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Author Topic: Sustain issue on 7 string  (Read 1143 times)

Offline JamieCrain

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Sustain issue on 7 string
« on: April 19, 2017, 10:24:58 PM »
I love my 7 string but have come to the conclusion that it just doesn't have the sustain that it should and so it feels flat when I play, not alive at all. Notes fade out really quickly compared to my other guitars when on the mag pickups, particularly up the neck. I have a low action.

The pups are the stock SD Distortion 7s and they are roughly the same height as my other guitars. Could it be the pups? Any other ideas?

Thanks!
Parker NiteFly RF622
Parker DFMV7
EB Music Man Majesty 6
Ibanez UV777BK

Re: Sustain issue on 7 string

Offline billy

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Re: Sustain issue on 7 string
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2017, 10:58:10 AM »
How is the sustain without plugging in?  That might tell you a lot.

If its not good unplugged, there is a mechanical issue damping the strings.  My first guess in this case is a nut that needs a steeper angle.  Did anyone do anything to the nut slots in an effort to get the action lower?

My second guess is a bridge with spring tension not optimized so the angle of the saddles isn't right.

My next guess is the pups are too close to the strings, the magnets can kill the string vibration sometimes.  Check to see if there's anything you can do to lower them, ie change where the wiring sits, ensure the pup mounts are flush, etc.

Once you're happy with sustain unplugged, then you might check to see if the mags are wired correctly, are they passive, bad solder joints, bad ghost, etc. and maybe explore other pickups.
Billy

[always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question.  e. e. cummings]

Re: Sustain issue on 7 string

Offline jb63

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Re: Sustain issue on 7 string
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2017, 11:57:35 AM »
That is the perfect advice!

Re: Sustain issue on 7 string

Offline JamieCrain

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Re: Sustain issue on 7 string
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2017, 06:17:48 PM »
Thanks Billy.
The guitar resonates fine unplugged though it is hard tell how long the notes ring for without amplification.

The bridge is set to floating mode, and balanced evenly, as far as I can tell. The neck might have a slight back bow, but it is so slight it's very hard to see. I'll try a little more relief. I like a low action, but maybe it needs raising.

I will also try lowering the pups, particularly the neck pup, but it doesn't look too close to dampen the string oscillation from my experience.

I've always been sceptical about changing pups. I think most of the difference in tone between various types of professional grade humbuckers is perceived rather than actual. And nothing that a tweak of EQ can't fix anyways.

Thanks
Parker NiteFly RF622
Parker DFMV7
EB Music Man Majesty 6
Ibanez UV777BK

Re: Sustain issue on 7 string

Offline billy

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Re: Sustain issue on 7 string
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2017, 09:45:22 AM »
ok, that helps.  could definitely be a combo of back bow and low action.  Sight down the neck from the bridge side (not headstock) and you should be able to get a good sense of any curvature in the neck.

That said, I'm surprised you don't get any fret buzz.  A lower neck pickup might help too but hopefully adding a little relief and higher action will do it.

As for hearing sustain unplugged, try this:

put your chin on the body of the guitar and play an open string.  Repeat with fretted notes, different strings, etc.  Try the same plugged in but at low volume. 

I'd change the pickups as a last resort, although I have to say that it can make a big difference sometimes.
Billy

[always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question.  e. e. cummings]

Re: Sustain issue on 7 string

Offline JamieCrain

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Re: Sustain issue on 7 string
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2017, 11:22:10 PM »
I loosened the truss about half a turn which add a slight amount of relief, barely visible. But it made a large difference to the action so i've lowered the bridge slightly to compensate. Not all the way back, but probably half the change from loosening the truss. The sustain is a little better. I also experimented with pickup heights going from the lowest to the highest position. Oddly it didn't make a massive difference.

It is worth noting that when playing open strings and chords, this guitar has the *best* resonance of any I own, plugged in or unplugged...it rings and rings...so my conclusion is that it must be the low action set up that is dampening the sound when playing up the neck, not the pickups.

Thanks billy.
Parker NiteFly RF622
Parker DFMV7
EB Music Man Majesty 6
Ibanez UV777BK

Re: Sustain issue on 7 string

Offline billy

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Re: Sustain issue on 7 string
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2017, 04:28:57 PM »
cool, progress!

I think there's still a happy medium in there with relief and action adjustments, but at this point it will take some finesse. 

I also wouldn't completely rule out the nut slots, you need some "fall away," even if you're fretting notes.  Sounds like your issue is consistent across the strings though, so this is less likely.

And, if you have a buffer or something similar in your chain, that could hurt the sound too.  With the built in preamp, you'd be "double buffering."
Billy

[always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question.  e. e. cummings]