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Infinite guitar/Sustainiac

Having just read some of the posts on the above topic, I thought I'd pass 
this from "Breakdown," the Michael Brook mail list. My apologies to M. 
for appropriating his post without permission, but I wanted to seize the

Jim Bailey

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Christian Leduc [mailto:chleduc@total.net] 
> Sent: Tuesday, August 08, 2000 5:27 PM
> To: breakdown@egroups.com
> Subject: Breakdown | Infinite guitar/Sustainiac
> Hello, I had an interesting little conversation with the guy 
> form Maniac
> Music, Alan Hoover. A great great guy. I've had a couple of 
> questions about
> the new Stealth plus (Sustainer+ pickup). And I asked him if 
> there was an
> historical link between the sustainiac and the infinite 
> guitar. I thought
> it can be of some interest to post a part of his answer:
> "We first made our acoustic type sustainer in 1986 (the 
> Sustainiac Model T,
> soon followed by the Model B).  Then, we heard about the 
> Brook Infinite
> Guitar when U2 played in Indianapolis in late 1986, as I 
> remember.  Edge's
> guitar tech called us, and allowed us to play a few notes on 
> the instrument
> after the afternoon sound check.  I thought that seemed like 
> a neat way to
> make sustain, so we designed our own version of such a sustainer after
> looking at the I.G.  
> The Infinite Guitar used a regular Duncan stack pickup for a 
> driver.  Since
> this is a high impedance device, it requires around 100 volts of drive
> signal to produce adequate magnetic drive into the strings.  
> This seemed
> kind of crazy to me, so shortly after that the Sustainiac 
> GA-1 was born.  We
> made a low-impedance driver so that the sustainer would run 
> efficiently on
> batteries.  The driver could be used as a pickup by attaching 
> a transformer
> or amplifier to its output in order to increase the voltage output.  
> The "G" is for Gary Osborne, my partner in Maniac Music.  
> This was followed
> soon after by the GA-2.  We subsequently filed and were 
> granted several
> patents on our refinements that allowed the magnetic 
> sustainer to be used as
> a practical, manufacturable device.  We never attempted to 
> patent any of the
> basic principles, such as a pickup being used in reverse to drive the
> strings, because we always felt that that credit belonged to 
> Michael Brook.
> Curiously, Michael (whom I met and talked to at length in 1990) never
> followed up with his British patent that he filed sometime 
> around the 1985
> timeframe.  Typically, patent offices reject first applications over
> technicalities.  It is up to the inventor to persist and 
> argue his/her case.
> Michael gave up and didn't argue his case, so he never got a 
> patent.  He
> told me in conversation that he was very busy, and also 
> really didn't know
> that you could present an argument and maybe get your patent.  
> Then, Floyd Rose et al got a U.S. patent on a magnetic 
> sustainer driver in
> 1990.  Curiously, they claim never to have heard of the Brook 
> device prior
> to making their sustainer.  I know of no facts to contradict 
> this.  We have
> a patent cross-licensing agreement with them."
> Well, I hope I didn't break a top secret thing (for MB and 
> for M. Hoover),
> but it was interesting.