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Do you prefer a guitar that has a fairly long or fairly short sustain?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Digiplay, Apr 22, 2021.

  1. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

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    If you strum an open chord fairly hard, do you prefer a guitar that sustains longer (say up to 10 seconds to finally not be heard, or one that sustains for just a few seconds (around 5/7 seconds)?
     
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  2. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    It doesn't matter to me. I just play.

    IMO, I think the pursuit of sustain is tilting at windmills, unless sustain is a critical component of your playing style. If it is, a sustainy compressor is vastly more important than the few seconds of a guitar's decay.
     
  3. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Depends, I guess. If I were playing country, rockabilly, jazz or swing, I'd probably be fine with short sustain. Ambient, rock or blues, I might want longer. Isn't that what compressors are for? You can always have a guitar that works for each...different palettes to paint with, as it were.
     
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  4. dogmeat

    dogmeat Friend of Leo's

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    looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong. I can make it shorter
     
  5. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

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    +1
    Including the part about choosing the right tool for the job.
    Quite amazingly, a good tele can be the right tool for the job in nearly all situations. Pedals and amp settings help, too.
     
  6. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have always been of the opinion that I control the guitar instead of the other way .
     
  7. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

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    Live and learn!


    The consensus seems to be that it doesn't matter :)
     
  8. Ess Eff

    Ess Eff Tele-Afflicted

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    I've been wondering about this (for electric guitar).

    The obvious answer is, Long, because you can always shorten it with muting but you can't make it longer. So, I have always liked electric guitars that ring out loud n long acoustically.

    BUT - do the strings on the one you can hear for a long time actually vibrate longer than the one you can only hear for a short time (acoustically)? Maybe the strings vibrate for the same time but on one guitar you hear it longer because it resonates (amplifies the sound) more? The other may vibrate just as long but you don't hear it as long?

    So - when played thru an amplifier, they both have the same sustain?
    .
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2021
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  9. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    If I wanted sustain I would play the violin.
     
  10. Frank Roberts

    Frank Roberts Tele-Meister

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    What everyone said above.

    Consider this: you can make long sustain shorter, by hand muting, but can you make short sustain longer? With longer you can have it both ways, even in a single phrase. More tools on the belt so to speak.

    while I was hunting and pecking on my iPhone, EssEff beat me to it on this concept.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2021
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  11. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    I dont really check. Besides, i dont really play songs that I need a 10 sec sustain and chords or notes ringing that long.

    in buying guitars, its one of those things I check, but its like, very low on the checklist. Besides, i play hollow/semi hollow body guitars, sustain isnt one of the things they excel at. Lol
     
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  12. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

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    I don't play songs that need a 10 sec sustain, nor chords or notes that ring that long either dreamingtele :)

    Perhaps I emphasized the length as too long, and in reality I should have used 7 seconds versus 5 seconds, and I'm getting those approximate lengths from strumming just one chord my AVRI '52 and my Nash T-63, both ash, both unplugged.

    It was just strange to me that the AVRI was louder, and sustained chords longer than the T-63 did, but then again, we're only talking around two seconds or so difference here, and in the context of a song, there would be no appreciable difference, as most of my chord changes happen faster than that, so I'm never going to let a chord ring for 7 seconds (unless I wanted the final chord of the song to sustain) :)


    I was simply curious if any of you paid much attention to how long your Telecasters/guitars sustained, and I was assuming (uh-oh :) ) than some of you might reply that sometimes one can have too much sustain.


    But as many of you guys know me by now, you know how sometimes my questions come from strange places :)
     
  13. bottlenecker

    bottlenecker Friend of Leo's

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    I care about the nature of the attack of a note, the ratio of attack to sustained note, the decay slope of that sustained note, and how this differs at different frequencies. Or in another word, the timbre. The length of time until a note is no longer heard doesn't seem relevant to me.
     
  14. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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    What bottlenecker said. I really don't get the obsession with sustain. Guitars by nature don't have a lot of sustain. A horn? sustain a note forever. Fiddles have a ton of sustain. Wanting a guitar with a lot of sustain is kind of like wanting a trumpet that plays chords well.
     
  15. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    Anything, with any guitar. It depends, up there above 15th fret, notes aren't heard that long anyway, and can only be sustained with electronics, amps loud, and feedback, or the use of gadgetry. E-bow, sustainer pedal, and such things. If I strum ANY chord, none of the strings sustains equally as long. Some of the strings inside the chords lasts 3-4 second and the lowest open strings maybe longer than 20 seconds. As far as I fret something I can gauge the sustain available by myself and my own playing. If I want a D note to ring longer, I don't fret D up at the 10th fret of the low string but uses open D instead. And the other way around too.

    I do love sustaining guitars, like old LP with "black beatuy" and huge frets. They were once called fretless wonders and boy, did those eat sustain. The new fad with lightweight bodies (Strandberg guitarworks) have no sustain at all and bounces around when playing. It's even so that your fretting hand when lifting off and on the frets is enough force to wiggle the whole guitar around, bouncing back and forth. Beats me. So yes, a more sustaining guitar, because I can stop the notes at will with my fingers. The other way around is not so plausible... or even possible... ;)
     
  16. Cesspit

    Cesspit Tele-Holic

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    I doubt you'd hear the difference between the sustain of different guitars in a a band setting. For the resonance of the guitar, does it feel alive in your hands is far more important to me, particularly as I don't use pedals.
    There is so much goes into making the guitar sound how it sounds, each little percentage adding to the overall sound it is difficult to narrow down what does what. Well that's how it is for me. Ultimately you can shorten sustain (with your hands) far more easily than you can lengthen it, without changing the sound.,
     
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  17. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

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    Long sustained notes give me the option of muting.
    Short sustaining notes do not allow me to lengthen.
     
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  18. JeffBlue

    JeffBlue Tele-Afflicted

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    For me, the longer the sustain, the better the individual components that make up a guitar are working together as complete unit. Neck, nut, strings, bridge, (tailpiece), body and strings. If it rings out with a long sustain, the woods are resonant and the fit is good. If the guitar is a short thud, not as good.
     
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  19. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Every tele I've ever played has plenty of sustain for my needs and I play a lot of genres including ambient and blues. If you need more, just get an Ebow!
     
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  20. naveed211

    naveed211 Friend of Leo's

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    I see the value in having a guitar for a very specific sound if that’s what you’re going for. I was briefly in a project that wanted to emulate the new era garage rock type sounds ala early White Stripes, etc. I found an old Silvertone guitar with the lipstick pickups. Not a godlike tone by any means, not endless sustain or whatever, but it got that vibey sound.

    But if it’s just me playing what I like and how I want to sound, I want lots of sustain and resonance available to me.
     
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