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psw

Sustainer Ideas

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Yet another unbelievable desigh Emre...those angle really show off the shape. The scoop is now on top I see, as I had originally thought but changed my mind at the last miniute.

The big round flat knob would be really easy to manipulate on the fly and the toggles sticking up would work particularly well with the idea of the on/off and momentary switch idea I'm working on. Regardless, the knob, if a push switch function, would work better than my current designs.

Back down here :D , I've been mucking about with playdough! One of my first ideas was to make a kind of wing shape, almost Art Deco in look from aluminium with the controls just forward of that. I hpoe people appreciate the time and effort, not to mention computer time (pictures of this quality ties up a computer for hours to render to create that realistic effect).

Besides the sustainer, people might consider building on these designs to house effects to the guitar. I think that they have shown that with a little imagination, controls behind the bridge are an option and the stuck on box could be an acceptable alternative to drilling holes in your baby.

I've been working on some preamp ideas but they have come to nothing so far. I really want to shrink the preamp down as it really does hamper the design choices. Also, having some problems finding enough time and will have to scale back my activities for a while now. Never fear though, work will go into it but just not as much as recently...unless there's some kind of breakthrough....

So to update the stage I'm at with the project:

o The Driver

o I have 3 drivers of the type propsed. The Silver one, An illuminated copy that's thicker and a new one, almost done that is more like the final product design. As I'm making this one I'm also making jigs to reproduce it and have the parts for about 5 at hand.

o The Circuit

o I have shrunk the power amp stage as far as can be expected using hand soldering techniques.

o I've added a low-battery indicator circuit.

o I think I've got the attenuator circuit done but it may need some tweaking.

o I have two momentary knob action designs but they are labour intensive to create. I have a fall back option of a momentary switch. There are other options too. We'll have to see which makes the final cut.

o I have a couple of working preamp options but neither are really satisfactory given the size they take up. Try as I might, what should be one of the easiest things is the sticking point. The reason is that I'm an electronics novice and my learning curve is getting a little too steep!

o The Concept.

o With the tremendous help from the two designers Emre and Tim, we've really had the concept fleshed out. There are things to be taken from all of these designs.

o I've made some progress on how this thing should be connected into the guitar. There's no getting around the inevitable need for some drilling to take place and some wiring to be done by the end user. I have made a little progress on how this could most easily be done.

o I have though of way's in which a standard "box" can be used on different platforms.

o Production Issues.

o I've made enquiries on how the circuit could be manufactured.

o I'm progressing with the jigs to hand make drivers

o I have found sources for some of the more specialised parts.

Even though a lot of work has been done in the last few weeks really, it's been a long haul and I've really racked up the hours on this. I had hoped to have progressed further. I have to remind myself that it was only at the new year that I was able to say that the system (as it stands) is a working entity, even if the refinements are not there yet.

So, I'll see what I can come up with, but I'll be presured for time (maybe my posts will become shorter and less frequent as a result) and I expect progress to become slower.

Anyway, I'll be watching B)

psw

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Here's a rough of my winged tailpiece idea

wingbox2bb.gif

Cant match these guys on graphics but I just thought I'd throw this into the mix.

Perhaps we could have a little poll on which style and/or features are liked most!

I quite like the fancy of the winged idea. Similarly the fins on the original long box of Tim/onelastgoodbye's. I guess I like the nod to the past. Emre/Transient had an interpretation of my idea of a asymetric scoop. These incorporated the battery into the design but cut back the height where it was possible. Tim went all porsche with the black and silver box with angles and illuminated name. I really liked the cowling detail on that one around the knob and switches. Emre has just added this one which also has some interesting little details. It's in these details that I see something special in all of them.

So, id go for my "wing thing", only because I just drew it, and it has a kind of wimsy to it. I'd put all those cowling features and have it appear to float above the guitar face. Emre had a nice line around the bottom and tucked the front of the box it to accentuate the upper tilt of the controls and I quite liked the curves.

Of course, I change my mind everytime I see another version. I'll change it even more when I have to make it even more I'm sure!

Anyway, tell me what the concensus is and give these guys a heads up on how you see their designs. And if you wouldn't put a box on your guitar unless you really had to to get the sustainer effect, please, let mme know. It will take a lot more to install the thing and you'd be on your own unless you want to come down here (LoL), but thems the breaks.

looking forward to seeing the view of you guys

psw

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Thanks emre...beautiful work as always...you can rest a while now, ta!

I've cut my losses on the preamp's I've been using...I have an icecream bucket in which I throw my failures and I've filled one already...not to worry, they'll be recycled into something else in due course.

I have a preamp module and a few other preamp kits so I'll be using that to make some noise very soon I hope.

I'd like to point out to the electronics novices here (me included), that there are a lot of really good, well designed, virtually guarranteed to work, kits out there for effects and little amps and such. These are great, I even did a costing on buying the board that I modified for a part of this project and found that for the same price of one board (even if bought in lots of twenty), I could buy the kit retail...with all the components!!!

You can really go to town if you want to changing values and tweaking stuff based on what you read about, or just experiment. It really is a great way to learn and at least you'll get some sort of fuzz box or something out of it.

That said I did a bit of experimenting with the stuff.

I got all the lights going and they really do look good. Light's and guitars have never really caught on...it's easy to get a bit tacky and kitsch all for the sake of a little window dressing. But somehow when it's an add on it doesn't look half bad. (or maybe I'm tacky and kitsch).

I also rigged up the circuit to this preamp module and it worked fine.

Now I'm feeling a little sheepish 'cause in the course of mucking about with stuff I think I came across something that will make this a lot easier. Unfortunately, I have to swallow my pride in some of my work and I'll have to do a bit more research to see if there aren't arlready patents barring me from doing this, but from what I've read, I'd probably get away with it.

My problem is that at this stage of the game, being so close to a "product" I'm a little worried to say anything about it. Anyway, if all goes to plan, I'll be able to demonstrate some sounds soon enough with what I've got and design ideas, even if not exactly as it may end up sould be safe enough.

Now, I'd really encourage some feedback on the box vs. internal debate. Also the styling and any "no go" areas of the guitar. I obviously have a soft spot for the box. If you've got this sysem and other stuff...was it tim who said they got 2 9volt batteries in their trem spring cavity (I don't know how...I'm having trouble fitting one...perhaps I'm trying the wrong cavity [sorry, Australian Humour...ignore that].).

WARNING MORE HARMLESS CRUDE HUMOUR ALERT

I'm also looking at locating batteries in back there (opps...), and I still like under the jack plate (sorry...). At least the holes are there for it (I'm a bit tired...), but each guitar will pose it's own problems in installation. I even thought some time ago of building the circuitry into a thicker (say 6mm) tremolo cavity cover so that all but the controls are hidden from view. But then all those gibson guys (I was one...still am I guess) without trems will be left out. Really though there are some great effects combining this "thing" with the trem besides the obvious dive bombs.

So, for a while I may be absent, but I'll still be looking in everyday...got to do some research, get back to work, (long story...in case you were wondering if this is all I do all day usually...there is no trust fund, trust me!), and get some chops up to do a demo for you guys...

Oh, and one last thing...It's time to assess what would be considered a success with this project. I know I had a list of criteria, but that was long ago. I started assuming I'd have to lose the neck pickup, so let's not make assumptions. Just have a think about what you'd really want this thing to do and look like (including internal secret installation). I must be getting close to getting something together so it would really help as a market research tool. Also, think about what you want...don't try to double think what you think most people would feel about something, it's as likely they think like you or I. I really hope that this thing will sell itself for what it has to offer. The appearance of it is secondary but important...I dont want anything that will turn people off, dispite what it can do! (if you understand that, you'd understand anything).

Now, with that free assicated speed typed load of drivel (have I made page 40 yet?, I'll say goodnight...

Goodnight

psw

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Ok, thats an amazing graphic there emre. It looks great, just have to see if it would be practical with the circuitry and battery etc.

Psw, I think when asking people about the external vs internal issue, you may be going about it in the wrong way. Neither one will win over the other because there is always going to be some people on either side of the fence. What you need to do is to be able to sort out a product for both these situations. The external fans and the internal fans. Then there isnt an excuse for people to get one :D .

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Hey there fellas....

Did anyone miss they're sustainer fix?

Well I just wasted a few more day's getting nowhere fast. As a result I'll lay off for a while. It always seems that if I let it go, when I come back things seem to go quicker.

With that in mind I've stuck all the boards and bits and nest of wires to a piece of cardboard and tested the latest driver and will just muck about with it to see what it can do at this stage of development...

A couple of interesting things have come up! I mentioned in my previous post:

Now I'm feeling a little sheepish 'cause in the course of mucking about with stuff I think I came across something that will make this a lot easier. Unfortunately, I have to swallow my pride in some of my work and I'll have to do a bit more research to see if there aren't arlready patents barring me from doing this, but from what I've read, I'd probably get away with it.

What i was doing was testing the circuitry with a small speaker and found I could get some great feedback effects from it. Behind the scenes I've been E-talking with Emre/transient and he showed me this:

DIY electro-acoustic Feedback generator!

This is exactly the conclusion I came up with after mucking about with the concept. I was dumbfounded. Perhaps, because of my more refined circuitry, it worked really well but it's not as easy as it looks to produce that "transducer".

I had the idea of marrying my circuitry to this kind of thing and have spent a few days (and dollars on it). Now, the more clued on this site will perhaps recognise it as Ansil's Sustainer Mod on steroids! I'm not sure that Ansil explained, or fully understood the principle...the speaker is not shaking the pickup but the whole guitar.

I'd like to make it clear that I have proved that Ansil's sustainer Mod can work, if you spend the time to muck around enough with it and feed it enough power. I hope poor Ansil can rest easy, and if anyone doubts that it can work send them to me (I live at the bottom of the world, mind you!)

So my feeling of sheepishness was that I appeared to be able to meet the projects criteria (pickup selection, etc) with this simple device. As it turns out, Emre is into fretless guitar and sustainers are common to these instruments as they lack a certain amount of natural sustain, has experimented with it a bit, but with limited results. Possibly my circuitry is better tuned to drive it. So it works and you may as well try it.

Upon further testing, and reading up on this and the Model C sustainiac system (there's a link from the above linked page) two thing struck me. One is, why would you then develop and flagship the stealth system, and fernandes too. And, that both are running remotely with dedicated cables to the guitar running from a mains drawn power supply.

The answers there, It takes a bit of current so the battery goes flat fast. Your effectively running a practice amp from a nine volt battery, it makes a bit of a racket (you hear the guitar playing away over the sound from the amp at low volumes) it's a bit primitive.

Mainly though, it's more efficient to electromagnetically move an already vibrating string at that resonant frequency, than it is to vibrate the entire instrument, and thereby vibrating the string. It's kind of a shame, 'cause I thought my quest for infinite sustain had come to an end.

So, I've been trying this out for a few days and could perhaps give some pointers and as a DIY project it isn't bad. It just made me a little more depressed that I would come up with the exact same thing (though it's probably obvious) as Mr M Smart above! I also felt bad 'cause I thought I'd researched the thing pretty thoroughly but I missed this!

So after futzing around with speakers and trying three different preamp circuits to no avail, I put my stuff back into driver mode again...and really...the driver is a lot better and more efficent.

I can report that the new comercial grade, standardised driver format is a success and there are a few twists in the saga that will be revealed when the system is complete I guess. So I'll now get back to the original concept of a very small hex driver array and leave you all to DIY the above thing. Perhaps you'll be so hooked on sustain that by the time mines ready, you'll want one on every guitar!

The other thing is I've had a few messages from "Hideenaner" a newbie (nothing wrong with that emre is too, it just means you've just signed up...or perhaps forgoten your name again :D ) asking specifically about the driver, why are there LED's in it, etc!

I think most people would recognise that, apart from the benifits of my propsed system has over available others, is in the driver. There are no references to how the CPx series drivers work except for a theory on rotating magnetic fields (I now use a wave effect, but the same principle applies), and how these things work without coils.

I think I've been fairly (and probably too) frank about everything except where there is new ground broken. The driver is the essential element, the circuitry just serves to feed it. I'm only really having trouble with the circuit as I'm a complete "doofus" when it comes to understanding and designing circuitry at the technical level. I can build 'em though!

The only thing I can say, and you regulars will already know, the LED's are simply for show. The driver contains both active and passive components and has some protection (set in epoxy, unable to take readings from it) from snoops, in fact if taken apart, they're to fragile to work!)

The lights do take up as much power as the amp though so I may scale that back...is it worth the effort of lighting it up. I got some Blue LED's at a clearace and installed one on the new circuit...it leaves a beautiful errie light over the whole scratchplate and picking hand. I might not wory about the LED's for a bit, and just get the thing stablised.

Anyway, that's more than enough as always...any suggestions or comments are always appreciated so don't be backwards in coming forward.

psw

PS if you're new, it helps if you put some info about yourself on the profile so I get a sense of who I'm talking to and the motivation behind some questions...sounds a little paranoid I know....ok I'm paranoid, so sue me!

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thanks psw yes i realized long ago that i was vibrating the body but i like the crazy overtones of the original one. i figured out after i sunk a small pager motor in a guitar that you could get it to vibrate but it will eat the crap out of batteries. also things to try is the basic reverb principle if you dont' know how spring reverb works check it out, and apply it to your tremolo block.. ahh behold the power of cheese.

i have found that it works better on the floyd block now, but i am discontinuing my work on sustain of this type and be a spectator i have something new in the works, and will drop this on eveyrone when i have it worked up to my likes. i told psw a little on it, and i told lk a lot on it, and i will keep it like that right now cause i think it could really take off.

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Hi Ansil...i'm glad that that should put a stop to the endless sustainer mod debate. I'll eventually get some sounds up, unless someone what's to get it running (I have trouble recording stuff..ancient computer, don't you know!)

I think I know what your referring too, so keep at it.

As for my system, it's quite different and efficient and there's room for more efficiency and tweaking.

For instance...no one has...but one could ask, why hex drivers with a mono source! Well the quick answer is, 'cause I can!...another is, eventually I'll make a hex pup to drive each string alone.

But the answer for now is that I hope to be able to taylor each driver to it's string to get an even polyphonic response, in time. That means, not only the benifits of the system as so far discussed over the "competition" but useable chord tones, even hexaphonic distortion of a new type from a mono source should be posible. Experiments that I make with each new driver indicate that there's a lot of scope there.

There's room for any number of effect devices. I'm captivated by this as it's really an extension of the instrument and playing technique, not just an effect. It does however require a bit more thatn just plugging in and playing. I'm trying to make it as easy as possible to install, but there will always need to be some hard wiring to be done, box or no box!

anyway, got to get back too it

psw

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That's great Tim...it just goes to show that even on a Les Paul that design, and the behind the bridge concept works. I've got yet another incarnation (there are now 4) complete circuits to play around with...still working on that preamp though.

I'm kind of giving up...unless there is a LOT of encouragement...on the led driver. It's going to take a lot of work as a production thing. I'm thingking more along the high brightness LED shining up the strings as an alternative. It's very effective and mounts safely in the box.

Has anyone had experience with those little rechargable button cells about 30mm x 3mm rated at 3 volts...much guts in them? They'd be two expensive to replace all the time but if rechargable, could bring the size down a bit.

By the way, that box Tim, does that have the battery in it...it looks a little small. There's no doubt that it could be that small once everythings on one board. It's that spaghetti of wires and the bulky battery that's letting down the box team.

Also...how do you get two batteries in the spring cavity...judst one spring?

anyway, I was starting to miss the graphics, thanks Tim

psw

PS oh and the picture pushed us over the 8000 visits mark but I find the number of posts that's truely amazing!

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And the winner is....COLOR=red]Tim/onelastgoodbye!

So I've got a circuit and I've chosen the box. That last pick showed it can work on various guitars and it's very distinctive. Now all I've got to do is make it. I've made a clay model of the black part and have some strong sheet aluminium, and a few other bits and pieces including a working circuit to fit in there.

After re-reading the original posts where tim explained the box concept a little more I've got a few ideas. One problem is how it would open. I thought perhaps hinging from the upper (playerside) so that the black part comes up. Perhaps I can use my NeoD magnets as catches to hold it down.

They'll need to be some wiring coming out of the box, I'm thinking the front of the silver part, and possibly a power input, and other stuff at the back. The sustainer takes up a lot of power compared to an average effect so I'm thinking of having an option of a powerpack power for use at home and recording etc, where you don't absolutely need to be battery powered.

The push on knob is just too tedious to make. It's a shame but there's a lot of work in it and I'm not sure it would be reliable. The momentary action though is so worthwhile I've come up with a different scheme.

How about a remote control pad that sticks on wherever you want. It could easily be made from surface mount switches. At the moment it still looks as if I need DPDT switches but I can get the same effect from two SPST that has,say, a lever that pushes down on them simultaneously.

Tell me if this is too cheesy. for $2.50 at the bargin shops they sell these illuminated pens that have three LED's and a tiny little circuitboard. Each time you turn the thing on it lights a different color Red, yellow ,Blue and combinations of these. It also has a sequence where it fades through these colors. At about the price of a Blue LED itself, I thought this could go well to illuminate the Writing on the side.

I've just got to work out how that's going to be done...I've a few thoughts.

Tim...had you considered the idea of mounting the box as the stud tailpiece with some means of securing the ends. It would be a little closer and look less added on. It looks fine as is but I'd be interested to see how it could be done.

Also, are you abble to send me wire frame diagram or plan/elevation drawings or screen shot of the box so that I get your intention right?

psw

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Not a lot of progress today...apparently there's more to life than infinite sustain!

Checked out the device...seems to be very sensitive to battery charge. Below a certain point it behaves a little erattically. I suspect it can't keep up the current. I could add more batteries like fernandes but I'd prefer people to add the sustain in small doses via the momentary option, inserting the "effect" into their playing in a more "natural" way and allowing the battery to recover.

This is no big problem but it does call into question the amount of LED's running in the driver, just for show. I've made a couple of different driver versions creating the jigs to make them without cooking them in the process (there's some pretty small soldering going on). The amount of work to put lights in them may not be worth the effort. I do like Tim's illuminated name plate. This would need a high brightness LED to create the best effect, again more power. I also like the lighted switches, very cool. But each needs it's own wiring and robs power.

So, I'm trying to make the driver cute but less conspicuous and am working on a version of Tim's asymetric design (see previous page). Looking good proportion wise but I'm having to change a few things and my base at 12mm thick seems a little thicker than illustrated by Tim.

I just ordered some special push button switches that should make this thing functional and very neat. I hope they work out, cause their also slightly cheaper and they have inbuilt LED's and are 4PDT so will switch just about anything!

Anyway, sleep is needed

psw

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Hi psw.

First of all i'll start off by saying i didn't understand those posts about the transducer driver thing and about vibrating the entire guitar. I didnt understand much of it at all, plus that DIY site wasnt very helpful to me, i didn't see anything clear that you could build yourself :D .

That box by Tim is cool (the Les Paul one). However, it wont work. There is no way you can control the knob from behind the tailpiece, which is itself a few inches behind the bridge. The box would HAVE to go over the top of the tailpiece just behind the bridge.

About the touchpad idea, well this is something I feel could work. You stick it wherever you want on the guitar, and you push the little switches depending on the power of sustain you want, have i understood that correctly? As for it being remote control, I really dont think you should be going there. You're going to be making it far more complex, why not just connected by wires?

I think it may be a good idea to scrap the LED idea for now, its taking up too much time and thought and would take up too much battery power. I'd concentrate on getting it to all work in a finished product casing.

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Nice post Bio...felt like I was writing a diary for a bit (well I am sort of...) I think 1 agree with most of that, lets have a look!

Basically what's being proposed by the DIY sustainer is bolting a speaker to the guitar body somewhere and an amplifier so that when you play you actually hear the thing (makes a bit of a racket which is why M Smart and the model C effectively remove the cone and add a weight (the dime)but it still makes some noise "acoustically (not through the amp)). This produces your traditional howling feedback as if you were playing real loud (like jimi).

Emre/transient, not only has contributed some great artwork, happens also to be a part of the cutting edge fretless fraternity (uses a glass fretboard) has just built one so we may hear some first hand comments from him (thanks for providing the link by the way). A sustainer is pretty much de rigor for fretless as it compensates for some loss in sustain.

It's probably not for everyone, even though I toyed with it for a couple of days, but it may work if you've a mind to go all DIY to meat the needs. I think it reqires a fairly light body too, a les paul may have trouble as it's so solid.

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Speaking of which...my only brand name guitar, and the only guitar I have consistantly played (30 years!!!) until recent years is a Genuine Les Paul:

pswLP.jpg

So, even though I'm hooked on me Crap Strat copies in the past few years, I'm not as all dis'ing the stud tailpiece type guitars. The Les Paul really has an inconveniant control layout and all the controls are out of the way. They really should have had a master volume like on the rare-ish fender Starcaster (5 knobs) to be better reached.

So to be fair, Tim's proposal is no further away, I'm not sure of your layout but I know your not adverse to taking a drill to your instrument :D. The control knob is fairly indispensible and should be front and centre, but, where else can it go? I still say, on and replacing the stud piece myself but that means another specialised "box" so let's leave that for now.

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Ok, now when I say remote control I'm talking a small,say 4mm thick 1cm round thing that's connected by wires to the box, as an option. It wouldn't be hard to do. Again, we'll see about that later.

For now I've gone off the push knob as I actually have to make the switch part which just adds time and cost to the "product" and I'm not sure of it's reliability. In my dreams, I've got an entirely digital switching system and the knob would be a push-buttong encoder. Ideally, the system could be controlled by a joystick or some kind of track ball...ok, so let's leave that for now also!

What I think may work best, are these new pushbutton illuminated switches. They look cool, are easy to use, got the lights happening. The only problem is that traditionally, guitarist hate push-button switches and I can't think of a guitar product that has succeeded with them.

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I'm thinking the same on the LED driver. I've got a terrible habit of not calculating my time in building things as a cost. The LED driver "costs" alot. Also, there is already a patent on putting an LED on there as an indicator...but it's no light show!

I'm acrually getting some of the new driver's smaller. I'm heading towards it being barely noticable at all. I think, even though the driver is the heart of the system, we're fetishising it a bit...look at me, I'm a driver, see I'm on...when it doesn't really need to be as there's this hunk of box doing the same!

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So, I'll close this and start a new post on how I'm going with Tim's box, see if you guys can help me out with some practicalities!

psw

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Alright, here's a 2min sketch of my version of tim's box construction:

Tboxsketch1.jpg

Well, that picture seemed to come out ok. I should do that more often and save the word count!

To make a folded metal box as in Tim's design is possible but there needs to be some accurate cutting and folding and you'd get joins at the corners.

An alternative would be to fold the silver part in thinner sheet over a plastic insert so only the front and back would appear black, and that may be easier, Ill try out both ideas.

The problem is how to open and where to hinge it for quick access to the battery (there's room there for som spare picks too by the way. I'm thinking of using strong NeoD magnets to as catches to keep the thing closed. Trying to stay true to the design which has no visible way of opening.

Any ideas...and Tim...how do the dimensions stack up with your computer model?

psw

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Wow, things are moving fast here..

Firstly , i'm honoured to be part of the sustainer revolution B) . I really like Emre's last design too. Cool vintage vibe.

I'll adress a few things:

That box by Tim is cool (the Les Paul one). However, it wont work. There is no way you can control the knob from behind the tailpiece, which is itself a few inches behind the bridge. The box would HAVE to go over the top of the tailpiece just behind the bridge.

Well, I noticed that too. PSW pointed out my dimensions might have been a bit off and he was right. The box is actually bigger than you see in the last render. Below is the 'real thing' up to the right scale. You can probably *just* move the controls and the overhang over the tailpiece. There's about 12-13 mm of clearance below the overhang. The carved top is also angled back there, so the box when mounted will angle back a bit, which provides maybe an extra 1- 2 mm. Anyway I'm pretty confident we can make it go over the tailpiece.

It's kind of hard to make out on the black guitar, might have to adjust your monitor brightness a bit:

boxHH4.jpg

full frontal

black pauls rule

but not as much as goldtops

Ok, now when I say remote control I'm talking a small,say 4mm thick 1cm round thing that's connected by wires to the box, as an option. It wouldn't be hard to do. Again, we'll see about that later.

yeah I proposed something like that a while ago, having a separate mini control board.. A great feature if you can make it work.

For now I've gone off the push knob as I actually have to make the switch part which just adds time and cost to the "product" and I'm not sure of it's reliability. In my dreams, I've got an entirely digital switching system and the knob would be a push-buttong encoder. Ideally, the system could be controlled by a joystick or some kind of track ball...ok, so let's leave that for now also!

What's the difference exactly, if any, between the push knob and the momentary action pushbutton thing? bit confused here.

and Tim...how do the dimensions stack up with your computer model?
I'll give you some more exact "blueprints" later, your measurements seem pretty accurate, I've got 10 mm height for the silver part, 25 mm max height for the black part and the controls sticking out on top of that. length (back to front) is about 85 mm controls included, max width is little over 90 mm. Keep in mind these are INNER dimensions, and I've really made it as small as possible ( all the stuff fits but it's pretty crowded).

About the actual building of the box..as it turns out, my 2nd semester at school has just started and I've got all sorts of really cool classes coming up: DFA (Design For Assembly, which is designing a product specifically with ease of production in mind); CNC programming; ergonomics; and...a redesign of a toaster, which includes molding and laminating and shelling 'n stuff :D

Sooo.. I was thinking I'd have a go at building a prototype box, see if I can do a decent job, and then maybe send it to you, psw. sound like an idea?

Lastly: about the 2 battery thing: actually there's no springs in the cavity at all !! :D

you can see where i blocked the trem

2battery.jpg

Greetz from Europe,

Tim

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Emre/transient, not only has contributed some great artwork, happens also to be a part of the cutting edge fretless fraternity (uses a glass fretboard) has just built one so we may hear some first hand comments from him (thanks for providing the link by the way). A sustainer is pretty much de rigor for fretless as it compensates for some loss in sustain.

Well, apart from commenting on it, i will also include a sound sample as soon as i record it... :D

Biohazard: Yep, that site is a bit confusing. I'll try to explain: Get a small speaker, cut & remove the black paper cone around the middle circle (is it called a voice coil?). Don't remove the middle circle and be careful not to damage or move the two wires there (On some speakers, wires are attached to the paper cone, in that case don't remove that part of the cone.) Once you're done, superglue a dime onto the middle circle. Now all you have to do is attach the speaker to the guitar body, as close as possible to the bridge (attach it with the cone facing up). Be sure that it's attached firmly that it will transfer the vibrations to the guitar body. You can use strong double-sided tape for that. Use a small low-power amp to feed the transducer with the guitar signal. That's it.

It works, but not very well. Some notes sustain, while others don't. This problem seems to be phase related, so the transducer should be close to the bridge. Psw has suggested that it also could be mounted in the spring cavity. Another problem is, it buzzes loudly while working, and it surely can be disturbing :D

Firstly , i'm honoured to be part of the sustainer revolution  . I really like Emre's last design too. Cool vintage vibe.

Thanks Tim. I like your design too. Not surprised that Psw chose yours, as mine would be really hard for him to make because of all those curves involved B)

...

emre

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Oh my...that looks soooo cool...I want one so bad...how much you say!!!!

That's terrific, all the designs were great. I think I've been making the base a little over-large. Since you guys are studying this stuff, here's been a bit of an idea of how I'm approaching getting the design into a reality.

Firstly, you got to take into acount my available skills, materials, time and cost and weigh it all up.

One approach would be to make a folded aluminium sheet box. More likely two that kind of slide together to make the silver all over look. That's a lot of work and cut fingers. Another is, as I illustrated casting a resin box and attaching a plate/s to the top. A third way would be to make a folded shett, like a closed U shape and make a black inside cast. The sides would be silver and the ends (bridge and back) black. This I think will be the approach I'll now take.

Attaching the circuit in the box. As I will need to keep most details secret, I had always intended on potting the circuit. Now if I pot the circuit into the shape of the box, I kill two birds with one stone. I just need to take wires out for any trimmers and connections.

Now if you marry the two ideas you get this...You make a jig to accurately fold then use this as a mold...insert the circuit and the whole thing will be epoxyed and fit perfectly. That thing will never come apart but, because the Aluminium will wand to expand, perhaps a couple of little screse under the lid wouldn't hurt, Ideally I find some plastiscer so the epoxy has a little give. I use somthing like this in the driver potting nad it allows me to gently bend the driver to the curvature of the strings, the aluminium casing holds it in shape.

Next, a straight casting of the top box and controls. I'm not sure if the controls should flip up with the lid, perhaps the controls are better left with the base. Although we're talking plastic here I wan't it to be solid, look really good and I'm prepared to make the effort and add to the cost if you guys think a look or feature is really a must have...like the push knob.

So...about that push knob. Basically, what I made is an aluminium channel and filed down these 9mm pots so it would slide back and forth. I needed a DPDT switch and can't get it so, I've used 4mm sq SMD momentary switches stacked on top of each other. When you push on the pot about tmm both switches engage duplicating the toggle on/off switch for as long, and only as long as you are holding the knob. The idea is so you can subtly add the "effect into your normal playing style rather than it be just a gimmick!

I equate it with a tremolo arm. You can use it on every note, as Hank Marvin pioneered, but most people use it these days, to varying degrees, to add the odd shimmer or dive bomb. If used in this way the battery will last ages and the player will create a better, less "effected" style, where the sustainer is playing you. Of course the all or nothing option is available.

Now if these push button push on/push off switches work out that will be almost as effective. I got hold of a three way centre off,latch and momentary toggle but it's a bit stiff. I had also thought of puting a little arm comming out of the side of the box to about the bridge to press on with your pinky. The easiest is just to make these momentaries attached by 4 thin wires to the on/off switch to wherever you want. But I think that will be an option, not stricktly necessary. This thing will need to be extensively trialed :D you guys will be able to tell me what is needed I'm sure.

Emre, see what Tim's done...that's called cheating. Actually, emre uses 5 springs and very heavey strings for his fretless. As there are no frets, you don't really need the trem and I was explaining how there's lots of room back there if you take out the springs. I use .10-46 and 3 springs with a medium action and the trem floats. I found I could take out the centre spring and get a similar anction by tightening it up heaps. That leaves room and I'd suggest trying the little speaker right under where the trem pivots. You'd get just about everything else in there too!

The thing looks great on the les Paul and you can see the control is closer back there than any of the others. If it were me, (and it is!), I'd be mounting the box from a plate bolted to the underside of the stud tailpiec. That way the thing really would float above the arched top, and wouldn't have to worry about your prized sunburst, or whatever. I bet it would look excellent on a PRS too, it's got a great, high tech but european smoothness about it. It looks like it means business and it looks at home on these expensive instruments.

So that's about it, I'll make up a jig to fold the aluminium tomorrow (my time :D) and see how hard it really will be to make up...meanwhile I'm waiting for these switches to arrive as they may effect the dsign a little. There's something classy about thos toggles and perhaps it will be worth the effort, lets see.

Anyway, over and out for now...

psw

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I think the LEDs will ultimately wear thin on you and you'll wish you hadn't bothered spending so much time on them. :D If you want something glowy, just ONE LED as an "on/off" visual cue is more than enough, and not necessary even then.

Greg

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:D:D

My avatar is NOT giving the finger!!!

<grin>

Greg

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allrighty, blueprints and wireframes of the box can be found over here

I'm gonna try and make a mold over which the shell of the box can be laminated. I've also figured out a way too incorporate the hinges into the mold itself + a few other things that should facilitate the construction process. More pics when I got a bit more time tomorrow.

Tim

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Thanks Tim, I'll study that.

I printed out all the images and think I've got a fair idea of it now...it's really interesting looking at something in detail...the sharp edges and the smooth as you work away at the modelling clay.

Still waiting on those new switches and I've developed a wiring fault in the circuit I've been using when I moved all those trim pots to flying leads! No time to scratch my head over it though!

I've made a wooden former of the base part and bothe the plate and the folded options will work, it's just a matter of time.

thanks t

p

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Wow, cool stuff guys. First of all thanks for the responses to my previous post guys.

The progress is comming on fast. About the ability to move the knob from behind the bridge when string dampening, I don't think it will be at all possible in a practical situation.

A question about that though, is there any way you can get away without dampening the strings while using this sustainer. Because ultimately, that would be a big selling point for me and no doubt others.

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Hi Bio...

About the ability to move the knob from behind the bridge when string dampening, I don't think it will be at all possible in a practical situation.

A question about that though, is there any way you can get away without dampening the strings while using this sustainer.

A lot of these types of questions will arise to be answered, once the system is stablized and I've more a chance to play with it. There is a big difference in the way the system will respond to different players, styles and control settings. This is because it's very much touch sensitive, and every player's touch and intention is different.

That's one of the big pluses of a sustainer over a effect that simply modifys the signal, this thing modifies the actual string vibrations and there's a big difference. The control knob is an important function. It detirmines how hard the strings are driver, their "tone" (grit and fizz or flutey) which strings are emphisised and how fast they react. On a low setting, damping is not too much of an issue, most notes played won't sound long enough for the system to take over. On a high setting the guitar will attempt to feedback, just from the background noise of the PUps themselves without having to play a thing.

Luckily, it's fairly intuitive. If all the strings are ringing in this way, you'll find a way to dampen them. It's just like when you start to play, some of your fingers would always get in the way or not be pressed down hard enough, given time the skills come naturally to ensure that the notes ring true. Anyway, I think you get my drift and a good damping techniques is an important skill, look at it as a teaching aid if you like!

Now, I've just taped the circuitry to the guitar yesterday and hard wired it to the control cavity. I've not done so to this extent before because I've had to keep taking it down to adjust, or try one driver with another...

Here is a picture of the latest version of the driver and the circuit sitting on the guitar:

bridgedriver1rs.jpg

This is taken in my recently rearranged secret laboratory. (in the background you can see a spool of pickup wire in a cannister and my fabulous, DIY, over designed pickup winder!). The little screwdriver is there for modesty reasons, it hides recent changes to the circuit, etc.

Did you spot the new driver? This has been something I've been holding back... it's connected by the purple and grey wires and sitting on the bridge. It hasn't been easy (and still isn't) being able to make this happen, but this is a real difference between my system and the others. And did you see the size. This really is as small as I can make it for now...3mm wide. What it means is that it can be fitted to any guitar with any number of frets and the wires can loop from the box under the bridge without any drilling or installing.

I'm still waiting on the new switch option, but here's my preliminary model of Tim's box:

tboxmodel1.jpg

The wooden base is the former for bending the metal around. I've drawn a hatch on the clay which will hinge up for adjustments and battery changing. Instead of the blue lit lettering, I'm thinking of some lines running down it like shark gills or something. Lettering is a bit hard and some letters would be just too dificult...like O where the centre would fall out requiring a stencil effect a bit like these brackets here: ( ).

Things are moving fast because I'm using the project as a distraction from some really difficult and challenging times I'm going through at the moment...and I'd really like to get this stage over with as I'm finding it very frustrating and eventually I wont be able to spend this amount of time in developing it. It's enormously time consuming.

BTW, This thing is still very much a prototype. That mean's that it works but it's not at all consistant. By the way this is the circuit that was photographed before that looked like a nest of wires...I hope you can see an improvement, I can!

Anyway, bit by bit it's getting there I'spose

Hope you enjoy the pics

psw

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