Sustainer For Guitars

Sustainer For Guitars: Should You Get A Sustainer For Your Guitar

Is there any sustainer for guitar? Can it be useful for guitar players? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a sustainer for guitar? If you are curious about guitar sustainers and planning to have one in the future, then you are now in the perfect place. We are going to have some discussions about guitar sustainers, and we are sure that we can help you in your decision-making about this one.

What Is A Guitar Sustainer

Is there any sustainer for guitar? What is that? A guitar sustainer is a specialized device or system that is designed to enhance the sustain or the length of time a note rings out on an electric guitar. It is a popular tool used by guitarists to achieve extended notes and create unique sounds.

The sustainer works by utilizing electromagnetic technology to control the vibration of the guitar strings. It consists of three main components: a driver, a feedback circuit, and a pickup. The driver generates a magnetic field that interacts with the strings, causing them to vibrate. The feedback circuit detects the string vibrations and sends a signal back to the driver, reinforcing the vibrations and sustaining the notes. The pickup captures the sustained sound and sends it to the amplifier.

One of the key benefits of a sustainer is its ability to create infinite sustain. With a sustainer engaged, a guitarist can hold a note indefinitely, allowing for expressive playing and the creation of atmospheric sounds. It opens up new possibilities for guitarists, enabling them to experiment with feedback, harmonic overtones, and controlled sustain.

Guitar sustainers are often used in various genres of music, including rock, metal, and experimental music. Guitarists such as Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and David Gilmour are known for incorporating sustainer systems into their playing, showcasing the unique sounds and extended note durations they can achieve.

While sustainer systems can be built into guitars, there are also standalone sustainer pedals available that can be added to existing instruments. These pedals offer convenience and versatility, allowing guitarists to experiment with sustain without modifying their guitars.

All in all, a guitar sustainer is a device or system that enhances sustain by utilizing electromagnetic technology. It allows guitarists to extend the duration of notes, experiment with feedback and harmonic overtones, and create unique sounds. Whether built into a guitar or added as a pedal, sustainers offer a valuable tool for guitarists seeking to explore new sonic possibilities.

What Are The Pros Of Using A Guitar Sustainer

What are the pros of using a sustainer for guitar? Using a guitar sustainer offers several advantages to guitarists, opening up new creative possibilities and enhancing their playing experience, and here are some of them:

Extended Sustain 

The primary benefit of a sustainer is the ability to achieve extended sustain on the guitar. It allows notes to ring out for a much longer duration, giving guitarists the opportunity to create ethereal, atmospheric sounds and explore new sonic territories. This can greatly enhance the expressiveness and emotional impact of their playing.

Infinite Sustain

Sustainers provide the option of infinite sustain, where a note can be held indefinitely. This is particularly useful for guitar solos or ambient passages, as it allows guitarists to sustain a note and build upon it, creating layers of sound or exploring harmonic overtones. It enables them to experiment with sustained feedback and create unique textures in their playing.

Feedback Control 

Sustainers offer control over feedback, allowing guitarists to harness the natural resonance of their instrument. They can manipulate the sustain and feedback to produce controlled, harmonically rich feedback effects. This can add depth and complexity to their playing, especially in genres like rock and experimental music.


Sustainers provide a versatile tool for guitarists. They can be used in various musical genres, ranging from rock and metal to ambient and experimental music. The sustained tones can create atmospheric soundscapes, add layers to chord progressions, or enhance lead guitar lines. The versatility of a sustainer encourages guitarists to explore different playing styles and experiment with unique sounds.

Expressive Playing 

By extending the duration of notes, sustainer systems allow guitarists to focus on expressiveness and phrasing. They can sustain notes for longer periods, emphasizing certain melodic or emotional elements in their playing. This heightened expressiveness can lead to more dynamic performances and greater control over the musical narrative.


Sustainers can be built into guitars or added as standalone pedals, offering flexibility to guitarists. Standalone sustainer pedals can be easily incorporated into an existing guitar setup, allowing players to switch between guitars without losing sustain capabilities. This flexibility enables guitarists to experiment with sustain on multiple instruments and adapt to different musical contexts.

What Are The Cons Of Using A Guitar Sustainer

While guitar sustainers offer numerous benefits, there are also a few potential drawbacks to consider. Here are some cons of using a sustainer for guitar:


Sustainer systems can be relatively expensive, especially high-quality built-in sustainer units or premium standalone pedals. This cost factor may be a deterrent for some guitarists, particularly those on a tight budget or beginners who are still exploring their playing style and preferences.

Installation And Modification 

If you opt for a built-in sustainer system, it typically requires installation by a professional luthier or guitar technician. This process may involve routing cavities in the guitar body and modifying the instrument. Not all guitars are compatible with sustainer installations, and some guitarists may be hesitant to modify their instruments, especially if they have valuable or vintage guitars.

Learning Curve 

Using a sustainer effectively requires some skill and understanding of its controls and parameters. Manipulating sustain and feedback can be a nuanced process that takes time to master. Guitarists need to experiment and practice to achieve desired results, such as controlling feedback and utilizing sustained notes in a musical and expressive manner.

Power Requirements 

Standalone sustainer pedals often require an external power supply, either through batteries or a power adapter. This adds complexity to the setup and increases the potential for technical issues related to power supply. Forgetting to replace batteries or dealing with power adapter failures during performances can be inconvenient and disrupt the playing experience.

Limited Application

While sustainers can add unique sonic capabilities to a guitarist’s toolkit, they may not be suitable for all musical styles. Some genres, such as acoustic folk or certain types of jazz, rely more on natural dynamics and do not necessarily benefit from extended sustain. Guitarists who predominantly play these genres may find that a sustainer is not a necessary addition to their rig.

Tonal Considerations

Sustainer systems can affect the overall tone of the guitar. While sustainers aim to extend the duration of notes, they can also slightly alter the natural resonance and timbre of the instrument. This alteration may be subtle or desirable in certain situations, but it may not be ideal for every guitarist seeking to preserve their instrument’s original tone.

So, should you have a sustainer for guitar? Having a guitar sustainer can help you a lot to become a better guitar player in the long run as it can improve your guitar tone while allowing you to be more expressive in your playing as before; however, there are still some disadvantages that come with that you should consider too.