Sustainiac driver is designed to put intense acoustic vibration energy directly into the guitar strings, not into the air. Feedback with Sustainiac Sustainers is much more intense, much more predictable than with natural acoustics. And you don't have to play loudly. In fact, you can turn your amplifier all the way down. Or don't use one at all. You can play screaming solos with notes that break into harmonics, just like with a big loud stack, and not wake up the neighbors.

(5) Q. Why does a driver have to attach to the guitar? Can't you just make Sustainiac sustainers like other stomp boxes?

A. No, and here is why: All other effects are signal processors. Even some of those which are called " sustainers". They are not true sustainers! A true sustainer is different than all other effects. All other effects take the signal and change the way it sounds before it gets to your amplifier. Reverb. Delay. Distortion. Chorus. Compression. Etc. Etc.

A Sustainiac Sustainer is not a signal processor. It only affects the string vibrations, not the electrical signal that goes to your guitar amplifier. In order to make feedback sustain, vibrational energy must be transferred from a loudspeaker through the air, or be produced by a driver. This driver must be attached to the guitar, so that the energy gets to where it is needed: The strings!

(6) Q. Why does the driver have to go next to the neck? My neck pickup on my (blank) guitar is my favorite pickup!

A. There are a couple of good reasons for this. First of all, the driver works best in the neck position. Second, it is the location on the body that is furthest away from the bridge pickup. Here is why this is important: The magnetic type (STEALTH PRO) sustainer has to have an input signal from one of the instrument pickups. The pickup must be as far from the driver as possible. The situation is much like we have with PA systems: If you put the microphone (pickup) too close to the loudspeaker (driver), you get an uncontrolled, obnoxious squeal. The same thing happens with a magnetic sustainer.

Now, that being said, we have done some successful installations (mostly Strats) where the Sustainiac driver replaces the BRIDGE pickup, and receives its input signal from the NECK pickup.

Often, people ask why the middle pickup position can't be used for the driver instead of the neck pickup position, because the neck pickup is the favorite of many players. The main reason that the middle pickup position can't be used is because of Harmonic Mode. The strings are driven "out of phase" with the pickup signal for harmonic mode. Placing the driver in the middle pickup position forces harmonic string vibrations that are very high in frequency, and are "out of range" of the pickup signal because of high frequency phase shift. You need the greatest possible space between driver and pickup to produce good harmonics. For this reason, 21-22 fret guitars produce a better harmonic mode than do 24 fret guitars.

For more information, go to REAL SUSTAIN vs. FAKE SUSTAIN, Sustainiacâ "Stealth PROÔ", and Sustainiacâ"Model C" sections.

(7) Q. Why does the Sustainiac STEALTH PRO sustainer automatically switch over to the bridge pickup when the sustainer is on?

A. Read question 6. The answer to that question also answers this question.

(8) Q. Will the Sustainiac sustainer change my tone?

A. It won't change the signal that gets picked up by the pickups. Your guitar signal will get to your amplifier or other effects without being changed by the Sustainiac Sustainer. The Sustainiac Sustainer uses your unprocessed guitar signal. (Read #4 again.) Since the string vibrations are intensified, the notes will usually sound fatter. This is not because of any signal processing, however.

(9) Q. I have heard that you make more than one kind of Sustainiac sustainer.

A. We make two basic types of sustainer: Electroacoustic feedback and electromagnetic feedback sustainers. The main difference is due to the type of driver that is used.

ELECTROACOUSTIC FEEDBACK: We make one acoustic feedback model: Our Sustainiac Model C sustainer ,.

The acoustic transducer (driver) for this is a patented design, which vibrates the headstock of your guitar in response to the amplified played notes. You can feel it when playing. The intense neck vibration makes the strings vibrate very intensely. This makes the amplified signal stronger, and so on. Feedback builds up quickly.

ELECTROMAGNETIC FEEDBACK: The Sustainiac "STEALTH PRO" Sustainer: This sustainer works by producing direct magnetic feedback to the strings. Once again, we use a patented magnetic driver to take the amplified string vibration signal and apply it to the driver. The driver then sends out magnetic pulses that cause the string vibrations to become stronger. This type of Sustainiac unit is installed inside the guitar.

(10) Q. Which type is better: Acoustic or magnetic sustainer?

A. There are certain advantages to each type.

ELECTRO_ACOUSTIC SUSTAINER ADVANTAGES: The electro-acoustic type of Sustainiac Sustainer (MODEL C) produces the most natural feedback sustain. This means it is most like getting feedback from a big, loud amplifier. It puts sound energy into the guitar headstock, which then gets transferred to the strings. Feedback is very intense and instantaneous, unless you purposefully have the intensity controls turned down. Most played notes will change into a harmonic after a short time, like you get with natural amp feedback. However, the MODEL C sustain is not all fundamentals in one mode and all harmonics in another mode, like the magnetic sustainer (STEALTH PRO) does. Another advantage of the acoustic sustainer is that you donít have to install it into the instrument. This means that you can use the same sustainer for several guitars (provided they have a headstock to mount the driver transducer on). Furthermore, unlike the magnetic sustainer, all of your pickups will function normally when you use the of Sustainiac MODEL C acoustic sustainer. For more information, go to the Sustainiacâ "MODEL C" section.

MAGNETIC SUSTAINER ADVANTAGES: Our Sustainiac "STEALTH" Sustainers provide the ultimate in portability. They mount inside the guitar body. There is no external cord hanging down from the instrument like there is with an acoustic sustainer. The harmonic control switch provides all fundamentals in one position, all harmonics in the other. (With an optional MIX mode, which provides both fundamentals and harmonics.) For more information, go to the Sustainiacâ "STEALTH PRO" section.

(11) Q. Will the intense vibration produced by a Sustainiac MODEL C sustainer harm my instrument?

A. There have been many, many instruments used with the SUSTAINIAC MODEL C sustainer (and the original Sustainiac MODELS A and B since we first introduced the MODEL A in 1987. We have never heard of any damage being done to any instrument. We havenít even heard of a tuning screw backing out because of the vibrations. The vibrations are intense enough to create an exciting feeling when the sustainer is on, but should not damage any instrument that is not damaged to begin with.

(12) Q. I have an older Sustainiac MODEL B Sustainer. Can I use the transducer of the new Model C with the old Model B?

A. Yes. Actually, the Model C transducer works better than the older Model B transducer. It is smaller and lighter as well. And the clamp allows you to use it on different guitars.

(13) Q. Will I have to change my playing style to use Sustainiac sustainers?

A. It might take a little practice. It depends on your normal playing style. We have observed hundreds of players over the years, while exhibiting the Sustainiac products at the various music trade shows (like NAMM), that some players are instantly comfortable with sustainers, while others have trouble. It seems to come down to two main things:

(1) LET THE SUSTAINER TAKE OVER THE PLAYING DYNAMICS: Heavy-handed pickers get immediately frustrated and confused by sustainers. When you dig in real hard with a heavy pick, a lot of vibration energy is put into the string. The string vibration amplitude will have to die out some to reach the level where the sustainer energy takes over. This makes for an unpleasant playing experience.

The idea is to play with a light picking touch when you are using the sustainer. Use hammer-ons and tapping where convenient. Then, the sustainer makes the notes swell. String vibration amplitude doesn't "die down" to the sustainer energy level. This adds a new twist to playing, and is the key to making a sustainer an essential part of your "bag 'o tricks".

(2) GETTING USED TO FEEDBACK: If you are used to playing loudly, you get feedback from your amplifier. You have probably developed your technique so that you automatically hand mute the strings that aren't being played. This keeps them under control, so that they don't feed back when you don't want them to. It is natural for you. Playing loudly in front of a large amplifier can make handling the guitar like trying to ride a bucking bronco. Particularly if you play a hollow or semi-hollow body guitar. On the other hand, if you are an "unplugged" acoustic player, or only practice quietly at home, you probably don't hand mute. At first, playing with SUSTAINIAC may seem frustrating, because the strings try to jump to life when you don't want them to. What often happens is that if you are soloing on the small strings, the big E or A will "take off" on you. After a little getting used to, hand muting becomes second nature.

(14) Q. Who uses Sustainiac sustainers?

A. Sustainiac Sustainers have been used for over a decade by many popular rock guitar players and busy studio musicians. Joe Satriani, Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold (Schecter Guitars), Reeves Gabrels, Adrian Belew (Parker Guitars), George Lynch, Eddie Ojeda of Twisted Sister, Kevin Codigan of Third Eye Blind, Doug Doppler, Ronny North, Nashville studio ace bass player Dave Pomeroy (plays on "everybody's" recordings), "new agers" Jeff Pearce, Robert Rich, many others. Also many New York, Nashville, and LA studio musicians use the Model C regularly for TV shows, commercials, etc. because there is no easier or better way to get feedback sustain in the studio.

Jackson Guitars has used the Sustainiac in their DK-2S production model since 2000.

(15) Q. Can I use Sustainiac sustainers on my bass, or acoustic guitar?

A. Sustainiac Sustainers will work on any instrument that has steel strings and electric pickups. Steel strings are necessary in order to respond to the magnetic string driver. When used on bass guitar, the electroacoustic-type Sustainiac Sustainer Model C will produce harmonics on most notes. Our magnetic sustainer "Stealth PRO " model works better for bass, because in FUNDAMENTAL mode it produces all fundamental string vibrations. We make a special version for bass guitar. It produces fundamentals or harmonics at the pull/push of a switch. For ACOUSTIC GUITAR, the Model C is the only practical solution. Keep in mind that it will produce mostly harmonics. Check out using special pickups with the Sustainiac MODEL C on the Sustainiacâ "MODEL C" page.

(16) Q. Are Sustainiac sustainers the same as other sustainers?

A. There are other companies that make electromagnetic sustainers. Our sustainer is the only one having a Bilateral Driver. This means that the Sustainiac Stealth PRO sustainers are the only ones that are compatible with virtually ANY BRIDGE PICKUP TYPE. Competitor sustainers require you to use their special bridge pickup if you want strong sustain over the fretboard. Our sustainer is the only one that can be installed with push-pull controls. This means that it is the only sustainer that can be installed into an instrument without having to cut a new cavity in the guitar, and without having to drill holes in the body. Also, as far as we know, we make the only electro-acoustic-type sustainer.

(17) Q. Another company tells me that they bought your patents. Is that true?

A. We continue to hear this. It is absolutely not true. We have our patents, and other companies have theirs.

(18) Q. What is a BILATERAL DRIVER AND WHY IS IT SO SPECIAL?

A. The Bilateral Driver is the new Maniac Music development for the Stealth magnetic sustainers. This driver is a patented design that virtually eliminates magnetic crosstalk into the instrument pickups. This results in your being able to use the Sustainiac Stealth sustainer with virtually any bridge pickup. Even a single-coil bridge pickup. This is a first for magnetic sustainers.

(19) Q. Since the STEALTH PRO sustainer runs on a single 9-volt battery, is it as good as an 18-volt sustainer?

A. This is another question that we get frequently. The Sustainiac Stealth PRO sustainers produce more intense sustained string vibrations than any other magnetic sustainer, including our old Sustainiac GA-2, which ran on 18 volts.

There is an understandable lack of knowledge about sustainers out there, because they are still kind of "underground" devices. Here is how magnetic sustainers are designed to be intense: By putting less (not more, but less) turns on the driver coils, you transfer more energy into the driver from a given battery voltage. This lowers the impedance. More current is drawn from the battery. This results in stronger, more intense sustained string vibration. We tried this with our old Sustainiac GA-2 sustainer, but the single 9-volt battery wore out so fast (supplied high current) that we couldnít use the design. So, we had to add turns back on to the driver, and get the energy we needed by adding another battery to make 18 volts. That is why some competitorís sustainers use two 9v batteries. They all copy certain critical aspects of the obsolete GA-2.

Here is one of the really cool things about the new Sustainiac Stealth PRO: We always wanted to design a sustainer that was even more intense than the GA-2, and still have decent battery life. The only way we could think to do it was to add still more batteries.

Here is how we solved the problem: We discovered how to design a digital power amplifier that was four (4!) times as efficient as a conventional power amplifier when driving a magnetic transducer. With this revolutionary design, we were actually able to double the amount of energy that we deliver to the Stealth driver, but with half the battery energy that we used before in the GA-2. The Sustainiac Stealth PRO sustainer actually puts more energy into the driver (STRONGER SUSTAIN) than any other sustainer out there, even " 18-volt" sustainers.

(20) Q. What's the deal with MIX mode? Why do you call it that? Can I get MIX MODE with the Stealth PRO like I have on my old Sustainiac GA-1/GA-2 sustainer?

A. Many people think mistakenly that Mix mode is the mixing of Fundamental (or "Normal") and Harmonic modes. Actually, what you get with Mix mode is mostly harmonics on most frets of most strings. Mix mode harmonics tend to fade in more slowly, kind of like natural amp feedback.These harmonics are not quite so intense and high as those with Harmonic mode. Also, you do usually get some fundamentals on the highest string above the 12th fret, and also some on the 2nd string. Mix mode is actually something we came up with in 1987 when we were developing the GA-1. It seemed so simple at the time, we wish we would have decided to patent it.... Now, some people actually ask "Does the Sustainiac have Mix Mode, like "....."? This is just so wrong :-( You can have Mix mode on the Stealth PRO model in one of 2 ways: (1) If you choose the push-pull pot/switch controls, pull out on the knob when in NORMAL mode, and you go into MIX mode. (2) Choose instead a 3-position toggle switch control for Mode control.

(21) Q. Do you make a Sustainiac electroacoustic-type sustainer that doesn't have a wire hanging off the headstock?

A. The new Model C improves upon this problem. But still, the transducer on this type of sustainer works best when it is mounted to the guitar headstock. The thing about a wireless acoustic sustainer is that you have to get quite a bit of power into the driver. For the Model C, we have a new CORD-ROUTING SYSTEM to solve this problem with no routing involved. Go to the Sustainiacâ "MODEL C" section.

Here is something that some people do to eliminate the "hanging wire" problem. There is some work involved, but it works quite well: You can have a luthier route out a groove down the neck of a guitar. Then, we can ship you a small, shielded-pair cable (1/8 inch diameter) that fits inside the groove. The wire runs from the headstock into the body. You can use a connector if you want to run the wire from the neck into the body, or not. Then, install a jack into the body down near the bridge to go to the floorbox. You can use a stereo 1/4 in. guitar jack, and clip the two wires together (guitar wire and transducer wire). Or, you could install a 4-pin XLR connector into the body, and use one large cable that has two separate shielded cables inside of it for both the guitar wire and transducer wire. This second option is a little more complicated, but is makes the final result a little neater. We stock those cables, also.

(22) Q. Are the Sustainiac sustainers anything like an Ebow?

A. The Sustainiac Stealth sustainer and the Ebow are similar, but with significant differences: Both are magnetic sustainers. They both have the following elements:
(1) Pickup
(2) Amplifier/processor circuit
(3) Magnetic string driver

With the Ebow, all three elements are contained in a small, handheld enclosure. It is then held over individual strings, like a bow. The string is forced to vibrate at its natural resonant frequency. On the upside, the Ebow is completely portable, and doesn't have to be installed. No pickup selection limitations are imposed when the sustainer is on, as with a magnetic sustainer. On the downside, it is more difficult to hold a pick and play "normally" while holding the Ebow. Some would say "impossible".

(23) Q. The Stealth PRO uses a stereo output jack to connect/disconnect the battery. I already use such a jack for my internal guitar preamp. Can I leave this out of my Stealth PRO installation?

A. For the Sustainiac Stealth PRO sustainer, the battery lockout can be omitted. The stereo jack simply connects a wire to ground, which can be worked around by simply permanently connecting (soldering) this wire to ground. No battery standby current is drawn until the power switch is pulled on. Of course, you have to remember to turn the sustainer off, because a 9v alkaline battery will be drained in about 20-50 hours.

However, for the Stealth PRO, the battery lockout not only places the sustainer into a standby condition (no current drawn), but it also turns on the low-noise preamp circuit which is what makes the driver work like a pickup when the sustainer is off. This preamp draws about 2.5 milliamperes (ma) of current from the battery. For a typical 500ma 9v alkaline battery, this works out to about 200 hours of battery life on the preamp. So, if you do not use the battery lockout on the PRO, you must have some means of disconnecting the preamp (disconnecting the lockout wire from ground) when the instrument is not in use. A separate switch would be the only other practical solution, if you have a convenient place to put one.

(24) Q. Can I use the Sustainiac STEALTH PRO sustainer with my Roland synth pickup?

A. These synth pickups are hex pickups that are placed very close to the bridge. They don't cause problems with the operation of the Stealth PRO. Lots of players have put the Stealth PRO into their Roland-equipped guitars with good results.

As far as the operation of the Sustainiac Stealth PRO sustainer goes, there should be no problem. All it needs is a regular bridge pickup to provide an input signal to the sustainer. The hex pickup would not provide a good input signal, because the six separate output signals would need to be mixed into one single signal.

(25) Q. I have an old Sustainiac GA-1 or GA-2 sustainer. Do you work on these?

A. The Sustainiac GA-1 sustainer was our first magnetic sustainer. It was installed mainly into certain Hamer guitar models around 1989-1990. It also wound up in some custom installations. The odd shape was designed for Hamer because that was the shape of the electronics cavity in those guitar models.

The Sustainiac GA-2 came about in order to make the circuit board square. Except for a few minor differences, the two circuits are basically the same. A company called ASI (Audio Sound International) used to import guitars from Taiwan and Korea. They put the Sustainiac GA-2 into them. Quite a few of these were sold from 1989-1991. Then, ASI went out of business in 1991.

A lot of people took the GA-2 sustainers out of the cheap guitars and put them into better instruments. Some of the conversions were done poorly, and we sometimes get them back to fix incorrectly wired circuits. We can fix these. We charge mainly for labor. If the board has been destroyed, we usually charge about $100 to put a new circuit into the guitar.

NOTICE: If the original ASI bridge pickup was replaced by another, the GA-2 often will not work properly. This requires reversing the magnetic polarity of the pickup, then often reversing the original electric polarity. We charge for this, also. If the bridge pickup is encapsulated in epoxy, it cannot be repolarized. The best solution is to buy the new Sustainiac Stealth PRO sustainer. Then, you won't have the pickup compatibility problem that the GA-2 had.

(26) 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.

(27) Q. Can I just send you my guitar body (without the neck) to have you install the Sustainiac STEALTH PRO sustainer? It is really much easier just to pack and send the body. Safer, too!

A. No, because we need the whole instrument in order to check out the performance of the sustainer. Be sure to insure your instrument for its full value in case the shipper damages it or loses it. There is one exception to this: You can send a Strat or Ibanez JEM pickguard, as we have a "lab" guitar for this.

(28) Q. Can I use my own toggle or push-pull controls on the Sustainiac STEALTH PRO sustainer?

A. The ON/OFF switch must be DPDT, "non-shorting" type (also called "break-before-make"). It cannot be "shorting" type (make-before-break). Otherwise, you get loud pops if you have selected the neck pickup and you turn the Sustainiac ON or OFF. This is because with a shorting-type switch, the driver will be momentarily connected to BOTH the sustainer amplifier output and also the neck pickup amplifier input.

(29) Q. Which is better: Toggle or push-pull controls?

A. Toggle controls are faster to use than push-pull controls. The main reason that some people prefer push-pull controls is that you can replace existing guitar controls with our push-pull controls without drilling new holes in the guitar. Then, you can restore the guitar to its original condition should you decide to sell it later on.

(30) Q. How much does it cost?

A. Sustainiaic Stealth PRO (in-guitar model) costs $229.00 plus shipping. Sustainiac Model C is $279.00 for the basic (and most popular) version.




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