steve hackett

steve hackett

Pete Jones and the Sustaniac

1d ago
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Pete Jones says : "I'm using an Ibanez RG470, fitted with the Stealth Pro Sustainiac, manufactured by Maniac Music Inc. http://www.sustainiac.com/st-pro.htm Probably the most notable alternative manufacturer of sustainers is Fernandez: http://www.fernandesguitars.com/sustainer-kits.html The Fernandez model is used by X Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, perhaps the king of sustain. The sound of the sustainer pickup is very characteristic and extremely effective. It was perhaps first popularised in the 80s by such guitarists as Def Lepard's Phil Collen and can be heard extensively on the Histeria and Adrenalise albums. The Edge also used a similar sustainer product on the Amthemic "With or Without You". The sustainiac does what the name implies, giving you infinite sustain. It works using electro-magnetics in a similar way to the E-Bow. Like the E-Bow it produces feedback sustain without the need for high volume or distortion. Having tried the E-Bow and the sustainiac I can appreciate advantages in both, but I much prefer the sustainiac. With the E-Bow there is no doubt that one can produce some very individual tones, and as the name suggests it has more of a bowing quality. Also it has the virtue that you can put it in your pocket and use it on any guitar, or in fact any stringed instrument with varying degrees of success. It's definitely the cheaper option too. The sustainer or sustainiac pickup has to be fitted to a guitar, and this can be a costly procedure. However, the definite advantage as far as I'm concerned is that the sustainer leaves your plucking hand free. You have to hold the E-Bow in your right hand and place it on the string you want to sustain. With the sustainiac you can play exactly as you normally would, shredding to your heart's desire. When you want to sustain, simply pluck the string and let it ring! Once the sustainiac has kicked in you can use vibrato, dive bomb and slide your finger up and down the fret board to change the note without breaking the flow. Alternatively, if the note is on an open string you can just leave it to sustain while you go and make a cup of tea and read the paper! I don't suggest you do this, especially if you're at a gig or you have neighbours, but basically the sustain effect is easy to produce, and will last as long as the battery lasts. However, be warned, like the E-Bow the sustainiac is very powerful. It is a beast which you must tame. At high volume levels it can be very volatile. As I demonstrate unintentionally in this video, sometimes the wrong string can start to sustain. This can result in a sudden eruption of un-tuned noise in the middle of a sensitive passage. This is a matter of playing technique really and is something the player can get used to. The pickup has three modes. Fundamental, (which just sustains the route note. Harmonic, this gives you a wonderful screaming harmonic great for dive bombing. Finally the blend mode, a blend between the two. There's also an intensity pot to control how much sustain is added. I've mentioned dive bombing, and the sustainer is perfect for that. You can rise and fall and thrash the whammy bar around to your heart's content, or until you snap a string. The sustain will hold and probably get wilder and wilder. Unfortunately in this impromptu Video I had not fitted my whammy, but you get the idea. However, this isn't just a flashy trick for flashy guitarists who lack Sensitivity! No no! It can be used very sensitively. Think of "With Or Without You". Use a clean setting on your pedals, with a touch of delay or reverb, to create an etherial back drop to the other sounds in your band. You can do some great whale impressions if that's your bag. You can even sustain whole chords, to give more of a synthy sound, and by experimenting with the switches, plus the tone, volume and other effects you already have, you can get some amazing timbres. It can make an average guitarist great, and a great guitarist awe...