longer sustain

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by z4knerd, Oct 5, 2004.

  1. z4knerd


    Jul 1, 2004
    in this song i play sometimes w/ my band, theres a part where we hit a note and let it ring - but after a while it dies out before we get to the next part. Is there any way to increase sustain so the ringing tone holds out longer? thanks
  2. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
  3. Ozzyman


    Jul 21, 2004
    Change your bridge, get new strings, get a bass with neck thru and string thru construction., new nut,and maybe an adjustment to string height and/or action
  4. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Hey, I didn't know that. Is string-thru construction well known to be a better sustain design?


  5. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Debatable. Some people notice a difference, others don't. There are probably too many other variables.

    I would say that strings would play the most important role. Rounds generally have more sustain than flats. I have some Dean Markley flats that have no sustain at all, even new.

    Also, don't pluck too hard. Plucking hard gives you a good attack but kills sustain.
  6. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    When I want increased sustain of a fretted note, I use a fast (well, fairly fast) left hand vibrato. That seems to help.

    I try to keep the pitch variance as small as possible while moving the tip of my finger pretty fast.

    Hope that makes sense.

    Good luck.
  7. There are two other techniques to extend your sustain on a note. One is to hit the note and as it decays turn up your volume very slowly to continue the note. You obviously need to not have your guitar volume all the way up before you pluck. The second is one I use quite a bit and can allow long term sustain but it takes a little practice. If after you pluck the note you can take the fleshy part of your thumb and other finger pads and rapidly tap either the bridge or the wood around the bridge to keep the sustain going. If you tap too hard or slow you get thumps, but if you tap gently and quickly you can not only sustain but swell the volume in and out. Good luck!
  8. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Hey - maybe you can stand right up to your amp and get acoustic feedback. Remember that 'one-note guy' on the Goverment Mule video? -he didn't even have to go up to his amp! Sustainnnnnnnnn!

  9. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    +1. Pluck lightly and deploy left-hand vibrato as necessary.

    Also pluck so that the string is set in motion in a plane parallel to the top of the body. If you pluck otherwise, you may cause the string to contact the fretboard along its vibrating length - another sustain killer.

    Additional sustain tricks and doodads:

    1. Fret the note with your left hand, mute the unused strings, and tap the body of the instrument with the right hand or fingers to keep the note going. It works if you tap just quickly and lightly enough to keep the note going; if you tap too hard, you'll start to hear individual attacks and the illusion of sustain is lost.

    2. Stand so that the bass is facing your speaker cabs. This is the classic "infinite sustain/controlled feedback" trick. Warning: attempt this at very low volumes and modest EQ settings, and make only minute adjustments until the desired effect is achieved. Switch off the amp immediately if uncontrollable feeback occurs. Failure to adhere to these guidelines *will* result in equipment damage or failure.

    3. Volume knob or pedal.

    4. E-bow.
  10. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
  11. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    I would say it's your set up. The thing I noticed while fiddling with my bridge when I move the saddle it affects how my string vibrates. I try to move the saddle to get the most vibration and also making sure when I hit the string open and on the 12th fret to a tuner the string still registers in tune and looks the same on my tuner.
  12. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    Brass Nut
    Brass Bridge
    P Bass
    Dimarzio Pickups
    Roundwound strings
    Monster Cables
  13. Left hand vibrato works for me.