The SUSTAINIACâ "Stealth PRO Ô " electromagnetic-type sustainer


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ABOUT YOUR GUITAR Things you need to tell us when you order.
Troubleshooting info
Magnetic tab adjustment for Strats

A list of DETAILED TOPIC/INSTALLATION DRAWING LINKS is contained near the bottom of this page, including pages that detail actual installation drawings, specific guitar types, details about Sustainiac control options, PDF file of the owner's manual, a PDF about guitar controls (how they work), etc.


SUSTAINIAC WEBSITE MAP: The overall site map is at the very bottom of each page, including the ORDER FORM, our email address, phone number, shipping address etc.


    A list of INSTALLATION OPTIONS AND DETAILS is shown at the bottom of this page. Links to PDF installation drawings of specific guitar models are shown, as is a PDF copy of the installation manual.

    But first, read the following few paragraphs for an installation overview.

    The Sustainiac Stealth PRO sustain system is a retrofit sustainer for existing electric guitar. The installation requires substantial rewiring of the guitar electronics cavity. For most installations, no routing or drilling of the guitar electronics cavity is required if you use the standard two PUSH-PULL POT/SWITCH controls for ON/OFF and for Harmonic Mode that are supplied with the kit. If you choose the optional TOGGLE-SWITCH controls to control the Sustainiac, you will likely have to drill holes in the guitar body. If you are familiar with electronics assembly, soldering, and following wiring diagrams, you can likely handle the installation. It is much more difficult than, say, replacing a pickup or volume control. Many guitar technicians can handle the installation, but many call us for help. An excellent woodworker isn't necessarily equipped to handle an electronic wiring job of this complexity. Know your technician before letting him/her take this project on. It will usually take between 3 and 10 hours, depending on the guitar model and the experience of the installer and the guitar type. Pickguard guitars take longer. Parker Flys take many hours.

    Alternatively, you can have Maniac Music do your installation. We will totally install the system into your guitar for approximately $125- $175, depending on the guitar type. We charge extra for routing. For instance, if you want us to install the optional battery case ($16.00), we charge $25.00 to route the cavity for this.


There are several things you must consider when planning a Stealth PRO installation. Each kit shipment is somewhat custom, based on your particular guitar type. Our kits are not "one size fits all" because guitars are not "one size fits all".

Read the following list, and determine what you need for your particular guitar. These choices are listed on the order form. You will need to make the proper choices to get the proper parts assortment and hookup drawing in your kit. Then, after you have reviewed everything, you should visit our ORGANIZE YOUR ORDER page when you think you are about ready to place an order. You can print this page, and use it for your guide. It allows you to list and outline your installation plan, and it makes it easier to navigate the Order Form.


  1. Any guitar with more than 24 frets: Use another guitar. The space between the bridge pickup and Sustainiac driver is quite small. This creates magnetic crosstalk between driver and bridge pickup, resulting in uncontrolled oscillation. This means that you have to turn the sustainer gain down to stop the resulting oscillation. Sustainer performance suffers so much that you might as well not even have a sustainer. We need 3 inches MINIMUM spacing between bridge pickup and Sustainiac driver (measured center-to-center). 3.5 inches is even better.
  2. Placing the driver in the middle pickup position: The problem is the space thing again, between driver and bridge pickup.
  3. Any guitar with a slanted neck pickup. Use another guitar. The slant will compromise the magnetic balance between the Sustainiac driver and the bridge pickup. You have to turn down the sustainer gain so much to stop the resulting oscillation that you might as well not even have a sustainer.
  4. Telecasters with single-coil bridge pickup. Use another guitar. The extreme slant of the bridge pickup will compromise the magnetic balance between the Sustainiac driver and the bridge pickup. Use of the magnetic-balance tab will not fully correct this. Harmonic mode will generally not be very good. But, Tele's with a humbucker bridge pickup works out fine, even mini-humbuckers with the slanted cavity.
  5. Incompatible bridge pickups: Our "bilateral" driver design works great with most common bridge pickup designs, including most active pickups (such as EMG etc.). Some bridge pickup designs are not compatible and cannot be successfully used. Good magnetic cancellation is not possible, and sustainer performance will be compromised. Novel new pickup designs continue to be developed by clever people. Some are not compatible. This is no criticism of the quality of these pickups. It is merely a statement of how well the Sustainiac will work with these pickup types used to furnish the input signal to the Sustainiac.
  6. Using the middle pickup for Sustainiac input signal, or listening to it.: The middle pickup will then provide the input signal to the sustainer (if it is blended with the bridge pickup signal). The system will oscillate (squeal). However, if you connect the bridge pickup to the sustainer input, and listen only to the middle pickup (without blending it with the bridge pickup signal), you can listen to the middle pickup. The signal will likely have some distortion in it because of its proximity to the driver.
  7. Pickguards with aluminum or copper "mirror" effects, or some metallic finishes on the guitar body: Remove the foil from around the pickp area on pickguards. The magnetic pulsations from the driver induce pulsating "eddy" currents into the conductive aluminum or copper. These in turn radiate their own magnetic pulsations. The bridge pickup responds to these magnetic pulsations. The end result is that the desired magnetic balance between driver and bridge pickup is compromised. We remove the shielding foil that comes on US-made Strats and Jems from around the pickups. You can keep the foil over the electronics cavity. If we do your installation into a Strat, Jem, etc., then we include this service.
  8. Metal pickup trim rings: Mostly, these are OK. But sometimes it produces the same problem as #6. If you experience distortion or uncontrolled oscillation, try switching to a plastic trim ring. If the problem goes away, that was the reason.
  9. Crowded electronics cavity: Having other effects inside the electronics cavity exposes the guitar signal to more electric crosstalk from the Sustainiac circuit board and signal wires.
  10. Concealing the driver: If you cover up the driver (to fool people into thinking you are Superman), you move the driver farther away from the strings by the thickness of the cover. This reduces the sustainer performance. Paint should work OK. Using a metal cover upsets the magnetic balance of the driver.
  11. ES335 etc. are very difficult since there is no cavity access.
  12. Placing a single-coil pickup next to the driver: This does not work well. The Sustainiac works fine, but the side-by-side permanent magnetic fields of our patented bilateral driver "bend" the field of a single coil pickup. The result is that the sound of three of the strings will have about 6dB lower output level than the other three strings. Same for a humbucker with "stacked" coils. A mini-humbucker with conventional "side-by-side" coils pickup doesn't exhibit this problem as much. In our opinion (and that of most customers), the Sustainiac driver sounds better than most mini-humbuckers. It also has the new dual-sound feature.

    DRY-RUN INSTALLATION You can do a "quickie" installation on any questionable guitar to determine its suitability. Click here for a PDF file of the whole procedure: "DRY RUN" TEMPORARY INSTALLATION Click here for a PDF diagram: "DRY RUN" DRAWING It takes about 15-20 minutes. Install the driver, and hook up the bridge pickup to the sustainer input, connect a battery and a few other wires to ground. Connect a guitar amp. This will instantly tell you if this guitar will be suitable. We do this on many guitars to save headache/heartbreak.

    SEMI-INSTALL OPTION FOR MOST GUITAR TYPES: $75.00-85.00 We do 90% of the work. We supply a completely wired and TESTED set of electronics for your guitar, including Sustainiac circuit board and controls, pickup selector, volume and tone controls. You simply remove all of your existing guitar cavity parts as a "glob", after disconnecting your output jack and pickups. You can then save this "glob" of parts to restore your guitar to its original condition if desired with very little work. We now have a separate webpage that is dedicated to this: Stealth PRO SEMI-INSTALLATION page

    On this page of the website, you will see standard SEMI-INSTALLATIONS for the following guitar types:

      Ibanez Jem®
      Schecter Synyster Gates Custom ® 2-humbucker guitars
      Gibson/Epiphone Les Paul
      "GENERIC" Semi-installations for most rear-cavity guitar types.

ABOUT YOUR GUITAR We need to know some specific information about your guitar so we can send the proper hookup diagram and parts with your kit.

    What kind of output jack do you have (open or barrel style)? Each kit comes with a replacement jack (stereo) that replaces your existing guitar jack, in order to activate the Sustainiac battery when the guitar plug is inserted. To determine what style you have, Click on either picture: Output jack choices, low resolution (10kb); Output jack choices, high resolution (70kb).

    How many pickups does your guitar have? One, two, or three. Select on ORDER FORM.

    What type pickup selector does your guitar have? Select on ORDER FORM. Each drawing is based on the pickup switch type. Please know what you have before you order.

      Pickup selector options

You should visit our
ORGANIZE YOUR ORDER page when you think you are about ready to place an order. This page allows you to list and outline your installation plan. It makes it easier to navigate the Order Form.


You can refer to our WIRE FUNCTION DIAGRAM for a description of all the Stealth PRO wire functions. (20KB PDF file). This description can be a big help when troubleshooting an installation.


PDF file containing detailed troubleshooting instructions for Stealth PRO


We don't include the magnetic tab, except for Stratocasters and similar guitars where there is a SLANTED SINGLE-COIL BRIDGE PICKUP. Click here for a PDF file showing how to mount and adjust the Magnetic Tab. Magnetic Tab Adjustment

The following list links you to different guitar models, also to various kit options and configurations. Click on the list topics below to download detailed information, hookup diagrams, and pictures.

PDF file of Stealth PRO Installation Manual (One copy of this manual is included with each kit. The Installation Manual does not include any hookup diagram. Separate PDF drawings can be viewed on the respective page for each guitar type below. Each kit comes with the proper hookup diagram. When you order your Sustainiac kit, we provide the most appropriate diagram for your guitar. If you are technically inclined and interested in creative options, browse our numerous hookup diagrams to get ideas that you might not have thought of for a sustain system for your needs.
9-PIN JACK PDF file for 9-pin jack, allowing 2 or more batteries to be connected/disconnected with guitar cord insertion
SUSTAINIAC CONTROLS page Each kit comes with ON/OFF and Harmonic Mode controls. Use this info to choose which control type you prefer for your installation kit. Here we present some unusual control options that we have used over the years that many people have found helpful.
Superswitch, and VLX-91; PDF file These 4-section switches allow coil tapping and other options.
Guitar Controls; PDF file Detailed, useful info for those who want to know more. Also helpful for troubleshooting.
Stealth PRO Troubleshooting; PDF file Detailed troubleshooting procedure for the Stealth PRO.
Driver dimensions; PDF file
Stealth PRO wire function diagram; PDF file; detailed diagram showing the function of each wire.
How to determine pickup polarity; PDF file; This PDF file shows how to test the polarity of your BRIDGE PICKUP. Micro-ammeter (old-fashioned needle-type meter) required, or oscilloscope. If you don't have these, hook up the sustainer. If all modes work correctly and are strong, you are OK. If there is no NORMAL mode, and all positions of the MODE control are weak, then the pickup has reverse polarity. Simply reverse the red/black driver wires to correct.
Shipping guitars. How to pack your guitar
DRY RUN INSTALLATION Detailed PDF of doing a "quickie" 10-15 minute installation to determine how well the Sustainiac will work in a "borderline" or "questionable" guitar
DRY RUN DRAWING PDF drawing showing exactly how to do the DRY RUN quickie installation

Guitars with 2 pickups and 3-position selector switch (Les Paul-type guitars and generic 2HB similar guitars) (not "special" designs such as Ibanez, Parker, etc.)
Guitars with hum-single-single pickup configuration, "HSS" ("shredders")
Guitars with pickguards (mainly Stratocaster and Ibanez Jem); includes most H-S-H guitars
Guitars with active pickups, EMG etc.
Parker "Fly" guitar, also "Nitefly"
Electric bass
Guitars with a single bridge pickup PDF file

These same links are provided at the bottom of each page.

SUSTAINIACâ STEALTH PRO Electromagnetic sustain system

  • NEW SEMI-INSTALLATION PAGE We do 90% of the work. You receive a kit that is 90% installed, tested, and ready to "drop in" to your guitar
  • SUSTAINIAC CONTROLS Describes the different control options
  • Organize your order for the STEALTH PRO Helps you to organize the things you need to know before you order

    SUSTAINIACâ MODEL C electroacoustic sustainer No installation required

  • Organize your order for the MODEL C Helps you to organize the things you need to know before you order

    ABOUT FEEDBACK SUSTAIN what it is, why it is good
    FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions, WHO USES SUSTAINIAC, etc.
    JACKSON DK-2S, production guitar with Stealth PRO installed
    GA-1-2, Our original 1988 Sustainiacs, in Hamer and ASI guitars, now OBSOLETE


    SUSTAINIACâ STEALTH PLUS ELECTROMAGNETIC SUSTAINER INSTALLATION INFO Obsolete model. This page contains printable installation drawings, installation manual, etc. for people who have this model, and who might want to transfer it to another guitar, have bought it used, etc.

  • Sustainiacâ products are MADE IN THE USA


    Sustainiacâ is a registered trademark of Maniac Music, Inc.
    3937 Cranbrook Drive, Indianapolis Indiana, 46240 USA; PHONE: 317-340-1161