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sustain pedal?


RF Scott
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Not wanting to be a smart arse here. But a piano sustain works by holding the hammer key on the string struck by the key doesn't it? The difference being that piano sustain is a physical contraption, whereas sustain on a guitar is achieved by alteration of the signal created by the guitar.

Like redmeat said, I would say your best bet is a compression pedal. I've never actually used one, but I've heard that dedicated pedals can actually do nice things by compressing the guitar sound. I suppose what you really want is a compressor/expander which amplifies the signal as it diminishes and compresses it when it is too large, though that is likely to introduce distortion and maybe feedback. Like redmeat said again, I think something like the Boss CS-3 might do what you are looking for, though there are probably better sustainers for a little more money. Boss pedals are really easily found on ebay mind... so if you want to try them out cheaply, that may be your best bet. Wait for soundian to pitch in though, he'll know some quality stuff on this subject.

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Erm ,don't know much about guitar pedals, since they automatically qualify as Somebody Elses Problem.

Simplest and cheapest route to sustain. Move your guitar nearer to the amp with the pickups pointing at the speakers. Get your gain structure and tone in the right ballpark and your all the way.

Oh and spellchecker, I think a piano sustain holds the hammer just above the string to let it sustain, rather than resting on the string to dampen it.

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Guest redmeat

You can get a Marshall "Edward the Compressor" for less than 50 or an MXR Dynacomp for twice as much. Danelectro have a compressor in their mini-pedal range but I don't know how good it is.

No compressor will sound like piano sustain though. Have you thought about reverb or delay? Compression can make things sound squashed and increases background noise (especially with distortion). It might not be what you want but it's good for making sparse single note clean stuff ring out or as a lead boost. I wouldn't buy anything without trying it out first.

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Now I've thought about this for a bit, I don't think you could get a sustain pedal that would work for electronic stuff as well as guitar. compression would gain you a little more time but most sounds would get fucked up with that sort of compression on it. Guitar sustain relies on the interaction between the strings, pickups and what comes out of the speakers, electronic equipment doesn't have that interaction.

Delay wouldn't work either. If you had a short enough delay time to sustain the note it would also colour it, normally making it more 'boxy and 'middy'.

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its a tough problem, i guess usually why you get a sustain pedal for midi controllers etc, sometimes even a button.

elay does colour the sound a tad as sound ian said, iv been experimenting slightly recently with some stuff, mainly, a guitar that isnt earthed, a 12 bit delay pedal, and a bass amp.

you can get soem amazing sounds out of that delay pedal, probably not what your looking for but you can create a large amount of sustain on it. iv been using the earth wire as a switch, setting up a delay loop in the bass amp, and making some crazy patterns with the clicks created by closing the earth "switch", you can then turn up the ratio and get incredibly high pitch weird noises, or do the oposite thing and get really cool bassy rumbles, which was why i was using my bass amp.

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i'm sure there's some pedal you can get that you can set to record while you play, for say 5 seconds, then it will loop it back to you over and again until you stop it. infact, i know of zoom pedals that do this - but i wouldn't really recommend them most of the time. so say you hit a single note, you could start recording maybe a second after you hit the note (so you don't loop the pick/scratch noise), then stop it a couple of seconds later, then loop it. many zoom boxen do that infact.

about the piano thing, i've always wondered how they really worked. there used to be a grand piano at school with the top off, so you could see the strings actually vibrating when the keys were played. it was really fascinating. so the sustain bit, do you think it works similar to the noise you would get if you plucked a string, then touched it with a piece of paper? where the hell did that come from i wonder.

ah well, it's friday.

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on a piano, when you play a note when you press down the key the string gets hit/plucked/whatever pianos do then almost immediately after, damped by a small hammer, kinda like if you hit a not one your guitar then muted it with your palm straight after

what happens with piano sustain is that the pedal you press down stopps the hammer from muting the string after so it rings out for longer than usuall.

i know this from a thing i saw in bruce millers oneday, basically a model of one piano key so you could see all the gubbins behind it, not saure if its still there or not (was through in the piano/sheet music bit)

David

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Originally posted by Graham:

Try an Ebow. Then you can sustain a note for ages. But only one note at a time. You can get pickups that sustain the notes on the guitar as well, but I don't know much about them.

I was going to sugest the same item. I have heard one in use and it was great, infinite sustain by resting it above a string. Due to some magnetc field wizardry it makes the chosen string vibrate continuously.

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Yeah, they sound great. I was on the Ebow website, and was listening to sound samples, and as well as sustaining notes you can also simulate other instruments, although I have to idea how you do this and all I could do was get sustain, but you get a tape with them which explains how to use them. The sound samples are at http://www.ebow.com/ebow/sounds.htm.

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Originally posted by soundian:

The E-bow did cross my mind but the proviso was that it could work for leccy stuff as well. Try an E-bow on a keyboard.:moody:

Hmmm good point but hours of sitting pointing it at the keyboard with no avail would surely bring some amusement? I can't think of any pedal/thing that will let you get proper sustain that you can judge how long it lasts for on both guitar and electronic instruments...

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  • 2 weeks later...

You can get a sustain pedal for keyboards that mimics the action of the pedals on a piano. However, most good quality keyboards have a sustain function built in-consult your manual. To sustain an electric guitar, you need a compressor. Many multieffect pedals will have one built in, along with a noise gate to calm down the inevitable hiss you get with heavy compression. You can also buy dedicated compression pedals from the like of Boss that work well too. When it comes to any kind of compression, you really need to know what you're doing as it's easy to fuck up your sound.

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Originally posted by soundian:

or: ... the inevitable hiss you get with many multi-effect pedals.

Only if you insist on buying a cheap one of course and then connecting it with unbalanced cables.

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