Jump to content

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 4.7k
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Hello again...just looking in after moving to my island...getting a bit chilly down here! Good to see the thread continues the tradition of long threads! Still...the computer didn't survive the mov

Excellent... This will be great, and I hadn't thought about that but the 4 ohm coils would take half the time and be easier to wind....alowing the use of quick epoxy like this...hope you wore rubbe

ALRIGHT emre...That's great

I have to post these images:


And in the dark...those lights are the business!


Hopefully that will put my last post behind us.

Emre's kindly interpreted my box idea. It's smaller and has a different interior component configuration to the one's Tim has been working on. That configuration is a little longer and allows the back to slope down as the battery runs across the box (behind the controls. This one is shorter and a little wider and has the battery running front to back behind the control knob.

As I'm posting this, 8am sunday morning, my 10 y.o. daughter, ms.M (who plays violin and commented way back that she could get the same effect without batteries...she's a smartie...[SIZE=1]kids*6&6$#)saw the in the dark picture and went...whoa, cooool!!!

I wish I'd made the first one blue now, but it's red.

So, progress...I've put together the illuminated driver...very fiddly to do but have got a really good idea of how to do it now in quantity (jigs and things)...once I've finalised the design (length mainly) The rounded ends on the driver were tricky and I didn't quite get the lights perfectly spaced, but it's all hand done at this stage.

Also the lights run along one edge(not centred as here), and because they are flush, probably will have more of a glow than illuminating quite like this. But then I'm just using standard LED,'s at the moment. I could use high brightness waterclear LED's and I'm thinking this would look better anyway. The clear lens's would blend in better with the silver case so you wouldn't notice them when they're off.

Now the box. I'm pretty happy with the circuit configuration as far as size. If people have concerns about this I'd suggest getting out a ruler and imagining how small this thing is. In total we're looking at 3 1/2 inches square and an inch thick. It's easier for me to visualize cause I actually have the thing in front of me now!

Emre has done it a little different to my thoughts.

I had the back edge of the scoop a little more angular but I might find I like this aerodynamic look a little more.

I also had the back, especially at the back of the battery overhang and inset. Kind of like a back vent. I did this because I suddemly realized that the control knob would probably get activated when the lid of a guitar case pressed down on it! So, I'm putting a tiny slide switch back there out of sight. I've also put a "standby" LED to show that the thing is ready. I've found a tiny circuit for a battery indicator light and I'll do something with this at some point. It uses a bi-color LED shining green when OK and red when needing a recharge. It would also make a good place for the recharger socket.

I also had the corner around the knob a little more rounded for comfort's sake but it wouldn't make a lot of difference. This render may be visually better.

As for box construction, the aluminium case is probably not economical. I'm thinking a black base with a white top. The black up the sides a little and the controls too most likely. Then, just behind that, where the battery starts (15-20mm emre) it's white. Of course it could be any color and I believe it could be electroplated at an added cost. All these shpaes are easily constructed and suit the casting technology I'm able to use.

I noticed more posts were coming in as I was typing this so things are developing fast!!!!!!!

Everfaithful biohazard brings up this good point:

But just one thing is bugging me. You say you need to dampen the strings while altering the control knob. Well, taking my quitar for example, which is a Tune-O-Matic bridge with tailpiece. You dampen the strings at the bridge itself, not the tailpiece. So there is going to be a little bit of a gap between the control knob and the actual Tune-O-Matic bridge?

Have I made sense here or have I confused a lot of people? Those with Trem bridges could well experience similar problems with reaching the knob while dampening strings.

Unless of course, as I suggested above, I have completely missed the point.

That's a part of the reason of suggesting a special model for tun-o-matics like the Les Paul (though I think though sustainers really go with the trem styles as with the really long notes generated lend themselves to tremolo manipulation). I had thought of making a box that replaces the stud tailpiece (mounts to the bolts and holds the strings). This would address the problem of the controls being too far back, accomodating the arch of Les Paul type guitars and provide a good way to mount the thing without screwing or taping it to the body.

Yes, trem bridges, especially floating and bulky floyds may find that they lean on those fine tuners a little and pull up sharp! This is where technique needs to be managed. The momentary control remember is for inserting the sustainer here and there within your normal playing. If you turn it on with the toggle, your hands are free.

You need to develop your technique with the device to dampen with both hands. Possibly use your left hand thumb over the neck (hendrix style) to dampen the low strings. Use the right hand heel to work the control and curl your pick and other fingers to damp the higher strings. I think the technique would develop naturally as you find ways to control the effect.

The guitar really becomes alive and trys to play itself! Then again perhaps you want to put your right fist in the air and play one handed...it really helps in cheating those tapping and legato lines as the effect kinds of picks them for you :D .

More progress...I'd like to acknowledge Lovecraft's behind the scenes support. Has emailed replies to my excessively long emails and really been great on the circuitry problems I've been having. He's shown great patience...cheers mate. I think with the info I got yesterday I should be right...given time. On the issue of styling I hope he doesn't mind me posting this chestnut...

oh, and if it was me, ƒ#梥! modern styling, I'd put big ol' '59 Caddy fins on it!

Anyway, I'll leave it with those words of wisdom for now...check you later


Link to post
Share on other sites

I forgot to answer this question from Tim/onelastgoodbye:

Question though: are the controls directly in the signal path? (as in do the wires to and from the controls carry the driver signal or only 'control' signals) I guess a big advantage of using digital controls would be the possibility of using longer cable runs without signal degradation, atleast in the control wires.

Yes, there are signals. I'm switching both the neck and bridge pickups separately (unlike present sustainers), power and juggling two grounds (the guitar's and the circuits) plus there's the problem of EMI that any length of cable in this system will emit and so have to be separated and controlled!

You might have about up to 15 wire connections on these three controls, Many of them shielded.

That's the beauty of the box idea. I'm doing all the complicated connections and EMI control, the user need only break one conection at the selector and insert 4 colored wires to it and the sheilding to ground, plus the driver cable to the box. I think it's really important if this is to become a product that installation "will work and the system is reliable and foolproof. So that's how I'm approaching it.

Once out of the box (attn:seve vai) anything could happen!

What's not been illustrated really is the wires in their true size. I'm using a 4 core shieded cable from the guitar's circuit. The smallest I can find is 5mm round. Ideally, I'd have the same for the driver cable but I'm getting by with 4 core twisted, shrink wrap and a couple of other things. Also annoying me is I've only found 4 core shielded in a gray cover, would prefer black.

I'd really appreciate it if someone could point me to a better, smaller cable. These cables can't be combined into an 8 core by the way due to unavoidable EMI.

anyway, plenty to read, by for now.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that's quick emre...great service!!!

Yep that's the idea, all black would be better...but you wouldn't see it at all in that picture. I'm sure there are people who would think that's a good thing that it's invisible. Maybe I'll make the first one all black.

I was just thinking, as I got my 3rd cup of Java for the morning, that it would be cool if the high side of that was lightly textured and the scoop and control areas were high gloss in finish. Then all the same color would be more tastefull!

And on those leads, I'm thinking they would come out the high string side about 10mm back. I'd create the molding with a slot that goes under so a hole could be drilled through to the trem cavity and from there weher they need to go for a more permanent installment if wanted. At the moment I'm proposing running them across and under the pickguard.

great stuff


Link to post
Share on other sites


Feel free to join in you guys, every bit of feedback helps develop something great, keeps me on track and the encouragement is always welcome...and all you guests, for goodness sake join up it's free...unless, like me you'd like to make a small donation and get access to the advanced section...got some cool guitar plans and stuff! (and no i'm not associated with the site or the moderators if your wondering!)

Today's progress...well you can see I did a bit of posting this morning :D time.

Some fantastic graphics there. I'm looking forward to seeing the other kinds of designs they may come up with.

Meanwhile...I'm getting the hardware together...knob angles..a bit of circuitry...and a lot more driver. It's almost finished so I'll post a pic soon!

All this handling of the circuit has shown up some potential weaknesses. These wouldn't have happened if it were in it's box and on a single circuit board as a production model would most likely be. (you can only bend wires so much).

Even so, it shows how vulnerable things can be over the long term. All the wiring off the board (there's a bit to the controls as I've mentioned are neatly tucked away on their own circuit board just under the switches and the wires that go to the guitar and driver are physically secured so that they won't wreck the circuit if pulled.

Although I'm making the layout suggested by me and illustrated by Emre...the component's could be separated to make other shapes. I'm thinking that the idea of being able to select from a range of colours and box shapes is a real cool idea and is great for marketing. A big company would have trouble with this, but if it turns out that I have to make them to sell, I could make them to order. I imagine I could even make a quilt maple veneer on for someone to sunburst I guess!

exciting stuff...I bet get back to the soldering iron


Link to post
Share on other sites

Love all those computer models. :D

We ARE aware that we don't want the knobs and switches that close to the bridge, though, right? I might have missed the post when that detail was discussed.

Imagine trying to palm mute chords and hitting those things all the time? Or for some people's style, even just normal playing?


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great work Tim...

That would be ideal, I knew someone, somewhere must make something...I bet I have to buy a whole reel ($$$) but for a production run it probably would work out OK. Meanwhile I'll use the 5mm and we'll have to use our imaginations.

If you artistic types are enjoying this exercise, If the circuit size were of little concern, what kind of thing would you be thinking of. On a strat, I envisage something running beside the controls, the battery in the jack hole, the output in the box, all the wiring running through the guts of the guitar through the jack hole, and the control knob behind and between the volume and first tone, the switches below. Problem is, the pot and switches take 15mm of height, plus the knob height!

GregP, good to see you still drop in...yes it is of concern. Last time it was a concern it was to far back! Remember on the floyds, your not palm muting on the fine tuners. As Pete Townsend found to his cost with his tremolo strat (speared right through his hand doing his trademark windmill), user beware. At least there's no sharp edges!

I pulled a real late night last night...finished the driver, lights and all (pics shortly (got to get the kids to school...couple of hours) and most of the circuit. It's presently in the layout used by me and Emre and it's looking like that will have to be the layout used for the first box. What shape that will be...we'll see...I'll have the modeling clay out today!

I've been doing a more detailed costing and supply list. The figures still look really good. Still aiming at the cost of a good replacement pickup, or a little more, hopefully retail. To make it affordable the circuit will need to be redone and in that process shrunk. It just takes too long to hand solder all those connections and it's too easy to make mistakes.

Anyway, Monday morning here, other things to do now but will be back


Link to post
Share on other sites
GregP, good to see you still drop in...yes it is of concern. Last time it was a concern it was to far back! Remember on the floyds, your not palm muting on the fine tuners. As Pete Townsend found to his cost with his tremolo strat (speared right through his hand doing his trademark windmill), user beware. At least there's no sharp edges!

Yes, true! When I imagine using the unit, though, I don't imagine wanting to flick it on and off a whole bunch (mind you, now that I think about it, that could be interesting!) and therefore I'd rather see the controls out of the way completely.

That's just me. I'll still buy one offa ya when they come out. :D


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could use a smaller battery and make it rechargable. That would be better in a few ways because you don't have to spend money on new batteries, it takes up less space, etc. You could put the jack on the side away from the bridge. I'm not good with graphics, but this is what I mean:


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK so I only paid thirty bucks...but this computer's a heap of s*^%t

Were al little low tech in our household pentium I, windows 98, barely surviving!

Now I think I've fixed it....again. This happens from time to time

Isn't Tim romantic with that picture, I can just see people seranading their significant other with, I don't know, Black Sabbath or something! I gather that's the under lighting. It would probably be easier to do and could use high brightness LED to get that effect...won't the pickups get in the way of the light but? Just a thought.

Meanwhile...here it is, the latest driver:


and with lights on:


I know they're shocking quality, I just put them in the scanner. The LED's look and glow red. They don't really shine out. I was clever I thought in my wiring, I put them so if one blew up, the others would still function (unlike cheapo xmas lights). It was pointed out though that if I gave them their full power if one blew, the others would soon follow in a cascade effect as 4 would be getting the power of 5 and so on. Anyway, the effect is still really great. I think clear lens LED's would be better and brighter as when their off you wouldn't see them on the silver case. I might try some other ideas next time, say an all black with a smoked type of lens so it looks black till it's turned on.

Well I pulled a really late night up with the circuit to finish it. Only got three hours sleep but, hey, I had soldering iron in hand. Unfortunatly I left my brain to doze off I think 'cause it really shouldn't have taken that long. And of course, There is some faulty wiring that's trying to send 9 volts straight into the guitar pickup! V. Bad. Still I think I know the problem but the control wiring is complicated and very small, so I'll need some quiet time on that one. The whole thing looks finished anyway, switches and knobs in place and you can see how it looks on the guitar.

Anyway the lights work and that's the main thing :D , and they look great, even if on 1/5th voltage. That should protect them and make the battery last longer.

I've also found a very small, simple low battery indicator that I'll be adding to this or the next one. Basically, you have a standby switch on the back (a mini slider) and a light shines out the back. The idea is so that you won't put your guitar away and have the thing turn on by itself with that momentary control. Anyway, this is useful and a pretty cheap feature. It shines green but changes to red when low.

Little Stevie Vai B)mentioned the idea of putting a charging socket on the back. I'm sure I mentioned that several times, you could treat it like a mobile phone, now get to the back of the class! Actually I've gone off the idea, simply 'cause I don't know if charging the battery while still attached to the circuit will hurt it. I'm sure there is a way (probably a simple switch in the plug) but I kinda thought that it would be better to have the battery really easy to get to so that you just stick another one in while your recharging. Plus, people will wan't me to provide a charger...now that's getting silly. I think I'm happy if it can run of a rechargable 9v (which is what I'm using to test it) and people invest the $10-15 for their own rechargeable battery and keep the cost of the unit down.

Now this box. I've committed the current circuit as described by myself and Emre so you design gurus will have to work with that for this one. Keep at it, you know that we have had almost 7000 visits and well over 500 contributions but in the past couple of days we have had 300 visits, you may get some paid work out of your efforts yet (hint, hint).

I've got some wierd modelling stuff and a huge chunk of plasticene, so you guys should put forward your ideas, even if you cant draw them and I'll make a model, as soon as this circuit is finished that is!

But...I've noticed a bit of reluctance to the tailpiece idea and I have to admit I did put the hard sell on the idea. I will make this one to test on a variety of guitars...a bit portable. The next stage will be to try and shrink the circuit down a bit. I'll need to get a circuit board made but it will probably mean a lot less time and effort, as well as quality control to the project.

To that end I went out and got most of the parts to do it again...if I can learn to do it in my sleep I'll have a 24hr operation. I'm not altogether happy with the preamp section I'm canablising. I't seems to have excessive componets and takes up a third of the board. I have an alternative design in the works so I may try that.

Now, the next box...got your laptops ready...(only kidding, you guys have made an extraordinary effort with these designs...no pressure, just as long as your having fun!)...I really want to make a Strat specific version. I'll try to sketch the idea out but...ignoring that the crcuit's too big at the moment...it goes like this.

There is an extended chrome or plastic scratchplate that covers the jack plate. The battery goes down the hole and this means that this new plate can rise from nothing to a max of about 12-15mm to house the switches and pot. The pot will be just below and behind the volume within easy reach. You could mount a base with the jack plate's existing screw holes. Then the top could be put on separately. This would be less obvious, blend in well with that instrument and put the control in a convienient, but more orthodox position. The output jack would be relocated level with the face of the guitar. This scheme would maintain the benefits of the box idea, keep the guitar pretty much stock and you'd have no external wiring.

If I can do this, then the circuit would probably be of a size conveniant to internally mount. Or' I may just go the whole hog, and install one permanently.

Anyway lot's of ideas, a slow grind but I'm making the effort. There will soon come a time when I won't be able to dedicate this much time to it, so I'm really, really wan't to get it to a practical working stage ASAP. I'll then be able to spend some time of the options for making it in numbers. If I can get a mini little production line, I imagine there will need to be some field testing to be done, but security is a risk...(no don't ask now)...these things are taking too long to build. I can see that it will be worthwhile. I may even be able to sell enough on the sly to pay for a patent!

Well enough from me...keep those ideas coming

psw :D

PS Hey Tim, there's no box in that picture, I wan't to see the box!...seriously though, which driver lights do you guys like by the way, we've seen three I think now, Under, line and 5 round. I might be able to use those rectangular LED's in a line of 5 too. I got some in yellow green and red and am looking at using that to make a black version, what do you think, just thinking ahead, P

Link to post
Share on other sites

next day edit: I logged on this morning to find that this post crossed to page 37. If you are reading this you may have missed some new graphics on the previous page...check out the new driver and a cool graphic from onelastgoodbye!

All that , and I look backed and missed a few questions.

Yep a small battery would be great but those things are typically used for digital stuff which only needs about 3-5 volts. I wondered though how a portable CD walkman can get by on a couple of "AA"'s. I mean your spinning the disc and amplifying it, even if it is only for phones.

If anyone finds a 9v alternative (even 12) let me know. Also, cost is an issue, at least with a 9v you can replace it easily if you forget to take a spare to a gig.

I really want to keep the cost of this down so more people can have access to it, I'm convinced that I can but it will take some planning.

GregP has had a typical reaction to the momentary switch knob when I ask around. At first people don't get it, but when you explain, they're sold! (yes I have been a salesman in the past).

The idea is this. With this control option you can insert the effect, like you would a trem, to "season" your regular style to taste. Using it this way would mean extended battery life and avoid it being simply a gimmick. I really feel strongly that the problem with sustainers have been people haven't seen the subtle effects that are possible...A gimmick thing is simply a fad if your lucky. I wan't this thing to last.

I'm also aiming to be sure of the reliability of this thing. This has been a labor of love...perhaps even an unhealthy obsession lately...I won't be selling any shoddy piece of gear. I'm costing on quality switches, pots, the lot and I can see it working out a lot cheaper and easier, not to mention better in many ways, than anything else out there at the moment!

enough already, bye


Link to post
Share on other sites

All the pictures look great, both modeled and real! I can get the idea of what the real one looks like with the bad quality, and I'm getting real excited!

The idea is this. With this control option you can insert the effect, like you would a trem, to "season" your regular style to taste. Using it this way would mean extended battery life and avoid it being simply a gimmick. I really feel strongly that the problem with sustainers have been people haven't seen the subtle effects that are possible...A gimmick thing is simply a fad if your lucky. I wan't this thing to last.
Wow, that makes tons of sense.. I hadn't really thought of it like that. There are a few benefits to making the knob push on/push off though, but either way is great. Edited by Steve Vai
Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been having a few computer problems, again! So I typed a bit of a progress report off line which I'll add to this.

Oh Tim...that's special and it uses the current circuit shape...we may have a winner. What do you think Emre, I know you wanted to do something more modern. How about everyone else, this the look of sustain? It certainly has identity! And, I know exactly how to make that!

You know someone is heading off to the trademarks office right now to secure that name don't you. I'm kind of avoiding calling it by anything really good for that reason, but I've come out with some great names so, when it's ready we'll officially christen her/him/it, whatever! Email or PM suggestions if you like or any ideas you might have for getting this out to everyone when it's finished.

Since I cant compete on graphics I'll post this picture of the box guts. Any one thinking that they could copy it from this should think again though. There are parts on both sides of the circuit board, and if you recognise the circuit board from a well known kit down here...think again, I've scratched off leads and added jumpers to the back and changed the values of many of the components to suit my driver system. I'll reserve the right then, to not go into detail on how it works. It's rather artfully out of focus too, don't you think!


This image is larger than life you can use the 9volt battery as a guide to it's true size. As you can see it's well advanced but needs troubleshooting (I found the last problem by the way and that's all fixed now. If you can imagine all that circuitry, 1/4 of that size and not quie so high, you may be able to imagine what it could become.

I'm posting it so you guys who have stood by the project and come in with such enthusiasim, can witness the progress for yourselves. I hope also you can appreciate the amount of wiring involved here. This helps you understand why I want to keep it in a box and why this version is not suitable for mass production. There are just too many connections for just about anyone to reasonably expect to wire for themselves into the guitar. The box allows me to have control of the spagghetti, meaning the user only connect four wires and install the driver.

Now, a condensed circuit, using more IC's and having all those connections made on a commercial circuit board (I use perforated or stripboard, like under the controls shown above, 'cause I can't make them) will eliminate a lot of them but it will take careful planning. I'm already working on that and some other stuff. There could even be a line of accessories if this all goes to plan and I'll have my own mini empire!

OK so here's what I typed earlier:

Hi there

I’m still having computer problems so I’m typing off line and will attempt to download this from M$Word!

Haven’t had a lot of time lately, I’m running out too so I better get this over the line or it will take a lot longer. Sometimes I need to leave things a bit anyway as I tend to get things a little complicated, more so than they need be. Still, I’m getting much better at soldering, I can even solder those tiny SMD components.

The box thing circuitry is about ready, baring testing for installation, I’ll get around to it (probably tomorrow). The thing is just too unwieldy though for any kind of production. I’ve been looking at options for getting a circuit board produced and it would be cheaper to have them make the smaller ones than for me to buy components and do the work. So to that end, and seeing how complicated the wiring has become, I have gotten a new preamp section designed and in the works. Even with me building it we are looking at a quarter of the size ad most likely thinner. With the 9mm pot we could have a “box” ½” thick and with low profile knobs come out no higher than the knobs already fitted to the guitar. (except of course for the battery…)

It has been pointed out to me that there are lot’s of places to hide a battery and the power leads make absolutely no interference with any wiring. I like either the jack hole or back plate option and the Les Paul and lots of other Gibson styles, have lots of room.

I’m thinking of making a standard small circuit with switches and knob hanging from it and a variety of box styles for different guitars, or as a stand alone for internal mounting. I still like the LP tailpiece option, the circuit should fit under the strings between the bridge and the stud piece. A bar of Aluminium could hold the strings and really, all you’d have are the controls sticking out the back visually. On the strat, replacing the jack plate. 4 knob Gibson’s could always lose a tone control or have a master volume, Strats could lose a tone control as pointed out.

I have had a number of ideas to extend the system still further with more features and the new preamp, as it happens, opens the door for some really useful options! One of which is a buffer to convert the guitar’s total output. When you plug in, the battery indicator light will shine (so won’t need the on off switch). but I was thinking of putting one on anyway so that you can select between active and passive mode, making the buffer a kind of boost if you like, and allowing the guitar lead to be left in without draining the battery.

There are other functions that this preamp design can accomplish, and it just shows that some of that reading I has been doing is starting to pay off. I think I’m almost understanding how the bits fall into place.

Went out shopping today at a new place and an old haunt for bits and pieces and ideas. Come up with some fantastic stuff, spent too much…this has got to stop! I think I should have enough to keep me going a while longer. Found some great low profile black (or silver) black anodized knobs, some beautiful LED surrounds in chrome (complete with bright blue LED’s, tri-color LED’s for (?)), parts for the preamp, a source of cheap (red only) tiny LED SMD’s for the driver if I go that way (5c each, min 100), some more of those little pots, trim pots that allow for easier adjustment to allow users to tweak the system to their tastes…all kinds of stuff! I was supposed to be researching supply and quantity prices to see what kinds of eventual costs there will be. It all looks ok on that front.

So things may slow a little for a while, while I “get a life!” but at least, at this stage I can honestly say that the thing works, it’s just difficult to construct the circuitry in the current configuration.

When I get some time I'll post a picture (from fender.com) with a vision of what I’d be doing with that jack plate idea.

chow for now, time to sleep


PS...ah ha...so stevie V, now you want people to know you've got a sustainer, I knew you'd come around....how many will you be wanting sir!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm really enjoying this part of the process...the design ideas. I hope, like me you guys are seeing the potential here. All sorts of things may be possible if a device like this caught on, I already have ideas for something that has a lot more bells and whistles on it, but even effects that require a fair amout of user interface, could get up off the floor and onto the guitar. All you effects dudes should pay attention to this even if the sustainer system isn't for you!

Thought I might do a bit of a critique of onegoodbye's design.

Tim has gone for a neat clean lined modern approach to the current circuit configuration (luckily). What I like about this is the thing seems to float above the guitar, it doesn't look "stuck on". Without seeing the other views (can't wait) that silver plate seems to sit over the guitar. I'm not sure what's happening with the controls there. I would have to modify the design to allow for my switched. I had thought of putting the name illuminated like that but I'm not sure if I mentioned it...very nice effect and terrific brand identity...and it would reflect nicely of the silver plate.

On looking at it I'd be making two black plastic casts. A base and control area and the black top piece which would hinge backwards from behind the switches and knob (which are secured to the base section). A 3mm alluminium plate would give the silver piece a look of strength and could be screwed on to the top piece from underneath. Not only would the plate provide shielding, but it would also reflect light from the logo. The name would be cast in and a diffuse plastic sheet could be slotted in behind. A high bright LED (use a bit of power but hey, I could maybe put a switch in there if you did'nt want it on) could simply sit above the circuit board and a reflector help spread the light.

Perhaps I was wrong with the retro idea. I can see this on my Black Les Paul Custom, no worries.

I suppose though, it should be said this is not the last word on the look of...whatever it's called :D . Even now I'm working on the smaller circuit and it's slimmer (about 6mm thick!), lot's neater than the prototype and has increased functionality...which I'll keep to myself for now.

I just hope it works! I'll try and do some more testing and see if I can get it going. I'm going to have to disconnect the inbuilt bells and whistles not featured on the old working circuit and test the new driver on the old one, etc. Frustrating troubleshooting. I think you can see from all those wires, one out of place or shorted out, and at best it wont function, at worst it will burn something out and I wont know which part it is.

anyway, got to get busy with other stuff, but cant wait to see some more...


Link to post
Share on other sites

The retro look does go well with guitars like Les Pauls, even on most guitars the look fits it. But an infinite sustain system isn't exactly retro... that look may be bit out of place.

What is your idea for the Strat jack? This is the idea I get:


Sorry about the bad graphics, I'm using Windows Paint. Is that what you have in mind? I was thinking that the knob could be titled up to get to it easier. It may not be the best angle, but it should work better than having it flat.

Maybe someone can make a 3D drawing of your idea, it should be easy if they have the jack modeled out, they just need to add a knob (or whatever you're thinking of).

Are you considering making a prewired pickguard version for Strats? Having the logo light up in the pickguard would look awesome, and you could probably do it without a box if you put a knob on the jack and the miniswitches (or maybe a 5 way?) on the pickguard.

Edited by Steve Vai
Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry psw, the silver part doesn't float. the black part however B)

Here's the deal:








dig the name


Think of it as an L-shaped 'box'.

The silver part contains the complete circuit , the black part houses the battery and controls + some spare room. There shouldn't really be any alterations made to the main layout, it all fits! the black part is overhanging and slanted, slightly facing upward and outward (towards the low E). That overhang and slant sort of makes it look and feel like its over the trem, but the trem can actually move all the way up without hitting anything. 'Bout as accessable as it can get.

Seen the red and green lights? since the cylinders housing the switches are chromed (well that's the idea) they can act as reflectors...so I've put 2 leds in there, just entering from the side, that act as battery indicators (or whatever you come up with). There should be enough room to do that

I must say i'm pretty proud of this one..It's contemporary, but there's some 50's in there too. The chromed switch protrusions always make me think of speedometers or those crazy "jet engine" car bumpers. (the logo uses the PORSCHE font too, so it must be fast :D )

I'll take a break from this one, and see what psw can do with the circuit. Since it's getting smaller, It can only get better.

strat jackplate is next,


Edited by onelastgoodbye
Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok Tim, it's clearer now.

Yeah I see the car design now. It's angled a little more towards the player and the knob would be easier to reach. It's bost post-modern and functional.

Did you know, I live in Melbourne, Australia...reputed to be the worlds most livable city...anyway, practically every new building thats gone up in the last ten years and there's a lot at the moment near the docks, where I live (the poor side of town), looks as if the architects had faulty T-squares! Although now their into curves...

Anyway, yeah it's pretty cool...a little dificult in parts. I take it it is the present circuit but with the switches closer to the knobs, or is the battery actually on top of the circuit making it a lot higher. (I'm guessing it is as is now, yes?)

I see the floating effect was caused by the chrome reflections. I'll stand by my first impressions and say that overlaping that silver part and making the base of it a black cast plastic may be easier to do. Give me some time to live with it. I'd probably want the whole thing to open up to adjust those trimmers, although they could possibly be relocated...every extra length of cable adds to the oscillations that need to be controlled...technical problem you see!

Well if I do this, I'll have to move those switches, wont I. The lights in there are a majorly cool feature, you've got the lights there for your own enjoyment, a little reflection on the players hands, a cinch to find the switch in the dark, but not too gaudy that it looks like it's trying too hard. Let's face it, all these lights are only for show...but hey, as LK says "if it glows, it goes!

I've got the stuff to make them too...aluminium tube and 3mm plate will do the trick. The rubbing of the hands on the alloy will keep it nice and shiny, or take it to a reputable car detailer for a cut and polish :D .

The name's do-able...I don't fancy having to hand cut the font, so well see what I can do there.

Stevie V has the right location but the thing will have to be a bit bigger...(wider and longer with the jack socet raised and parralel with the guitar's face)....perhaps we should wait till I can give more details. I did try to make it as simple as that but you would have to carve a hole in there and have switches you know.

I'm working on incorporating the "sustain-driver-name-that-shall-not-be-named" into a deluxe system. Now that we have crossed a big hurdle of acceptance of a real time guitar mounted "effect", and have onboard power, we have both the room and the technology, for little extra expense to go a whole lot further. It's really exciting the possibilities! Something like this could really change the conservatism of the guitar community in both look and sound as well as the technique of players...truely great stuff.

As I say, the driver thingy, is the core so I'd better get that right first I suppose!

My new circuit is coming along. Is about 6mm high (9mm pots will be the highest, with low profile knobs it should be no higher than the controls already on a strat! If it goes as intended, the "system" should have 2 knobs and four switches...excessive, I think not! (ok maybe a little) but this thing will be able to do things to your sound that no effects boxes (yes, racks included) are going to be able to do. Not the least because, it will be all right there at your finger tips. AND, you get to keep your guitar completely intact. I have a design for both a LP and Strat, and ideas for the rest, plus internal mounting...if you must.

OK, to my young friend mushy! I'd prefer to keep production costs private as they can be misconstrued. I remember saying early in the thread that I was making prototype drivers for less than a dollar a string. Therefore you should only have to pay $6 and a tip right? Wrong! What I can say is that I've costed the thing out and it is certainly do-able, for a custom made short run thing sold direct and hand crafted by me, OR, from some major corporation churning out thousands!

I can tell you this, this has taken hundreds of valuable man hours from me and from my wife and kids for letting me (though their patience is waning) and more money than I'd admit to them or you. I'm detirminded to do this thing and do it I will!

So, price? Well someone provide me with details if they can...I think sustainiacs system costs about $500 Australian and you loose a pickup and then there's installation, etc. I'd like to see it come in around $350. If you look at the price of effects boxes or pickups, that sounds reasonable, don't it? In fact it may be too cheap, a lot of work in this you know.

I'll be back to edit this later...

Alright, I'm down the internet cafe with a latte! Now this is a computer and the coffee's better too.

Didn't get to do that testing I was going to do...may be tomorrow.

I better use this time and fast computer to do a little more research.

Once I get the details finalized...that means a few more prototypes, a lot more testing, testing by others is very important, design acceptance...I was thinking of leaving a test instrument with some music shops for a week to see what they and their customers thought about the system...I really want to be able to move on producing them. That in itself is a lot of work and expense. We're looking at supply of parts and assembly of circuits, jigs to make the drivers, moulds to make, cost/time analysis, setting up a workshop for the task...it's a big commitment to get something like this from the inventor to the customer. Fortunately we have the internet I s'pose so I'm not trapped by a small Australian population and economy.

Then there's the whole question of patents to protect it! I really don't know what to do there. I don't have the money...it sounds expensive.(no this is not a pitch for investors). I could sell the idea to a company who will take out the rights in their name but pay me up front for the concept. Someone suggested I might be able to sell enough on the sly to pay for a patent. I can apply for a provisional or even full patent in Australia, but it means disclosing all for the world to see. I then have 18 months to take out world rights before the vultures with the money swoop down on the idea. Then there's going to be people contesting my patent. Obviously it is related to other system by vertue of what it does regardless of how I do it. I believe it is an original approach, but do I have the money to fight them and pay all those lawyers....oh the stress, let's just get this thing together while I've got this insomnia I've had lately

I'll check you later


PS The australian dollar is worth about 70 cents to the $US. That means when I talk dollars it goes in your favour...deduct 30%....now I think it is too cheap. Perhaps you guys could guide me, how much would you expect to pay for something like this and how much should I let it out for given the above difficulties in getting it out there.

Link to post
Share on other sites
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Create New...