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As a buffer, though I still don't quite get why, the tranny stage doesn't require the trim pot either...

Well, LK would explain this better but:

There can be a huge variance in characteristics between two FETs of the same type, which is why you need to do the biasing.

This is what Don Tillman says about the subject:

"I should point out that FETs in general suffer from a serious lack of manufacturing consistancy. The FET VGS and IDSS, the parameters that determine the bias point, can be anywhere over a 5-to-1 range and still be within spec. That's pretty awful, but such is life. It's an engineering accomplishment to design a circuit that can function exactly the same over a wide variation of component parameters. But I can't guarantee that in this situation; there's not enough supply voltage headroom."

On the other hand, when it comes to regular transistors, the variance between units is not much. This makes it possible to design a circuit that will work with all transistors of the same type, without the need for re-biasing.

By the way, i started building the driver. As an experiment, i'm using tinplate from a tea tin for the core. It's easy to find, easy to cut and shape, and highly magnetic.

.

e

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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

Hey Tim...that's a blast from the past...I wonder how many of the newer-comers recognise it for what it is...beautiful...interfacing it with the guitar will be interesting...good luck.... :D

Emre/transient...

By the way, i started building the driver. As an experiment, i'm using tinplate from a tea tin for the core. It's easy to find, easy to cut and shape, and highly magnetic.

Yeah...this is a great alternative method with a number of advantages....

easy to find and cut as you say...and, this soft, cheap steel is far more magnetic than say hardened steel (a black allen bolt, for instance) and really is everywhere...

I take it that to get some width to the core you're laminating a few pieces or folding it perhaps...?

This has another advantage as you are also making a crude (but effective) laminated core. Such laminations are more efficient than if the core were made of a single piece of the same type of material.

And by efficiency, I mean not only that it's highly magnetic but it is able to easily loose it's magnetisim...it's permiability...thisallows it to change states (N-S) faster. This is of particular importance with higher frequencies (high strings), but also effects the amount of power required to effectively change states...lower power means:... less EMI, better power life, less distortion, better response, less phase discrepancies...=better driver.

To get the best results the laminations should be insulated from each other. Some thin paper or plenty of epoxy on the surfaces should surffice...

I have mentioned it before as an option along with powdered cores and several other options. But in reality, there is a little more work involved in cutting a few separate strips to the same size. You may however come across a really easy method of doing it that surpasses my attempts and my simple bar steel suggestion...so keep us/me informed. B)

The key to the driver design, at least that I've proposed, is the thickness of it...a thin, compact design...no matter the core material, etc... seems (through my experimentation) to be superior in efficiency and response. Other designs work but then there seem to be problems with getting the higher strings going or excessive EMI, or both...

Similar things with wire guage...other guages work but with common problems as discussed.

It's good to see some more milestones broken...but I'd love to see or hear that these things have successfully been created and used...perhaps then this, or another thread, will emerge to be not so much about how to make them, as about the wonderful things that people have discovered they can do with them...

Anyway...funny to see the thread slip back to page 3 but now it's on page 1 again...at least for now...

I'll drop in when I can... :D

psw

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Has anyone done a humbucking type sustainer? as in two 4 ohm coils in series? it seems like it would have more area to vibrate the stings and possibly work better on the higher strings..... also i was wondering if a sustainer would work ok in the middle position (supposing i have a 3 humbucker guitar......). does that coil have to have a bar magnet or a steel bar through it? normal pole pieces wont work? Thanks for any info

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High jagcat...welcome

Has anyone done a humbucking type sustainer? as in two 4 ohm coils in series? it seems like it would have more area to vibrate the stings and possibly work better on the higher strings..... also i was wondering if a sustainer would work ok in the middle position (supposing i have a 3 humbucker guitar......). does that coil have to have a bar magnet or a steel bar through it? normal pole pieces wont work? Thanks for any info

Ok a few questions there...

first there really haven't been a lot made and I seem still to have done the most experimentation (though I'm doing none due to illness now and for some time). That means a lot is theoretical and up for experimentation...

SO...Humbucker...

If you look back at the "sustain box" hooked up to the LP on the humbucker i've used a single coil on one of the coils...simply transfering what I had already done to the HB format. It certainly would work but I feel (without solid evidence but a little experience and knowledge) that the wider area would be detrimental to the string vibration. The reason being that higher frequencies (higher strings) have short physical wave vibrations and the wider area may in fact be driving at one place and dampening at the other, or out of sync and be very uneven between different notes whose frequency (vibrations) will match perfectly, and others who dont. Basically an uneveness of response...

This is a theory though so feel free. Up sides may be that two lower resistant coils will be able to respond faster than a higher single coil so be technically more efficient but in the world of physical vibrations detrimental. It's possible that the technical advantage would outweigh the physical and be fine...perhaps you'd like to prove the theory.

My approach with a single driver was to have a dummy driver on the opposite coil to lift it up effectively to the level of the driver...

There is also such a thing as a bi-lateral driver where the lower strings and the higher strings have a kind of split humbucking arrangement...much as the principle of the precision bass PUp. This is the kind of technology that is used to dampen parasitic feedback (EMI into the other PUps) in the two commercial systems and built by Dizzy at the other DIY Sustainer thread below...

...Check out Dizzy's mid pickup sustainer at diystompboxes...

DIY Sustainer thread

The harmonics are less predictable and the circuitry and everything (twin drivers, etc) is way more complicated (and secret) but the general ideas are detailed in the patents...

psw

So it's a little up for grabs in regards to it's performance...personally I have a few reservations still...

Dizzy has also shown that such a pickup can work in the mid pickup position. A bi-lateral driver is a crucial component in allowing for this closeness to the other PUp's. He has also utilized some advanced phase compensation which gives efficiency with less power and so emitting less EMI. Other strategies involve "shunting", employing a means to divert or control emi. Pekko has a guitar back a few pages that has a large iron piece next to the bridge pickup to absorb this EMI and control it to a degree.

I too looked at the mid pickup option or very small driver/s between the pickups but close to the neck picku[p in a 2 HB guitar format. Most of this was worked on during the long Hex phase so you'll have to go back a fair way... ;)

The mid pickups position does seem (in both mine and dizzy's experience)...or even a bridge driver which I was also working on...to be a little unpredictable with harmonics and drive modes. However I've never had a convincing argument as to why this should be so...but it does seem to be the case!

I'm certain that significant improvements can be made and alternative models devised to address these types of ideas...but someones going to have to do it...it could be you!!!

Meanwhile...

On core material I might have found another alternative. I've often seen these things around in gutters in the street. Thin 1mmx3mm metal strips. I'd alway's wondered where they came from but I think I know now...street sweepers. I think the brushers have these strips to give a kind of rake effect and they periodically break off. 3 of these snipped to the right length and laminated as described above, would make an ideal and really easy blade core.

Speaking of which there was the pole piece question. The problem with conventional poles is that they work but, as soon as a string is bent you loose some drive. Dizzy reported the same with the bilateral (twin blade/coil) between the d and g strings for the same reason. It's really not ideal and harder in many ways to make than a blade though you may feel it looks more "conventional". Something worthy though would be a number of poles, especially screws, much as Carvin use in their PUp's...22 poles to a humbucker...to me that looks even wirder, but hey!

If you're creative you could probably fake poles over a hidden blade but that seems like a lot of trouble. There is no problem completely hiding the blade (EMG style) though if that's looks better. Initially you should just aim at getting something that works in a practical way i'd suggest...then pretty it up...

hope that helps.... =o)

psw

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Yes Pete, i folded it :D But i haven't wound the coil yet, and since you say that attaching seperate isolated pieces together would work better, i'll do it that way and then wind the coil. I first need to get a tool to cut it though, although it's soft, it's not easy to cut unless you're using the right tool.

By the way, this is the guitar to be the victim of my experiments: http://d940841.u31.0web-hosting.com/pics/fless_01.jpg

...

emre

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Nice one...

So where's the driver going, in the middle?

You may find the EMI difficult to deal with, or are you going to modify the neck pickup?

If you were to make the driver a little deeper...say 5mm you'd get extra depth and less width. My 3mm ones are about 10mm wide, 6mm depth wont give you a 5mm width but it will be a lot less. If the coil is 6-7 ohm it should still be ok.

What I'm hinting at is a narrow driver that (with mods to the neck PUp ring) fit between the neck and it's PUp. Of course you'd also need a magnet which may be included in the core to save space (overall depth) but you are still likely to require some routing.

If/when I ever get back to working on this stuff in a practical sense I'd like to make a pickup ring which incorporates the driver...a little tricky and may require some mods but the 2 HB guitar, especially with 24 frets is always going to be a little bit of a problem looking stock.

Folding will work, mind you...or fold it, press it flat in a vice with epoxy then cut the ends off is an idea. Working with thin material seems grerat but when you cut it with shears it curls and can have sharp bits that need a bit of filing. With my 3mm steel ones I roughly cut to size, hold it tightly in pliers and put it to a bench grinder (or put in vice and grind with dremmel or hand file)...rounding the ends also.

For me, I find it quicker and easirer to work with a solid piece but I will do a laminated version. I doubt there will be a lot of difference...the mass of the core is probably more important...not to much, not to little, just right! :D

BTW...you seem to have left off the frets.... :D

good luck...keep us all informed and great to see some progress on making new versions of the device.

psw

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I think i might try it in the middle, im deffinitely not touching my drop n gains, but i would mod the pickup ring. i dont want to route too close to the neck on my sg because the neck isnt the most stable as it is. as for looking stock, 2 drop n gains, a sd invader, bigsby, planet waves locking tuners, schaller roller bridge on an sg goth threw the stock look out the window. dont even get me started on the electronics.....jimi page push/pulls and a distortion pre........i badly sprained my wrist skateboarding on sunday so i'll have to give it a week at least till i can play guitar or even breadboard stuff. i'll let you know how its going when i get started!

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OK...nice one jagcat...

No, I wouldn't mess with the neck joint on an SG. My first guitar was an SG 3 HB with bigsby (white of course). The vibrato, even subtle as a bigsby is, really adds to the techniques available to the sustainer style of playing (still yet to be explored). A little gentle vibrato can really coax and control non-picked swell notes. Finger vibrato's fine but how do you do that with chords :D

Although not been really done yet (though there's plenty of evidence that it's possible), an independant driver like mine, with a row (might need a few to go the whole width and a bit of the strings) of tiny (i'd suggest 3mmx 2 or 3mm high neodynium/rare earth magnet discs as a row to make the core. That takes care of the core and the magnet and saves on depth. Then, add top and bottom thin card bobbin pieces and wind away as tight as you can (not too tight on the ends) potting (PVA) and pressing down the windings as you go to make it nice and compact.

The next step will probably be some kind of "shunting"...perhaps an outer layer, around the driver coil, perhaps cut from thin steel as emre/transient was discribing for a layered core (dont short the windings, protect with tape and test driver first, etc). If not enough and the driver not too big, perhaps even another layer over that. Shunting has not been necessary for me but the extra closeness of the driver in the mid position, even close to the neck, means it's probably important for you're application.

"Shunting" is basically a kind of diversion strategy that attracts stray electromagnetic radiation from the driver coil from the top to the bottom of the field, limiting the range of stray signals that cause that squealing when pickups get too close to the driver. You'll still need to mount it right up by the neck pickup and arange switching so that only the bridge pickup is utilized for the output. You could even try to arrange a shunt as on Pekko's headless guitar a few pages back as well to try to catch the EMI befor the bridge pickup.

End result...if you're crafty (and it might take a few goes) would be a very compact driver depth of about 3.5mm width about 10mm and would probably fit without routing. Go all the way and buy a pickup ring, cut to fit the driver in the side and fill with putty...spray matt black and it's goth city... :D

Don't be disheartened if you have a little trouble, the driver part is not hard to do and is relatively cheap, so you can afford to have a few goes if the first one's not as neat or as compact as you'd like. Also, make the bobbin pieces oversize and with that shunt protecting the coil you'll be able to pot and sand the whole thing down to a compact shape later. It will need to be pretty close to the strings as well.

Anyway...good project...heal well and let us know how you're going with it, it sounds really interesting and a lot of people would like to see it done on a two HB guitar in this way....me included....

Consider yourself a pioneer!

psw

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This may interest Jagcat and inspire others but beware...the technology is partially secret and difficult to do compared to my technology. There is however a well produced sound clip so check that out. I've posted this also in the sustainer sounds thread from which this is the quote:

A Member Dizzy_One over at diystompboxes sustainer thread posted something a while ago (jul 21) that may be of interest to sustainer watchers.

Basically he has made a Sustainiac copy but with the driver in the mid position and is electronically more complex than my approach but with great and similar results. I've reposted one of his replies to me from there as there's a really nice full production sound clip that's really worth a listen. I can't do the kind of production number he's done and just improvised some single track stuff into the computer, Dizzy's may be a little more accessable and inspiring.

The driver is a much like Sustainiac bilateral driver.

Signal from pickups goes to buffer with a very

high impedance, then to a complicated phase

and amplitude correction scheme, to

a AGC circuit and finally to the power amp (lm386, heh).

No a fundamental/harnonic mode because of

placement of driver. Just a some mixed mode -

harmonics on most bass strings and fund. on

high strings. Varying picking style and switching

to different pickup combintation, i got a different

harmnonics.

Sound sample (a theme from some great comp game of the

past):

Diablo Theme - Dizzy's Sustainer Demo (1.44 Mb).

Almost all notes of the lead were picked with left hand only.

If you want to know more there was some discussion about it and the link at the top of the page should take you there. There was a Pic too but it's gone now but it looked very similar to the sustainiac single coil pickup on a strat, completely replacing the mid pickup. It didn't work as a pickup as mine does but could be used with either or both pickups.

enjoy and thanks to dizzy and the guys over at diystomp...

psw

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hi,

ok. so i read the whole thing (with a few skips here and there) and collated the information which may be helpful to me before posting and here i am.

firstly i'll get a few things out the way... i'm not a guitarist (i play acoustic though for myself) and i'm not trying to build a sustainor. so why am i here?

i'm trying to build a string driver for a piano. i'm not interested in accuracy of pitch, phase or trying to get an infinitely long note... i'm trying to build a "resonant reverb" by using the piano itself as a speaker. there are two things i'd like to do with it:

1) play back pre-recorded and specifically composed music from my laptop and sounds generated and mangled by my own software i've built, through the piano by converting the audio/electronic signal into an (electro)magnetic one which will excite the strings that are at related frequencies and harmonics.

as you can probably tell i'm not trying to create a precision instrument, but indulge the serendipity of the process.

i'm ok with electronics... i've built a cv->midi concerter, two theremins, and so on... but it's the magnetic bit where i get stuck.

ok, a few problems:

1) piano strings have a far greater tension than guitar strings, so i'm probably limited to the mid-range strings because they are not too short (like the high ones) and not too fat (like the low ones).

2) i'll need a hefty amount of drive without overheating / melting etc.

and a few things i don't need to avoid:

1) my pickup is acoustic and so is the end result i require so no magnetic interference / coupling problems between pu and driver.

2) playing harmonics instead of / as well as fundamentals is fine.

3) the strings can be pushed and pulled, so don't need to move side to side.

4) i have plenty of room to position the drivers, so can be as big and ugly as needed... in fact i'd prefer them to be visible, along with the cabling.

so now for my questions, which i hope some of you can help me with...

1) should i run all the drivers in series? parallel? groups of serial?

2) is it possible to use a hifi amp... (wait!)... as long as i select the correct thickness of wire, strength of magnet etc?

3) which magnets, amount of coils etc would be suitable to drive these high tension strings?

4) maybe i should try relay coils or disected speakers (as i have room for them) ?

well that's enough to be going on with i think! :D

thanks and well done everyone!

~darkandspiky~

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welcome darkandsparky

I only visit every nownagain these days....

Sounds like you just want a giant speaker in the piano...

How about this...get some crap speakers from somewhere, say two woofers with torn or broken cones, carefully cut away the cones but dont break the speaker coil wires that are usually glued to them. Glue a washer to the cone above the speaker coil. This will provide resistance and momentum, hopefully preventing it burning out.

Now, attach these somehow to the piano string frame.

The result should be that these coneless speakers will vibrate like crazy but produce a (fairly) low buzzing signal. Run two, one from each side of an old stereo amp with perhaps one accenting the higher frequencies on the shorter strings and visaversa.

I'm not sure if this will produce the effect you're after but I'm sure it will make some noise.

Basically your speakers become acoustic vibrators which mechanically (via contact with the piano frame) should excite the strings, if the dampers are off (so they will sustain) of course

I really don't think it would be worth trying a purely electromagnetic excitation approach (which would of course be silent, except for the piano) as you'd most likely need a driver and amp for practically every couple of strings...and that's an awful lot of strings...

Hope this helps or at least inspires...

Oh, an well done for even attempting going back over this stuff, with your electronics experience, even if you're not going to build a guitar sustainer, feel free to contribute. Let us/me know how you go, perhaps you'll devise another approach....good luck, and have fun on your ad-venture

psw

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  • 2 weeks later...

hi!

i'm new here, and been doing quite a research on guitar electronics through the site, and now i think i'm ready to make my own version of the sustainer. I was thinking on doing it using a single-coil as psw's project at http://projectguitar.ibforums.com/index.ph...pic=7512&st=720 but as i'm not much of a single-coil player, i was wondering if doing the same but with one of the single coils of a humbucker would have some kind of side-effect. maybe it's been mentioned somewhere in this never-ending threat, but honestly i dont have the patience to read ALL of it. any ideas?

:D

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It should work fine (probably).

The humbucker's sound might change somewhat, but as long as you keep to the correct 'recipe' for the driver (as in flat coil, 0.2 mm wire, ...etc.) it 'll be ok.

I believe PSW tested it on his Les Paul and the sustain effect was less prominent than with single coils because of the paul's inherent massive sustain.

Tim

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Hello sustainiacs (heh, notice the pun here).. erhemmm...

I have posted here before, but that was a long time ago. Let me reïntroduce myself:

I'm a guitarist from the netherlands. I play a fernandes revolver pro 7 (7 string sustainer model). My next guitar is also going to be a 7 string guitar, and I want a sustainer in it. Problem is: Fernandes has discontinued the 7 string sustainer :D

Does anyone here want to build a 7 string driver for me? I could get the electronics from the 6 string sustainer kit Fernandes sells... If you can make me a whole sustainer (driver + electronics) that would be great but not absolutely nessecary.

you can email me at: r00key@home.nl

PS: The *pop* sound when you turn the sustainer on or off is also there in the Fernandes version. I don't mind it since I usually leave the sustainer on.

PS2: I'm willing to pay a lot of money!

Edited by r00key
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G'day....

Have had a total catastrophic social collapse...

So, I'd build you one r00ky but I don't have access to my stuff at the moment...

In fact I may eventually get around to building a "thing" to order, I've worked out a better no pop circuit but there is, as always, a lot of experimenting to do especially with the switching interface to disconnect pickups etc.

My guitar (strat) is still working great, I've only just got that back but no amp...thinking of hawking it about to see if there is a local market to give me some encouragement.

I'm not sure about the sustainer/fernandes circuit as I don't know if the DIY driver will match it's specs...they use a dual coil driver...like dizzy made.

Yes, I did get it to work on a les Paul HBker but had to lower it a lot...never completed tests but had thought that a dummy top over the unused coil could raise it back to the level of the driver...as is I couldn't get much out of the neck pickup as it was so far away from the strings.

My Single though showed that the driver on top did not alter the sound too greatly so I'm sure it can be done OK...

Yes it is a long threat (sic!)...dont read it all, just ask away and hope for a reply that helps and be prepared to have a go...

Anyway, even though everythings gone wrong in my world, I've still got a guitar (trusty old acoustic) and having a ball learning a lot of songs...people seem to really like the stuff so I may even get some gigs - sans band...

will be checking in again from time to time...good luck

psw :D

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the 'pop' is produced when u turn the sust. or any effect 'on'. i used to have a guitar w/distortion (kinda blue clipper) in it, and every time i turned 'on', that thing made pops. that was b'cos of the electricity. if u connect the 9v battery to the jack and then to one of the pins (so the battery is drainin while the cable is plugged in) the pop will die (fudge u, michael jackson!!!). that way, the on-off switch will work only w/the sustainer (preamp, amp, etc) and NOT w/ the battery.

maybe (i don't know about this) if u put some 1M resistors in series w/the power source, the pop will dissapear, but i dont know.

QUESTION: if i use the neck humbo as a driver, will it work? kinda fernandes stuff. a switch (on/on) to select pickup use as humbo/driver, and another switch to change btween harmonic/octave and finally, a gain pot.

the 1st Sw. will choose the role of the humbo, when used as a humbo, the toggle (if u have one) will work as usual. when used as driver, the toggle will work only with the bridge PU, so u can do the "now-you-hear-me-now-you-don't" thing (as if u have the Neck-PU's volume at zero)

PS. Sorry if my english sucks, yo hablo español (i speak spanish)

Edited by Anti-Idiot
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Indeed, this is the way fernandes sustainers work aswell.. the battery drains (and the power led is on) even with the sustainer off. There's still a slight pop, but i imagine it would be worste if the battery were to kick in when the sustainer is activated. When we take a break I always make sure I unplug the jack to save on batteries.

Peter, If you can make me that 7 string sustainer I'll go and order the new guitar. I'll test yours and compare it to the fernandes one. Then I'll descide which to put in the new guitar and which goes into my backup guitar. I have no haste though, take your time.

Edited by r00key
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Hi Rooky and other sustainerer's

I'm in divorce limbo i'm afraid...will be some time...internet access only at library...email not active at moment...may rectify soon...psw

anyway...I think I have the pop thing sorted as I was about to test a new circuit (not lm386) that's pop free, more expensive but better power and drain specs and no pop!!!...hmmm

The switching is the real problem (ie turning everything to bypass except bridge when activated)

My sustainer guitar is back with me and I'll be hawking the idea about to see if there's any mainstream interest...I also have some plans to use an old buddy to help iron the thing out...

But...first I need to recover and get back on my feet...I'm taking it all a little hard...could do with some work also... :D

Anyway...would take quite a bit of time. To mod for a seven string I'd probably need the neck pickup (single coil?) to make the driver top...or at least an exact copy of it....

Well...we'll see what comes up...I might just make some "sustainer" guitars from cheap copies and see if I could do some deal with guitar repairers or something...anyone interested over there do you think...?

Pete... :D

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  • 2 weeks later...
I'm in divorce limbo i'm afraid...will be some time...internet access only at library...email not active at moment...may rectify soon...psw

Aw.. sorry to hear that psw

Well, I'm still here and have FINALLY scored some 0.2 wire. Experimentations and research into infinite tone 'll recommence soon in the northern hemisphere :D

Prototype of "the box" is also finished and should be fully reproducable with silicone moulds.. so if you ever feel like making these in limited series lemme know ( I doubt if it's of any use without the hex drivers, though) . pics 'll be up ASAP (this thread needs new pics if we want to make it to page 100!! :D).

Tim

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Hmmm...well...thanks Tim..."stuff" happens I guess...

Anyway...sounds like you'll be taking up the sustain mantle for a while...I don't know about the box thing though, there was quite a bit of interest at the time and again when I made my little black box device so it may still have legs...I'll be watching with interest...

The hex driver wasn't really intregal to the box concept and these thin driver's can be mounted on many guitars so the concept still works for me...it's the switching that's the hassle...p.

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I'm still lurking in the shadows as well - I've been covered up with other things recently, but haven't abandoned the sustainer idea. I just gotta find some leisure time that coincides with surplus cash, and I'll get back to it myself! After all the hard work that's been done around here, it'd be a shame not to get at least one working model out of it.

Good luck, Pete, and Godspeed - I can only imagine! If there's anything I can do, you know... right? Don't lose touch!!

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Allright people, pics:

Excuse my crappy photographic skills..

1.jpg

left

front

right

back

back_left

circuit_compartment

battery_compartment

support_ribs

cowl_supports

this_might_be_handy

The exterior is ready for final black paint, inside it's still a bit messy (gobs of paint, CA and sanding filler). The different parts fit together very well (a lot better than what it looks like from the pics) and the box is quite sturdy considering the shell's thickness is never over 1 mm. Only thing I'm not satisfied with is the "drive" knob, I'm thinking of moving it back and having it protrude from the side and top so you can roll it with the palm of the hand. Anyway, not bad for a first prototype.

Tim

Edited by onelastgoodbye
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