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  1. #1
    Eruption hotforteacher921's Avatar
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    Default Sustain out of a Squier

    My Squier Deluxe Strat is a little short on sustain, i've been thinking about getting new pickups but I want to know what parts of the guitar have the greatest effect on sustain, and more importantly, what I can do to fix it.
    It is not an understatement to say that if a person ate a bowl of alphabet soup, they would shit better lyrics. -lmr5150 on Up For Breakfast

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  2. #2
    Whoa, this is heavy! Jedi McFly's Avatar
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    Higher-output pickups should increase perceived sustain. This is just because they are naturally louder, so you hear more of the note decay.

    Does your bridge float? The reason that EVH likes flush-mounted trems is apparently the increase in sustain, so making sure your bridge makes contact with the body is important.

    Magnet pull is also an issue. The closer your pickups are to the strings, the more magnetic pull the strings have, and the shorter amount of time they'll continue to vibrate. If you want to replace some pups, Dimarzio's air series is designed to combat this issue specifically. Humbuckers are usually the culprit of this, single coils don't have as strong of a pull.

  3. #3
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    Replacing the bridge with something that is solid, hardened steel will make a difference. The bridges on cheaper instruments are often made of zinc; I've never had good tonal experiences with zinc hardware. A steel bridge with a steel or brass spring block that is resting flat against the body should noticeably improve sustain.

  4. #4
    Good Enough SLEEPER5150's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AT View Post
    Replacing the bridge with something that is solid, hardened steel will make a difference. The bridges on cheaper instruments are often made of zinc; I've never had good tonal experiences with zinc hardware. A steel bridge with a steel or brass spring block that is resting flat against the body should noticeably improve sustain.
    Not only that, but the saddles themselves are usually cast rather that forged. Getting a set of new saddles of either brass, forged steel, or even graphite will greatly improve your sustain. Pickups will help, but improving the guitar's acoustic sustain first will give you a better flexibility when choosing pickups. Do you know what wood the body is made of? If it's basswood, you can use any three of these saddle materials. if it's agathis (what they call poor man's mahogany) I'd recommend the brass, which are usually plated. Also, if you are unhappy with open notes, upgrade the nut material. If you choose to do this yourself, they sell blanks at most music stores. Go with bone (My personal favorite), corian or again graphite. Great improvements over the plastic. Nuts are fairly easy to make. Just pop out the old one, and make a template marking onto the new one. Check online for how to remove the old nut properly. Don't just try to yank it out. I could give you the run down on how to do the procedure, but just type in Dan Erlewine (or StewMac) on you tube. His videos are excellent. if you don't find what you're looking for, I can give you some tips.
    You can get your Squier sounding great in no time!
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  5. #5
    Good Enough SLEEPER5150's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedi McFly View Post
    Higher-output pickups should increase perceived sustain. This is just because they are naturally louder, so you hear more of the note decay.

    Does your bridge float? The reason that EVH likes flush-mounted trems is apparently the increase in sustain, so making sure your bridge makes contact with the body is important.

    Magnet pull is also an issue. The closer your pickups are to the strings, the more magnetic pull the strings have, and the shorter amount of time they'll continue to vibrate. If you want to replace some pups, Dimarzio's air series is designed to combat this issue specifically. Humbuckers are usually the culprit of this, single coils don't have as strong of a pull.
    I agree about pull but actually, traditional humbuckers typically have the opposite effect to single coils. The natural asumption is that with two coils, the pull will be greater. Not entirely true.
    For one thing in a humbucker, there is the single bar magnet at it's base which is making contact with the poles, usually made of a high nickel steel transferring it's magnetism equally through them. Also, the separation or distance is spread out thus eliminating direct isolated pull that single coils' individual height compensated machined magnets, induce on the string. Now there are some very strong humbucker magnets out there like alnico, which can have a slight minimal effect, but through years of experimenting with pickup design and modification, single coils will always effect sting vibration pattern if it's too close before a humbucker will due to it's localized field. (The neck P/U is usually the culprit due to it's closeness to the strings eliptical center)
    What you will get with a humbucker, (especially a high output model), if it is too close however is a slight disruption or dropout immediately as the note is picked, due to the rather sharp spike of power produced by picking the string, then falling off as natural vibration forms. Were talking a split second process here, but this too is remedied easily by simply backing off slightly. At any rate, backing off a pickup from the string in either design gives a much fuller sound. You'd be surprised how many guitars came through my old shop, and sometimes pickups were so close to the string, you'd be hard pressed to get a medium pick between the string and the pole! The belief by some of these guys was to get a more powerful sound. Now this close oviously affects vibration. Alot of these guys complained of fret buzz. Well duh! Rather than the string vibrating eliptically, their vibrating almost up and down because of the magnetic field's pull, and rattling against the frets.
    Last edited by SLEEPER5150; 01.18.10 at 11:09 AM.
    She looks so $#@!'n good ,so sexy and so frail....Somethin's got the bite on me, I'm goin' straight to Hell.

  6. #6
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    The best way to increase the sustain of a Squier is to bounce it off the sides of the dumpster when you throw it in.

    I keed I keed

  7. #7
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLEEPER5150 View Post
    I agree about pull but actually, traditional humbuckers typically have the opposite effect to single coils. The natural asumption is that with two coils, the pull will be greater. Not entirely true.
    For one thing in a humbucker, there is the single bar magnet at it's base which is making contact with the poles, usually made of a high nickel steel transferring it's magnetism equally through them. Also, the separation or distance is spread out thus eliminating direct isolated pull that single coils' individual height compensated machined magnets, induce on the string. Now there are some very strong humbucker magnets out there like alnico, which can have a slight minimal effect, but through years of experimenting with pickup design and modification, single coils will always effect sting vibration pattern if it's too close before a humbucker will due to it's localized field. (The neck P/U is usually the culprit due to it's closeness to the strings eliptical center)
    What you will get with a humbucker, (especially a high output model), if it is too close however is a slight disruption or dropout immediately as the note is picked, due to the rather sharp spike of power produced by picking the string, then falling off as natural vibration forms. Were talking a split second process here, but this too is remedied easily by simply backing off slightly. At any rate, backing off a pickup from the string in either design gives a much fuller sound. You'd be surprised how many guitars came through my old shop, and sometimes pickups were so close to the string, you'd be hard pressed to get a medium pick between the string and the pole! The belief by some of these guys was to get a more powerful sound. Now this close oviously affects vibration. Alot of these guys complained of fret buzz. Well duh! Rather than the string vibrating eliptically, their vibrating almost up and down because of the magnetic field's pull, and rattling against the frets.
    well I'll be damned. Reading this and the other posts here about "string pull" have opened my eyes to something I had never even remotely considered. I know for a fact that on my main strat, the pick up is pretty high, particularly on the high B and E strings. I did that because I didn't feel I was getting much volume or sustain out of the E string...and I kind of like the sound of fretting the E string against the pick up poll. I almost never do it but it's something that when I'm goofing around in a sloppy jam or something I'll play around with.

    I guess I should fix this problem.
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  8. #8
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    I'm not really familiar with the Squier "Deluxe Strat" but I do know that alot of Squiers out there are made of plywood, which will kill your resonance and sustain.

    Pop the trem cover (if it has a trem) and take a peek before spending a whole lotta money on pickups and various upgrades.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dino5150 View Post
    I'm not really familiar with the Squier "Deluxe Strat" but I do know that alot of Squiers out there are made of plywood, which will kill your resonance and sustain.

    Pop the trem cover (if it has a trem) and take a peek before spending a whole lotta money on pickups and various upgrades.
    I believe the Affinity series, their most basic Strat, is alder. "Alder" of course has become a loose term when it comes to import guitars nowadays, much in the same way "mahogany" has on cheaper guitars. Nonetheless, they are solid wood.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by AT View Post
    I believe the Affinity series, their most basic Strat, is alder. "Alder" of course has become a loose term when it comes to import guitars nowadays, much in the same way "mahogany" has on cheaper guitars. Nonetheless, they are solid wood.
    Yeah, their Affinity series is currently Alder ... I agree.
    But I have seen their more expensive models made of plywood, believe it or not. I think alot has to do with the year it was made and it's origin.
    Alot of the ones made in Korea were plywood.
    The ones I've seen made in Indonesia, were made of alder but they had an epoxy sealer so friggin thick, one would swear the body was made of solid plastic!

    The ones made in Japan are the keepers, IMO.

 

 

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