Currently Being ModeratedDec 10, 2009 9:09 AM (in response to trouthead54)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
Yeah I like the idea, but not sure exactly what you mean.
Like put a sustainer on to drive the Variax piezo bridge - or to put a sustainer/mag pup set with the Variax?
I recently I bought a Fernandes Retro Rocket Elite and thought...oh boy, now I can finally do Fripp and Belew stuff...and true I can hold notes forever and get feedback instantly...I am very upset at how bad this thing sounds. It is a wonderful piece of workmanship but the Duncan hot rails sound like crap...I tinkered with setting it up and all brands of strings and finally paid for a pro set up. It has more "plink" than a Variax. Maybe it's my own fault thinking it would sound strat like but it comes no where close (had to buy online no stores had one to try out)...wish I could drive my 600 with the sustainer and get all the vax models and the infinite sustain/feedback.
Currently Being ModeratedDec 10, 2009 12:15 PM (in response to Hey_Joe)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
"wish I could drive my 600 with the sustainer and get all the vax models and the infinite sustain/feedback."
Apologies, I wasn't that clear in my original post - that what the one I've designed does (it is bespoke/custom made *for* the Variax). It uses the Variax's standard bridge piezos to feed a sustainer coil/cct I've put together.
As such, it just sustains the Variax preset sounds - infinitely (it generates no sounds of its own). Therefore if you like your Variax 'Sitar' sustained forever...then so be it!
The sustainer is only 5mm tall & is surface mount (therefore no routing of your Vax necessary)
The switches are 'touch' & require no drilling of your Variax's body.
Any other questions...fire away!
Currently Being ModeratedDec 11, 2009 5:16 PM (in response to trouthead54)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
this sounds very, very COOL!
how soon from "breadboard form, to a proper PCB"?
how much do you think you would sell them for?
any feedback controls planned? (like the 3 way switch?)
Currently Being ModeratedJun 4, 2010 6:13 AM (in response to Hey_Joe)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
Ok, just about there now!
Final spec for the custom Variax standalone sustainer unit I've made is like this...
Four micro tactile switches onboard - three of these switches are dedicated to switching in either 'normal' sustain mode, 'enhanced harmonic' mode or 'wild harmonic' mode respectively - the final 4th switch on the unit is a simple kill switch (which I thought would be a cool addition to Variax owners' sonic effects arsenal)
The sustain modes are self explanatory - normal mode, gives infinite sustain of your Variax in predominantly fundamental notes, switching to enhanced mode adds in a some second order harmonics (this is a very cool mode where it's possible to coax fantastic harmonics out of the note just by glancing/brushing the sustaining string with your finger)...the wild harmonics mode instantly turns your sustained note into crazy high harmonics (4x or 5x the actual note being played) ...it'll have all the dogs iny our neighbourhood going barking mad.
A sustain intensity knob (self explanatory)
I've made it with the simplest install in mind - I reckon about 5 minutes from beginning to end for most ...there is NO drilling, wiring up switches, installing pots knobs need
The sustainer unit is totally self contained & just slides under your Variax's strings near the bridge ....a totally uninvasive install
It all works great, but just presently condensing it down - should have an actual proto ready in about 2-3 weeks - I'll post up a video when I'm done.
Currently Being ModeratedJun 2, 2010 5:17 AM (in response to trouthead54)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
More electronics = more problems and more noise. One of the biggest positive attributes of the variax is the lack of magnetic pickups. This leads to no RF interferrience when I use it with my pod and much better sustain than the cheep guitar should be able to produce. I don't like the new line they all have traditional pickups and they will have suck sustain.
Currently Being ModeratedJun 2, 2010 5:35 AM (in response to davidjdriver)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
>> I don't like the new line they all have traditional pickups and they will have suck sustain.
Sounds like they could do with a sustainer ;-)
Currently Being ModeratedJun 9, 2010 4:13 AM (in response to trouthead54)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
sign me up . I imagine it'll look like an lp-style pickguard? that would look great on my 700...
Currently Being ModeratedJun 9, 2010 4:54 AM (in response to tapslore)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
At last someone else who thinks an easily installable sustainer (& as it turns out a 'harmonic exciter') made specifically for a Variax sounds like a good idea!
My immediate issuette is shoehorning the (late entry) extra kill switch in ...that's requiring a significant rejig of my pcb desgn. Oh & btw, it's not a scratchplate-esque solution - it'll be a simple (humbucker sized) control box that slides under the guitar strings near the Variax bridge - this control box has all the sustainer control switches/pots on it - so no drilling, routing necessary (my expectation is that'll it'll take the average person about 5-10 minutes to install)
Anyway, not too much longer now & I'll have a video (&/or piccies)
I should declare here, that I'm just a regular guy doing this in his spare time after I've put the kids to bed - I don't have access to mass production facilities ...I'm making all the associated key parts myself!
Currently Being ModeratedJun 9, 2010 7:28 AM (in response to trouthead54)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
better make a waiting list then. which would make me number one, yes?
btw, how is the system powered? does it require batteries or can it tap the power supply of the variax? plus, i know this is still early in development, but can you design a base that can fit the carved top of the 700?
those touch switches are genius stuff, although i'm not sure if i want that many led's lighting up my guitar. if the housing is black, it'll blend right into my Vax's black body, with only a single led to give folks aclue that this isn't an ordinary vax.
ah the possibilities...
Currently Being ModeratedJun 9, 2010 8:23 AM (in response to tapslore)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
The system is powered by the incoming supply from the stereo cable 1/4" (this is easiest achieved externally, by way of a short splitter cable from the Variax jack socket to the sustainer control unit), or if the user wanted a more permanent & aesthetically pleasing install with no external cabling on show - then power can be hooked up to the same supply source but within the guitar (but in this case, it'd need one hole drilling to get the power to the sustainer control box from the Variax's internal supply)
I don't own a 700 nor have I ever held/seen one in the flesh, so I don't know what body 'mounting' challenges that model presents - how curved is the body's surface directly under the strings at the bridge? BTW - the unit will be black
Whilst - as you've seen from my youtube vids - I'm a sucker for lots of twinkler LEDS, fortunately, I've shown some restraint here - so there is only one LED on the actual control unit (a tri colour LED to show you which harmonic 'mode' you're in).
A big challenge is getting the aesthetics right... I really started out on all this to make one just for myself, but I'm so pleased with the performance, I figured others might be interested - but at this stage I'm not about to start ordering bespoke enclosures by the hundreds (& costing $$$s) with only one person expressing an interest! So I'm adapting the nearest suitable generic enclosure to suit for now.
If I get a bit more interest (after people can actually see & hear what it is I have here), I'll consider having a bespoke enclosure made.
Currently Being ModeratedJun 9, 2010 12:12 PM (in response to trouthead54)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
For my first post on this forum i want to congratulate you, this is so freakin' cool!
I would defenitly be interested in such a device but i have few questions:
- as i'm using a Roland GK3 Pu on my vax 600, would it be a probleme to not be able to place the device rigtht next to the bridge?
- as i'm on a student budget, i must know the price befor being able to suscribe to any waiting list. Even an aproximation would be enough (will i have to sell my two legs?)
- would it be a probleme to sheap overseas? (i'm living in Belgium)
And that's it.
Hope my english is understandable
Once again, this is huge!
All the best ;-)
Currently Being ModeratedJun 9, 2010 1:12 PM (in response to Eamonn01)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
There are couple of reasons the control unit needs to go under the strings near the bridge (which I'll not go into right now) - that said it should be do-able to have your gk3 between the control unit & the bridge (I think the Gk3 pickup is only about 7-8mm wide ...right?)
Re the price...well, i'm not gonna kid you - these will take me a long time to make (& there's no economies of chinese scale at work here - it's just 'lil ole me grafting away to make all the somewhat labour intensive niche components needed to put one of these together)....these really will be handmade in the UK - & by me! To buy a bog std guitar sustainer here in the UK costs about £150-£200 + shipping .....& even though what I'm making is very niche, I don't expect anyone to sell a kidney ...so my selling price will be in that ballpark (at the lower end of that bracket to reward early buyers who place their confidence with me - but seriously at that lower end price level there'd probably be more money in me flipping burgers, hence I'll need to increment the price once I've got some favourable vibe going down!).
Shipping to Belgium will be no problem.
there is no actual waiting list because I'm not fully geared up to roll these out yet (but believe me each night I'm working feverishly on this aspect). - i wouldn't dream of setting up a waiting list until I'm 100% confident I can deliver on buyers' expectations.
when it's ready, I'll post up a video so you can see upfront what you can expect (both aesthetically, functionality & performance wise) ....I think it's a great device, but have no idea whether it'll be popular amongst the Variax community - I hope so (but the lack of posting activity on this thread suggests not!)
Currently Being ModeratedJun 9, 2010 5:31 PM (in response to trouthead54)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
they'll come around eventually, especially if you show that video of that coral sitar model sustaining for about 10 seconds. although given the buzz surrounding the new-gen Vax, you might want to make a thinline Gk3-type model that'll fit right next to the neck pu of those Tyler's.
btw, i'm from the Philippines (an hour's flight from Hong Kong), so it won't get any easier to ship it to me either. but if it works as advertised, i'd definitely buy it for the price of a typical fernandes/sustainiac unit (although an early bird discount would certaily be welcome).
Currently Being ModeratedAug 12, 2010 4:37 AM (in response to tapslore)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
Just to update any of you who still hold a passing interest in a dedicated surface/body mount Variax sustainer - I'm now onto my fifth - & hopefully final - PCB variant! (the somewhat slow progress is becuase this isn't my day job, so I only have time to work on it after putting the kids to bed etc....etching PCBS at 11.30pm anyone?!!)
This latest version has *four* modes (I decided to separate out the 'manual mode'....this needed some extra circuitry & hence a PCB reshuffle) ...
1. normal (fundamental) sustain.
2. 2nd/3rd order harmonics
3. 4th/5th order harmonics
4. Manual harmonics (needs an element of player skill but basically allows you to coax out different sustained harmonics depending on where you manually interact with the string)
There's also a Variax kill switch (momentary press/release) integrated into the unit.
This puppy can turn your polite Variax into an unrestrained shred-tastic monster!
I'll be populating the PCB over the next few days...then testing thoroughly - if all goes well, I'll try to get a video posted up sometime over the next couple of weeks.
Currently Being ModeratedAug 12, 2010 4:31 AM (in response to trouthead54)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
It sounds really exciting, i'm looking forward to see it in action ;-)
Currently Being ModeratedOct 18, 2010 5:06 PM (in response to Eamonn01)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
Update? Lol, Only that I haven't lost the thread of the plot - just a case of modern life getting in the way! (like I say, this isn't my day job!)
I was bit naughty & set off down some self intrigued sustainer 'what if' lines of sustainer exploration (all very interesting/exciting ...but will probably hold back on those developments for now).
I'm parking those lines of exploration down & coming back to the bread & butter offering!
To prove I'm not just a wind up merchant (& have the goods in the pipeline!), here's me dabbling tonight (warning very rough and ready!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0iyIV-nWSk (note: just a proto design still, the end result won't look anything lioke you might see in it)
The first part of the video, was just to illustrate how strong the sustain really is - no plucking required...the second part of the video - whilst it comes across as unstructured 'noise (it is - becuase I was randomly hitting notes/strings!) '...what you actually see (to my knowledge) ...is unique, in that a sustainer will not normally allow tapped harmonics to ring out & sustain (the dominant fundamental or harmonics will quickly overcome any tapped harmoni)c. Well, I've hit upon a way that will allow a guitarist to tap a harmonic & it'll hang in there...this is pretty cool, because wrt 'harmonic modes' on sustainers - they default to a harmonic of their own, makes you a bystander vs a participant!
but anyway...back on topic....truthfully, I'm a little overwhelmed with proper (!) work right now - & I'm travelling abroad for the whole of December, so it's not likely to be before that trip....not immediately after (back early Jan). I'm loathe to give any estimates, becuase I know to my cost how much of let down when the dates aren't hit...but rest assured I've not gone off the boil on this!
Currently Being ModeratedOct 25, 2010 11:00 PM (in response to trouthead54)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
GET ON WITH IT!!!
(seriously, can't wait. great video.)
Currently Being ModeratedNov 28, 2010 4:56 PM (in response to trouthead54)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
Yes, I could be interested. Any updates on hardware and price?
Currently Being ModeratedNov 29, 2010 6:26 AM (in response to corvette1)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
>>Yes, I could be interested. Any updates on hardware and price?
Here's what I said in my last update...
" I'm a little overwhelmed with proper (!) work right now - & I'm travelling abroad for the whole of December, so it's not likely to be before that trip....not immediately after (back early Jan). I'm loathe to give any estimates, because I know to my cost how much of let down when the dates aren't hit...but rest assured I've not gone off the boil on this! "
I've bolded the bit that's most prevelant right now - ie about to travel abroad for a month! (& nothing else has changed from that above paragraph)
One other issue-ette that's surfaced since posting, is that one major component I use in my associated circuit is in very short supply - & it's not being restocked anywhere until January (it seems the IC manafacturer - Microchip - failed to gauge demand for their new line of products!). So I'm hoping to secure some in mid January, which ties in nicely with my return from abroad.
Re price....well, here's the predicament.
Firstly, these take a whole heap of time to make ...read majorly 'labour intensive'! I'm not about to gear up & lock into economies of scale until I have a better feel for the demand...so the first few will be sold handmade (by yours truly!)...& as such the aesthetics/ finish won't be what you'd get if mass producing (but there again it won't be awful!)....it'll perform great though!
So for the early adopters, I propose a trade - the upside is that you get a unique Variax sustainer for a price that nowhere near reflects the amount of time I spend making them (& may be one of just a few ever made - a piece of history, lol), but the 'finishing' will be be average/ok ...the upside for me, is that can test the market (& placate my wife with the fruits of my toil, she hasn't seen much of her hubby in the evenings of late!)
The price for early adopters would be somewhere in or around £140 .....not sure how this hangs with prospective customers, but the major win here is that you'll be able to fit my sustainer yourself...I reckon it should only takes 5-10 mins...no routing or complicated switching involved (whereas normally with sustainers, you have to pay a guitar tech for a day to fit!)...so a major cost saving there.
Did I mention this thing will blow your mind? ;-)
Currently Being ModeratedDec 10, 2010 10:02 AM (in response to trouthead54)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
I'm sitting here with time on my hands (abroad until January) & dabbling with the associated schematic .......probably not enough people following this thread to judge, but for those that are .....would there be any interest in making this thing 'auto violin'.
Let me explain...you know how guitarists use the volume control to immitate a violin ....ie by removing the attack of the plucked string (normally by wrapping their little finger around the volume knob!). Well, it wouldn't be that difficult to build auto violining into this device......pluck the string soft, you get a very slow attack building up from zero to full swell/sustain, pluck the string harder, you get more attack (but still have some fade in)...the unit does it all automatically - a nice bonus if going this way, would be a 'kill switch' type feature.
Currently Being ModeratedDec 10, 2010 4:29 PM (in response to trouthead54)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
This could be a verry cool feature but if you ad that to the sustainer, will it still be possible to bypass that "violin effect"? I'm very excited about that device, can't wait to see (and ear) more about it.
Currently Being ModeratedDec 10, 2010 5:09 PM (in response to Eamonn01)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
Yes, of course it'd be possible to deselect/bypass :-)
I'm thinking here (space permitting ...and I'm working to very tight space constraints), shoehorning in a dedictated button - press it quickly, it's a 'kill switch' effect, press & hold down for a say second or so, you enter 'auto violining' mode (the 'attack' of the effect, being how hard you strike the Variax strings)...to come out of auto violining mode, you press/hold down the same button again.
The cool thing about mating such an 'auto violining' feature with something like a sustainer, is that if it's integrated well, the variax guitar output could be silent, yet the strings can be going hell for leather, which ought to make for a very pleasing a strong overall effect.
Anyway, I'm opting to use smaller components here & there (where feasible), which might free up enough space to fit this extra funky feature in.
Currently Being ModeratedFeb 23, 2011 7:19 AM (in response to trouthead54)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
A quick update.....
Been abroad for all of December, when I returned my house was flooded (leak in our attic due the Arctic-esque weather the UK had back then)...sorted that (huge) mess now - the builders are in as I type - back onto this project, here's the latest (quasi-final!) spec...
1. Sustainer dedicated for Variax
2. The design now includes an integrated custom full bandwidth, low impedance, balanced, single coil MAGNETIC pickup (which is in part the reason for the delay - I designed/made this one). Yes that's right...for all those who bemoan the lack of a magnetic pickup on their Variax...there's one bundled in here for you!
3. Kill switch (for the onboard mag pickup)
Likely to be an 'Auto violiner' (ie for the onboard mag coil pickup - but might be able to get this to work on the Variax output too) - ie you pluck a string the initial attack of the pluck is removed & strings fades in (sounds like it has been bowed)
It will all be surface mountable (affixes to your Variax under the strings) - so no drilling or routing involved thereby defacing your Variax! Everything will fit in about 5 minutes!
Just to manage your expectations....this is not a big setup here - it's just me in fact - I'm a one man band & therefore I'll initially be making every part of these (bobbins, pickups, driver coils, PCB, programming - even the enclosure I have to make!) ...& in my spare time after the kids have gone to bed (I have a proper day job!), so even when I'm ready to roll, they'll be rolled out in low numbers (unless Line6 wants to get involved ;-) !!)
Currently Being ModeratedMar 31, 2011 10:48 PM (in response to trouthead54)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
The Killswitch ideia sounds great!
So, have you done new progress?
i was going to buy a fernandes sustainer kit and a pickup for my variax 700, then i just found this tread here, will the sustainer includes a harmonic mode too?
when you'll be selling it and for how much?
Cheers from brazil!
Currently Being ModeratedNov 20, 2012 2:55 PM (in response to trouthead54)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
Over a year later, but I'm curious if you're still making these?
I'm extremely interested in having my variax modded with a sustainer. The only thing I'm curious about is my main interest is in the artificial feedback aspect of the sustainer, even more than the "violin" suistain.
Currently Being ModeratedNov 24, 2012 9:30 AM (in response to bifurcation)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
just found this link. looks really cool. i just ordered a jtv-89 and would love a sustainer in it but don't want to route or add knobs or switches. maybe this is the way?
Currently Being ModeratedJan 11, 2013 10:56 PM (in response to trouthead54)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
Very awesome work. I always wanted cool features on my guitars. I fell in love with the infinite sustainer concept years ago, and then fell in love with the Variax concept. The Variax got my attention way more though, but I wondered if you could put a sustainer on the Variax. I saw a video of a custom guitar with both a variax and sustainer, but I didn't know if he could activate both.
So on topic, this is really impressive and I have to say great job! I wonder how it sounds with the sitar and banjo, since the banjo model models the sustain of the strings I believe.
Currently Being ModeratedFeb 19, 2013 3:14 PM (in response to trouthead54)Re: Any interest in a dedicated custom Variax sustainer kit?
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Let me know if you're still working on this and if you are ready to produce kits for sale....
I have a 700 and love it, but to have one with a built in sustainer would be a dream come true for me, as a performer in a prog rock band
Hope to hear from you...