Sustainer Pickup DIY (Guitar Infinite Sustain System)

I got this guitar off Craigslist for next to nothing.
It’s definetely not the worst thing I played. The thing that annoyed me the most was the
lack of sustain this guitar had. So when I got it, it sounded like this… If you notice, the note doesn’t last very
long. We’re going to fix that,
we’re going to be adding a custom sustainer to it
so we can hold a note to infinity and beyond. So the secret to our sustainer is actually
the tin can amplifier that we built in our last video.
If you haven’t seen that video yet, you’ll want to check that out.
It’s basically an amplifier in a tin box that runs on a 9 volt battery. So there’s two ways we can use this sustainer.
The first method is what I call the “Self-sustain mode”,
which is also the least intrusive and doesn’t require any modifications to the
guitar. We have two sets of coils.
And they’re both hooked up to audio jacks. One set of coil goes to the input of the tin
can amplifier, and the other set of coils go to the output
of the tin can amplifier. And from the output of the coil,
we create a magnetic flux, which then vibrates the strings,
creating a sustained sound. The second way to make this work,
will require some modification to the guitar, but it will give you a stronger sustain. And for that, we’re going to be adding a dry
signal jack to the back of our guitar,
which then goes to the input of our tin can amplifier,
and we’ll be plugging in both of the coils into
the output jack of the tin can amplifier. And that’ll create a bigger magnetic flux,
making your sustain note even louder. So this is the infinite guitar sustainer tutorial.
Here we go! Here’s what we’re going to need: We’re building a three string sustainer and
there’s two coils under each string. So for the sustainer coils, we’ll need 6 42 Ohm Buzzers
1 4ft 1/4″ Mono patch cable 1 Paper Protoboard
1 1/4″ Mono panel jack and the Tin Can Amplifier! We’ll start by turning our buzzers into our
sustainer coils. Using a sharp blade, carefully shave off the
cover of the buzzer, by working the blade around the groove of
the buzzer. Remove the cover, and you’ll find a coil inside
as well as the metal piece that’s responsible for making the buzzer sound. We don’t want our coils to produce any sound,
so I’m going to throw this piece out. But if you’d like, you can glue down this
piece on top of the coil, so that it won’t vibrate but it’ll protect
the coil from damage. After we have our coils prepared,
we’ll start aligning them on our protoboard. The sustainer we’re making goes under the
top three strings. We’ll need the strings directly above the
center of the coils. Just be sure to align them them under your
guitar first so that you know where to place them on the
board. We’ll remove any excess board space by scoring
it with our blade then snapping it off. Then smoothing out the edges with sand paper. Now we’re going to put your coils back in
place. Note that it’s important that we keep the
polarities of the coils in the same direction. Next we’ll add a dab of super glue under each
of the coils so that they stay in place. Once the glue dries, we can bend the pins
of the coils on the back of the board. We’re doing this to reduce the height of the
sustainer, so that it fits easier under the guitar strings. We’re going to have to solder the positive
terminals together, and the negative terminals together. So bend the pins in a way that minimizes soldering
distance. When we’re done soldering, we can check the
integrity of the joints by measuring the resistance
between the positives and negatives. Since we have 3 42 ohm resistances in parallel,
We should be reading around 14 ohms. We’ll repeat that process for the second row
of coils. Now we’ll take our patch cable,
and I’m actually using an 1/8″ cable with 1/4″ adapters,
because that’s what I had. and we’ll cut it in half,
and solder the positive and negative ends of the cable
to the positive and negative terminals of each set of coils. I also attached a piece of popsicle stick
to the back of the middle string coils so that it puts
the sustainer on a bit of a slant, since the middle string
is a little further away from the fretboard than the top
string is. Now we’re ready to attach the sustainer.
Loosen the bottom 3 strings, but keep top 3 strings tight. Make sure that the strings run directly across
the center of the coils, and that none of the strings
touch the coils when the strings are played. We’ll temporarily hold the sustainer in place
with a bit of duct tape. We’ll add a dab of hot glue under each of
the four corners of the sustainer to set it in place. Once the glue dries, we’ll remove the tape. Now I’m going to add a bit of hot glue to
hold down the sustainer cables to the back of the guitar,
this way it relieves any stress on the solder joints
from the cable moving around too much. To add the dry signal jack,
we’ll have to access the back of the volume knob. This guitar opens up in the back
but most strat-like guitars will open in the front. After we open the plate,
we’ll see that our volume knob has 3 legs. We’ll need to extend the input and ground
pins, which are the leftmost and rightmost pins,
respectively, to our new mono jack. After I soldered two pieces of loose wires
to those pins, I then cut a hole through the back plate,
so that the mono jack can sit on top, with it’s connections
exposed through the hole. I glued the jack in place,
then soldered the signal and ground wires to the respective
terminals of the mono jack. Afterwards, we’ll just screw it back together
and we’re done with the dry signal jack. Now to hold the tin can amplifier in place,
I decided to go with velcro. Just make sure to attach the soft side of
the velcro on the guitar, because the other side of the velcro tends
to stick to clothing and you wouldn’t want that on the back of
your guitar when the tin can amplifier is not in place. So for self-sustain mode, one sustainer jack
goes in the input of the can while the other goes in the output. And for the other mode, we’ll join both sustainer
jacks with an adapter and plug that into the output
of the can, while another patch cord connects the dry
signal to the input. And that’s it! Now we’re going to take it
for a test! I know a lot of you may not have the tools
or the time to make yourself a sustainer. So I would like to know if there’s a demand
for a sustainer like this, that would come manufactured,
in a smaller form factor, and probably adjustable spacers
so that it’ll fit all the guitars without having to glue anything. If so, then please leave a comment,
and share this video with all your guitar buddies. And so if we see that this is something that
can benefit a lot of people, I can probably get it manufactured for $20-30 So let me know what you think about that.
That’s all I have for you today. As always, there’s more cool projects coming
up, don’t forget to subscribe,
so you get notified when the next video comes up. I’ll see you next time.