The SUSTAINIACâ "Stealth PRO Ô " electromagnetic-type sustainer



We are strongly pushing these new "AUX-BOARDS" for many new installations. Click on the link to this new page of the Sustainiac website. Most of our customers prefer toggle controls, and also push-pull for ON/OFF and toggle for Harmonic mode. The new Aux boards accomplish this with greatly simplified installation process, at a cost option of $10.00. The amount of labor saved and consistency of sustainer performance more than justifies this cost add-on. In fact we are so overwhelmed with back-orders on full installations and Semi-Installations that we would like for our customers to give very strong consideration to this new option.

Scroll down the page, or use the topic headings to jump down to the various topics. Then, use your browser "BACK" button to return to the TABLE OF CONTENTS.


ABOUT YOUR GUITAR Things you need to tell us when you order.
Troubleshooting info
Magnetic tab adjustment for Strats

A list of DETAILED TOPIC/INSTALLATION DRAWING LINKS is contained near the bottom of this page, including pages that detail actual installation drawings, specific guitar types, details about Sustainiac control options, PDF file of the owner's manual, a PDF about guitar controls (how they work), etc.


Squeals (oscillates)

Doesn't squeal


  1. THE MAIN THING TO SEE is that the wiring in the RE-DONE INSTALLATION picture is much neater than the IMPROPER picture. The wires are much shorter. Also they are carefully routed to minimize crosstalk.
  2. The Sustainiac circuit board in the IMPROPER picture is oriented BACKWARDS from our hookup diagrams. You ALWAYS want the 8-PIN CONNECTOR to be close to the pickup selector switch. That is the right-angle connector near the left side of the "RE-DONE INSTALLATION" photo.
  3. If you don't do that, then the white and orange wires of the 8-pin connector will have to extend a long way to reach the pickp selector switch as shown in the IMPROPER INSTALLATION photo.
  4. The white/orange wires both carry bridge pickup signal. They are high-impedance, and therefore can easily "pick up" high level Sustainiac signals from the circuit board and other SIGNAL RADIATOR wires. This creates "CROSSTALK". This results in UNCONTROLLED OSCILLATION (SQUEALING).
  5. Notice the violet/gray twisted pair in the FIXED INSTALLATION photo. It has been moved to the top side of the photo, well away from all guitar signal wires, controls etc. The violet/gray pair are SIGNAL RADIATOR wires. By moving them away from pickup wires wires and contacts, the violet/gray wire pair cannot cause crosstalk.


SUSTAINIAC WEBSITE MAP: The overall site map is at the very bottom of each page, including the ORDER FORM, our email address, phone number, shipping address etc.


    A list of INSTALLATION OPTIONS AND DETAILS is shown at the bottom of this page. Links to PDF installation drawings of specific guitar models are shown, as is a PDF copy of the installation manual.

    But first, read the following few paragraphs for an installation overview.

    The Sustainiac Stealth PRO sustain system is a retrofit sustainer for existing electric guitar. The installation requires substantial rewiring of the guitar electronics cavity. For most installations, no routing or drilling of the guitar electronics cavity is required if you use the standard two PUSH-PULL POT/SWITCH controls for ON/OFF and for Harmonic Mode that are supplied with the kit. If you choose the optional TOGGLE-SWITCH controls to control the Sustainiac, you will likely have to drill holes in the guitar body. If you are familiar with electronics assembly, soldering, and following wiring diagrams, you can likely handle the installation. It is much more difficult than, say, replacing a pickup or volume control. Many guitar technicians can handle the installation, but many call us for help. An excellent woodworker isn't necessarily equipped to handle an electronic wiring job of this complexity. Know your technician before letting him/her take this project on. It will usually take between 3 and 10 hours, depending on the guitar model and the experience of the installer and the guitar type. Pickguard guitars take longer. Parker Flys take many hours.

    Alternatively, you can have Maniac Music do your installation. We will totally install the system into your guitar for approximately $125- $175, depending on the guitar type. We charge extra for routing. For instance, if you want us to install the optional battery case ($16.00), we charge $25.00 to route the cavity for this.


There are several things you must consider when planning a Stealth PRO installation. Each kit shipment is somewhat custom, based on your particular guitar type. Our kits are not "one size fits all" because guitars are not "one size fits all".

Read the following list, and determine what you need for your particular guitar. These choices are listed on the order form. You will need to make the proper choices to get the proper parts assortment and hookup drawing in your kit. Then, after you have reviewed everything, you should visit our ORGANIZE YOUR ORDER page when you think you are about ready to place an order. You can print this page, and use it for your guide. It allows you to list and outline your installation plan, and it makes it easier to navigate the Order Form.

  • DRIVER SIZE AND COLOR: The Sustainiac driver replaces your neck pickup. The driver becomes an active neck pickup when the sustainer is OFF. The driver is available in two sizes (HB and SC) and two colors (black and white). The Sustainiac driver photo shows the options. The SC-size drivers can be ordered with either woodscrew mounting (for guitars having no pickguard or mounting rings) or threaded, for use on guitars with pickguards.
    NOTE: The HB size driver and the SC size are IDENTICAL. The only difference is that the HB driver is mounted onto a HB-size baseplate. A plastic "dummy" cover is then attached to the driver to fill up the cavity in order to fill up the spqace.
  • CONTROLS: The standard kit comes with controls for ON/OFF and Harmonic Mode. You can choose both as push-pull, or optional toggle switches for either or both controls at no extra cost. Or, choose other unusual and useful options. Some of these involve rather exotic ideas, such as a one-lever, 5-position Superswitch control for the sustainer, or even a single lever control for both the guitar AND the Sustainiac. Visit the SUSTAINIAC CONTROLS page for a detailed look at the options.
  • MOUNTING THE 9-VOLT BATTERY (There are 3 choices, or you might go for the optional ac-line powered 9-volt supply.) Go to the following page for this info: BATTERY MOUNTING AND OTHER POWER SUPPLY OPTIONS


  1. Any guitar with more than 24 frets: Use another guitar. The space between the bridge pickup and Sustainiac driver is quite small. This creates magnetic crosstalk between driver and bridge pickup, resulting in uncontrolled oscillation. This means that you have to turn the sustainer gain down to stop the resulting oscillation. Sustainer performance suffers so much that you might as well not even have a sustainer. We need 3 inches MINIMUM spacing between bridge pickup and Sustainiac driver (measured center-to-center). 3.5 inches is even better.
  2. Placing the driver in the middle pickup position: The problem is the space thing again, between driver and bridge pickup.
  3. Any guitar with a slanted neck pickup. Use another guitar. The slant will compromise the magnetic balance between the Sustainiac driver and the bridge pickup. You have to turn down the sustainer gain so much to stop the resulting oscillation that you might as well not even have a sustainer.
  4. Telecasters with single-coil bridge pickup. Use another guitar. The extreme slant of the bridge pickup will compromise the magnetic balance between the Sustainiac driver and the bridge pickup. Use of the magnetic-balance tab will not fully correct this. Harmonic mode will generally not be very good. But, Tele's with a humbucker bridge pickup works out fine, even mini-humbuckers with the slanted cavity.
  5. Guitars with multiple cavities. There should be one cavity large enough to hold the guitar controls, the Sustainiac circuit board, and also the 2 Sustainiac controls. Some people want to put the board in with the main guitar controls, then add another cavity to contain the controls or Aux board. This makes the wiring very tedious and complex. It also makes wiring crosstalk more likely, which causes uncontrolled squealing and distortion in the output signal. If you insist on separating the Sustainiac controls or Aux board from the main guitar controls, then enlarge the control cavity so that everything is inside a big cavity..
  6. Incompatible bridge pickups: Our "bilateral" driver design works great with most common bridge pickup designs, including most active pickups (such as EMG, Fishman Fluence, etc.). Some bridge pickup designs are not compatible and cannot be successfully used. Good magnetic cancellation is not possible, and sustainer performance will be compromised. Novel new pickup designs continue to be developed by clever people. Some are not compatible. This is no criticism of the quality of these pickups. It is merely a statement of how well the Sustainiac will work with these pickup types used to furnish the input signal to the Sustainiac.

      Examples of INCOMPATIBLE bridge pickups:

    • Offset pickups, like G&L Commanche, or "P"-bass type pickup. (Some of these are concealed by a permanently-attached plastic top. The only way to tell is to use a permanent magnet to determine its polepiece configuration.) The Duncan "Vintage Rails" is a split pickup with this type of appearance.
    • Neo-Vin model Neo-9 neodymium pickups (which looks like a normal single-coil or stacked design pickup, until you remove the cover and see a dual rail design with non-magnetic "dummy" polepiece arrangement attached).
    • Lace "Alumitone". This is an offset design. It kind of works, but not quite. (Lace SENSORS work great, however.)
    • Seymour Duncan "Blackout" active pickups" THESE WORK OK, but you can't run the Sustainiac driver wire near the bridge pickup. The Sustainiac driver wire is shielded for electrostatic radiation. Since it carries quite a bit of ac current, it radiates a small, pulsating magnetic field. When the driver wire runs near a Blackout pickup, the magnetic sensitivity of these pickups is so great that it responds to the Sustainiac driver current. The solution is to route the driver wire so that it is an inch or m ore from the Blackout pickup.
  7. Using the middle pickup for Sustainiac input signal, or listening to it.: The middle pickup will then provide the input signal to the sustainer (if it is blended with the bridge pickup signal). The system will oscillate (squeal). However, if you connect the bridge pickup to the sustainer input, and listen only to the middle pickup (without blending it with the bridge pickup signal), you can listen to the middle pickup. The signal will likely have some distortion in it because of its proximity to the driver.
  8. Pickguards with aluminum or copper "mirror" effects, or some metallic finishes on the guitar body: Remove the foil from around the pickup area on pickguards. The magnetic pulsations from the driver induce pulsating "eddy" currents into the conductive aluminum or copper. These in turn radiate their own magnetic pulsations. The bridge pickup responds to these magnetic pulsations. The end result is that the desired magnetic balance between driver and bridge pickup is compromised. We remove the shielding foil that comes on Jems and also US-made Strats from around the pickups. You can keep the foil over the electronics cavity. If we do your installation into a Strat, Jem, etc., then we include this service. ON THE OTHER HAND: We put a Sustainiac into one of Joe Satriani's all-mirror guitar and it worked great. Presumably because there was SO MUCH aluminum that the circulating electrical currents were ALL DISSIPATED before they reached the bridge pickup.
  9. Metal pickup trim rings: Mostly, these are OK. But sometimes it produces squealing (oscillation). If you experience distortion or uncontrolled oscillation, try switching to a plastic trim ring. If the problem goes away, that was the reason.
  10. Crowded electronics cavity: Having other effects inside the electronics cavity exposes the guitar signal to more electric crosstalk from the Sustainiac circuit board and signal wires.
  11. Concealing the driver: If you cover up the driver (to fool people into thinking you are Superman because you can sustain like mere mortal humans cannot), you move the driver farther away from the strings by the thickness of the cover. This reduces the sustainer performance. Paint should work OK, or very thin plastic etc. Using a metal cover upsets the magnetic balance of the driver.
  12. ES335 etc. are very difficult since there is no cavity access.
  13. Fender Jaguar, Jazzmaster, Jagstang: These all have one common characteristic: The volume/tone control cavity is very thin. No room for the Sustainiac circuit board and controls. Where to put them?? You have to enlarge the volume/tone control cavity from the BACK, adjoining the original control cavity. Then, you have to make a cavity cover. A lot of work. The only way to do it. We don't do these anymore. Sorry.
  14. Any "V-GUITAR". These are very difficult since there is no room to enlarge the tiny cavity, located down where the V gets very thin. We don't do these anymore. Sorry.
  15. Placing a single-coil pickup next to the driver. This does not work well. The Sustainiac works fine, but the side-by-side permanent magnetic fields of our patented bilateral driver "bend" the field of a single coil pickup. The result is that the sound of three of the strings will have about 6dB lower output level than the other three strings. Same for a humbucker with "stacked" coils. A mini-humbucker with conventional "side-by-side" coils pickup doesn't exhibit this problem as much. In our opinion (and that of most customers), the Sustainiac driver sounds better than most mini-humbuckers. It also has the new dual-sound feature.

    DRY-RUN INSTALLATION You can do a "quickie" installation on any questionable guitar to determine its suitability. Click here for a PDF file of the whole procedure: "DRY RUN" TEMPORARY INSTALLATION Click here for a PDF diagram: "DRY RUN" DRAWING It takes about 15-20 minutes. Install the driver, and hook up the bridge pickup to the sustainer input, connect a battery and a few other wires to ground. Connect a guitar amp. This will instantly tell you if this guitar will be suitable. We do this on many guitars to save headache/heartbreak.

    SEMI-INSTALL OPTION FOR MOST GUITAR TYPES: $75.00-85.00 We do 90% of the work. We supply a completely wired and TESTED set of electronics for your guitar, including Sustainiac circuit board and controls, pickup selector, volume and tone controls. You simply remove all of your existing guitar cavity parts as a "glob", after disconnecting your output jack and pickups. You can then save this "glob" of parts to restore your guitar to its original condition if desired with very little work. We now have a separate webpage that is dedicated to this: Stealth PRO SEMI-INSTALLATION page

    On this page of the website, you will see standard SEMI-INSTALLATIONS for the following guitar types:

      Ibanez Jem®
      Schecter Synyster Gates Custom ® 2-humbucker guitars
      Gibson/Epiphone Les Paul
      "GENERIC" Semi-installations for most rear-cavity guitar types.

ABOUT YOUR GUITAR We need to know some specific information about your guitar so we can send the proper hookup diagram and parts with your kit.

    What kind of output jack do you have (open or barrel style)? Each kit comes with a replacement jack (stereo) that replaces your existing guitar jack, in order to activate the Sustainiac battery when the guitar plug is inserted. To determine what style you have, Click here: Output jack choices.
    • Open-style, shown on the upper left, usually mounts to a metal plate on the side of the guitar, or a special plate such as Stratocasters have. Open style has a visible hex-nut that is threaded onto the outside of the jack.
    • Barrel-type (bottom of picture) has a flange, with no external mounting nut (mounting nut is inside the guitar body).
    • 9-pin stereo jack The 9-pin jack (upper right side of picture) is a special jack, having internal switches that connect/disconnect two or more separate batteries. If you use active electronics in the guitar (such as EMG pickups), you need to use separate batteries, one for the EMG's, one for the Sustainiac. This requires replacing your existing guitar jack with a special 9-pin jack.. Click on the for a PDF file which shows how the jack is used, and why, and how it is hooked up.

      We have more info on output jacks, and how they are hooked up with the Sustainiac, in our ABOUT GUITAR CONTROLS, a PDF document.

    How many pickups does your guitar have? One, two, or three. Select on ORDER FORM.

    What type pickup selector does your guitar have? Select on ORDER FORM. Each drawing is based on the pickup switch type. Please know what you have before you order.

      Pickup selector options
      • 3-position toggle (for most 2HB guitars, Les Paul etc.)
      • 3-position lever (Tele-style and some other 2-pickup guitars)
      • 5-position lever (Strats, most other 3-pickup guitars, "shredders" etc.) There are 4 main styles:
        • "CRL" switch. Has 8 contacts, 4 on each side of the wafer. This is the switch that Fender has used for decades. Simple, reliable, good "feel" when switching. Open construction so you can observe what is happening.
        • "In-line": Has 8 contacts that are in a straight line (These switches are usually enclosed in plastic, and in our experience are generally inferior. Wimpy "feel". Consider replacing this type with the "CRL" switch that will last the life of most guitars. ($12.00)
        • "Superswitch": Has 24 contacts, 12 contacts in a line on each of 2 sections. Has open construction so that you can see the inner workings of the switch. It is often used with coil-tapping schemes of the bridge and neck pickups, to create Strat "quack" sounds. See picture and more info on the Controls Page.
        • "VLX-91" switch used in many Ibanez guitars. Has 24 contacts, similar to Superswitch. 2 wafers, 6 contacts on each side of each wafer. See picture and more info on the Controls Page.
      • Individual toggles for each pickup (some "shredders" and custom guitars).
      • Some other arrangement. We need a detailed explanation, or we can't provide a useful drawing.

        We have more info about pickup selectors, and how they are hooked up with the Sustainiac, in our ABOUT GUITAR CONTROLS, a PDF document.

You should visit our
ORGANIZE YOUR ORDER page when you think you are about ready to place an order. This page allows you to list and outline your installation plan. It makes it easier to navigate the Order Form.


You can refer to our WIRE FUNCTION DIAGRAM for a description of all the Stealth PRO wire functions. (20KB PDF file). This description can be a big help when troubleshooting an installation.


PDF file containing detailed troubleshooting instructions for Stealth PRO


We don't include the magnetic tab, except for Stratocasters and similar guitars where there is a SLANTED SINGLE-COIL BRIDGE PICKUP. Click here for a PDF file showing how to mount and adjust the Magnetic Tab. Magnetic Tab Adjustment

The following list links you to different guitar models, also to various kit options and configurations. Click on the list topics below to download detailed information, hookup diagrams, and pictures.

PDF file of Stealth PRO Installation Manual (One copy of this manual is included with each kit. The Installation Manual does not include any hookup diagram. Separate PDF drawings can be viewed on the respective page for each guitar type below. Each kit comes with the proper hookup diagram. When you order your Sustainiac kit, we provide the most appropriate diagram for your guitar. If you are technically inclined and interested in creative options, browse our numerous hookup diagrams to get ideas that you might not have thought of for a sustain system for your needs.
9-PIN JACK PDF file for 9-pin jack, allowing 2 or more batteries to be connected/disconnected with guitar cord insertion
SUSTAINIAC CONTROLS page Each kit comes with ON/OFF and Harmonic Mode controls. Use this info to choose which control type you prefer for your installation kit. Here we present some unusual control options that we have used over the years that many people have found helpful.
Superswitch, and VLX-91; PDF file These 4-section switches allow coil tapping and other options.
Guitar Controls; PDF file Detailed, useful info for those who want to know more. Also helpful for troubleshooting.
Stealth PRO Troubleshooting; PDF file Detailed troubleshooting procedure for the Stealth PRO.
Driver dimensions; PDF file
Stealth PRO wire function diagram; PDF file; detailed diagram showing the function of each wire.
How to determine pickup polarity; PDF file; This PDF file shows how to test the polarity of your BRIDGE PICKUP. Micro-ammeter (old-fashioned needle-type meter) required, or oscilloscope. If you don't have these, hook up the sustainer. If all modes work correctly and are strong, you are OK. If there is no NORMAL mode, and all positions of the MODE control are weak, then the pickup has reverse polarity. Simply reverse the red/black driver wires to correct.
Shipping guitars. How to pack your guitar
DRY RUN INSTALLATION Detailed PDF of doing a "quickie" 10-15 minute installation to determine how well the Sustainiac will work in a "borderline" or "questionable" guitar
DRY RUN DRAWING PDF drawing showing exactly how to do the DRY RUN quickie installation

Guitars with 2 pickups and 3-position selector switch (Les Paul-type guitars and generic 2HB similar guitars) (not "special" designs such as Ibanez, Parker, etc.)
Guitars with hum-single-single pickup configuration, "HSS" ("shredders")
Guitars with pickguards (mainly Stratocaster, Telecaster, and Ibanez Jem, RG etc.);
Guitars with active pickups, EMG etc.
Parker "Fly" guitar, also "Nitefly"
Electric bass
Guitars with a single bridge pickup PDF file

These same links are provided at the bottom of each page.

SUSTAINIACâ STEALTH PRO Electromagnetic sustain system

  • NEW AUX-BOARD PAGE All about our new (May 2018) Aux board option
  • SEMI-INSTALLATION PAGE We do 90% of the work. You receive a kit that is 90% installed, tested, and ready to "drop in" to your guitar
  • SUSTAINIAC CONTROLS Describes the different control options
  • Organize your order for the STEALTH PRO Helps you to organize the things you need to know before you order
    SUSTAINIACâ SUSTAIN-MAN electroacoustic sustainer

    ABOUT FEEDBACK SUSTAIN what it is, why it is good
    FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions, WHO USES SUSTAINIAC, etc.
    JACKSON DK-2S, production guitar with Stealth PRO installed
    GA-1-2, Our original 1988 Sustainiacs, in Hamer and ASI guitars, now OBSOLETE
    SUSTAINIACâ STEALTH PLUS ELECTROMAGNETIC SUSTAINER INSTALLATION INFO Obsolete model. This page contains printable installation drawings, installation manual, etc. for people who have this model, and who might want to transfer it to another guitar, have bought it used, etc.

    EMAIL ORDER FORM Copy and paste this page into an email addressed to us.

  • Sustainiacâ products are MADE IN THE USA


    Sustainiac is a registered trademark of Maniac Music, Inc.
    5348 N. Tacoma Ave, Indianapolis Indiana, USA, 46220; PHONE: 317-340-1161