The Canadian Guitar Forum banner
1 - 20 of 77 Posts

Registered
Joined
1,915 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In a recent article I came across, Paul Reed Smith says:

"A great electric guitar is harmonically rich and bright on the low strings, thick-sounding on the high strings, and rings about 45 seconds," Smith told Guitarist. "A very poor electric guitar is bassy on the low strings, tinny on the high strings, and rings for about 16 seconds. No pickup is going to fix that!"

I'm guessing he means unplugged? A casual test of a few of my guitars revealed about 16 seconds of sustain when I strum a chord (not an open chord). Open string, sure a bit longer, but not 45 seconds.

I guess my guitars have shitty unamplified sustain. Oh well. It's a good thing I have amps, then. 馃榿
 

Registered
Joined
2,801 Posts
Thank's to share Grab n Go

Here the complet article;
__

Paul Reed Smith explains exactly what makes a great electric guitar 鈥 including the exact amount of time it should sustain


By Jackson Maxwell( Guitarist )Contributions from Jamie Dickson published about 13 hours ago

Tone, the master guitar builder says, "is a complicated equation"
As part of its new, tone-themed issue
, Guitarist sat down for a chat with someone who knows a couple of things about good guitar tone, Paul Reed Smith.

Last year, Smith made waves with his comments on tonewoods 鈥 he vehemently disagrees with the notion that they have little to no effect on a guitar's sound 鈥 and expounded to Guitarist about how tonewood factors into a guitar's tonal equation.
Along the way, he offered his view about what makes for a great-sounding electric guitar in general, what makes for a bad-sounding one, and the exact 鈥 and we do mean exact 鈥 amount of time an electric should sustain.

A great electric guitar is harmonically rich and bright on the low strings, thick-sounding on the high strings, and rings about 45 seconds," Smith told Guitarist

. "A very poor electric guitar is bassy on the low strings, tinny on the high strings, and rings for about 16 seconds. No pickup is going to fix that!"

The master guitar maker was responding to a question centered on the theory he'd previously gone on record disputing 鈥 that only pickups can alter a guitar's tone, with tonewoods factoring little into the final sound.

At the end of the day, Smith says, tone "is a complicated equation that tonewoods are a part of."

To read Guitarist's full interview with Smith 鈥 which features plenty more of the PRS head honcho's tonal wisdom 鈥 pick up a copy of the April issue of the mag at Magazines Direct
 

Registered
Joined
20,199 Posts
I had a bit more respect for Paul Reed Smith's take on things. He has now lost a few points on my respect radar.
 
  • Like
Reactions: elburnando

Premium Member
Joined
23,587 Posts
I haven't measured but sustain is not a problem.

I can't remember a guitar I have had in my almost 50 years of playing that caused me concern due to a lack of sustain.

It would have had to be a serious pig and I guess I wouldn't have bought it. Certainly none of the ones I have built had a problem with sustain.

It's a big old nothing burger IMO.
 

Registered
Joined
20,199 Posts
I wonder where he gets the 45 second thing. I don't know if I've ever heard an acoustic sustain the long and while I haven't tested very many electrics unplugged, none that I have, even came close to that. Maybe he is using some instrument that records sound way below what registers in human ears.

Playability is still the most important thing when playing any instrument. If you want sustain, there are ways to get that without having your guitar do it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Grab n Go

Monster Replier
'97 Strat Plus, '22 LP Studio
Joined
7,249 Posts
Ok, all you PRS guys give us the results of your sustain tests please.
Exactly. PRS had just turned himself into click bait and while it is working wonders, it is particularly shameful.
 

Registered
Joined
1,915 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes unplug.

Wich of your guitars revealed 16 seconds of sustain ?
And wich ones are 45 seconds ?
It was a small random sample: Fender EJ Strat, Ibanez AZ and a Kiesel Zeus 7. One non-floating trem, one floating trem and one headless hardtail. The one thing they all have in common is a 25.5" scale length.

For a non-open chord, they were all around 16 seconds. At least as far as I could hear. There's no way any of them could sustain unplugged for 45 seconds.

I can't remember a guitar I have had in my almost 50 years of playing that caused me concern due to a lack of sustain.
Right? It's not exactly something I ever think about.

If I need longer sustain on a note, then that's what vibrato is for.
 

Registered
Joined
1,915 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok, all you PRS guys give us the results of your sustain tests please.
Yes, I'm very curious now.

It does make me wonder if scale length plays a part. But according to PRS, the best vintage guitars he's played have that quality. That includes Fender and Gibson.

It comes across as cork-sniffing to me. Regardless, I still have a lot of respect for PRS and for his designs and work (both guitar and non-guitar related).
 

Monster Replier
'97 Strat Plus, '22 LP Studio
Joined
7,249 Posts
It comes across as cork-sniffing to me
It is just publicity. I wasn't talking about PRS this morning until this came up. Now we are :)

If we are speaking of simple vibration, my Alder, heavily painted heavy poly strat plus goes for about a minute so there goes that theory.
 

Registered
Joined
1,915 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It is just publicity. I wasn't talking about PRS this morning until this came up. Now we are :)

If we are speaking of simple vibration, my Alder, heavily painted heavy poly strat plus goes for about a minute so there goes that theory.
I'll have to test some of my heavier instruments. But I doubt it'll be any better.

Maybe my ears have a hard stop at 16 sec. (I'll use that excuse the next time I'm accused of not listening.)
 

Monster Replier
'97 Strat Plus, '22 LP Studio
Joined
7,249 Posts
I'll have to test some of my heavier instruments. But I doubt it'll be any better.

Maybe my ears have a hard stop at 16 sec. (I'll use that excuse the next time I'm accused of not listening.)
Audibly, I think every thing I have here stops around that time. My house is silent right now and if I pretend to hear it, you can almost hear the sound. Vibrations though, well that is easier to gauge.

The whole thing is just silly.
 

Registered
Joined
2,792 Posts
I don't care about acoustic sustain either, but I did a little test anyway. Strummed open strings an put my ear to the body of the guitar. My chambered and solid LPs went between 35 and 38 seconds, My SG and PRS 30. My tinnitus could very well falsify this scientific approach though.

Resting the butt of the guitar against a door jamb or a wall will reveal similar results. Unless the electric baseboard kicks in with its own sustain.
 
1 - 20 of 77 Posts
Top