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Sustainer Ideas

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Welcome back fizzy...

Hmmm....I don't recall ever trying that....I have a feeling it wouldn't work too well. I do no you can hold a magnet over a pickup though and neutralize the field with the opposite pole.

I have a feeling if it did work, it wouldn't be that good....or even that practical, though I kind of see where you are coming from...kind of a cross between a sustainer and an ebow.

What I have found is that the driver without a magnet seems to be undirected...it doesn't work, but it sprays EMI everywhere and squeals like a pig! I tried these kinds of things because I had hoped that a driver sitting right next to the magnetic field of a neck pickup may be enough but even in that situation it failed.

So...I suspect it wouldn't work...but an interesting idea.

I had hoped that I could take a single driver from the hex devices I used to make to produce a mini ebow kind of thing...perhaps a mini plug to take the signal from the circuit and the bridge pickup...however, anyone spot the fault? That's right, put the driver close to the bridge pickup and squeal city!!! So...then I had an idea of a version with a tiny pickup and driver (so the worlds smallest ebow)....hmmm, never got that far.

anyway...nice change of pace there fizz...

pete

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As new people can see...col came straight in with some preliminary success with the basic design (or close enough) ...so click on the little pink arrow in the above quote to go back to 2006 :D

Now...I don't know if a better driver might have been more success...if the wire was a little too over spec...I did notice...

I'm having the usual issues with the top E string - it struggles on the first 6 or so frets, but improves higher up the neck. To get the high E going I had to turn up the gain so much that the A and G strings were much too 'lively'. Tweaking the output cap can help fix this, but it messes up the response of the low E and A...

Well...I guess I have the same problem too...my solution is the 100uF cap, which produces a harmonic bloom on the lower strings (that I quite like) and better high string control. I've suggested that perhaps a switchable output cap might be another approach...maybe a frequency dependent switchable output cap if we wanted to get tricky with it!

the 100u cap is a poor solution IMO. The problem is that the guitar and basic sustainer system are more responsive on the lower strings for a variety of reasons. What the cap does is kill off some of the low end response so that the gain can be turned up without those lower strings getting 'too lively'. Unfortunately it is a clunky approach, it is not easily tweakable. It still doesn't offer a very good even response, it removes the option of fundamental sustain on the lower strings, and most significantly its success is dependant on the particular guitar, driver, pickups that are being used - so each time a system is build, experimentation will need to be done.

What is needed is an approach that will just work.

AGC is one approach that is proven to work, it works very well.

Unfortunately, by your description of your system (that the notes keep getting gradually louder), your AGC is not particularly effective - I would be interested in seeing the mechanism.

This is not the only way however. One of the things the Sustainiac patent shows is a 'current mode' amp (they didn't invent this idea btw). thats one of the things I'm exploring and hope to test out really soon.

Now...I don't know if more couldn't be had from the thin driver and the F/R combination had it been worked further. By this account it did appear to work and it could have worked better...in fact I think it would sound something not unlike mine. This is exactly the kind of thing I would have thought that supports the notion that the F/R or similar non-loading amp circuits will work. I suspect, that with a second attempt with a 0.2mm instead of 0.23 wire and a shorter bobbin...perhaps a touch thicker than 2mm deep and it might have worked better still...who knows, maybe the PVA method would have allowed for a tighter more consistent winding. Clearly, it wasn't exactly duplicating the design I presented, but pretty close and it did in fact work!

My initial system worked maybe too well, the drive was extremely strong, but because it was so good over the whole range of the guitar, the unbalanced response of the different strings of the guitar, and of fretting position combined with a medium/high action, it was impossible to get a compromise that I was happy with. changing from 0.23 wire to 0.2 wire wouldn't have 'fixed' this neither would making a small change to the thichness of either driver or core - it's a fundamental problem of the systems design. Sure, it's possible to get it a little better with lots of tweaking of all the parameters, but that would be needed with each new installation!

The only way to improve things radically is through designing a better circuit. (not necessarily a fancy one though)

The synthetic quality of the raw drive from the basic system wasn't appealing to me either, so I spent time trying to control it.

I achieved this very well, unfortunately as I've explained, there are other issues that this has highlighted - not caused by the AGC system, but more obvious when using it due to it being a more refined approach.

I did some experiments with dual coil designs...both the rail and bilateral designs...and of course the old hex stuff. I think they will give a different response to the single coils but they are a valid idea worth exploring. For practical reasons on the guitars I use and the results I have been getting, I just kept returning to the original.

Why would they give a different response?

I have explained how the gap between driver and pickup radically damps higher frequency content. With this in mind, the tiny gap between two rails of a humbucker style driver has a comparatively insignificant impact, this checks out in listening tests. The main difference, apart from reduced EMI, is that its harder to design and construct a dual core driver, and that you need a bigger hole in the guitar.

It should also be possible to achieve significantly better drive efficiency using a carefully designed dual core driver (I've worked this out on paper and explained it a long time ago, although I've not tested it out, someone else did and was very happy with the results - Truth Davids buddy as I recall)

But...I think that this kind of indicates strongly that the F/R will work and that the driver is at least as important as the circuit to the working of the design. I also feel that it wasn't given a chance to completely live up to it's potential...but that was a choice to move in different direction...fair enough.

The F/R is never going to give anything like optimal results with any driver. Maybe you should build one and test it before selling it any further?

It wasn't ever 'designed' and I for one really dislike the way ROG have been shown in a bad light here because someone else cobbled together parts of two of their circuits and presented them publicly as a solution for problem they were never intended to solve. If ROG had developed a sustainer driver circuit, you can bet it would have been **** loads better than the F/R (i've built some of their projects and they are GOOD)

I guess that is why I am feeling a little perplexed and defensive about suspicions of deception of how the sounds on that clip were made given this history and others that have had results, all of which support what I have been able to achieve and am currently getting.

whos suspicious ? not me!

I was highlighting the fact that your clips SEEMED to be there as evidence of what could be achieved with the DIY system as 'presented' here. I know that you are using 'secret' circuitry. I also know you used some tricky 'advances' techniques to compress your coils (making them more efficient). I also know that you've never pretended otherwise. Unfortunately I also know that this thread is so filled with enormous bloated blog like posts that finding the little useful bits of information like that can be very difficult. soooo I was suggesting that you should have made it clearer that no-one should expect the results you got in your clip by building the basic driver and F/R circuit that seems to have been recommended by you and others as a good starting point many times here.

Anyway...hope I'm not insulting or boring people in these meanderings, whoever comes up with a basic easy standard circuit will no doubt find their place in the history of this thread I am sure...and relieve a lot of frustration by many, including myself!

I doubt it!

A basic easy standard circuit is never going to give the same quality of results as a more advanced one. There are just too many things that need to be achieved to make the best magnetic drive sustainer possible. You need AGC to even out the massive difference in response over the guitar. You NEED a highly efficient system, for which you need things like class-D amplification and a fancy pants driver (with twin coils, laminated core, high quality construction etc.). You need nice harmonic control modes to offset the fact that the sustainer kills the natural harmonic response of the guitar.

Each of these things adds a great deal to the complexity of the project. Anyone who has success with a basic design without these features is going to be left feeling like the cat that didn't get the cream.

The sustainiac patent is a pretty good example of a design that is about as simple as it could possibly be and not have any major compromises, and I don't know about you, but I'm not going to attempt that any time soon B)

Still, its not going to stop me. We can still get a much better simple circuit that the F/R. And I believe we can also get a more efficient simple (not super compression techniques) driver than the single coil 'thin' driver. Unfortunately it'll only be a bit better - it's not going to light up the sky.

So... no Nobel prize for sustainer development for me then :D

Col

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I doubt it!

A basic easy standard circuit is never going to give the same quality of results as a more advanced one. There are just too many things that need to be achieved to make the best magnetic drive sustainer possible. You need AGC to even out the massive difference in response over the guitar. You NEED a highly efficient system, for which you need things like class-D amplification and a fancy pants driver (with twin coils, laminated core, high quality construction etc.). You need nice harmonic control modes to offset the fact that the sustainer kills the natural harmonic response of the guitar.

Each of these things adds a great deal to the complexity of the project. Anyone who has success with a basic design without these features is going to be left feeling like the cat that didn't get the cream

So far I'm only familliar with one configuration that works: compressor/limiter - IC amp - driver.

I've tried to use some sort of overdrive device instead of the limiter but that gives a lot of fizz through acoustic feedback (via the strings, not emi).

Without limiter I wasn't able to get a steady operation of the sustainer device al along the neck and on each string. I don't consider manually adjusting the sustainer device (sustainer volume pot) to be an option. With the F/R that's basically what you have to be prepared to do.

When playing chords, tame the sustainer otherwise you'll get lots of fizz. When hitting the high e-string, boost the sustainer otherwise it takes the sustainer ages to accelerate into feedback, but be carefull, at some point you might want to ease back a bit because of the danger of fizz.

I get good results with a modified ross compressor. But like col says, it's a bit a one dimensional sound. Almost as soon as the sustainer sets in you end up with a single sinus (fundamental most of the time). I was thinking of using a simple phase shifter atter the compressor or maybe a dynamic filter in front of the compressor in order to change the feedbacked tone. Or maybe you need a compressor with a superfast attack and a slow release for a more violin type envelope. Even if it's theoretically possible at all, there's hardly any space left inside my strat.

Cheers

Fizz

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I have found a wiring system that allows for infinite sustain using an active and passive pickup.

This system causes little undesirable feedback, and actually drives the strings to vibrate more intensly than they did when originally plucked. If you hold a note, several harmonic frequencies become audible. I will post a wiring diagram later today if anyone is interested. It's incredibly simple, any novice with the ability to install their own pickups and sauder can try this one.

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Still, its not going to stop me. We can still get a much better simple circuit that the F/R. And I believe we can also get a more efficient simple (not super compression techniques) driver than the single coil 'thin' driver. Unfortunately it'll only be a bit better - it's not going to light up the sky.

Well..OK... :D

I have never used nor have I ever suggested that the F/R is a good design...I have been one of it's most vocal opponents...I have tried to make it better only because people consistently keep using the darn thing. However, people seem to have had success, so there you are.

Unfortunately, by your description of your system (that the notes keep getting gradually louder), your AGC is not particularly effective - I would be interested in seeing the mechanism.

No...I worked out a way of combining the AGC and the Drive control into one pot effectively...so generally, if you play the guitar with the drive on full (as in most of the clip) the AGC is overwhelmed. It is also not a fancy forward feed type design such as yours which you convinced me at the time was a better approach, just not within my abilities to produce. Hence, I believe that most of the time I use the sustainer the AGC is effectively not there and so it is just a very basic non-loading LM386 circuit.

AGC is one approach that is proven to work, it works very well.

For me and the primitive design of my circuit it worked too well. Basically, the circuit shuts off the drive when the output of the LM386 is above a certain threshold. I used a speaker to hear the effect...so there was a kind of stutter as the thing kept switching on and off...I swapped components till I got this to be fairly mild. Then I noticed if I increased the gain, the stuttering appeared to be faster than the switching transistor could stutter...thus overwhelming it and making the AGC ineffective.

your AGC is not particularly effective

Correct...hence my assumption that in general it is operating simply as an amplifier just like the F/R or other kinds of things people have used.

On lower levels of drive...yes it is much more controllable...I could have added another pot to make this adjustable even. But this conflicted with other aims for the circuit (small size, simple controls, etc). I will try to make a clip demonstrating lower levels of drive perhaps later today.

However, I have found the more the thing is tamed down, the more consistent it is, the less dynamic it sounds...but that was always a difference as I understood it between what I was aiming for, and what you were aiming for col.

Your circuit design and ideas has always been regarded by me as a masterpiece of ingenuity and by far the most forward thinking practical circuit designed for this kind of project presented so far. I have always been astonished that no one else ever replicated it. I certainly intended to and said so at the time.

So to you Col...lot me give you the sustainer award for the advancement of circuitry and inroads into the dual coil driver design from 2006 to the present day and beyond! :D Levity aside, I honestly believe that...perhaps second place to strib for an alternative to the LM386 and using an opamp in the preamp stage successfully and curtisA for for remarkable driver constructions (The bilateral design was a stunner), Tim/onelastgoodbye for the most amazing industrial design concepts and processes (pioneering the bobbinless coil methods and epoxy things way back) and the postumous award to LK of course...shame he isn't here to add his sardonic wit to tame me down. I would add all those names and more to my sig along with the LK tribute but I fear the moderators would have me for it (anyone noticed that I often don't include it in the general forum these days...it is kept here for the links to the tutorials)

Ok...the ceremonies complete...back to my over bloated blog!

the 100u cap is a poor solution IMO. The problem is that the guitar and basic sustainer system are more responsive on the lower strings for a variety of reasons. What the cap does is kill off some of the low end response so that the gain can be turned up without those lower strings getting 'too lively'. Unfortunately it is a clunky approach, it is not easily tweakable. It still doesn't offer a very good even response, it removes the option of fundamental sustain on the lower strings, and most significantly its success is dependant on the particular guitar, driver, pickups that are being used - so each time a system is build, experimentation will need to be done.

I agree...the 100uF cap acts just as you suggest. It was exactly why I did it. I noticed that some LM386 circuits used 220uF typically, but occasionally you'd find one with 470uF for a better bass response. So, since bass strings are easier to drive and over respond, I reasoned that a lower cap would lower the bass response and "fix" poor high string response...which it does to the degree you describe.

However, as a result, it tends to drive the higher harmonics in the bass string instead of the fundamental. Consistently on the guitars I have done this to (perhaps half a dozen) this has resulted in harmonics (usually a fifth above) on any note below the C note, fifth fret, g string.

Obviously very crude...but I actually like the bloom in those bass strings...the only solution that I could offer was perhaps a variable output cap...a more clever solution perhaps the kind of frequency dependent switching system as the early floyd rose patent to select different values of cap depending on the signal. However...this too is crude and beyond my skill set to devise.

My aim has been towards developing a simplified DIY sustainer. I have been working towards something different than the commercial systems that is cheap and practical and within my personal capabilities...it is clunky, it has it's quirks...but it works nad responds only as you have described...it sounds exactly as you describe...and that is all that I claimed it does at this stage of development by me.

My initial system worked maybe too well, the drive was extremely strong, but because it was so good over the whole range of the guitar, the unbalanced response of the different strings of the guitar, and of fretting position combined with a medium/high action, it was impossible to get a compromise that I was happy with.

From what you are saying...and all credit to you for working in this way...you took the basic design...it worked much like mine...you saw the "faults...and you set out to correct them to your tastes. That's fantastic...wish more would work in this way!

I decided to follow a different set of imperatives. If I were to do two coils I would need a pay off to justify it...so I made a big effort in this direction in an attempt to make a driver for the middle position hoping that the reduced EMI of such a design would make this possible (as Dizzy seemed to have achieved). I felt that the performance was different in that the driver seemed to need to be excessively close to the strings compared to a single coil type...but maybe that was a failing of that design. It worked in the neck position...but no better for me, so I saw no reason to pursue it and left it to people like yourself and others at the time to develop the concept further and convince me.

In the meantime...I was very keen on the pickup/driver concept. It has always been a desire to not restrict the instrument and have these things as an addition to a guitar. So...by combining the pickup and driver into the one device and sharing the magnet...costs, stealth, low mod, no loss of neck pickup, no additional magnetic force of the strings....these factors all contributed to me heading off towards the ultra thin conversion coils...and on a strat, the single coil was the obvious way to go.

On the tele, I failed to be able to convert the neck pickup...but again, the original single coil design could be developed further to produce something very compact that would surface mount...no hole in the guitar. So also achieving much of my design imperatives as well. These kinds of imperitives were also evident in the hex things too...

chromesustainerfitted2.jpgmiddriverstrat3.jpg

Here you can see two different hex designs...and what I was trying to achieve. One an compact design beside a pickup (not that dissimilar from the tele stand alone driver in intent) and the other an attempt at a mid driver, stuck on top of the pickup itself (not unlike the ultra thin coil conversion or pickup driver and the mid driver ideas). These were back from 2004-5...so obviously it took me a while to get over the hex things and pursue the simple single coil things to achieve most of the criteria I had been setting for myself pretty much throughout this thread. But that need not be others criteria for what they do and aim for!

Anyway...yes overbloated blog like post...I am what I am. Without the interchange with everyone that has been on this thread, I would never have stuck at it or got this far....don't let me or anyone else stop you from taking this further than I can, or in different directions and different imperatives.

The F/R is never going to give anything like optimal results with any driver. Maybe you should build one and test it before selling it any further?

ABSOLUTELY TRUE ... That is why I have always been knocking it, it is not what you would ideally want, the biasing thing is wacky and the aim of the fetzer is the opposite of what we would ideally like (clean preamp). People seem to keep pushing it and using it....some apparently with success. I kind of assume that you used it in your initial experiemnts and got a result similar to mine from the start...and others seem to have had some success...but hey, the F/R solution was never mine...but it does appear to work for some!

If ROG had developed a sustainer driver circuit, you can bet it would have been **** loads better than the F/R (i've built some of their projects and they are GOOD)

Well...ROG have done some great things but they were never intended for this. Also...one reason I have not used such designs is that they are not my own and I didn't want to be seen to be co-opting them. However, some ROG designs are not really there's either but alterations or evolutions of other designs and data sheets. Nothing wrong with that. If I were to public display my design, you bet someone (probably not ROG) will be posting it as their own, or worse building them, promoting them and selling them on eBay. Paranoid...or is it the off thread emails and actual threads in other forums attempting to replicate this thread without credit!

Also...I don't work in schematics, usually direct to layout these days...or very rough paper squiggles...so it is not like I have a file that I could just post up saying "here it is!" if I wanted to!

I was highlighting the fact that your clips SEEMED to be there as evidence of what could be achieved with the DIY system as 'presented' here.

Well...I have told people that most of my work involved the CHAmp and preCHAmp kits early on including the sustainer strat...the instructions show how the circuits work (the CHAmp openly claims to be the data sheet specs for the LM386) and how to adjust the gain (which I did, mainly because of the low powered japstrat pickups I was using). Anyone could look it up, it is copyrighted of course...but I never felt this was an ideal solution either...the two boards are too big in my opinion and not optimized for the application. I didn't want to be responsible for promoting something like the F/R so I did not push it as a "solution". I had hoped that like G-mike (F/R), yourself or stribe, alternative would be created better than what I might come up with.

soooo I was suggesting that you should have made it clearer that no-one should expect the results you got in your clip by building the basic driver and F/R circuit that seems to have been recommended by you and others as a good starting point many times here.

soooo....I don't think I can do that. I will make it very clear if it isn't already...I do not think the F/R is a good design for this application, never have, never will...but I do think and have reason enough from others using the thing that it will work to some degree. Not having made it nor be able to obtain a j201 to do it properly I can't personally verify it...but yourself and others appear to have indicated it works much like mine. I have put back the data sheet specs that ROG deleted (for whatever reason) that are there to keep the LM386 happy and stable at high gains. MRJ has included these back into the current "improved" F/R design and I am anxious to see how this compares if or more likely when it is successful.

Since there is so much controversy about this, I may...when my head heals and the stitches come out...design, build test and post a basic circuit with no AGC or anything but more practical than the F/R (I hope). I had abandoned that side of things because for more than a year now...I have had every reason to assume that others were working on exactly that, I have offered my input, MRJ took it up but only for a F/R design as was his wish. The offer still stands...but there seem to be people who understand these things better than I.

I don't think I am prepared to take the tele apart for this work however. I could use the test strat and likely a ultra thin coil (which I think is on the thing now with an HB in the bridge) or I may be able to find the original 3mm stand alone coil somewhere.

I expect the result would be similar to what I am currently achieving and achieved in the past and what yourself and others have achieved with the F/R and other designs...probably not as compact and the drive control will act differently I guess. Why I should be compelled to do this I am not sure...or what it will achieve is doubtful. My guess is that whatever I come up with, others will dismiss as clunky or worse...so I don't feel highly motivated...and fear I am digging my own F/R type grave in doing so.

A basic easy standard circuit is never going to give the same quality of results as a more advanced one. There are just too many things that need to be achieved to make the best magnetic drive sustainer possible.

Ahh...exactly what I am talking about...my fears realized before I start...hmmm...maybe I will rethink the above then. I would have thought I obviously agree...what you would end up it pretty much what I have and a response much like I have posted in audio...it would sound and respond pretty much like that which is very similar to how you described your initial attempts. SO...there is no argument there...I agree with you and always have. I have never claimed the best sustainer possible...the sustainiac is much better, buy one of those!!! I do claim smaller, DIY, different response (some of which I find more to my tastes than the even control of the sustainiac) and adaptability...and lower cost. I am vain enough to claim the thin coil design (and the specs) as making this possible, but I don't have the ability to prove this other than to say I tried a lot of other ways (as have others) and they didn't work...at least not for me!

Still, its not going to stop me. We can still get a much better simple circuit that the F/R. And I believe we can also get a more efficient simple (not super compression techniques) driver than the single coil 'thin' driver. Unfortunately it'll only be a bit better - it's not going to light up the sky.

Yes...and DON'T STOP!

I have stopped for the moment for exactly this reason...I have taken this as far as I can or am reasonable motivated to do at this point in time. It is far from perfect, as am I.

In fact, I don't believe in a perfect sustainer...only one that appeals to an individuals tastes and desires. I do believe in a better sustainer for sure. But, I can only work to what is better to my ears and tastes....and importantly, a whole host of other criteria I have set myself and evident in the pickup driver, the compact surface mount driver, simplified and compact circuitry, low mod and not overly complicated controls. Fulfilling these kinds of criteria have always been a benchmark in how successful, or better I have been able to do what I do. Even if I could conceive of a better performing sustainer, if it meant ditching the neck pickup, drilling a bunch of holes for switches or compromising the guitar...I would consider my work a failure no matter the performance!

However...for others, better might mean Hex designs to pursue better polyphonic performance, larger more elegant circuits for a more even response...there are a whole host of other criteria that others might wish and apparently are pursuing...so don't stop! I just reached a point of diminishing returns, pushing things a little further for less and less improvement...it is up to others to take these difficult steps really.

pete

oh...and I apologize for the length of my posts...they can be ignored, not read or dismissed. Almost all of them lately have been replies. I don't mean to offend and I sincerely wish that I were more concise. This thread more than any other has the characteristics of a blog. If and when a definitive solution can be derived...then I think a new tutorial is in order to concisely show what to do...perhaps even close it to comment and just let it be what it is I suppose. This thread just is what it is as far as I am concerned.

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I have found a wiring system that allows for infinite sustain using an active and passive pickup.

This system causes little undesirable feedback, and actually drives the strings to vibrate more intensly than they did when originally plucked. If you hold a note, several harmonic frequencies become audible. I will post a wiring diagram later today if anyone is interested. It's incredibly simple, any novice with the ability to install their own pickups and sauder can try this one.

Cool...let's see it (ps, I hope it isn't the ansil sustainer mod again :D )

Fizzy...you went your way too with the design...and I think that your aims are much like cols perhaps.

I don't know what to say about the "fizz" thing...as far as I am concerned...it is evident in the clip I posted (click the red "with sound like to the demo) it is clearly evident in my tele with the circuit running flat out. This is the sound of my sustainer...this is the sound possible IMHO with basic technology...and this is a sound that I don't find offensive nor unusable.

To me, when I have tried a lot of compression (that is what the AGC kind of is) this is the result. I set the current circuit to be very mild because of lack of high string drive when I needed it and a response that was too even in response. It has been tried on a few guitars with this preset and shown to be a reasonable compromise, at least for me. But this is the crux, compromise...the more even I tried to make it, the less I liked the loss of dynamics and the more boring the sustain sounded...to me!

The fizz thing...i'm just not sure...the dual coil designs held promise to address this, I feel that some quality control in the single coil driver helps, less power in means less EMI out which helps (so driver efficiency is a factor here). Otherwise, if the fizz is excessive or ugly...well something is still not right, or you find the sound I have demonstrated to not be of your liking or what you are after...ces't la vie!

perhaps some audio of what others are achieving is in order to give some idea about what others are getting or where the problems are...

pete

oh...there is also an aspect of technique that hasn't been mentioned...damping and picking style and a whole host of different ways of physically controlling the strings vibration is a factor...certainly my playing style incorporates a fair amount of this when using the sustainer...this may also contribute to peoples experiences...we all play differently after all.

Edited by psw

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Ok...well not the ansil mod...but sounds a lot like the spazzyone idea. Sounds like you are using an actual amplifier (guitar or whatever like spazzy used a PA amp) to drive the pickup. The EMG active would prevent loading as it includes a preamp...but maybe I have got that wrong.

A diagram would help...an audio even better!

The concern was always that the ohmage of any passive single coil is so far out from a typical speaker or driver that it would be very inefficient. Supposedly the father of the sustainer, michael brooks' infinite guitar uses a pickup and a transformer to adjust the rating to suit...but the details are secret and the amount of power unknown.

pete

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Ok...well not the ansil mod...but sounds a lot like the spazzyone idea. Sounds like you are using an actual amplifier (guitar or whatever like spazzy used a PA amp) to drive the pickup. The EMG active would prevent loading as it includes a preamp...but maybe I have got that wrong.

A diagram would help...an audio even better!

The concern was always that the ohmage of any passive single coil is so far out from a typical speaker or driver that it would be very inefficient. Supposedly the father of the sustainer, michael brooks' infinite guitar uses a pickup and a transformer to adjust the rating to suit...but the details are secret and the amount of power unknown.

pete

Ok, first, there is no amp involved with the sustain, it is powered by the preamp built into the EMG. There is no external amplifier involved with the sustain effect itself, just the preamp inside the pickup powered by the 9 volt battery.

Infinitesustainwiring.jpg

p.s. I should mention that the pot is grounded through the stereo line out.

Edited by Munk

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Oh...ok...interesting...

Could you post some clips on something like soundclick...maybe this turns the whole project on it's head...

speaking of clips...

I have added a few noodles of low drive, no drive and full drive and such...plus a clip of me just noodling around with a bad sound, suspect tuning and such as I tend to do while watching tv...you might even recognize the song...nothing fantastic, but the kind of chord melody playing improvs I attempt on occassion. Of course, the sustainer is not something I would normally use for this kind of thing. Also, I hadn't used the sustainer for months till last week, it's a nice thing to have, but the guitar is a great instrument without it. DOn't know if it helps at all, but things like the fizz can be heard, the harmonics on the low strings even in fundamental mode and the way it reacts to chords...all just single unedited naked unrehearsed guitar tracks.

Just click to the usual telecaster sound page to find them!

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I'd love to post some sound, just need to grab a paTCH CABLE FROM THE SHOP.

tHIS WAS ONE OF THOSE Eureka! moments, I literally held the connections in the back cavity together with one hand and noodled out some hammer and scales and was amazed by the resulting sounds, and vibrations, I mean your guitar shakes like your being blasted by a half stack.

In regards to hexagonal pickups, I think the potential for amazing defined harmonics are out there. I believe that the moog guitar of recent fame is taking this technology for a jog. I believe that they are using the pickups as drivers, and they are able to mute notes with the same drivers.

Edited by Munk

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Cool...

I am surprised if the EMG can generate enough current through it's preamp to move the strings...but there is so much I clearly don't understand. Attempts by myself and others to use pickups themselves as drivers have failed (except for spazzy) but if you are doing it successfully...it changes everything and makes the sustainiac and all those patents obsolete!

Certainly the Moog thing uses multiple drivers and has hexophonic pickup capability...how it is done and how well it does it is still complete speculation for now...till someone buys one, tries one or they put in some kind of patent documentation.

If you can show that your technique works, this thread is largely obsolete...I can sit back and watch the amazing avenues such a technique opens up to everybody...can't wait to hear it!

pete

ps...see assorted small clips added to the sound thing

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I'm not convinced the magic is the preamp inside the EMG 81, so much as the potting which makes the EMG select have very little movement. I believe that an LM386 preamp might work to drive it. I'll be trying that tomorrow, and will post results.

If it is not the driver, than I will be exploring the specific outputs of the EMG 81, and with some accuracy I will be able to predict what it in fact takes to power a pickup used as a driver. Feel free to mention any other steps in methodology I could take.

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The EMG select works as a driver and gets that string going hard. WHen I was doing tests I kept thinking that it wouldn't work, so I kept lowering the volume on my amp, until it was inaudible, but the string was still sustaining.

Hmmmm....

was amazed by the resulting sounds, and vibrations, I mean your guitar shakes like your being blasted by a half stack.

Hmmmm....

Ok, first, there is no amp involved with the sustain, it is powered by the preamp built into the EMG. There is no external amplifier involved with the sustain effect itself, just the preamp inside the pickup powered by the 9 volt battery.

Hmmmm....

I believe that an LM386 preamp might work to drive it.

Ummmm....

You could be experiencing massive EMI induced squeal with a resonant frequency of one or some of the strings.

I am not completely following this...you get sustain but only if the guitar amp is inaudible :D What happens if the guitar amp is audible?

Why would you be considering an LM386 if you are getting sustain with just the EMG's preamp, a 1ohm pot (unusual value there) and a battery?

This may not be the eureka moment that you think...however you might surprise us all. Spazzyone claimed and even showed video suggesting that he could get controlled sustain with a mid coil standard rail pickup running from a PA amplifier (plenty of power and headroom there). This is kind of similar to the experiments I did years before this thread was started...perhaps I wasn't doing it right!

Anyway, clearly I am feeling inadequate to access these things, even my own...so turn up the amp and see what happens!

pete

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Hey Col and PSW,

I'm all for a newer 'standard' DIY circuit, that will put the Fetzer/Ruby like designs to rest! The only reason I have kept it alive, is because I know I have had good BASIC results with it, as well as many others, and for those of us who can't just whip up a circuit design from scratch in a day or two, there still isn't much out there to go on. I'm not blaming anyone here -- it's just a fact. (Most of the stuff here circuit wise is either not working, or super advanced for the average DIY'er.) That is why I was hoping to revamp the F/R and finally have an easily accessable circuit that people know they can build, and upon correct completion, get basic results from. If you can lend your circuit genius to making a better 'standard' then I'd be happy to help, test, develop, design, etc.

Also, my area of specialty is really with tube amps, and since the Fetzer valve is designed to operate relatively like an old fender input stage, I perhaps understand it better than op-amp stuff :D . But I'm learning more and more every day about op-amp and other IC chip designs, and this forum helps a lot.

Col, could you re-post your advanced circuit that you had so much sucess with? I'd be happy to build it and 'verify' your results -- and hopefully learn more about the design behind it in the process, and thus learn more about the theory that goes into this type of solid state sustainer circuit design.

Edited by mrjstudios

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Col might have a more recent or corrected version than this, so beware...

Heres a version of my circuit.

Sustainerschematic.jpg

(edited to fix an error and update the circuit)

Things to watch out for:

There may be errors - if anything seems odd, post a question.

If two wires are supposed to join, there will be a small 'blob' - if theres no blob where wires cross in the diagram, there should be no connection.

Hi MRJ and others...I am sure col has made some improvements and alterations, there may even be faults...but since I have been going back in time I did find the first appearance of it...in fact I am sure things changed overtime and it is well worth reviewing the design ideas and even the discussions about what the design is intended to do.

This was back at page 110, but click the pink arrow in the above quote to take you back to that page is easiest!

...

The only reason I have kept it (F/R) alive, is because I know I have had good BASIC results with it, as well as many others, and for those of us who can't just whip up a circuit design from scratch in a day or two, there still isn't much out there to go on.

I think the improvements you have made does clear up the design a little for stability...and as you have said, you and many others have had some success with it...in fact I'd be most curious to know how many people have built this with success. I have been trying to wrack my sore head about it but it's near impossible to know, I know there are a few though.

My reluctance is really that it took me a few months, hours of researching, thinking and trial and error building to make a circuit. I don't use schematic programs so can only really post layouts. In the dark past I tried to post layouts only to find others spotted obvious errors in them...I am not alone in that...and until I have built something and tested it, I can't be sure that the layout or the concept is any good.

But we will see, perhaps I can get myself together and do something...unless someone beats me to it. I did post a link to hobbytron (in canada) which had a promising and cheap LM386 with preamp in a kit that looks as if it could easily be modded. I could not convince them to sell me one...but they will supply the USA and canada...go figure.

pete

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Hi Pete and others,

Fizzy...you went your way too with the design...and I think that your aims are much like cols perhaps.

I don't know what to say about the "fizz" thing...as far as I am concerned...it is evident in the clip I posted (click the red "with sound like to the demo) it is clearly evident in my tele with the circuit running flat out. This is the sound of my sustainer...this is the sound possible IMHO with basic technology...and this is a sound that I don't find offensive nor unusable.

I don't think the F/R (LM386) is that bad. But without a compressor/limiter there is a headroom problem. And because of that there is a big chance of ending up with notes that don't sustain well while other notes generate fizz.

Pete, I've heard your clips, and the fizz sounds indeed musical to me. But that also depends on the other equipment a guitar player uses.

For instance, I'm using a strat with a humbucker. Because humbuckers have more mid and I like a bit more highs I use a high boost. Using a high boost also affects the headroom problem I mentioned. My humbucker is positioned at even distance from bass and treble side, not slanted. This compensates for the use of the high boost.

But the high boost is not used as a part of my sustainer device setup. Therefore if I set up my sustainer device in a way that I have sustain on my bass strings without fizz the treble strings are underpowered. If I boost the highs or cut the lows the even response is gone (phase shifting).

So in a sole F/R setup I have to live with the fizz. But in my setup the fizz that's being created by the sustainer device goes through my high boost! Result: harsh sounding fizz, NOT musical!

So my conclusion is: the sole F/R can indeed give good results but it depends on what other equipment is used. An optional limiter should be offered to prevent fizz for those setups where it's not sounding well.

Fizz

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I agree fizz...

However...way back I was using a compressor limiter as a preamp...

sustainerstrat.jpg

I built this box (with the green knobs) from a kit and built an LM386 in the box as an optional output for the driver. It worked well as a preamp, limiting was of some use but compressor could make things worse. I abandoned using it because it would never be a practical circuit to actually fit into a guitar! Col's approach to AGC made a lot more sense for this project once he persevered in explaining it to us :D mine is nothing so sophisticated and the AGC more of a token gesture in it's present form.

Pete, I've heard your clips, and the fizz sounds indeed musical to me. But that also depends on the other equipment a guitar player uses.

This is true, I have found HB's to be very good. I have done versions with SD JB HB in the bridge, cheap single coils, stacked single coils...the more difficult one I have had is the high treble response of a cheap tele bridge pickup. The tele has an HB, but it is particularly bright.

In the clips...the more recent ones are into my fender hotrod amp...the original blueteleful1 clips were very clean and direct into my BR600 monitored through headphones alone.

But each guitar is a little different. I had been thinking that perhaps the fetzer might be too powerful...maybe only a buffer is required...so to take a ROG design, the original ruby with mods to the LM386 might be worth a try. An EMG or other active system may not need a preamp at all.

...

Thinking about this...and maybe off topic...

I did try this unsuccessfully last year and never reported what I had been working on...

bilat01.jpg

I was trying to do the mid-driver thing but with a surface mounted bi-lateral driver. The two coils were wound around magnets and staggered...it did kind of work, but all kinds of different EMI symptoms appeared with the different pickup selections...it never worked quite as well as the single coil even in the neck position...and like the last mid-driver attempt (with a rail driver) close to the strings and in the way of my pick!

I was using my new circuit to drive it. But there are so many factors involved. Certainly each guitar is a little different, but I have tried it on a few guitars by now. If I were, or someone would like to beat me to it, make a dual coil driver is would perhaps be to fit on to or incorporated into a HB pickup in the neck position.

New people to the thread might not realize that col uses a dual coil design while typically mine are single coils. Clearly both can work...in fact I am sure there are even more designs that could work...many have been speculated on about the thread. Maybe this indicates that my intuition and experience with drivers of the thin type is misplaced...I guess I don't know.

Something I have noticed is that the fizz gets a lot worse (as is evident in the clips posted today) when the battery starts to drain...the demo from the other day was a fairly new, if ordinary no-name brand and the response and clarity was a lot better. The battery does seem to recover...but this reinforces the need to allow for good battery access. Col is also right about things like class D amps that are very power efficient...not just for battery life, but because you loose that clean headroom the quicker a battery drains. I did start a project to test remote power with a stereo lead a while back...this has yet to be tried out...maybe it will work, maybe it would make more noise, I'm not sure.

pete

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The F/R is never going to give anything like optimal results with any driver. Maybe you should build one and test it before selling it any further?

It wasn't ever 'designed' and I for one really dislike the way ROG have been shown in a bad light here because someone else cobbled together parts of two of their circuits and presented them publicly as a solution for problem they were never intended to solve. If ROG had developed a sustainer driver circuit, you can bet it would have been **** loads better than the F/R (i've built some of their projects and they are GOOD)

Humour me here ....who/what are ROG?!!

Edited by Hank McSpank

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The F/R is never going to give anything like optimal results with any driver. Maybe you should build one and test it before selling it any further?

It wasn't ever 'designed' and I for one really dislike the way ROG have been shown in a bad light here because someone else cobbled together parts of two of their circuits and presented them publicly as a solution for problem they were never intended to solve. If ROG had developed a sustainer driver circuit, you can bet it would have been **** loads better than the F/R (i've built some of their projects and they are GOOD)

Humour me here ....who/what are ROG?!!

ROG = runoffgroove ... www.runoffgroove.com

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...

Also, my area of specialty is really with tube amps, and since the Fetzer valve is designed to operate relatively like an old fender input stage, I perhaps understand it better than op-amp stuff :D . But I'm learning more and more every day about op-amp and other IC chip designs, and this forum helps a lot.

You probably know a lot more than me then !

I use a lot of trial and error combined with bits of other circuits pasted together in simulations. I've learned enough to understand most of whats happening, but I often overlook problems due to ignorance that I later understand.

For example, in this circuit, I'm concerned that the multi harmonic mode switching has different input impedances depending on which mode is selected. Unfortunately, I don't have the chops to work out if this is true and if so, is it significant...

Col, could you re-post your advanced circuit that you had so much sucess with? I'd be happy to build it and 'verify' your results -- and hopefully learn more about the design behind it in the process, and thus learn more about the theory that goes into this type of solid state sustainer circuit design.

Here is a post I made a while back that has links to a schematic and a layout diagram. It also has some very important notes and instructions.

Since this was designed, I have simulated much simpler versions that work just as well - more similar to a schem curtisa posted eons ago, however this is the last circuit that I built and installed, and its the one I used to make most of my clips with. You should also note that I used a dual coil 'rail' driver.

If you do decide to build this, I'd like to hear how you get on. Otherwise, no worries. I might get around to building and testing a simplified and improved version some time.

EDIT: oh, and (obviously really) the layout diagram doesn't include the power-amp section because I just used an existing mini LM386 power amp section.

cheers

Col

Edited by col

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Col:

Ha, I doubt I know more than you do! But I do think I am starting to understand the design of your circuit a lot better.

I'll have more of a look at those links soon, and I may well try to build one. I think I'll test it with a 'thin driver' design though for now. I did make some dual coil humbucker-like drivers back when everyone was doing that, and I did get 1 working, but I am a bit more confident in my single coils at the moment. Eventually, I'd like to have a sustainer in a regular humbucker-sized pickup format...

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Col-

What do the little red X's mean on your schematic with regard to the power input/outputs on the opamps? I assume you are connecting power to them in those locations, or do you not have to?

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Hi guys, not done much new as far as coils and circuits go's yet, not had the time, but i have installed my first sustainer, its the 2x16ohm parallel wired fullsize humbucker, running on the Ruby/Fet (with the two extra mods from Petes circuit).

Here's how it looks :

installedsustaineryt4.th.jpg

And:

installedsustainerclosefc6.th.jpg

The two Switches on the body used to be coil spliters for the pickups, but i never used them, so they are now and on/off switch and Standard/Harmonic switch for the Sustainer.

Im really pleased with it, and its going to be put straight to use in some music projects too.

A big thanks to everyone who's working on this project, for making this possible, you all rock :D , and this is by no means the end of my building either, now my attentions are going to be turned to a mid driver for my other guitars.

This was a very active time on the thread, in my mind I think of it as a time in which dual coil designs and alternate circuits were the state of play. I had completely forgotten about Avalons work and success. In a later post he says it works well however there seemed to be some difficulty with the G string on some frets. On my tele the g string is more active than others. As you can see, the F/R was used with some basic mods similar to those added to the F/R version of MRJ's...results like this are the basis of my assertion that the F/R is an adequate design.

As an alternative, Strib offered up an alternative circuit after trying the F/R and feeling it wasn't powerful enough...Stribe's circuit...this link is to the tutorial and gives links to the various parts of this thread and links to the schematic and layouts. The drivers were conventional thin coil SC designs similar to mine.

Many guitars here feature only a bridge pickup. For people working with multiple pickup guitars (like strats) the aspect of installation is important. Complete bypass of the middle and neck pickup, both ground and hot is vital. There are various approaches, generally I have been aiming at disconnecting everything and directly reconnecting the bridge pickup with a 4pdt switch. This aspect should not be underestimated.

For people looking for an alternative to the F/R stribs circuit is worth a look at (perhaps exchange a better opamp like a TL071 which is compatable with the 741 pins) and it uses a different poweramp chip with more headroom I guess than the LM386.

pete

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