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Re: Mounting a Sustainiac B on a lap steel guitar

Hi there,

I'm not sure what good my advice might be.

I am definitely a loooooong time Sustainiac user (got my first model B in 
the mid '80s).

I still own and use it  . . . along with a Model C that I got at NAMM 
about 5 years ago.

Say "Hi!" to Alan Hoover for me next time you contact him - he's a great 

Anyway, I acquired an el-cheapo lap steel a couple of years ago myself 
with every intention of using one of my Sustainiacs with it.

But, as it turned out, the headstock was too thick for the clamp-on 
transducer of the Model C and too narrow so that there was no room to 
appropriately attach the magnetic bracket on the headstock for the Model B 
transducer - so it was a total bust.

Even though I didn't ever get around to using it that way myself, I 
suspect that the problem you may be experiencing has to do with the 
"meatier" neck/body of most lap steels.

I am not shure what type of instrument yours is.

There are some that look like a trapezoidal plank of wood and some that 
look more guitar-like (but with a thick square-ish neck).

It may be that the Sustainiac is simply having a hard time sending 
vibrations through all that wood - it's a lot of mass to move - and then 
ultimately to re-vibrate your strings.

Even I notice that when I grip the necks of my guitars a little more 
firmly it affects the efficiency of the transducer's ability to sustain 
the note - hence that is one reallly good way to subtly control the 
character of the sustaining feedback being produced.

Perhaps your lap steel (depending on its design and construction) is 
simply not a good candidate for using with an acoustic-driver type 
Sustainiac (Models B or C).

It may be that one of the "Stealth" type, pickup-based, Sustainiac Models 
would work better with your instrument.

But that would probably mean routing a new hole in to to fit in an extra 
pickup/driver (since most lap-steels have only just the one pickup) - not 
a good idea probably.

The prospects don't look good.

Without knowing more exactly what your instrument is like it is hard to 
tell how to advise you to proceed.

Does this help?


tEd ® kiLLiAn

"Different is not always better, but better is always different"

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---- Wavecomputer360 <wavecomputer360@gmx.de> wrote: 
> Hi all,
> I need some advice from you guitar players as I´m a novice to stringed 
>instruments. I have used quite a few lap steels in the past, but only 
>with an E-Bow. The thing I disliked about the E-Bow was its buzzing tone, 
>no matter how I placed it. It always tended to sound too "bluesy" for 
>what I had in mind. I´m more after that sweet, singing tone Robert Rich 
>coaxes from his lap steel. And that´s why I did this:
> I recently acquired a Sustainiac B model NOS which I mounted to my old 
>Guya Stringmaster (two single coils) lap steel. Unfortunately, the effect 
>of strumming strings which then start to resonate forever is rather 
>minuscule. I tried various placements of the transducer magnet and ended 
>up mounting it sideways near the tuning pegs. The only string that really 
>picks up vibration is the low E string, the rest hums very, very lightly, 
>but that´s it. I talked this issue over with Alan Hoover of Maniac 
>Music, and he pointed out that the placement of the transducer was okay. 
>He told me the following:
> "With a lapsteel, headstock mounting doesn't really accomplish anything 
>since you don't fret a lapsteel.  Energy must enter the strings through 
>the bridge.  I don't know what Robert does to accomplish this, because 
>this puts the transducer near the pickup.  You would have to provide some 
>kind of steel or aluminum extension to mount the transducer on, which 
>would simultaneously transfer the vibrations to the bridge, and keep the 
>transducer away from the pickup."
> Hm, what puzzles me is that I know of musicians who actually used their 
>Sustainiac with a lap steel guitar without any further modifications, and 
>the C Model pamphlet points out that it can also be mounted on a lap 
>steel. Can anybody on this list help me a little further? Does anybody 
>around here happen to have first-hand experince with that? I guess I´m 
>just too ignorant when it comes to guitars :-).
> Thanks in advance,
> Stephen.
> ____________________________________________________________
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