Sustainer VI Fretless Guitar

(WIP) Fretless guitar project with built in polyphonic sustainers

After building stuff and making music for so many years I finally felt like I should try building a guitar. In the process I tried to incorporate as many dumb and interesting ideas as I could and decided on making a fretless bass VI style guitar (tuned EADGBE but an octave lower than a normal guitar) with a built in sustainer (ebow?) so it can sound like its being bowed and do volume swells and other sounds that wouldn’t be possible with a normal guitar. 

Note: This guitar was built as a personal project at home with very limited tools. Basic hand tools, a drill, and a 3D printer for the most part.

Scale Length30"
TuningEADGBE (octave down from standard)
StringsFlatwound .025 - .085
NeckModified 4 string fretless bass neck
Body CenterDiecast aluminum box
Body SidesWooden dowel, 3D printed parts
Sustainer Drivers3D printed bobbins, neodymium magnets, 32awg wire
PickupSplit and modified noname humbucker, 43awg wire
BridgeAdjustable saddles, 3D printed base
What is a sustainer?

The sustainer is a device that causes the strings to vibrate without the player having to pluck the strings. It works similar to a speaker, but instead of moving a speaker cone, it is moving the strings to produce sound. The signal sent to the sustainer is the sound received from the pickup on the same string. This creates a feedback loop which allows the sustainer to go up in volume or fade in if desired as opposed to typical guitar playing where the notes can only fade out. Additionally, the sustainer can be wired backwards to put it out of phase which will then create harmonics. 

Prototyping Photos
Sustainer Working Proof of Concept Videos