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previous: nek sustain: request for comments -- 4/4/2000 6:53 PM View Thread

Resonance and Sustain

4/5/2000 5:06 PM
Resonance and Sustain
The way to maximize sustain is explained very nicely in Jeff's post. To sum it up: the more you can reduce the dampening of a vibrating string, the longer it will vibrate and therefore, sustain.  
A guitar with good natural sustain will also have good acoustical properties, or so I thought, until I started playing Firebirds. These axes do sustain nicely yet sound on the dull side acoustically. I think what is going on here is that these animals are built for sustain but do not resonate well.  
Resonance is a quality that is also desirable, especially in a solid body guitar as it will enhance sustain and warmth. However, resonance is not necessarily achieved from using denser or heftier materials. A swamp ash body which is lighter and less dense than other woods, is known for its resonant qualities. I own two Strats with swamp ash bodies and they are very resonant with great sustain, considering their bolt-on neck and trem bridge construction. I don't recall the physics at work here, but it has something to do with the frequency at which the body and neck will vibrate along with the strings.  
So if you are seeking to maximize sustain, I think the key may be to select materials that have ideal resonant frequencies that are also dense. Maybe someone could suggest woods that have these qualities? Who knows, this material may not even be wood.  

Jeff S Mark, "Maybe someon... -- 4/5/2000 6:48 PM