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psw

Sustainer Ideas

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Wow, excellent progress psw. By the way, I can wait to see if the thing definately needs to be played using string dampening techniques. It's just that personally, I wouldn't want to use a sustainer that could only work while string dampening. Although I can still guess it sounds awsome, and i'd be tempted.

Excellent progress anyway, you are getting there bit by bit. Thats a good thing, you cant expect something like this to materialise overnight. you're making efficient progress and its nice to see a drier that small now, that really is an improvement over anything else on the market. Even if this thing never gets off the ground, you've still acheived such an amazing product that you can feel proud of yourself for the rest of your days. That thing is probably years ahead of anything currently under development.

So even though there is no finished working product yet, let me say:

CONGRATULATIONS PSW!!!!! :D

Keep up the hard work, it will pay off in the very near future. I can see it on the horizon already :D

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wELL THANKS...IT'S MUCH APPRECIATED MY EVER FAITHFUL bIO..

I'm getting bogged down making this box, particularly the bottom part. At first glance it looks like a pretty simple square box but it actually has a curve at the back and the bottom side. I'm finding that bottom edge contorts the metal while I'm folding it. It's probably a bit difficult to shape for a production piece but its a cool looking shape and it's these details that really make a design, without them it's just a box on a box!

I think the idea of a plate attached to a plastic base is probably the best for a production model. You still get the silver from the top but the sides would be black. If the silver is thick, say 3mm then it would be and look very solid and appear to float. I may have to do this yet.

Meanwhile, I've finally got the circuit stablised and working well on the test instrument. You'll be glad to know that the guitar is lying flat on the workbench and it tends not to feedback uncontrolably. If you pluck a string it will feedback and the other strings will stay silent, unless you turn the gain right up. It's not an all or nothing effect. What you have to watch is that little noises on stray strings may feedback but the thing is far from uncontrollable. It's not as simple as the sound of a very loud amp, it's predictable and controlable.

One problem is that it draws a lot of current. The only way around it is to make the circuitry more power efficient. Lovekraft has come to the party with a new lo-power preamp but the real culprit is the power going to the drivers. It works well with one 9 volt battery but you can see the LED actually dim and the sound pumps in a kind of tremolo effect when pushed hard. The solution is to run two 9 volts to allow for the current drain. This is how Fernandes do it. From the Patents it looks like sustainiac is using class D switch mode amplifier which is more power efficient but very new technology. Luckily Tim's box can be given a little more height and two batteries will fit on their edge. I can rig it so you have the option of one or two batteries if necessary.

The other way to deal with it is to reduce the amount of drive possible. This works and there are tweaks I can do, but you seem to loose some of the more extreme settings.

Anyway, the good news is I have stablised the circuit and greatly improved installation. Having let one of my "cats out of the bag" with the bridge driver and the new look "super slim" design, there really is no need for the small lead to go in and then out of the guitar but just travel under the bridge or around behind the tremolo arm and it really wouldn't notice it was there.

Then, all that is required is a direct feed from the guitar. I now no longer require separate feeds from both pickups but you do need to bypass the guitars controls. You dont have to do anything to your controls other than add two wires from the selector switch or the pickup itself.

So, all in all it's looking good. I've done a bit of a list of the benifits of this system over others available and there is quite a list. There are still some things yet to be revealed but the choice of pickups, action and set up and ease of installation are just three important aspects.

I still have to get the thing boxed up and do some more accurate costings. Clearly, there's quite a bit of work to make one of these things and I want the look and performance to match the price. Even though it will be a boutique item, compared to the cost of a quality effect box (Boss, etc.), it should be quite competative.

A problem that is emerging is how I can protect my investment in time and money (which by now has added up to quite a bit) by either patenting and selling it myself or selling it wholesale to a manufacturer or distributor.

As for the thread, I hope to get some sounds up, as soon as the thing gets boxed away. It's pretty difficult to play with wires hanging off everywhere. I'd also like to improve the performance even more but one thing at a time...

stay tuned, it will get there...

psw

PS thanks to all of you guys following this saga. Not only have we had more than 8000 visits now, but we've had a stunning 600 posts (some of them really long :D ) and through it all have been those like LK and Bio but keen to join in people like Tim and Emre whom without, this project would have lost momentum long ago. Thanks a lot guys...I'm going through some difficult times and this thing has kept me solid over recent weeks...I really appreciate your willing support and participation...your the best...pete

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Looking good psw..you really have the shape of the box down and the new driver is better than ever too.

Meanwhile...as the great Hyunsu would say...today's workings :D

PICT0072.jpg

2

3

4

I'm taking a different approach than psw. The plan is to laminate a 2-part shell around this wooden form (once I find out how :D ); This 'll be a 'master' box from which you can cast a silicone mold. This mold is then used to cast a number of production boxes. Should be at least 50- 100 boxes from one mold.

Hopefully I can pull of something like this:

1

2

3

4

That last one is an idea to have the logo in a separate cast, and then cast the box around it. Pretty risky though.

Hope it helps and tell me what you think,

Tim

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Ahh good work, keep good job coming Mr T :D

here my working:

tboxmodelp2.jpg

and above looking:

tboxmodelp1.jpg

I use a silicone producut called gel flex and can do quite a bit of undercutting and it's easy to use but pours hot. I'm using modeling clay (plastacene) which smooths really well with a little oil. Basically the process is to cast a mold of the outside shape. Then to make a reverse of the inside. the male and female molds are then squished together.

To do the lettering you'd make an impression in the outside cast and make the inside go real close. The cast would be thin over the letters. You apply tape to the outside and carefully sand or cut the plastic from the back of the letters and back fill with translucent blue. This holds the whole thing together.

The base "box" is made using 3mm plate so it's pretty solid. It worked out to be wider (95mm) than planed but should shine up like crome all over or I was thinking of giving it a satin finish with the dremmel. The extra width gives the illusion that it carries through over the top but there's nothing under the model. All the other methods of folding sheet aluminium were too hard and even this is a bit much, still it will look ok for a one off.

It is wider than planned, partly because (well I made a mistake didn't I) I've made room for a second battery. The driver soaks alot of current and superior performance is available if two batteries are used in parrallel. Fortunately Tim's box already left room for two batteries on their edge, side by side, if It doesnt slope down quite so much. It does look a little wide on the guitar so I've made the top box look a little longer.

I recieved the push/push switches but they forgot to send the clear buttons to match so I have to wait some more. I'm 50/50 on these and the toggles. Even though I'm using sub-miniture you cant quite get them inside a 10mm tube so they'll need to be off centrered and there will still be a bit of cutting involved. Not a simple peice of pipe unfortunately. The push buttons will fit a tube so I'm hoping for a similar effect to the illustration, lights and all. We'll see but it's holding up production.

So in the meantime I'm learning how to put together a web site. When the prototype is finally finished I plan to have it's own Web presence. The idea is to use it as a means to hawk the thing around and give the work a higher profile. I've written a bio on it's creator (hey that's me...it's written in the third person like Dick Dale speaks of himself!) and covers and acknoledges the help and encourage ment I recieved here (hey, now that's you). Some of the Art work has been reproduced too. Don't look for it yet as it's not on line. I promise that, compared to this thread it will be a lot more consise, but they'll be lots of information and illustrations. As a start it's pretty darn good if I do say myself...and I do!

The circuit's still going fine and the second battery does give an improved performance. The option allows for the most flexability. The thing that requires the extra power is the effect of notes swelling from nowhere and an extreme "grind like" induction distortion. You'll have to wait for the sounds to get done for me to explain.

Anyway, it's good to see the designer getting his hands dirty with the making, I'll be intrigued to see how Tim does the battery access. I've got a few ideas. I'm also a little concerned that the guitar wont fit into it's case with this thing fitted, so perhaps I need to make the whole thing easily removable. If so, then the battery access could be done from underneath, I guess. Since your getting a model together, what do you think Tim?

check you later

p

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So today I tried to drill for the alu tubing (12 mm)and messed it up..wood chipping and such. I'll start over with a 2-battery box if I can find the time (not likely this week though) :D

Mine only needs to be about 3mm wider and 5mm higher, which is a good thing really, because the current version seems to have the controls too close together and the added height would facilitate positioning the controls over the bridge.

psw, the idea of accessing the batteries from the underside might be a good one. I was planning on making the top half hinge from the sides, but it's gonna be real tricky to do this precision stuff with just hand tools. access from underneath would also make it possible to cast the box as a 1-piece, making it more rigid and a lot less work ( bit worried about undercutting here). Might as well epoxy the circuit in the same go too (good thinking on that one).

On the 'lettering'...I've never seen anything like it in current production stuff. If you find an easy way, you can probably file for another patent :D . What I was thinking, you could look for a company that makes flexo printing forms. Flexo uses polymer printing forms where the printed (the lettering) area is raised 1-2 mm above the actual plate. You could use that to make a master cast of the lettering,...etc. They usually do this stuff by laser engraving now, so it's really accurate, it should be really cheap 'cos you only need a tiny surface, and you can use any font you want. Problem is finding someone willing to do this for you. B)

Evidently, just a lighting strip 'll work out too :D

Tim

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Hey Tim...

Hinging from the side is all very well but what would you do for a hinge?

Do you think the guitar's still going to fit in it's case with this thing on it?

I'm making another model with the batteries accessable by tilting the back half of the top box back. I was thinking I could cast that in translucent blue and the rest in black. I'd then mount a 3mm flat plate over the circuit and a 12mm strip down the player's (top) side where the box overhangs, to give it definition. The effect would be a bit iMac with silver plates

Don't worry too much about undercuts. The stuff I use is tough and flexible.

The only problem with the lettering is any letter with a closed loop. I've got so much metal, reversed type face here its not funny. I won't have porsch but I'll have something I'm sure thats sans serif and adding spacing will give it a modern edge. The blue battery cover gets around the problem. I may be able to simply fill embossed letters with black and get a reversed effect.

got to run...it's harder than you'd think. I realised the controls would be tight and getting the switches in the tubes near impossible. That's why I wat to see about these push switches. Unce pushed in they could be flush and being close would'nt be a problem since they're out of the way when on.

Anyway, more circuit problems and major work issues so...off I go

psw

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Or I can take them out....

Can You Say INFINI, and look...no closed loops

It's the D and the R that's a problem

By the way the Web pages on the project will be on Geocities in the near future as I've reserved that name!!

p

OK how about this...the word INFINI lights and the second part DRIVE is embosed in silver...just came to me then!!

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Finally I'm getting the hang of this OpAmp caper

I've just made a preamp that...so far...works (well it blurts real loud!)

Having been coached with LK's patience and reading and failing and reading and failing, it's finally seemed to click and I've got a circuit that...fingers crossed, that it works with a driver...is more powerful, more filtered, more power efficient and in whole, with the poweramp included, is no larger than a 9 volt battery!!!

That's as small as I hoped for really. Not only that it's made on stripboard and I only have to break the tracks between the PC pins which makes it ideal for mass production. It's so cute, if it works out, I'll pay my daughter to make them up!!

I'll take a photo...this could be really great and might change the box scenario too!

psw

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Pete, you don't know how happy that makes me, especially after trying all weekend to get you a preamp put together (and failing miserably, I might add!). :D Whew!!Congrats on getting it figured out, and thanks for taking the pressure off. :D

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Whoa...not so fast LK

Well it's a non-inverting preamp alright, very basic x10-25 and it works as a preamp...but not with the driver setup...yet. Must be time to tweak it some more. I had a really good siren there for a while :D

No panic, I still have my original design going.

I had been having trouble with power consumption and now I think I know why...the super slim driver works but although half the width, takes twice the power!!! It also has the physical failing of not being able to work on (drive) as big an area of string. It also has a weaker magnetic structure and a more focused conventional field.

It just goes to show, although I can intuitvely understand what I've done with the magnetic arrangement, and I've even modeled it...I can admit that I'm no expert and as such...can't know that it's a factor at this stage. Perhaps I'm just seeing my own smoke and mirrors. The super slim version was created from this doubt but I can now say that my last evolution of the design as seen in the original all siver, the illuminated version, and two more since (made another today) are superior to the others.

It is also a fact that it is generally easier to drive the string further towards the neck, but the benifits of the bridge driver for other reasons for this sytem is worth pursuing. The main reason is that as my design has an array of six drivers, any bending of strings pushes a string into the influence of another driver or it get caught in a zone between the zone. As bent notes have very little lateral displacement at the bridge, the string stays directly over the focused magnetic field that I've created. When that field "rotates" the string, more predictably vibrates with it.

So the "best" driver is now about 5-6mm wide, 5-6mm deep and about 60mm long. This apperars to be the final design and should fit most guitars I imagine. I could improve it further by doubling the drivers using two per string but it would come out at about 10mm wide and we're looking a lot more like a pickup (although the thing will still be only 5mm thick and surface mount). If you guys think I should look into it let me know. It will cost twice as much to make of course and each driver costs about as much as the circuit. It's not a cheap item by any means and it's a little tricky for me to get the parts in small quantities.

Anyway, another frustrating day

psw

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Wow, nice stuff. Well done for getting the op-amp stuff!!!

No, i dont think you should throw more complications into the loop by adding two drivers per string. Keep to what was planned, you'll have more success. the circuitry might need to change if you changed the driver.

Keep up the good work :D

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Thanks Bio,

More driver's may actually help the situation but I'm not sure if people would want or even have room for something bigger. I could also go back to putting the driver further up the string. The driver needs to be real close to the string (1mm) and the bridge is the only place that the driver wont be effected by the guitar's action. You'd need a super low action so that the string wouldn't touch the string.

Anyway, as I say, the bridge driver has many benefits, so I'll continue with this some more. I'll do some more work on Tim's Box and get the working prototype boxed up I think for now.

psw

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Well hi all and welcome to Project Sustain!!!

I've noticed a lot of traffic and I suspect it's from a link I placed on Aron's Stompbox Forum so that message is for you!!! To be fair here's a link back to:Aron's Stompbox Forum

Creeping rapidly to 9000 visits and over 600 contributions in the saga, but still no product I'm afraid.

So, I'm going to cut my losses and go with the circuit I've got now. Some recent information has allowed me to modify it to get more gain, etc. so it should do the job. I've also found a way to make it low even though I can't seem to make it smaller.

The upshot is that I've made what would be a production prototype of the circuit and it looks all neat and tidy.

Also, having a lot of trouble with the battery access and the mixed media of Tim's design. I really like it, and I thought it went great on the Les Paul's, but I cant afford to have the costs go up just in packaging the thing!!

So, I guess the box design is up for grabs again. I'm going to attempt something similar but easier to make. I particularly like the two tone effect of the silver and black and the two heights. That's a key in making it look smaller and longer than it actually is. The angled overhang is a little hard to do I fear (for now...I encourage tim to keep working on it since he's started cause it does look good when you see the actual model, just technically difficult, labour intensive and therefore costly).

Anyway, I have this new circuit, blue light and all, just as if it were built to sell...I also have a new driver that's pretty much a pair to the driver just before the last super slim version. This is giving me a feel for how much work the thing takes to build and therefore some kind of cost estimate.

It looks like taking a US patent out is pretty much out of the question ($$$) and although Australia has a treaty with the US it expires after 18 months and then it's fair game (hmmmm). I'm confident that this thing is significantly different from current patents but it's unlikely I'll be able to get a worldwide patent.

The best bet seems to be to sell as many as I can once the thing is working right and try and sell the rights to the best offer.

But first things first eh. Let's get this thing going and get some sounds up for you!

see you later...

psw

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Good morning!

Ok progress report...

Lets call this the MKI circuit. What I've now got is a working (and very neat circuit) on a board measuring 60mm x 45mm. I've been able to take advantage of the component spacing to lie everything flat so as the entire board is no more than 12mm thick. I'm using a 9 volt clip in battery holder which measures 55mm x 30mm x20mm high. From this on flying leads are the controls. The sensitivity control, the on/off switch, the harmonic mode switch and a remote control switch. In addition is the wiring for the blue LED (or any others, eg driver lights) the input leads and the driver leads.

For the moment I've mounted the whole thing on a piece of cardboard. After many attempts but no satisfaction with building or designing suitable enclosures. I still like Tim's design in essence but it's technically difficult to make, the controls are a little close, we still dont have a battery access hatch, and I'm now even starting to question the location of the sensitivity knob.

Still, the circuit seems to be working fine. Not drawing too much current, running happily on one battery and those pesky trim pots have gone as I've replaced them with fixed resistors (I have faith!). This then will be the basis of the prototype circuit. Although I've an interest in shrinking and developing new and better circuitry, for now this is adequate, not overly large and will do. I've hard wired it to the pickup and am testing various drivers. Speaking of which...now that I've got a circuit done...

I've got a new driver. We'll call this CPz

If you recall (or don't want to read all 40 pages!), early driver designs began with simple coils CP1 being a coil approximately 1cm round. I then developed coils that spanned all six strings which is basically the technology (with variations) that is being used by fernandes and sustainiac. I then went on to develop hex versions consisting of six individual coils, one for each string.

At the same time, these coils became smaller in an attempt to make a surface mount, no mod system. Frustrated in winding these tiny, fragile coils I came up with the X series of drivers. These do not require coil winding and are so infinately better than the labour intensive processes of hand winding miniture driver coils.

This has been the technology I've been using to date and there have been a couple of variations. The design has settled down to the silver one, the illuminated one and two more. The super slim driver was different but nowhere near as efficient. In part it was made to address the possibility that, small as it is, the drivers (which are approximately 5-6mm wide) may not be adaptable to all guitars.

Playing around with the latest driver I did some experiments and, working on some theories I had originally applied to the pre-X series drivers I found I was able to apply them to my present technology to good effect. This new arrangement however, while using the X series technology, is of significant difference to warrant a new moniker so I've dubbed it the Z series. My hope is that, since I've run out of the alphabet, this will be the final version I need to come up with. :D

Now I can hear people saying...no, no, no...stick to the plan psw! What I'm attempting to do in working on this is to design in answers to the problems that I've been trying to correct electronically in the circuit design. As I clearly don't have at present the skills to do this, rather than wasting time and frustrating myself (and you guys) with all these circuit failures, I have fixed the circuit and work on the drivers so as to match them to the rest of the system. I have a feeling I'll get further by doing this.

So, that's where I'm at with the device. I've got a name for it and Emre (transient) has been working up some logo ideas. I've also been working on a website which has been fun so the thing, when it finally gets up and running properly, can have it's own home. It's kind of been fun, and if nothing else I've been learning quite a bit I guess...this thing had better work, thats all.

Anyhow, I see we have had a whole lot more visitors and guests look in on the thread. It'd be great if you could make comment or suggestions, remember it's a free forum and you may find other things of interest here or help someone out! This device crosses the boundries of been an effect and being an integral part of the guitar so, well I find, it fascinating...

psw

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Hi PSW and all,

I just came over from Aron’s to check on what this link was about, and I was fascinated to find such a looong thread dedicated to this subject. We get a few a year over at Aron’s forum, but they usually don’t go on this long <grin>. Usually they just want someone to tell them how to make one …easily …without doing much research or experimentation (nice fantasy, eh?)

I've been working on sustainer designs on and off since I was a kid, and I have played around with some of the commercial versions: the acoustic “Model B” version of the Sustainiac that vibrates the headstock, the Fernandez dedicated Sustainer guitars, …heck, I even bought a "Stealth plus" version of the Sustainiac and put it in one of my guitars to test it out and to examine the driver transducer and the driver circuit, mostly out of curiosity. I even traced out the electronic processing circuitry (you'll find a lot of us that hang out over at Aron's are a curious bunch who often trace things out to find out how what’s going on in the works).

BTW - You may find it helpful to know that one of the schematics in one of their patents is almost the same as the production model I traced out (which I bought about a year or so ago). I would be willing to discuss this more in direct correspondence if you are interested. They also use the driver transducer coil as a low impedance pickup and run it through a small transistor preamp to derive a “pickup” signal for the transducer’s location when it isn’t being used as a driver (located in the neck position). It makes a decent neck pickup sound, but it’s not a great sounding pickup IMHO.

Kudos on your work so far.- You are obviously energetic, creative, and really into developing a musically useful and innovative sustaining device for the electric guitar. A great goal from my point of view. I hope you keep on experimenting and developing your ideas.

I noted from your posts that you have researched the Hoover (Sustainiac) patents, and I assume you are also aware that they also tried a model (with the driver coil in the "middle" strat pu position), set up so that both the bridge and neck pickups could be used with their electromagnetic sustainer operating. FWIW, they got it working, even with single coils in bridge and neck positions. No cigar, though.

You may or may not be aware that it turned out to be a configuration they no longer recommend, because of the effect of the sustainer driver magnetics on the tone of the magnetic pickups. The designers thought the feature of having two pickups available for use with the sustainer was an important enough feature to outweigh the effect the driver magnetics had on the tone of the pickups. Unfortunately for them, the musicians who tried that design weren’t impressed (it made the pickups sound different in a way most musicians DON’T find musically pleasing), even with their new driver design that projects a self-canceling varying magnetic field perpendicular to the strings, instead of parallel (but truncated) like the current Fernandez design.

It is be impressive if you have developed a transducer whose magnetic influence on the strings and the guitar’s pickups is much less disruptive of the guitar’s tone. You may have great ears for tone, and you’ve already solved that issue. If so, that’s good - provided you haven’t traded a “biggie” for it design-wise. I encourage you to check. You may simply be oblivious to the issue of the effect of the driver magnetics on pickup tone, or you may be ignoring the issue since you are using an inexpensive, “test-board” guitar with ceramic pickups. You may also be trading off some other issue you are not currently attending to.

IMHO, Tone will always be a critical issue. FWIW.

But there are lots of other very important issues as well. Durability. How finicky it is to set up and keep it in adjustment? Power consumption, especially consumption of batteries, if you don’t phantom power it. A Sustainiac Stealth Plus is good for one or maybe two gigs per 9 volt battery. What happens when you bend a string (I read this is not much of an issue with the driver you are trying out mounted close to the bridge instead of the neck. – that placement does have some interesting features. The evolution of harmonics in sustain mode.

BTW – The “mixed-mode” of the Sustainiac Stealth just cuts the low frequency response of the electronics driving the transducer. In case you didn’t know already. Simple trick, sounds good.

A couple of other comments and questions about your design and this LOOONG thread. These comments and questions are meant to be constructive criticism, and I hope will be taken in that vein.

1) You mentioned reliability issues with early prototypes - Have you left this thing on with a real power supply for a month or so to at least tentatively verify that you have developed a durable transducer that will hold up long-term?

If not, I suggest you spend more energy on such issues - all the rest of it becomes academic if the transducer isn’t durable enough for other than experimental purposes. Piezoelectric transducers don’t tolerate being overdriven long-term.

2) You wrote that you are using a transducer located only 1 mm away from the strings – I would be concerned about the effect of that on durability in particular. Lead guitarists are second only to drummers in abusing musical instruments when they are getting into a performance. Check out the scratches and depressions worn into the face of a wooden guitar body located 3/8ths of an inch below the strings without a pickguard, or the top of plastic pu covers located 1/8” or more below the strings. You may not be a wildman guitarist, but a lot of them, including pros, are really hard on equipment. If you can’t get your transducer further away from the strings, it better be right up next to the bridge where the pick isn’t likely to hit it very often, and build it like a brick shithouse (i.e., virtually indestructible). I would also be concerned about the possibility of the transducer generating so-called “ghost harmonics” – a phenomenon noted when pickup magnets too close to the strings cause weird harmonics and can even effect string intonation.

3) Whether or not the Mk I transducer and electronics “cut it” in terms of sound performance (onset of sustain and string vibration mode dynamics, effect on string harmonic intonation and guitar pickup tone, etc – the REAL issues here IMHO), are not being addressed in this thread.

Especially, I can’t help but wonder why there are no clips of your multi-string driver in operation, since you describe and picture a (reportedly – we haven’t heard it) working version of the circuitry and driver transducer? Not trying to make accusations or piss you off, guy, but hey …”Where’s the Beef?”

The guy who glued a dime on a speaker and mounted it on his guitar one afternoon posted a sound clip…you’ve been working on this for HOW long? <good-natured ribbing you here, psw>

I, and others, would be MUCH more impressed with the successes you are reporting here if we could hear a demo, even if not super studio-fidelity, showing you actually have a device that works musically as well (and as impressively) to someone’s ears other than your own (namely, to OUR ears).

Hey, it’s just not that hard, guy. I don’t care how lame your computer is. You can get 16-bit samples out of an old SoundBlaster 16 in an ISA slot on a 486. You just plug straight into the sound card from the output of any stompbox – it can even be in bypass if it is buffered. Or you can use a guitar preamp output of a guitar amp. NOTE: You may need to add resistive attenuation before the soundcard to prevent overloading the soundcard input. I don’t want to get blamed if you fry the input to your soundcard by exceeding 1 vrms, the max for many cards. Or you can simply use a $10 Radio Shack electret mike.

What you have achieved may be GREAT, and I’m not knocking what I haven’t heard. But the sonic characteristics of a sustainer – the sound and character associated with the onset of sustain, the way the harmonics evolve (and which harmonics stand out), the controllability of the sustain system by the player’s technique, are all subjective musical characteristics that will make or break any design as useable musically, including your attempts. So let the world hear what you have – and/or maybe haven’t – worked out so far. If it’s impressive you’ll get helpful responses. It doesn’t have to be polished for people to recognize if you’ve got something here, either.

Anyone who has read about the BOSS Distortion-Feedbacker stompbox , and has then had the disappointing experience of playing through one, knows EXACTLY why I’m addressing this issue. Yeah, IT provides infinite sustain. But basically it sucks and I don’t know anybody that actually uses one (other than to play a note occasionally just to justify that they bought it and still keep it in their pedalboard). It just isn’t very usefully musically, with it’s cheesy-sounding VCO-based vibrato that fades in with the faux “sustained note” (yeech).

Put simply, lots of guitar gizmos sound a hell of a lot better in print than they do in person. I’m NOT saying your device sucks or is in that category. I’m just saying it’s time to stop telling everybody how great it is and let us hear what you’ve got, and let us decide how impressive it is.

If your device is really decent-sounding and this is about building a sonically-valid device and not just an enjoyable fantasy trip for you down “Inventor Lane,” the important feedback is about the sound of it, not the controls or the look of the box., LED lights, etc.

And you can’t get feedback from others about the musicality of the sound of your device – the REAL issue - without putting some effort into getting some modest recording rig together and spending less time on all these minor details like those that fill the past 20 pages of this thread (Did you notice the Sustainiac patent touts their transducer-mounted LED is aimed at the user as a great feature? Guess what? Their production model doesn’t even have one anymore. Waste of battery power, as you, also, have apparently come to realize. The insignificant stuff.)

BTW, how much current DOES your circuit draw?

Getting feedback from real players who can play through your rig - even if the electronics is mounted in an aluminum-foil-shielded cardboard box duct-taped on the back – would be extremely helpful to you in evolving a really impressive design, too. Semi-pro and lower-tier pro musicians are often quite easily interested in participating in R& D testing with promises of a few free beers and maybe a crack at the first workable versions at moderate cost. <voice of experience on this one>

Let us hear what you got there, psw. Others with real expertise are more likely to contribute to your effort if they can hear you’re actually accomplishing something musically valuable. All guitar sustainers have assets and liabilities – let’s hear what yours has.

Stop worrying so much about what it will look like, what controls to put on it, flashy lights, or somebody stealing your ideas, and get busy getting a great design going that has the sonic characteristics that musicians will go for, even if you end up just making a few dozen of them and posting a tutorial on the web for the DIY crowd. That’s a perfectly admirable goal. You see a lot of that if you hang around Aron’s page.

And before dreams of being rewarded lavishly for your ideas get you too intoxicated, read Don Lancaster’s “The Case Against Patents” (on his website, I believe), for a helpful reality check. If I understand the patent system correctly, you can still initiate a patent within the first year after initiating production of your device, and you can bust anyone else’s attempt to patent your ideas with a simple proof of prior art. The magazine, “Midnight Engineering”, is right up your alley, too, and has lots of sobering stories, lessons, and valuable advice for the would-be inventor-small businessman. It’s an American (USA) publication.

Hope this long post is more helpful than tedious <grin>

MR COFFEE

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Well the good news is, I've got the thing working beautifully with my new drivers. The bad news is that while you can use any pickup you cant select the combined neck and bridge positions as the drivers either cancell everything out (no sound) or if the phase is reversed, uncontrollable squealling.

Main thing is to say that, when it works it really is good. It also bodes well for my latest circuit so it's more variations on the Z drivers to fix this puzzling problem. I've had it working today as good as perfect, and for me that's really something!

There are still a few wierd things going on that really will need to be fixed like the above.

Anyone got any idea how to electrically isolate the two pickups???

psw

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Finally someone who puts up longer posts than me!

I really want to thank MR COFFEE for taking the time and for making many valid points.

Yeah, we're having a bit of fun with the box design and the lights and all, but there's not a lot that people can help me with technically without being here and me giving away too much.

As for sound clips, I'm not very computer savvy but I'll try to put something up post haste but the quality will be really low based on past efforts!

Now, I have been testing these drivers for a long time now. MR C kind of hints that I maybe using piezo transducers....I can confirm that I'm not using piezos...the system is electromagnetic but there is no coils and is very, very small. It's this small size that helps avoid the common problems with other devices. It also allows me to physically orient the drivers to address phase problems. I guess it's no secret that I'm using rare earth magnets. I've modeled my ideas with the FEMM program and can report that there is little to no influence on the strings in my rotating field theory until the system is on. There is no direct pull on the strings so there are no ghost harmonic effects, wolf tones or intonation problems. I did experience this early on as I was using conventional techniques (start at the beginning, eh). My current system allows me to use strong magnetic fields real close to the strings without actually effecting their vibration.

Now, I tried to catch Mr C but it's probably late there so I'll attempt to answer a few more questions then go off and get something down on cassette, bring it back here, get it onto the computer, upload it to (I forget where), then post it here. It is a little tricky to get done and I think I learn't from last time that posting substandard clips only encourages people to critisize the playing and sound quality, rather than the feat of getting something only 3mm thick to actually vibrate the string!!! But, for Mr.C I'll make an exception. I recognise a lot of people are following this with a little blind faith, so I'll see what I can do, very shortly...

Now what else...

Threads don't go on this long because people just give up...I just keep trying as this is an idea whose time has come. Look at the continual interest. The idea is tantalizingly simple yet few succeed and even then, with moderate success. I believe that the present sustainiac, fernandes, Floyd and Micheal brooks systems are just the first emergance of the device.

I see "hoover" has already proposed Class D switch-mode amplification, that should really help. As for power the problem seems to have been a product of the last driver design...it was simply too small (3mm wide, see photo). I don't want to say too much but I'm actually using the mutual inductance between pickups and drivers to make a compounding feedback loop. I believe when it's working right, it's efficiency addresses a lot of the power problems. You just cant do this kind of thing with conventional coils, even piezo's would go beserk!

I'd love to know more about the fernandes or sustainiac system. There was some talk about the patent stuff early on, phase relationships...the lead and lag compensation, etc. but I was encouraged by Lovecraft to drop it due to it being a lot of hooey to validate a patent application.

As it happens, I don't agree and secretly went about addressing the problem in the actual driver and magnetic design...that's all I'm going to say about that...a guy's got to have some secrets!

The mid pickup...seemed obvious to me at first...it's a pickup that can be more easily sacrificed I suppose. My current system by the way does not replace any pickup and aims to allow full use of all pickups.

Let me put this out there...A driver can get more leaverage at the point in which the strings vibratory swing is the greatest. Logically, for an open note, that's at the 24th fret. But wait, for every freted note that progressively makes less and less sense. A note at the 22nd fret is like puting the driver up near the nut. Now, if you can do that, why not at the bridge...same difference right! (have I lost anyone yet). It's true for most notes the mid point of the string is better but not every note, I'm seeking to exceed current performance criteria. You'll note that the harmonics get progressively closer as they get towards the string end. Just ahead of the bridge is an enormous density of closely spaced harmonice (nodes and anti-nodes) that can be exploited for driving purposes.

My drivers are individually taylored to each string (there's six right) even though they run from a mono source. They are tiny and also have a powerful but extremely focused magnetic field. Conventional coils are unlikely to evolve to address the problems inherent in them as they...but more importantly, the're magnetic field radiation, is just too big. I've got faith that I'm onto something here but I can't say exactly how I do it (sorry, wont say). They are different in every respect to the variations that the other two use, believe it or not.

I agree, tone is important. I've had a few working designs that make the instrument sound like a fly in a jam jar...I know what your saying.

Durability. These things have run fro a long time. They are fragile cause their so small and require carefull and quick soldering techniques. They must be set in epoxy and not just any goo. The epoxy I use contains added...errr elements...that help in the field focusing and self containing of the fields (sorry, gettign a little too candid) I also encase them in .6mm aluminium (it's not foil). Here's another secret. I speciffically use aluminium for it's ease to shape, it's tough and non-magnetic and so resists wear while not effecting the magnetic structure, and, it's heat sinking qualities. Without these elements, the drivers are sub-standard in performance and fragile. I haven't had a successfully built driver fail since I made with the X technology. I've burnt a few making them and a few fingers too but I now have a jig to make them and since have only lost one in construction!

Tone...in most incarnations there has been no effect on the tone (or at least little)...alright that I can tell (I'll look into it) untill the system is activated. Then there is (and I'll discuss it with you privately) a big "influence", not necessarily bad.

The harmonic generation is adjustable with the sensitivity knob as is the "tone" of the drive. My system also has an induction mode. The harmonic switch is simply a phase reverse switch which results in suppression of the fundumental. I didn't know of the mix low cut idea....hmmm.

Ok now your using numbers so:

1) Reliability...I'm on that

2) My understanding from the sustainiac site (I think) was that the bridge pickup must be close to the string as is the driver, and the action has to be low. I was very disappointed to find mine would only work with a super slinky action as these guitar's fret out and I'm used to 10-46's with a medium action now. The bridge driver allows any pickup placement and action and a consistancy of drive to string that you can't get anywhere else. It's harder to drive the string so being close really helps (every thing helps) but remember that the "throw of the string is low here so it can afford to be close (at the bridge it's theoretically nil, yeah).

3)Well do they cut it. I'm not sure what to compare it too but I'm pretty picky...I don't want some fizzy distorto sound, it's tricky to get there but if the technology is there then I'm hoping things will only improve. I'm out here on my own remember, hence the thread, without bouncing ideas like you have around I'd just disappear up my own....(sorry kevan, don't ban me)!

errr 4) where's the proof. Firstly there are sounds buried in the thread somewhere but I've progressed from there. They were posted to show that these little things did create the effect. Also, I'm not sure if your familiar with Lovecraft (a regular at Aron's) but we have a confidentiallity agreement and he actually has a very early X style driver in his posession and can verify (if your out there) that the thing exists. I don't blame you for being sceptical but I don't want to hear comments like I didn't like the tone or the sound quality when it's the fact that it works at all at this stage that matters...it's new and still early days for the technology.

Believe me, I'm not so electronically savvy to make a synthesised sustainer like Boss. Ansil's more your man there, He posted some stuff he's working on and I understand he's got another device in the works.

It depends on the mode the thing runs on but ideally modest. I'm not an expert but remember the principle. Your running an amp with enough guts to move the sting instead of the speaker cone. The mechanics are steep and it's going to draw some power. I sould say, that I want the player to use it responsibly. I don't want this to be an "effect" as such but another way of playing...something to intergate into a players style. I've spent time trying to design it so that the "effect" if you will can be inserted here and there. If used in this manner, it should last a significant time. I'm also running it on rechargables in anticipation of this problem. I did have a lot of problems with the super slim driver recently, going to two batteries at one stage but I'm back on track I think.

Yeah the patent stuff is just not going to happen. I cant afford it and I cant defend it anyway. I can say that my system is significantly different and I can establish my work and could probably patent it locally (Oz) and get protection for 18 months. I just don't want to find someone stops me from exploiting my own idea here or overseas because they've cottoned on to what I'm doing and gone straight to the USPTO after reading my Oz patent. It's probably best that I never say and set everything in epoxy.

Just a little on the box stuff...to be fair, pics take up a lot of real-estate so it's no wonder it takes up a lot of space. I need to have some idea of whether, and how much people are prepared to accept. There seems to have been a complete turn around since the artwork went up from wanting the thing to be literally "invisible" to accepting a box taped to the back of a Les Paul. I find that extremely useful information and plenty valid...

Anyway, I'll go off now and see what I can do about some sounds

psw

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Well that was a waste of time!!

I spent 3 hours trying to get some sounds up to no avail. I've sent an email to Mr.C but it wont allow attachments from PG otherwise I'd have sent some!!

Yes my computer is pretty bad but my ISP is worse!!

Anyway, I've made some wave files that demonstrate that this is not a hoax but the quality is very poor and it is not representative of what the thing can...or at least, is supposed to do.

Anyway I welcome the time and effort Mr.C has put in and would love to hear more from him. I wouldn't have made the connection with Aron's site if I didn't want some more input.

And, I wouldn't go to all this time and expense just for the attention, I could get that for free running naked down the high street! No, I'm for real and many people actually do call me psw (well at least at work) cause my name is doublebarrelled and as long as kdjkgjsldf-ksudhgljdgjegas , if you get my drift.

check you tommorrow, or your yesterday, it's 1 am here and i'm going to sleep!

psw

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Especially, I can’t help but wonder why there are no clips of your multi-string driver in operation, since you describe and picture a (reportedly – we haven’t heard it) working version of the circuitry and driver transducer? Not trying to make accusations or piss you off, guy, but hey …”Where’s the Beef?”

:D Yeah, now there's a diplomatically phrased accusation of fraud - you must work for the State Department. B) See, I'd resent that if it was aimed at me, especially from someone's first post in the forum. You might want to take that aggressive edge down a notch until everybody around here gets used to you and knows you're not instigatin'. But that's just my opinion. :D

Edited by lovekraft

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Don't be alarmed LK

See I don't know Mr.C and he doesn't know me but he does have some very valid points. Tim's offered me some web space but clearly it isn't as easy as Mr.C suggests to do 'em sounds...give me an email address and I'll send them personal.

And since he mentioned it, I went to Aron's and did a search on "sustainer" and on MR COFFEE and read all 73 posts of his. I feel I know him better already and he's not adverse to apologising, not that I'm saying he needs too here, and I respect that.

I was particularly keen to hear of his knowledge of class D amplifiers so there's something right there to bring to the table

I'm happy for another on the team, there's no limit and there's no point in headnodders and back slappers till we all have one of these things. I understand his sckepticism, very healthy. Perhaps you'd like to confirm for Mr C. that I'm not some hoax-wix!

cheers

psw

BTW Mr.C. will be converted you'll see!

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Don't be alarmed LK

See I don't know Mr.C and he doesn't know me but he does have some very valid points. Tim's offered me some web space but clearly it isn't as easy as Mr.C suggests to do 'em sounds...give me an email address and I'll send them personal.

And since he mentioned it, I went to Aron's and did a search on "sustainer" and on MR COFFEE and read all 73 posts of his. I feel I know him better already and he's not adverse to apologising, not that I'm saying he needs too here, and I respect that.

I was particularly keen to hear of his knowledge of class D amplifiers so there's something right there to bring to the table

I'm happy for another on the team, there's no limit and there's no point in headnodders and back slappers till we all have one of these things. I understand his sckepticism, very healthy. Perhaps you'd like to confirm for Mr C. that I'm not some hoax-wix!

cheers

psw

BTW Mr.C. will be converted you'll see!

man im geting mad with your talking what the hell is your problem? stop anoying me i have notho«ing to do with your paranoia :D tomorow i will post here a video demosntrating the sound of your f** sustainer its nothing special to build and if contoinue to anoy me i will put here the plans of your "NOT SPECIAL" DRIVERS I WILL BUILD TONIGHT A SISTEM JUST LIKE YOUR!!!!!!!!!!!! SO DON´T MESS WITH ME AGAIN I EXPLAINED YOU A FEW TIMES I DONT NEED YOUR FAKE PROIJECT FOR NOTHING YOU DIDN´GET NOTHING NEW TO ME !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JESUS WHAT A PARANOIC GUY!!!

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Look, just say it why don't you...

I don't need threats, if you've got a sustainer tell us something about it, this si the place for it.

I want you, right now, to post the way in which you think my drivers work. If you know then please tell all. If not, stop bugging me. MR COFFEE was right to ask questions and have an opinion but you haven't provided any clues as too any work you've done nor is there any results posted.

You on one hand say that

I DONT NEED YOUR FAKE PROIJECT

but then you also say,

your f** sustainer its nothing special to build

So which is it, do you think that Ive been faking this for two years now or do you think I've got a sustainer, but it's nothing special?

Don't just post sounds though, (the sound of feedback can easily be faked) but actually say how it is done. If it has nothing to do with what you've been up to, it's no problem. If your system is the same, but it's

nothing special
, then you wont mind sharing it with the others.

Don't try and treaten me with fake threats, I've been generous with my ideas. You however have not. I don't need to know but I think you owe it to the members to put up, or shut up.

I refered to you in my last post as Mr.C was suggesting that I was like you, making claims that are unsubstantiated. I've explained to him that I can substaniate my work but you have not. I used you as an expample of someone who does make claims without backing them up

So back up your threats and come out and say it

psw

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