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Hmmm...shouldn't this be a question for the sustainer thread?

Welcome to PG '68.

As it stands, I think I am the only one building anything close consistently...there are commercial units you know.

You may get close though...I am building a small run of my own sustainer circuit design as used recently on the blueteleful telecaster project (see link in signature)...other things required will be the driver, pot, switches, battery, led and a lot of wiring. In fact the whole guitar needs to be rewired and only you can do that...it is a lot more involved that dropping in a replacement pickup for instance and always will be.

One of the problems is that every guitar and users needs will be different...so even then, it may not even work for your particular guitar...or you might have to do some modification to get one in...

as always with short posts like this...better to give a little more detail than less.

Also...some people think that the DIY sustainer is a cheap option...well, it can be if you can build it right and get it working...but often it can just be frustrating and a lot of people give up regardless of the time I put in to help to get it working properly. If you are asking someone...likely me...to hand build a sustainer driver and circuit...not to mention the design and support that I offer for free...well, as with all hand built things, there is a fair amount of labour involved...how much per hour is it worth to you? Seriously, I would be churning them out if people were prepared to pay the prices they are prepared to lay out for a boutique stomp box...or even a boss one...but I suspect that most aren't...and they would still need to do the work of installing and modifying the guitar...

So...more details required...likelyhood is you are going to have to do a fair amount of work yourself anyway...so you may be tempted to DIY...


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OK...so how much do you think a hand built, custom DIY sustainer is worth? ...what is the guitar you intend using it on...how much experience have you got with wiring and stuff.

A sustainer could well cost $500 in australia and you would still need your wits about you to install it.

The DIY sustainer was intended to be just that...DIY="do it yourself" as this keeps costs down...as soon as someone factors in the time to hand wind a driver to your application...that has to be worth something. To do my telecaster...even with my experience...did take a good days work (not including installation)...

I have been working on these things for 5 years now but I don't know what demand there can be unless I can keep the costs down. Most seem reluctant to pay the cost they would for a name brand pickup yet there is a lot more to it than those...some will even pay more for a hand wound one. I am also very sensitive to the risk of failure. I know it works within it's limitations (it is not as sophisticated as a fernandes or sustainiac...the driver does not work as a pickup, though I have developed hybrid passive pickup/active driver schemes for guitar's like strats). There is no HB design really that will work as a pickup at present. Any guitar with more than one pickup will require sophisticated and tricky wiring and switching (it won't work with a push pull pot for instance) schemes.

Often there are quirks...my tele for instance will "pop" if you turn it off (on is fine) with the guitar not sustaining...the trick is to turn it off while the note is sustaining and it is silent. If there are problems, it will require some ingenuity on your part...sustainiac warn about all these kinds of things in there literature.

Regardless...you really do need to fully understand how the thing works and what is involved...as I say, these things are not a drop in simple system...there is a lot to consider, even simple things like battery placement and wire routing needs careful attention. As an indicator...there are 10 wires coming off my circuit alone!


I am being tempted myself...I doubt there would be any others that could or would do it...but I know how much work is involved and while I am distracted by other matters...perhaps some others might chip in (although they are likely to miss this as it is not on the main thread...but anyone is going to need a full explanation of the guitar, the kind of driver required, how you anticipate to mount and switch it...all that kind of stuff really.

I don't talk about it...but I have done a couple of very special projects from time to time...always it has cost me...but I have done them for personal reasons and an interest in a particular project. There have been times I have had to refuse as the thing would not work with such an application (complex switching schemes for instance...the last one had three HB's in it!!!) and others because the costing was unrealistic (someone suggested $25...hmmm)

The circuit (which is small but not a simple preamp btw but an AGC poweramp plus preamp) alone I am thinking in the region of $60 and have only commited to hand making 12 at this stage. I have mentioned that I am considering drivers...but obviously if I need to completely customize a design...there is a lot of work there. The only two I could consider at the moment is an ultra thin coil that fits inside a strat pickup, and some kind of variation on the tele-driver...anything else is likely to require tooling which itself requires a day, and maybe design and testing stages as well if it is a bit off the wall. The way things are going though...it would need to be an interesting or hassle free propostion...at least for me to do it.


I don't mean to be negative...just realistic...I need some incentive to get involved in such projects at the moment...every now and again someone has something particularly interesting. I am addressing this not just to you 68' but to anyone who might come across the thread with a similar question...it happens fairly regularly...so that people know where I am at with it. Perhaps this project will eventually become something of a "product" on a very small scale...it is something I have been working towards...but costs are always the downfall and at the moment I can't afford "charity work"...

If any other sustainerites are about...please chip in or help me out with this question. Other's who have made it or been involved might be able to add a different perspective...and please give some details so I can assess if it is even possible with your particular project...


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i haven't asked this because the sustainer is more of a curiosity to me than any thing. (really cool but i am not really interested in building one)

but any way could you use something like one of those little 2.5 watt onboard amps to power that thing? or is that too much power for the sustainer?

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That was asked again recently on the main thread...I actually bought one to try out but it lacks a buffer (so would probably load the pickups into the guitar amp) and would need modification to work properly...in the end I never tested it.

I decided I'd make a few of my circuits available and see how they go and give people without circuit building a step up, but the real work is in the driver and the switching...every project seems to have their own needs in that department.

I did develop a self supported coil that I was thinking of selling, it is only 1mm thick and fits under a strat pickups cover and is virtually invisible once installed...but even then I found that not all "strat" pickup coils are standard and it was hard to make a one coil suits all even with one common model of guitar.

The real problem is the costs, commercial companies have drivers machine wound and circuit boards fabricated in numbers...even then they suggest professional installation and it is as tricky as mine to install or worse (fernandes kits usually require extensive routing). My ideas are simpler but I have to hand etch and physically solder ever single part...not only that I have to order all the bits (everyone knows what a hassle that is)...not to mention all the design and creative work that goes into it. Every time someone has tried to adapt it to their won personal project there has been a lot of support required to step them through the process of installation and once it gets out of my hands I have no idea if the "customer" can install it properly which can cause bad blood (the main reason fernandes never let their systems out except in their guitars for so long...maybe variax too)...

It really isn't that hard a project to make and the savings in costs are significant compared to a commercial system...if people are prepared to pay for would and spend hours carving it, learning how to do that and all the expense of tools to even try...then surely the electronics side of things deserves the same kind of commitment. However, professional builders and experienced effects builders are put off by the thought of winding a driver coil.

Just the way it is I am afraid...so no, the 2.5 watt things are getting to be as expensive as mine (especially once it has had modifications and you add a buffer) but is only a minor part of the project...you still need to be able to build the driver and nut out the wiring for it...

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If someone could give me very deatailed directions I could make one.

1 How and where do I get the parts?

2 How do I make each part?

3 What are the parts will I need?

4 What is your design for making the driver work as a pickup too?

Edited by 68'
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Pete made a very nice tutorial for building them

bewared though what to shorten up what Pete said in that novel he wrote up there is every guitar responds different to the sustainers so yours might not work exactly like his be prepared to experement and make changes to get it 100% right


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Read and study


I would suggest finding some basic electronics books and reading up some but here is a break down

the things that look kinda like this -|(- are capasitors

the things that look like this --/\/\/\/\--are resistors

the thinks that look like a resistor with a arrow piointed to the middle are potentiometers (fancy word for adjustable resistor)

th circle with the lines -|= thing in it is a transistor

and the triangle with all the leads is the amp(basical several transistors set upin a nice neat package)

the ofcoarse a 9 volt dc input the + means hot side and the v lookign things made out of horizontal lines are the grounds

then the out put is a speaker pretty simple

over all its a pretty simple schematic but i still think it would be a good idea to read up on it

btw you may be able ot get the amp and transistor at radio shack of not just do a search they are pretty easy to find and any place that has them will have the caps and resistors also.

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