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I picked up a Reverend Reeves Gabrels Sustainiac, being a Steve Hackett fan and also a fan of Gabrels solo albums, I’ve wanted for quite some time a guitar equipped with a Sustainiac system. The color is Powder Yellow, medium chunky neck roughly 0.85” - 094” at the 1st and 12th frets, roasted maple neck, locking tuners, Railhammer signature bridge pickup, Wilkinson trem and a bass contour knob are a few of the many features.

The guitar feels great, resonant and the roasted maple neck adds to the playability. I also own a Reverend Airwave 12 string that is quite nice and this Gabrels sig does not disappoint as well. Plugged in, the guitar is very versatile especially with the bass contour knob which can add fatness to cleaner tone applications. I’m mighty impressed with what it can do and it has exceeded my expectations as a stand alone guitar but…….it’s all about the Sustainiac!

I did the following clip at low volumes and the sustain and feedback at will is a joy. The Sustainiac has three modes; fundamental mode allows a note or a chord to sustain and the harmonic mode does the high/octave notes. There is a mix mode which does a bit of both which I didn’t do in the clip. I hung onto notes (and a chord) a bit longer to show the swells and feedback while I switched between the bridge and sustainiac.



Fun guitar, plays and sounds great and when I used the neck pup on its own and adjusting the bass contour knob, iI was getting a great clean tone. Gig ready guitar.

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'59 LP Junior & Danocaster T
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Very cool. I haven't played many new Reverends, but the ones I've tried have been seriously quality instruments that played and sounded excellent. As a slight aside.. I had some time recently with a Schecter SVSS PT (Tele style) with a Sustainiac... they are tons of fun! HNGD!

W.
 

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Congrats, cool guitar.

Sustainers are a fun feature, I've had a couple of Fernandes with them, still own one.
Reverends punch above their weight and price tag, good value for the buck imo.
 

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Very nice.
Sustainer pickups need to be near the middle of the string's length, such that "maximum wiggle" can be easily induced. Theoretically, one could have a dual coil bridge pickup with one coil being the sustainer, but the string is stiffer as one approaches the bridge and would require a LOT more energy to induce continued vibration. One would probably need to use an 8-pack of AA batteries onboard to get reasonable Sustainiac lifespan. Mounted nearest the fingerboard, those things can run off a 9V battery just fine.

The DIY ones essentially use a headphone amp chip driving a speaker-impedance coil wrapped around a ferro-magnetic rail. The guitar signal is tapped from the output and fed to the amp chip and instead of pushing a voice-coil and cone back and forth, te string is pulled back and forth by the fluctuating magnetic force of the coil around the blade/rail. It is operating just like those electro-magnets you used to make in Grade 6 by wrapping insulated wire around a nail, and hooking it up to a battery. Except, where that was being driven by DC from the battery, the coil in the Sustainiac is being driven by amplified AC, such that the magnetic "tug" alternates.

I really have to try making one again. More than enough resources online to do so.
 

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This may be a dumb question, but is there a similarity between the E-bow technology and these sustainers?
 

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This may be a dumb question, but is there a similarity between the E-bow technology and these sustainers?
Not at all a dumb question, and I'm sure one that has been asked in music stores, and to dealers who sell Reverend or other Sustainiac products, all the time,

The answer is yes and no. Yes, because E-Bows also provide a magnetic tug that can hold a string in vibrating mode, without decay. No, because the Sustainiac is tied to the guitar signal itself, so it is more frequency-selective. Remember, the coil in the (sustainer) pickup is behaving as if it were a speaker, being driven by the guitar. Normally, you'd get feedback by playing a guitar close enough to a loud amp that the body itself, and any microphonic pickups, would begin to resonate at some frequency or frequencies that "stick out" more than others. E-Bows are not frequency-selective in that way. Technically you can sustain a chord and simply slide it up or down the fretboard, and the E-Bow doesn't care; it just makes the strings vibrate and wherever you happen to fret is where you happen to fret. As with "normal" amp-to-guitar feedback, if you play some strings softly, you won't get any sustain. It's only if you feed the amp something loud enough that it will vibrate the guitar at that pitch that you will get the sustaining feedback. Sustainiacs rely on receiving a strong enough guitar signal that the coil will exaggerate string vibration at that pitch.

The TC Electronics Aeon Sustainer strikes a sort of compromise, by working like an E-Bow, but being narrower in its "tug/excitation field", such that it can be applied to individual strings. So, not explicitly tied to the guitar signal itself, as a Sustainiac is, but able to be roughly as frequency-selective. I think the major difference lies in the physical implementation. Devices you have to hold in order to use obligate a different approach to picking and phrasing than something which simply resides under the strings and responds to picking this way or that. There are advantages to being able to "hold" strings, but advantages to NOT having to hold a device.

Make sense?

 

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Congrats! Sustainers are pretty sweet - I'm still thinking about grabbing a used Ed O'brien strat for that...
 
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I Too Am a Hackett fan! I always appreciate when you sneak in the Howe and Hackett.
Beautiful guitars and deserving owner.
 
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