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Nice to meet you 1-way

PSW

I also have a messed up life, welcome to the club brother! In between jobs and all right now.

1-way up I hope for both of us! OK, well they say you should keep your mind occupied...so lets do that...lol.

One of the things about this thread is the practical device itself which is a lot of fun to play, and easy enough to make...the other is the juggling of ideas like this and learning a little more about all kinds of interesting things. If you like paradoxs and interesting mind play, you'll like the idea of magnetics and thinking about this thing.

What I found to be useful but haven't used for a while is a free program called FEMM..

FEMM free magnetics modeling program

Finite Element Method Magnetics is a method of modeling madnetics and making the fields visible in 2D. It is surprisingly easy to use (draw a picture of something, tell it what it's made of, generate a field). Once you start "seeing" these fields you can use your imagination a little more.

Focused Shielding

There may be essentially four kinds of shielding that we could consider. Those can be grouped into two categories, proximity and type. Proximity would be one set of shielding for the outgoing emi(?) local to the driver, and the other shielding local to the pups. Then there's type which also has two kinds, deflection and absorption, I'm thinking of materials like lead for absorption and steal for deflection.

Quite right, although there are variations too. One is cancelling by generating an equal but opposite field...this is kind of like a humbucker principle, in reverse...and in use in Sustainiacs bi-lateral driver (a patent pic is shown a few pages back). Another is redirection of the electromagnetic field by arranging the coil/s in such a way as the EMI is being outputed so as not to disect the pickup coils. Fernandes used to have such a driver which had two coils layed on their side. Some of my hex drivers focussed the EMI out it's ends.

So to summerise...you can

deflect it

absorb it

redirect it

cancel it

distance it

but what you can't do is eliminate it...(well you can...but, if there is no electromagnetic energy emitted, it wont work!!! Similarly with pickups, they wont sense anything if their magnetic fields are completely self contained. :D

As stevenhoneywell said, he would not use one if he had to sacrifice the sonic benefit of using the bridge and neck pups.

Well yes, I tend to agree...either a dedicated guitar or one like mine that retains all it's functions when the sustainer is off. Another possibility may be multiple drivers that are switched over when the pickups are selected (although no combined settings would be possible and switching would be a nightmare) or a mid driver as Dizzy developed. Bear in mind you still have your tone control for sonic variety which is very effective, but in harmonic mode it filters out those super high frequencies! I might put up a sound clip of that soon.

I'm thinking of materials like lead for absorption and steal for deflection.

Well, "lead" is of no use as it isn't magnetic. Similarly aluminium, brass and stainless steel...all non-magnetic...the energy passes right through it!!! Some other things to keep in mind is permeability...like a nail (steel) held to a magnet, the nail will itself become a magnet and saturation a certain mass of material can only absorbe or deflect so much magnetic energy. Permeability is imporatnt to consider for the cores of drivers as the coil is trying to continually reverse the polarity of it's field...this is the effect that most influences the efficiency of the driver designs and in particularly it's effect on the high strings and higher frequencies (the speed of the driver). Another thing is that magnets and ferromagnetic materials are made up of "domains"...by laminating thin materials (as often seen in transformer cores) yyou can make serious inroads into the qualities of materials.

What material works best for shielding/absorption?

What material works best reflection/deflection?

What shape(s) works best for deflection for the driver and pups?

Well, that's where that FEMM program can help. However, bear in mind that any effective magnetic material added to the guitar, especially around the pickups, is going to effect the shape of the field and hence the "tone". Also, magnets are fascinating critters, there are attracted or repelled and their fields changed by some materials and others have no effect whatsoever. Electromagnetics are even trickier, as they emit energy in bursts!

So, another magnet is a pretty powerful reflector/deflector! A circular magnet with the emi device inside...though no energy would get out! And theory is only a part of it, modeling is only a part of it, you actually have to do it to really guage it's effectiveness.

I made deflectors of a steel U shaped channel (a principle used in lace pickups too BTW) which sat on the reverse side of the drivers permanent magnet and was thus effectively a magnet opposite to the driver's core. EMI radiating out of the core would be sucked back by these fins down each side of the driver. Some were incapsulated in an iron/epoxy composite too!

But...interesting as it all is, sometimes it comes down to practicalities. Ferrite is a great material...difficult to get and impossible to work. You can model magnets in all kinds of shapes (some of mine were hourglass shaped) but where would you get them?

So...there's a starter to get ppl thinking! But, it is not at all necessary for this project. In the end it comes down to sending a signal through a coil of wire and overcoming restrictions. If ppl are interested in such esoteric sides to the principle, that is to be encouraged...all food for the brain, and a way to pass the time. I have spent many, many, many hours with these ideas but it can lead you astray if your aim is to actually make one of these devices to play guitar!!!

Hope you all enjoy... pete (oh and welcome brother 1-way)

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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

Thanks for the welcome and interesting discussion, the pleasure is mine. Several things keep going on in my mind when considering these things. One is about your individual pole per string hex driver which is very hard to reproduce. Please clarify essentially why that design is so hard to replicate by home brew.

How is your hex version w/6 poles different from simply having 6 “mini me’s” of the large one?

On another note, instead of using just one driver, how about 2? For example have one for the wound and one for the unwound strings. Such isolation might greatly facilitate adjusting the strength desired for thicker and thinner strings, specifically making it easier to increase the driving effect for the unwound strings.

I downloaded the FEMM program and I was happy to find it has an electrostatic and magnetic tutorial in PDF format. Man I wish my life was not so filled with stressful problems, or I would gladly contribute more time into such a fun and instructive project! Please, whatever happens, hang in there, don’t give up. Things have a way of working out over time.

It would help matters if I had a fundamental grasp of how a pickup works. I only generally know that the strings interfere with the magnetic field and is thus responsible for generating an electronic signal in the coil(s) which is sent to the amp. Do you know of any graphic tutorial for learning the basics of pickup function and design? Preferably something like a video entitled pickups for dummies. And one for the physics of the associated electronics, magnetism, and other such energy emitting fields.

Do you have other sound examples that might grab broader/stronger interest? Maybe something like a memorable rock tune segment, first without, and then with the sustainer added. Because in all fairness, and with all due respect, I do not want to sound a lot like the only two sound samples I’ve heard so far, which forces me to extrapolate how such a device “might” be used in a way that I would like to use it. And “sometimes” in life, such wishful thinking simply does not pan out.

I’ve been interested in devices that promote “singing” or “infinite” sustain for a long time. I like to be able to play at modest volumes that normally require very loud volumes, such as controlled feedback caused by the acoustic coupling between the pup and speaker. I nearly always stand with my pups pointed at my speakers in order to enhance such enjoyable effects that are hard, but not impossible, to get in a low volume setting.

If you end up getting into (phantom power) via A/C or a larger battery power setup like that 9volt retail box shown earlier, would you consider going with a headstock driver setup?

What about the guitars that come factory equipped with a speaker near the neck and middle position? How do they get away with that much magnetic power going into a speaker motor that close to the pickup without suffering from the problems you speak of with your device? Mabye that’s an example of a magnetic field that crosses into the path of the pickups field, and therefore effects the tone, but is done in an evidently acceptable way. I wonder if they use some special shielding techniques that could benefit this project.

Edited by 1Way
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Ugh, I just tried to follow the totorial on magnatism, and it did not work. I could not get it to create the line that was supposed to be automatically drawn after placing the first two boundery dots as per the top of page three. I have been a CAD draftsman, I've built PC's, took colege level programming, I love tackling such problems, but I need help here.

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Whoa...so many questions...firstly

I’ve been interested in devices that promote “singing” or “infinite” sustain for a long time. I like to be able to play at modest volumes that normally require very loud volumes, such as controlled feedback caused by the acoustic coupling between the pup and speaker.

This is definitely the device for you...perhaps you should seek out one in a store and check it out!

One is about your individual pole per string hex driver which is very hard to reproduce. Please clarify essentially why that design is so hard to replicate by home brew

The hex driver came about to adress a number of issues. To make a hex driver you need to make individual drivers less than 10mm wide to fit between the strings. They need to cope with deflection of the string caused by string bending.

They also need to be able to operate independantly without crosstalk between them. This last point is important and related to what I discussed earlier...any close magnetic device (magnetic, electromagnetic or even ferromagnetic material) will interact by being coupled together by their combined magnetic fields.

The main reason that this is not really for the home brew is that these things are so small...I had to use a magnifying glass and special jigs, and a few fairly exotic materials in some. The cost would be prohibitive, and the R&D is huge, as there is no design to work from!

How is your hex version w/6 poles different from simply having 6 “mini me’s” of the large one?

Well...controversially my designs are secret. I worked out a way of doing it without coil winding. I also worked out a way of balancing the string between two high powered RE magnetic poles with the device set to disrupt this balance causing the string to vibrate. These were small enough that you could line up 6 active devices and 12 magnets, moulded in an epoxy/iron composite in an aluminium case and still have room for 5 leds!!! here's a pic...

drvlightoff1.jpg

On another note, instead of using just one driver, how about 2? For example have one for the wound and one for the unwound strings

Well this is kind of what sustainiac do, however it is more to cancel EMI. I don't have any trouble with high and low strings, though more balance would always be great. The problems with driving multiple signals with a mono signal and the speed of the driver are just the same, even with 6 drivers!!!

In the end, the best I took from my Hex phase was the amazing benefit of making these drivers small and not modeled after a conventional pickup. Hence our model driver's unique design and simple driving circuit.

Do you have other sound examples that might grab broader/stronger interest?

You have come across the sustainer sounds thread? Sustainer Sounds Thread Unfortunately, I was unable to record more than one track and no editing for most of this stuff, so it's always been a little tricky. Dizzy's Diablo Theme (in the quote box) example is a full production number of his device. Of my sound samples Beckistan, Siren Sea, The Yearning are good examples from me. Satch Harmonix is the "Always with me..." theme. What I'd really like to see is some people post there own stuff or ideas...what kind of thing would you like to hear? (it's good for Santana like melodies for instance) Give me some suggestions for some sounds and I'll see what I can do. I have only just got the ability to post clips on soundclick without having to be hosted by other members like the earlier ones, so it is at least easier...

It would help matters if I had a fundamental grasp of how a pickup works.
Well, there is stuff, don't know about a video, but perhaps someone can suggest something. Basically, a magnet (in this case the metal string in the pickups magnetic field) when it vibrates over a coil of wire causes a disturbance in it and that is transformed into electrical energy in that coil in proportion to that disturbance...in otherwords a electrical signal that mirrors the magnetic vibrations. The driver works much like a speaker, a electrical signal in the coil causes the magnetised string to vibrate at the signals frequency.

If you end up getting into (phantom power) via A/C or a larger battery power setup like that 9volt retail box shown earlier, would you consider going with a headstock driver setup?

Ummm...no. This "acoustic sustainer" is not as elegant as the magnetic one yet it does have some appeal. With this kind of thing you are trying to shake the whole guitar via the neck, more power and cables to the neck! The idea of remote power is to address the amount of power this device uses, to provide consistancy of performance, and to offer a low mod solution (no need to house the battery in the guitar, often requiring a new cavity; the battery is tha biggest component and requires easy access).

What about the guitars that come factory equipped with a speaker near the neck and middle position?
Well, they are very low powere, low performance and often do suffer from feedback! At best they may have dampening material to stop acoustic coupling to the body and speaker, but that's not really of use to us I'm afraid!

Anyway, hope that adds a little more and is of interest to others. Feel free to chip in if you like on this stuff guys! Got to run now...

OH, and 1way....

Man I wish my life was not so filled with stressful problems, or I would gladly contribute more time into such a fun and instructive project! Please, whatever happens, hang in there, don’t give up. Things have a way of working out over time
I really appreciate that, but don't let your interests be totally overwhelmed by your problems, your questions and suggestions will be of interest to many here I am sure... pete
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Ok...if people are interested in using FEMM...here's a starter...

1. Download it from the link given...it's not a big program and it's free...

2. There are tutorials and examples, but it can do a lot of things that are beyond me, and likely you too. In particular, I never really got into the electromagnetic side of things, but simulated static fields using magnets to make field visible.

3. press a new page icon...you will get a blank page with a grid to draw your design on.

4. draw a design by placing the little black square icons where corcner would be.

5. link lines between these squares with the line tool

6. Go to the properties menu then materials library in that

7. select the materials you wish to use...you'll find magnets, metals, non-magnetic materials and AIR.

8. IMPORTANT...you must select air as a material for the model to work in. Also, your design must exist inside a box filled with air.

9. select the little green box tool and place one anywhere inside each enclosed drawing including the "air" box.

10. right click on each green box (will turn red) of the same material, press spacebar and nominate what that material is (from the list you had made earlier from the library). With a magnet, choose it's polarity direction by the degrees...90 will have the north pole up!

11. now save it this file and give it a name.

12. now press the mesh tool...this is a kind of yellow box (triangulates the areas)

13. now press the tool with the gear crank icon...this will run the complex calculations to model it

14. press the glasses icon to see the result

15. you will get another screen with your pic with lines of magnetism drawn in (the closer the lines the higher the strength)

15. press the rainbow color icon...this will give and choose flux density plot

17. you will now see bright colored magnetic field strength over your drawing making it easier to guage the strength of magnetisim in certain areas.

Ok...it sounds more complicated than it is...more simply

draw a dot-to-dot diagram / join up the dots / label what the areas of those shapes are made of / save it / create a mesh / do the math / see the result / colour it in

The end result will be things like this...

ceramicdriverfield.jpg

I haven't used it in quite some time but the above is a model of a driver with a ceramic magnet below a steel core...or just as easily a pickup of this design.

You can see the effect of the steel core in directing the bulk of the magnetic flow through the middle of the core. The windings are the blue squares on either side of the core, being copper they have no real effect on the magnetic flow and may as well be air.

Hope that helps. There is a web site somewhere of FEMM models of typical pickup designs. The shape of the magnetic fields can have a dramatic effect on the field shape and hence it's tone. It is a program that takes a little getting used to, mainly because it makes visible things that are normally unseen and work in mysterious ways... pete

Oh...and I added a little Santana-esque trak...europa demo...to my soundclick page...here's a link...

4tune8 sustainer demo clip download page

First in normal mode, second in harmonic mode. Not a lot of guitar music is written with such long sustained notes as without such a device, it's hard to do. There is a note in BOC's "don't fear the reaper that goes for a verse that would be ideal...gary moores got one too (forget the track)...but these things are kind of oddities. Vai and Satch have a few things here and there, but the manipulation of feedback and elongated notes went out with the shred era and has not really been explored... :D

Edited by psw
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Seems like I need a separate thread for starting me out on the FEMM program. I can't get it to work. I start out fine, then when stuff is supposed to work, it doesn't and I don't know what I did wrong to correct things. I tried following your guide and sorry to say it was of no help getting me started. This is the extent of what I have learned to do so far, start the program, pick a magnetic project, and that’s it.

Something one step at a time, with responsive feedback to confirm you have done the right thing each time would be great. BTW, if I drop out of the loop for a while, I assure you it’s not intentional, times are tough, I’m facing loosing my utilities soon.

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Damn..just lost a whole reply..who shut off the internet? B)

Anyways, PSW, have you ever built a humbucking driver? Not like sustainiac makes 'em, but rather in the vein of hotrails. I guess a stacked driver would work to, if there's a way to fit the (internal?) magnet so the upper and lower coil have a different polarity. I'd like to experiment with this, but I fear making the package small enough will prove problematic. In my opinion, the magnets (or the core material, for that matter) have always been the biggest concern in the whole sustainer-saga, not the coil, as we've pretty much established that 'll work as long as it's 0.2mm wire and really close to the strings. I'm starting to wonder if the actual dimensions of the core and coil really matter. My driver works perfectly fine with a wide core (7mm), as does yours (PSW's) with the 3mm one. Quite a few others have built succesful drivers with varying core-magnet configurations, but they all seemed to share the 0.2mm wire @ 8 ohms.

So it's a good thing this thread seems to start focusing on where the current driver still needs some serious improvement; EMI and low impact on the guitar (both visual and functional-wise)

That said I'd like to look into humbucker drivers for the EMI part. It has worked pretty darn well for pickups, why couldn't drivers benefit from this. Problem is I'm out of magnets... i'll have to start chopping up my old drivers. And that epoxy ain't gonna help :D . So psw, if you're thinking of selling parts worldwide don't forget about the magnets. I find they're harder to source than coil wire (at least in the sizes we need)

The lo-profile part..your pickup-driver combination is a really nice example of an 'integrated solution'. Don't know if that's an official term, I just like to call it that B). Basically, in today's industrial product design one tries to combine all the different sub-solutions for the sub-problems into one package, whereas in the past all those solutions were stacked one upon the other as individual features (think of a stereo with 1 scroll button versus one with 34 separate buttons, one for each function)

your pickup-driver combo solves the placement problem, the magnet placement problem, the visual interference problem, etc..all in one go!

Then again, my driver has the advantage of being a standalone unit. It could ultimately be made into something like a 10 x 5 x 60 mm package, so probably small enough to put on any guitar. Now if only I could grind that @#!*8! magnet down without breaking it; the fact your driver doesn't need one again proves it's ingenuity.

If you were to sell these, the solution might be to make a 'standard' driver (coil + enclosure) where you could interchange the cores,being either a bar magnet for standalone applications or a laminated iron core for pickup-driver combo's

Maybe I'm too keen on making this thing commercially viable, guess that's my background talking

On a different note, we were given a new school assignment this week: the design of a complete injection mould for a plastic part of our own choice. "the box" immediately came to mind, but seeing as it probably won't be used anyway (a good thing, in light of the 'minimal visual impact') I'd rather build something that could be of some use, maybe a driver enclosure or the guitar-strap-battery-box-thingie is a better idea? I realise there would have to be some MAAAJOR interest in this thing to warrant the cost of actually manufacturing a mould for it, so this is for the fun of it, really :D , but I'd rather draw something that peaks my interest rather than say..a spoon or something. Besides, always a good idea to have the CAD drawings handy if this thing really lifts off :D

If anybody has any great guitar-related plastic-part ideas, just shoot...

ta

Tim

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I'm "interested", but I have to admit that I don't have a suitable guitar that I'd drop one into right now, so I wouldn't want to say that it's a commitment, and when you're planning logistics for a first batch of product, it'd be handy (though not necessary) to have something more firm than that.

Have I mentioned lately that I love this thread?

:D

Greg

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With over a thousand responses, and a view factor of x35! I'd say it's quite popular with many people!

I think your typical thread has more like a x5 to x10 ratio. In fact, I think it’s rare to get over a factor of 20, but I’m no expert. So apparently it's strongly attracting both responders and onlookers alike.

Edited by 1Way
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Damn..just lost a whole reply..who shut off the internet? :D

Anyways, PSW, have you ever built a humbucking driver? Not like sustainiac makes 'em, but rather in the vein of hotrails. I guess a stacked driver would work to, if there's a way to fit the (internal?) magnet so the upper and lower coil have a different polarity.

Hey Tim, don't you hate that, especially on this thread!!! Good to hear from you, and I hope the exams went well. (now the quotes wont work for me...gremlins...quotes are in blue...lol)

Now...questions...

I have thought of that. I don't think you will get the kind of EMI reduction that people hope for to allow all pickup selections. Dizzy was able to make a mid driver though on a strat by using a bi-lateral driver in the manner of sustainiac. I posted the patent diagram of this device a few pages back. This is two coils, but one under the top three strings, the other the lower. Fernandes used to have a design that used two coils across all strings but laying on it's side. All these designs used phase compensating circuitry.

I'd like to experiment with this, but I fear making the package small enough will prove problematic.

One thing with multiple coil drivers is that you are at least doubling the complexity of it and for the DIY project, this makes it a little tricky. You have to balance the rewards with the complexity...if the functionality is the same with the simpler single coil driver, then this is perhaps not of benefit anyway.

I have thought of a hot rails design, built on an actual hot rails styled pickup. Thes blades are thin and close and would produce a simultaneous push-pull action on the string as well as EMI cancellation. Using our design, two 4 ohm coils would probably fit...but tricky to make.

The true humbucker is another issue. Fernandes current designs seem to be a single coil sized driver with a single coil pickup beside it. Sustainiac too! Given their R&D I suspect they have tried a few variations. You will recall that I did a few expreiments with a portable test box on my Les Paul. I suspect that two drivers as far apart as a humbucker would interfere with the physical string vibrations of the strings, especially at high frequencies and with harmonics.

In my opinion, the magnets (or the core material, for that matter) have always been the biggest concern in the whole sustainer-saga, not the coil, as we've pretty much established that 'll work as long as it's 0.2mm wire and really close to the strings. I'm starting to wonder if the actual dimensions of the core and coil really matter. My driver works perfectly fine with a wide core (7mm), as does yours (PSW's) with the 3mm one. Quite a few others have built succesful drivers with varying core-magnet configurations, but they all seemed to share the 0.2mm wire @ 8 ohms.

Well, you may be right, but I suspect there is more to it than that. The very thin driver concept, puts all the windings and hence the energy close to the strings in a small compact area. This in itself aids in efficiency and EMI reduction, but it also adds to speed, as eluded to in the las couple of posts. A small compact core is going to be much faster in response as less material = higher saturation and less permeability (ie...it is faster to effect a change in polarity and thus overcome the high string and high frequency driving problems without resorting to elaborate circuitry).

The wire guage seems to be about right and I think this is related to power handling and resonance of the coil. It does seem as if variations on this have been less successful. Your magnet core drivers have a particularly good feild shape and the ceramic magnet is very responsive to state change (as it is related to ferrite, a very good but hard to work material). Also a bonus space saver and your bobbinless epoxy coil design if by far my favorite! The core dimensions, I guess this is still very much a theory. The internal magnet has a very condensed field as the poles are very close together...on my pickup driver, the large ceramic magnet is 10mm below and the whole driver is effectively a single polarity....hmmm.

So it's a good thing this thread seems to start focusing on where the current driver still needs some serious improvement; EMI and low impact on the guitar (both visual and functional-wise)

Yes, well it's fun to specualte. However the simple design does work quite well if you get it right! I agree though that the function and design certainly need some more focus.

So psw, if you're thinking of selling parts worldwide don't forget about the magnets. I find they're harder to source than coil wire (at least in the sizes we need)

Always a problem...as it happens where I am living at the moment is very close to my magnet supplier...I must get down there and check out the options. They are hard to get...multiple mags address the problem and a non-magnet core is easier in this regard and there are many magnet options. One that shouldn't be forgoten is using a pickups magnetic field itself...as I have on my guitar!!! This also addresses the low impact design considerations and makes height adjustment a breeze.

The lo-profile part..your pickup-driver combination is a really nice example of an 'integrated solution'. ...your pickup-driver combo solves the placement problem, the magnet placement problem, the visual interference problem, etc..all in one go!
Thanks, I thought so, and I had some more ideas like the rail and stacked versions for future driver pickup combos...more later!

Then again, my driver has the advantage of being a standalone unit. It could ultimately be made into something like a 10 x 5 x 60 mm package, so probably small enough to put on any guitar.

You would still have trouble with PRS, Ibanez Gibsons and such where the pickup is right up against the neck. The Strat and Tele are the only obvious designs that leave space for the driver in the right place and wouldn't look too out of place.

Now if only I could grind that @#!*8! magnet down without breaking it; the fact your driver doesn't need one again proves it's ingenuity.
Well, I am amazed you could at all...I cant!!! I think a multi mag/epoxy/ironn core might work...it could be molded!!

If you were to sell these, the solution might be to make a 'standard' driver (coil + enclosure) where you could interchange the cores,being either a bar magnet for standalone applications or a laminated iron core for pickup-driver combo's

Practically thinking, I'm thinking total pickup replacement rather than modification. I've seen some very cheap korean made stacked single coils that work well (I have one in my guitar) that really lend themselves to this kind of mod. Also seen similar hot rails type pickups too.

Maybe I'm too keen on making this thing commercially viable, guess that's my background talking
Oh, I'd be keen too, but I wonder what the interest really is, what the competition would think about it and what the investment costs would be!!

On a different note, we were given a new school assignment this week: the design of a complete injection mould for a plastic part of our own choice.

I got to run now but a few things come to mind...pickup bobbins for one. Perhaps one that allows for the top driver too!! Maybe an off board battery enclosure...that plugs into the jack socket is the go...I'll give it some more thought.

Have I mentioned lately that I love this thread?

No you haven't...but it's always nice to see your post and you seem not to be the only one, I'm spotting afew hundred visits a week to this "monster Thread"... :D

OK...so I'll be back... pete

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well this is by far the longest thread i've ever seen... i haven;t even seen it all since it is like a year and ahalf old and 78 pages long.

I have a quick question... don;t know if you guys talked about this before or not but i just want to find out.

I have a pair of EMG H4 pickups in my ESP... now i've seen kits u can buy for like 300 or so for sustain. What i'm curious about is if anyone has made up a sustain that anyone can build into there guitar using there own pickups? such as my EMG's

Like i said i haven;t seen everything so i have little clue on how sustain is setup.

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hehe...100 view between going to work and coming home...who is looking at this thread???!!!

Anyway...if you read all 78 pages you could find the answers to all your questions, but you would probably be more confused for doing so!

Perhaps it is time to try and get a handle on what this thread is and has been about, what it is about and where it's heading. Feel free to contribute your visions and versions...

Firstly...this thread is titled Sustainer Ideas.

The definition is really the use of controled feedback to create infinite sustain. A note will last as long or short as you like, create interesting harmonic effects and even self generate a note without picking. Such devices as the Ebow, the Sustainiac and Fernandes are examples. Sustainiac also have a Model C "acuostic Sustainer that physically shakes the guitar from the neck to generate sustain. Older devices such as the rotary picking Gizmotron would be another infinite sustain device. Sample and hold feedbackers could also be considered. But mostly, it has been about the sustain created by controled vibration of the strings via electromagnetic feedback.

I had a lot of ideas and a strong interest in exploring these devices and it quickly became a bit of a blog about this work and the subject in general. There was so much interest, even then that the thing just grew and grew...it is now viewed even more and more. But it is about anyones ideas so please feel free to join in or ask stuff...

But it is not just about my ideas and nor simply the sustainer. A very interesting side subject that Tim was eluding to in his post above, is the actual implementation of the device into a guitar.

So it's a good thing this thread seems to start focusing on where the current driver still needs some serious improvement; EMI and low impact on the guitar (both visual and functional-wise)

Tim and Emre did some fantastic realisations of various external boxes and other ways that the device could be implemented that would have a low impact and high function to it.

This device is very simple in concept, but elusive in practice. That said, we do have a functioning DIY sustainer project here and I have a sustainer guitar that works really well right beside me now. That said there is always room for improvement and a lot of entertaining mind food and theory that is tossed about from time to time!

So...the state of play now is that we have a simple circuit and driver model that can be built and adapted in various was to suit different guitars. This is not possible with the commercial units on offer which at least require a replacement of the neck pickup and some serious routing!!!

What one wants to do with this information and support that this thread offers is up to you. There is no getting around the fact that this device requires modification to the instrument. It at least requires two additional switches and typically space for the battery, circuit and driver. My guitar (strat copy) has a modified conventional single coil pickup that also houses the driver. Most have built drivers that could sit next to or replace the neck pickup. Some of these drivers can be made quite small with some ingenuity, and the circuit we use is far smaller than the commercial systems. The 9 volt battery is the biggest component but we are also looking into remote power...making it even lower impact on the guitar itself.

I am consious though that few who have made this device have actually gone on to a complete installation and presented new directions in musical expressions that this device allows. I would love for this thread, or another, to be more about what you can do with the thing, rather than the thing itself. But then, I am also aware that generally the device is poorly promoted and the examples from sustainiac are pretty lame.

Anyway...I'd love to hear others points of view about this thread and where it's going!!!

Now to cut to the chase...welcome chibi...i see from other posts you are doing a bit of fabrication work in real life...an excellent skill set for this threads discussions!!!

What i'm curious about is if anyone has made up a sustain that anyone can build into there guitar using there own pickups? such as my EMG's

Besides the ebow which is the ultimate no impact device...but limited (one string at a time and dropping the pick!)...this is the only place such proposals have come forward! This device that people have been making produces much the same results as the $300 models for far less cost and far more adaptability and lower impact on the guitar itself. Each guitar is going to be different though. If there is space between the neck and the neck pickup, this is the ideal location, but it is rare. My solution was to adapt the neck pickup...(not really possible with EMG's I think...while the commercial systems call for you to replace it with theirs.

But then again, this is project guitar, if there was ever a forum for this project to be adopted, it is here. Modding or building guitars is what this forum is all about, right! If you wish to experiment, the device can be made outside of the guitar and fully tested before you start hacking into the instrument...or if only to test ideas you may have to further the sustainer technology just a little further.

Anyway, I know this will not answer all your questions but it might invite a bit of debate about what this convaluted thread is about and where it is going...thanks for your question and welcome to the sustainer thread... pete

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Well it certainly gives me a much better idea then the 78 pages of reading.. so thanks for clarifying all this. Your right this is project guitar and the idea i think is a good one. Think about it, any pickup can be modded to do a sustain, now thats a pretty cool idea. Yes i am a fabricator in real life in both wood and metal felds, which gives me a good background to work on guitar structure... As for the electrical and wiring... well lets say my knowledge is limited to the does and don;t.

But since were not sure if it's possible to mod my EMG's... would it me possible to mod the factory pickups that came with the guitar? seeing how there not worth all that much to me i'm willing to experiment with them if i can get some proper instruction.

Because of all this new talk about guitar projects i've decided to take on a new project of building a Flying V body and using my ESP neck i have. seeing how i have allready drawn up a scale model of the body and printed it out on a 4 foot wide plotter, you can say this weekend the project begins. since this is happening i feel i would rather mod my factor pickups rather then my EMG's and put them in my V project.

I would be very grateful for help and suggestions on how i can wire this baby up to be a sweet sounding guitar.

oh.. and thanks for the welcome

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So, has anyone else been able to download the FEMM program and get it to work according to the tutorials given?

So far I can, start the program, pick a magnetic project, and that’s it. If I can’t get the hang of it after getting started, fine, but I’d like to at least get started giving it a try... Anyone?

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So, has anyone else been able to download the FEMM program and get it to work according to the tutorials given?

NO...but I can get it to work to my tutorial!! Seriously, have sent 1way an email of instructions, much like what I have posted and will answer queries as best I can that way. FEMM is an esoteric side to this project for those interested in getting into field shapes and the like...it can be an unnecessary distraction and take a while to learn. Remember...these are simple 2d models, making them and getting them to work as expected in the real world will always result in the unexpected. It's more an aid to understanding invisible forces by making them visible. So...FEMM questions...email me psw1@dodo.com.au

Think about it, any pickup can be modded to do a sustain, now thats a pretty cool idea.

Ah yes...but it is a D.I.Y. project. I have made a single coil sized driver for my guitar. I have tested a humbucker, but there may be problems, and a bit of experimentation to get this to work...it's a little trickier!

LPSustainer.jpg

This is a picture of it being tested on my LP. I had to drop the neck pickup down a lot to fit the driver on temporarily with my little test box there. It did work as a driver, but now the pickup coils were too far away from the string to be effective. So...I could boost one up, make two driving coils...quite a bit of work needed and I suspect a deeper HB cavity may be required to drop the pickup enough on most guitars...mine just made it!!!

Now...building a purpose built sustainer guitar is a great idea...but it will take significant planning. I suggest that you really get a handle on what it entails. I would strongly suggest that if people are serious about this project that they build the device and test it outside the guitar as above or as others have shown. It cna be transplanted latter.

PICT0288.jpg

The above is one of Tim's fabulous epoxy driver sitting on an emg. This works independantly of the pickup and you can get an idea of the size of the thing. Mounted next to the pickup, this will function eqally as well as modding a pickup and probably easier to do. Certainly I would make an independant driver to test out everything before modding a pickup...easier and less tears involved. Plus, you can change pickups, use EMG's or whatever...the trick is mounting it near the neck, etc.

Anyway...this thread is about Sustainer Ideas...the DIY project side of things started later. There is still a bit of work for others to do in regards to getting it to work for them. A HB driver is a good example. I can't give difinitive instruction on doing this, just share my experiences.

So...one thing at a time...make up a circuit and driver and get the thing to work outside a guitar...then work out how you want to implement it and then look at modding pickups or allowing space for it in an actual guitar project....that's my advice...like so...

amp2.jpg

Meanwhile...suggestions as to where this thread is headed may help...maybe it should be looking at a difinitive DIY project or something!!!

Good luck all... pete

Oh...and Tim...still thinking about your plastic part...all I can think of is some kind of pickup bobbin with room for the driver on top...still thinking...psw

Edited by psw
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Hi Pr3Va1L

Do you mean as a mid driver, say in a strat? It seems as if with our fairly crude design it wont work but with a bit of imagination and a little sheilding it could work! Dizzy made a bilateral - EMI cancelling mid driver that worked very well. For some reason he did not have the harmonic effect, but got interesting effects by the changing of pickup settings to drive it. This design and idea is presented in a sustainiac patent (hoover) but never produced...

Dizzy created his independantly, but very much along the lines of that patent. He is a member of Aron's Stompbox Forum and you can read a bit about it in my Sustainer Thread over there...just in case there's not enough stuff on this thread for anyone!!! The following quote is from the sustainer sounds thread (press pink arrow to go there) and there is a link here to his sound clip and the stompbox thread...enjoy

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

Otherwise...do you mean as well as the guitar's normal pickups. I found that there just wasn't room between a pair of humbuckers to get the separation required with the EMI my drivers were putting out. It is very hard to test though as holding the driver above the strings allows for less EMI focus and there isn't enough room underneath to get the driver in there...at least on my LP.

A strat is ideal in so many ways. Typically there is enough room between the neck and the neck pickup to fit a driver. You could raise the neck a touch or cut into the scratchplate if you needed more room. A telecaster would be good too, especially if you could get the battery in under the control plate...ofter there is a humbucker route in the neck position anyway...but I'd miss the trem...be good for pedal steel lick though!!

But perhaps the mid driver is something people would like to explore. That's where this renewed interest in EMI reduction comes in. It would have to be pretty good though with a guitar like a Gem for instance. Here you have very little control space and with the 24 frets and two humbuckers in there, that mid pickup/driver is going to be very close.

To get the thing to work that close, I resorted to Hex drivers and actually had it working between the mid and bridge pickups on my strat. I really had to watch the power/emi ratio and the hex driver's had their own alighnment problems due to the way in which they worked and the balanced magnetic field. There were a few tricks with shielding I learnt from them though, perhaps one day I will return to making these things and see how I go.

Dizzy spent 2 years making and developing his version. I've spent over two years on this too. It may well be that someone here will continue this work and come up with something even better...possibly by complete accident. That is really what this thread is about, "building the better mousetrap", and pooling all these experience together so we don't all have to repeat the same mistakes and follow the dead ends. Mostly, it is an economy of scale...the more people involved, the more man hours will be spent on it.

Dizzy also was commited to both driver and circuit based solutions. Personally, I think it can be done with simpler, smaller circuitry and the right driver design to address the same problems. The real innovation will come I'm sure from people actually building them. At the moment I can't do that which is frustrating, as before, I could actually come back with some ideas after testing ideas put up here...alas, it is up to others now...all I can do is encourage people.

I remember very clearly when I first got this thing to work at the start of the thread...it was like magic...my young daughter loved it and begged me to let her play with it, holding a little driver above the strings while the guitar played itself...it's almost worth making it just to expoerience that effect!! pete

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Thanks PSW, I got FEMM to work with your added instructions. The problem was as simple as explaining if by box, you mean the (one) little square dot, or place 4 of them to create another box shape. I just sent you an email about FEMM in the subject.

I don't want to sidetrack your discussion, but on a bar magnet, isn't it the ends where the North or South polarization is located, or is it the sides and top and bottom?

DRIVER W/PICKUP COMBO

Wow, so are you basically saying that on the same humbucker pickup, you can remove one coil and replace it with a driver, AND after you have done that, the pickup side of the combo pup can still work as a pickup? Is that pup humbucking, or at least somewhat so? And from all the pics I've seen, I don't understand why your driver, which looks very low profile, would have a hard time fitting into the pup area. ... Or, did you put it on top of the pup?

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Hi again...replyed to your email with further ideas re FEMM

I don't want to sidetrack your discussion, but on a bar magnet, isn't it the ends where the North or South polarization is located, or is it the sides and top and bottom?

Well, yes typically...but not in a pickup for instance. That's why, as Tim (onelastgoodbye) mentioned it's tricky to locate suitable magnets....

DRIVER W/PICKUP COMBO

Wow, so are you basically saying that on the same humbucker pickup, you can remove one coil and replace it with a driver, AND after you have done that, the pickup side of the combo pup can still work as a pickup? Is that pup humbucking, or at least somewhat so? And from all the pics I've seen, I don't understand why your driver, which looks very low profile, would have a hard time fitting into the pup area. ... Or, did you put it on top of the pup?

Ummm...kind of...errr!! :D In the LP pic in the post above I made a testing box to try this out without modding a guitar at all...here's a better pic of this "sustainbox"...

sustainbox.jpg

You can clearly see how small the driver is here...especially how thin it is!!! This driver has no permanent magnets at all...it borrows from the pickups field or you can add a magnet/s to the bottom of it.

So...if you could add this to one coil and raise the other higher on a humbucker it would still be a humbucker and sound much the same. However, if you replaced one pickup coil with a driver...you would have a non-humbucking low output single coil and a driver...also do-able.

In my Strat, I modified a true single coil by adding a driver to the top of it like so...

pup-driver1a.jpg

the blue part is the driver, the black the original single coil...the result looks like this with the cover on...

pup-driver1b.jpg

this works just as it did before or as a driver...

However, except for my "sustainbox" experiments, no one has actually taken apart a humbucker and done this, I have shown that it will work...but it hasn't yet been done.

What would also be worth experimenting with is the use of two EMI cancelling coils on a humbucker. I anticipate there being some problems with this, but until someone does it we wont know...one day I will!! The problem I see is that the drive will be spread over a much larger effective area than my 3mm blade for instance and so may try to both drive and dampen at the same time causing major problems at high frequencies and inconsistancy of response to different fretted positions...well that's my theory anyway!!!

An EMG is not suitable BTW because of it's low strength magnetic field and being epoxy filled so impossible to modify in this way!

The commercial systems seem to have based their drivers on pickup designs and end up replacing the whole thing. My idea is to augment a standard pickup. This retains the original magnetic fields of the pickup, places the driver exactly where you want it (in the neck position) and utilizes the height adjustment and routing facilities already available for the neck pickup itself. There is a fair amount of lateral thinking going on there...

The lo-profile part..your pickup-driver combination is a really nice example of an 'integrated solution'. Don't know if that's an official term, I just like to call it that . :D

I like that term too...it is an integrated solution... One big advantage is that you are using the pickups own magnets, the driver contains none of it's own. However, not all pickups are suitable for this mod, especially those with stagger coils...and I do think the blade design is better for string bending at least. I was lucky in that my pickup coil could be modified so that the blade goes right through to the magnet below...that is not typical at all!!!

If only some pickup maker would contact me to get my R&D on this as it would be a great "product" and a better solution all round!!! <ahttp://www.projectguitar.com/uploads/emoticons/default_cool.png' alt='B)'> Still, it's public domain for now, so see how it goes for you guys if you want to try it...as always, no guarentees with DIY... pete

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Actually, I meant in between the middle and neck pickups on a 3 pickup guitar... (H/S/S or S/S/S)

Yes...this should work though the further from the bridge pickup the better...on some guitars the driver could even be surface mounted next to the pickup, though there would be significant rewiring to be done within the guitar... pete

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Time for a little more Sustain?

I noticed a few people asking questions about installing the Fernandes System and such lately...even got a few chip numbers and as those projects come along, I guess I will link them.

An interesting french site came to my attention which had some pickup magnetic field diagrams. (thanks R.I.) Since that's the kind of thing we have been looking at lately, I thought I'd post 'em to add to the discussion...

3pu.gif

This next diagram shows the effect of two pickups coupled by their magnetic fields...

2hum.gif

Any magnet or ferromagnetic material near a pickup will interact with them. They are not isolated.

This coupling field is what can cause the parasitic feedback that we were discussing limiting in various ways. The driver is not only like a pickup, it is a changing magnetic force (the opposite of a pickup) which will generate a signal in any close lying metal or coil. Now if it is simply a scratchplate screw, no problem...but I think this is why I had to disconnect both ends of the unused pickups in sustainer mode...they operated as an antenna, picking up the driver's signal, and sending it through the amp via the earth wire...doh!

I also remembered where I got onto the FEMM program. At one stage, before it morphed into the Sustainer Project, I was looking into novel pickup designs. The Pickup maker Steven Kirsting who runs/ran the AMPAGE pickup makers forum had made models of common and some custom pickup designs of his.

So, here's a link to these FEMM diagrams so you can see what (in isolation) pickup fields actually look like and the effects of different designs and details in proper scale and strengths are...

SKG FEMM pickup Simulations Page

Magnetic fields are omnipresent, they are always around us, just like gravity. I'm not sure that it is even possible to completely isolate it. There is no doubt that it can be isolated enough for this thing to work, and that measures could be made to limit it a bit. One advantage of my pickup/driver is that it does not add anymore magnets into the coupling equation!

enjoy... pete

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You don't think a humbucking driver in a configuration like your last diagram (decoupled humbuckers) would minimize interference, now? I'm planning a humbucking driver, but haven't quite found a way to build one without the magnet getting in the way... I've always wondered what would happen if you'd wind two wires at the same time onto the same bobbin in opposite directions; effectively creating two coils in one? Guess with one magnet their signals would just cancel out, but isn't there any way to have one coil see the south pole and the other the north pole?

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Yes, I have put much thought to a two coil driver. This is a sound principle and is the basis for the sustainiac bilateral design and most previous Fernandes drivers (though I don't know what they are using now under all that epoxy!)

You don't think a humbucking driver in a configuration like your last diagram (decoupled humbuckers) would minimize interference, now?

Yes, the key word being minimalize...everything is inately coupled. (notice that in the coupled diagram the two humbuckers are magnetically coupled and this would be equally true of any driver too.

But, there are differences between pickups and drivers and what their respective aims are. In a HB PUp the coils cancel out any noise but the space between the two coils means they are sensing different sections of the string. The magnets are of different polarities and the coils reverse wound. The reverse winding cancels those sounds (noise) that are induced in the coils from the outside. There are however some cancellations in the frequencies there that make the characteristic broad "mellow" response of the HB compared to the "spiky" response of a single coil.

Now, a driver is trying to physically move the string. With two opposing coils the electro-magnetic forces are reversed...that means one coil will be trying to push up, the other down (ie they are not just sensing change they are creating drive). You may find that the space between two coils will have the effect of both pushing and pulling the string at the same time, cancelling it out. Conversely, on some (probably lower) frequencies you may be pushing the string at a point of it's upswing, and pushing on a down swing, by happy coincidence, making a very efficient system. A recepie for inconsistancy perhaps?

It could be that a driver with HB config that is very close together (like a SC rails format) that it would work well. Obviously, Sustainiac have felt that two opposing side by side coils (think prescision bass or G&L Z config) but not pushing and pulling at the same string was the way to go. Fernandes had a driver design where it was two coils spanning the strings, but they rotated the coil 90o which is another way of decoupling the driver and pickup fields a bit (this principle was further developed in my Hex balanced field designs).

I've always wondered what would happen if you'd wind two wires at the same time onto the same bobbin in opposite directions; effectively creating two coils in one?

Yes, well they would cancel eachothers magnetic forces and hence no drive (or pickup as the mag polarity would be the same). Remember, drivers produce a magnetic field where as a pickup senses changes in established fields. It may help to imagine the action of the drivers without the internal magnets as the electromagnetic action of the driver coils are simply manipulating these fields (adding and subtracting). A pickup is only sensing changes, not producing them!

I did see a patent that proposed an inner driving coil, and an outer driving coil around the same bobbin. The inner coil would produce the electromagnetic driving force, and the outer a counteracting EMI reducing cancellation effect, but no drive force as it effectively had no core and was working in the manner of a "dummy" coil. I am not too sure of this idea either, there would be some cancellation of driving force too for sure nad, you require power to run the dummy coil which is not actually producing any drive effect...it is an active shield if you like.

A stacked coil with internal magnets may hold some promise. The polarity on one side of the driver opposing the other and with an internal magnet structure, the internal magnets also opposing. So, a bilateral driver (like sustainiac use) even though that has some problems or a very close rail style, or possibly some kind of stack may reap rewards.

However, I think it would be better to look at what exactly we are trying to achieve.

If what we are aiming for is infinite sustain from a neck driver with output from the bridge pickup...we have succeeded very well with that. It may seem crude, but it is very effective and on a par with the commercial systems...and more flexable in the DIY format.

If we are looking at a better system that allows for closer proximity of pickups...a mid driver for instance like dizzy created...then perhaps this kind of thing does need to be looked at. But there may be more benign ways to trap the mouse, if making a better mousetrap is what we are about...

These ways could be in the form of better shielding or novel magnetic and coil configurations. More efficient drivers that require less power, and hence put out less EMI as a result. There are probably many things not even thought of. Thinking now, what if in my pickup/driver, the unused pickup driver was able to be utilized in some signal cancelling way to cancel out the emi signal that may stray into the other pickups... The reduction in size and shape to a very thin coil is in part, a strategy to reduce EMI...perhaps they could be made smaller, or encapsulated in steel impregnated epoxy as I did with my hex designs... just thinking...

For sure, extra coils could reduce the power and require more to be effective, may create unusual biasing to certain notes and dead spots in others, and does nothing for the simplicity and ease of construction. I guess I am advocating the K.I.S.S. principle here, against my nature I must say, and it is easier for me to do since I have a working prototype right here that fullfills all the requirements with out the complications. Perhaps a better driver could be made. but it takes twice the power...these things are all a balancing act anyway...

food for thought though, there must be something in the principle that we could use... pete

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I am confused about something, probably mostly from not understanding things well enough. When I was in school many years ago, I thought that;

- a magnet had a North and a South pole

- the magnetic field runs from one pole to the other, they do not go in both directions

But, in your graphic, the single coil example show a north south pole relationship where the magnetic field goes in two different directions depending upon what part of the polar end you are looking at. North inward, the field goes out away, North outwards the field is returning. (!?!) I would never assume this to be the case.

=========Quote=========

3pu.gif

========EndQuote========

I thought part of the definition of a “magnetic pole” would conform to the idea that the direction of the field is concentrated (moreso as we look at the field lines that are closer to the magnet) and going in one (general) direction. I don't mean to detract from this thread's focus with this sideline curiosity.

One issue I see, might be about the physical connection between the "magnet" poles. Maybe the two magnets shown are "not" physically connected somehow. The graphic show's them separated by the coil, but I don't know if they might be connected in the middle of the coil and we can't see it or not. So if this is a physically seperate dual magnet thing, that would point to a configuration I simply am not familiar with... However, "if" the entire top magnet is N and the entire bottom magnet is south, then I would assume that the mag>coil>mag configuration is forcing that relationship and thus effectively couples the two magnets to act like one. Hense my confusion/lack of understanding. I don't believe you can have an isolated magnet with just one pole, they always have a different pole at opposing ends, incoming and outgoing.

Edited by 1Way
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