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Author Topic: Can pickups affect sustain?  (Read 5535 times)

_tom_

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Can pickups affect sustain?
« on: February 27, 2011, 04:52:45 PM »
I ask as I've finally came out of the honeymoon period (lasted a year :P) and realised my SG sounds great unplugged and seems to sustain quite nicely for leads, but when plugged in, leads sound quite uninspired and weak - the notes don't really ring out or "sing" to use a cheesy internet term for it! I'm currently using a set of Pig 90/MQs but the issue was noticeable with the Gibson pickups as well. It just seems a bit dead when you plug it in which is strange considering it seems great unplugged.

Is it just because I'm expecting it to live up to the sustain of my Les Pauls, or would some hotter pickups (I'm tempted by Warpigs  :twisted: ) give it some chunk and make the leads sound a bit stronger? I'll try to record a clip to show what I mean, though it's also a feel thing.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2011, 04:54:52 PM by _tom_ »

dheim

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Re: Can pickups affect sustain?
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2011, 05:00:05 PM »
pickups can't improve sustain... they can just capture more or less vibrations, but if your guitar doesn't keep sustained notes there's no way you can do it with a pickup.
yours seems to be the opposite case, but i don't think a pig90 lacks sensitivity... in theory compressed pickups should sustain longer than dynamic ones.
Mule, MQ, Stockholm, CS, RY, MM, PK, ANB, CNB, AWP, CWP, PiG90...

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dheim

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Re: Can pickups affect sustain?
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2011, 05:01:16 PM »
it could easily depend on your amp or setting, i think... do you use a noise gate or such?
Mule, MQ, Stockholm, CS, RY, MM, PK, ANB, CNB, AWP, CWP, PiG90...

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_tom_

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Re: Can pickups affect sustain?
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2011, 05:04:04 PM »
Nope it's the same setup as I'm using with my other guitars which seem fine. Notes just seem a bit muted or something on the SG :\

dave_mc

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Re: Can pickups affect sustain?
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2011, 05:55:31 PM »
how close are the pickups to the strings? if they're too close you might be getting string pull, and i think that can adversely affect sustain...

MDV

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Re: Can pickups affect sustain?
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2011, 06:19:29 PM »
pickups can't improve sustain... they can just capture more or less vibrations, but if your guitar doesn't keep sustained notes there's no way you can do it with a pickup.
yours seems to be the opposite case, but i don't think a pig90 lacks sensitivity... in theory compressed pickups should sustain longer than dynamic ones.


Correct!

For a change.

Not that youre correct for a change. Youre usually correct.

I just mean that practically everything in a signal chain is sold as giving loads of sustain. Bollocks. Barring feedback theres nothing at all that will make the strings vibrate longer. More gain and compression can give the illuision of it by making the tail end of a note comparatively louder, but it will not make it last longer.

Pickups, however, can reduce sustain by the magnetic fields choking the strings vibration, as dave rightly says. But that would be audible acoustically, too, if subtely. Try backing them off a bit, see if it makes a difference.

_tom_

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Re: Can pickups affect sustain?
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2011, 06:51:58 PM »
I was wondering if there was perhaps something in the signal chain making the sound die out quickly but I can't see anything as everything's the same other than the guitar. I rewired it with decent electronics to put the bkps in.

I'll try lowering the pickups. I can't remember how close to the strings they were in the guitar they were in beforehand.

dave_mc

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Re: Can pickups affect sustain?
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2011, 02:35:28 PM »
Pickups, however, can reduce sustain by the magnetic fields choking the strings vibration, as dave rightly says. But that would be audible acoustically, too, if subtely. Try backing them off a bit, see if it makes a difference.

ah good point, i didn't think of that :lol:

_tom_

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Re: Can pickups affect sustain?
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2011, 08:42:16 PM »
Lowered the pickups, its helped a little. I am wondering whether I've got my Pig 90 wired up wrong though - the neck MQ seems to be gainier. This one has a tap so maybe I've got it wired up so the tap is on rather than the full signal. How should it be wired? I have the following wires :

- bare (going to ground)
- green (not sure where this is going at the minute!)
- red, which is the tap wire (taped off)
- white (going to lug 1 of bridge volume)

I think maybe the green needs something doing with it? Looks like I've just got it cut off at the minute, but I don't remember it being connected to anything in the guitar it was in before either :\

Still considering changing these pickups out for something else, as they sounded better in the Pearl as far as I remember. Either low output Riff Raffs or go full beast with Warpigs! Wondering whether the 'pigs would be good for an Every Time I Die kinda sound.. it's similar to what I go for but a bit more aggressive than I can get!
« Last Edit: March 01, 2011, 08:49:48 PM by _tom_ »

PhilKing

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Re: Can pickups affect sustain?
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2011, 09:04:13 PM »
Isn't white the tap wire and red the live?  I seem to remember that's how mine is.
So many pickups, so little time

_tom_

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Re: Can pickups affect sustain?
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2011, 09:31:00 PM »
On the bit where the DC resistance etc is written, it says "red = tap".

PhilKing

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Re: Can pickups affect sustain?
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2011, 09:37:00 PM »
I guess mine was the prototype so it might not be the same as yours.  Do you have a multimeter to check it?
So many pickups, so little time

Alex

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Re: Can pickups affect sustain?
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2011, 09:37:54 PM »
They say that the EMGs help sustain. Never really noticed a big change, but they have a low magnetic field and a built-in preamp. I always felt they compress the dynamics anyway.
Current BKPs: Miracle Man, Nailbomb, Juggernaut, VHII
Past BKPS: Holy Diver, Trilogy Suite, Sinner, Black Dog

_tom_

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Re: Can pickups affect sustain?
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2011, 11:12:48 AM »
I emailed Tim, I do have it wired up correctly. I just can't understand why the Pig 90 seems to be pushing the amp less than the MQ when it's at least double the dc resistance :? It used to be the opposite in my Pearl, the Pig 90 had to be lowered loads to match the lower output of the MQ.. Can't help but feel something's wrong with the wiring but all my joints look clean enough and I checked it on two diagrams when I was putting it together.

Philly Q

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Re: Can pickups affect sustain?
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2011, 11:31:58 AM »
I just can't understand why the Pig 90 seems to be pushing the amp less than the MQ when it's at least double the dc resistance :?

I'm not saying this explains the problem, but comparing the DC resistance is very misleading - the MQ has 42 gauge wire and the Pig 90 has 45 gauge.  The thinner wire has much higher DC resistance.
BKPs I've Got:  RR, BKP-91, ITs, VHII, CS set, Emeralds
BKPs I Had:  RY+Abraxas, Crawlers, BD+SM