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What body material for max sustain?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Tele Jack, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. Tele Jack

    Tele Jack Tele-Meister

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    In terms of physics, what material for the body of a guitar would maximize sustain? Wood, plastic, metal, whatever?

    They say that heavy guitars tend to sustain better than light ones. But perps it is the density, not the mass that gives sustain?

    what do you think?
     
  2. funff

    funff Tele-Holic

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    ..
     

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  3. Cliff Rogers

    Cliff Rogers Tele-Meister

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    Popcorn? :eek:

    How do you make a guitar out of popcorn? :confused:
     
  4. elelpe

    elelpe Tele-Afflicted

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    He's ready to watch ...
     
  5. bangcaster

    bangcaster Tele-Meister

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    sustainium, obviously!:twisted:
     
  6. notdave

    notdave Tele-Afflicted

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    Is there enough for two?

    :p
     
  7. Wayne Alexander

    Wayne Alexander Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    On a bolt-neck guitar, the neck matters a lot more than the body wood. I've found when swapping necks and bodies around that the brightness/darkness sustain/plunkiness etc. follows the neck to a great degree. The body matters some but not as much as the neck. So if you have a guitar that doesn't sound good to you, changing the body isn't likely to make a drastic change. Changing the neck will. But so would selling your guitar and looking for one that sounds right to you as it is.
     
  8. Steely_Ken

    Steely_Ken Tele-Meister

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    Try a lead telecaster
     
  9. raito

    raito Poster Extraordinaire

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    Wait for next years build challenge...
     
  10. originalmatthew

    originalmatthew Tele-Holic

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    You will probably get a lot of differing opinions..so here's mine...
    In terms of physics, sustain is an effect of the vibration of the string traveling through the guitar and causing a resonant frequency that helps keep the vibration "alive". With 6 strings on a guitar and endless possible frequencies of vibrations, there will be no "perfect" material to build a guitar out of.
    The best material, IMO, is a material that has the most uniform density. Tight grained, evenly spaced rings in wood will have better sustain than wood with uneven, loosely spaced growth rings. I think the best sustaining wood I have heard is Ancient Kauri because of thousands of years of the wood soaking in peat acids affecting the structure of the wood. Stradivarius Violins sound great because of the uniform density of the wood.
    Materials other than wood...meh... carbon fiber?? Don't ask me. My 2 cents. Or you could try popcorn.
     
  11. Jack FFR1846

    Jack FFR1846 Tele-Afflicted

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    Weld a bunch of different tuning forks together to make a guitar. I bet it would sustain like crazy.




    Or, of course, popcorn, which is tried and true.
     
  12. Cliff Rogers

    Cliff Rogers Tele-Meister

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    ;)
     
  13. eflamberson

    eflamberson Tele-Meister

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    Those Dan Armstrong Plexiglas guitars are supposed to sustain like crazy.
     
  14. imsilly

    imsilly Friend of Leo's

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    What kind of 'sustain' are we talking about?
     
  15. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    Actually, that's exactly backwards. :lol:

    Sustain is the time the string vibrates. In physics terms, the string gets energy at the attack, and it retains that energy (sustains) until the energy leaves the string and string vibration stops.

    Think about where the energy goes.
    -Into the air, you hear the string.
    -Into the body and neck, you feel the vibration.

    These things happen most at the resonant frequencies involved. By definition.

    Construction-wise, mass is the key parameter. Build a lap steel on an 8x8 oak landscape timber (some lap!) and it will sustain almost indefinitely. Put that in a vacuum chamber and pull out the air, and it will sustain for days. Literally. Days.
     
  16. LocustPlague

    LocustPlague Tele-Holic

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    The stiffer and heavier the material, the longer the sustain will be. Essentially, you want all of the vibration to stay in the string and to stay OUT of the body/neck/bridge/anything else.
     
  17. Tele Jack

    Tele Jack Tele-Meister

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    I agree with you locust plague. The body of any guitar is essentially a vibration absorber. But by a feedback mechanism it may add nuance to the sound.

    The less effective the absorber the more sustain you will have. How effective the absorber is in soaking up vibration depends on its rigidity and inertia. And these variables would be related to mass, but also to the internal structure of the material.
     
  18. tapollok

    tapollok Tele-Holic

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    Just to throw a monkey in the wrench...

    ...I threw this cigar box guitar haphazardly sunday morning.
    I needed something novel for an upcoming gig.

    Small cedar box with poplar mounting backer for an old
    cheap tele neck...neck wiggles in the pocket.

    Sustains longer than any guitar I own.

    I will try to do a video this weekend.
     

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  19. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Sustain is overrated
     
  20. Daddy Hojo

    Daddy Hojo Friend of Leo's

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    I built a bamboo guitar (see avatar pic) that has nice sustain. The "wood" is really dense.
     
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