INSTALLING THE BATTERY (OPTIONS: In the main electronics cavity, or inside the tremolo spring cavity, or using the optional 9-volt battery box)
USING TWO 9-VOLT BATTERIES, one for active pickups, one for Sustainiac
9-PIN JACK PDF file for 9-pin jack, allowing 2 or more batteries to be connected/disconnected with guitar cord insertion
SUSTAINIAC WEBSITE MAP: The overall site map is at the very bottom of each page, including our email address, phone number, shipping address etc.

When the sustainer is sustaining a note, battery current drain is about 50 milliamperes (ma). When hand muting with the sustainer ON (no strings vibrating), current drain is about 10ma. When the sustainer is turned off, current drain for the active neck pickup is about 2ma. You can get a good estimate from this info.

OPTIONS: There are two basic power options for the Sustainiac Stealth PRO: (1) 9-volt battery; (2) regulated 9-volt power supply. By far, most people use the battery option because it is so portable. There are various ways to install the battery into a guitar. When you order your kit, you need to decide on which option you want.


The standard kit comes with a standard "snap-on" wire clip for a 9-volt battery, as shown at the bottom of the kit picture: Low resolution image (8kb); High resolution image (70kb)

Using this supplied battery clip, you can place the battery in one of two places:

(1) Inside the main electronics cavity; Low resolution image (28kb); High resolution image (70kb)
This is usually the fastest, easiest way to do the installation. However, keep the following in mind: Sustainers use up batteries faster than other effects. Each time you change the battery, you must remove the cavity cover. This tends to strip the screw holes after a while. Also, you flex the battery wires and other wires each time, resulting in eventual wire breakage.

(2) Inside the tremolo spring cavity; Tremolo cavity (46kb);
Notice two things here: (a) First, the cavity cover has a door which "pops off" using a guitar pick or coin. Therefore, it is not necessary to remove any screws when changing the battery. We sell this optional cover for $7.50. Color choices are BLACK or WHITE. (b) Second, the 3 tremolo springs have been moved over to one side of the spring plate, to make room for the battery. We have done this on many guitars, and have observed no tremolo "hang-ups" or sluggish operation. Many cavities require a small route in the cavity to make enough room for the battery. This is a minor route which takes only a few minutes, and is "invisible" since it is entirely under the spring cover.

(3) Optional Quick-change Battery case; Photo of both single and dual battery cases (31kb);
In our opinion, this is the best portable option. But, it does require that you route a cavity into the back of the guitar body. We sell the single battery case for $16. The dual case is $25. If Maniac Music does your installation, we charge $25 to route this cavity. Click here Gotoh battery case dimensions for a PDF drawing showing the battery case dimensions, and routing mechanical info.

This is the standard power option. A 9-volt alkaline battery has about 500-600 milliampere hours of energy. You will get about 15-40 hours on an alkaline battery, depending on how much you actually use the sustainer. Hold one long note for 10 hours. Don't use the cheaper "dry-cell" or "long-life" (actually just a dry cell). These are a little less expensive than alkaline, but the shelf life is only about one year, and they lose capacity much faster than alkaline. You pay less for total "sustain time" using alkaline. No battery current is consumed until you plug a mono guitar cord into the guitar output jack. DO NOT PUT TWO BATTERIES IN SERIES TO MAKE 18 VOLTS. Certain components on the Sustainiac circuit board might fail.

    DEAD BATTERY INDICATION: When the battery voltage decays to about 7 volts, the neck pickup will stop functioning. At this time, the battery is almost "dead". The sustain function will continue down to about 5 volts, and will get weaker and weaker as the voltage continues to decay. Strange pulsations are also likely to occur at this low voltage.

For guitars having active pickups, such as EMG, or other preamp effect, separate batteries should be used. We supply a special 9-pin output jack, which is a TRS (stereo) jack having internal switches that independently connect/disconnect both batteries when the guitar plug is inserted/removed.
9-PIN JACK PDF file for 9-pin jack.

RECHARGEABLE 9-VOLT BATTERIES Most NICAD "9-volt" batteries are actually only 7.2 volts. These are unacceptable. Some newer NiMH (nickel-metal-hydride) batteries are 8.4 volts or 9.6 volts. The 9.6 volt is better than 8.4 volt. They don't hold charge as long as a 9-volt alkaline, but you get the advantage of recharging. There are starting to be newer technologies on the market, such as Lithium-ion. These should be OK, as long as they are a true 9 volts.

You must use a REGULATED supply of 9.0 volts. Most "wall-wart" supplies are UN-REGULATED. This means that they put out 9 volts AT RATED CURRENT. At less current, their voltage goes up to as much as 12 to 14 volts. DON'T USE AN UN-REGULATED SUPPLY. You will have to install a connector on your guitar to accept the supply. We usually install a second 1/4 in jack for this.
Power supply (31kb); No photo yet.

We sell a regulated 9 volt supply for $25. This wall-plug-in option eliminates frequent battery changes. It comes with an 11-ft cord, having a 1/4 inch mono plug. The (+) terminal is the "tip" terminal of the plug. Longer cords are available by special request. You must install a second guitar jack to the side of the guitar. Mono jack is $3, jackplate $3. If we do the installation, we charge $25 unless special problems are present requiring much labor.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a REGULATED power supply. It produces 9 volts regardless of the current needed by the sustainer. DO NOT USE A COMMON "WALL-WART" SUPPLY. These are not regulated. With an unregulated supply, the actual voltage can be 12 volts or even higher in the STANDBY condition of the sustainer. The neck pickup will not function in this case. Also, the higher voltage might damage certain components on the Sustainiac circuit board. Use only a regulated 9-volt supply.

    When running the 9-volt supply, do not attempt to connect the battery using a stereo jack, plug, and cord, by connecting the (-) terminal to the ground terminal of a stereo guitar jack. The problem comes in when you use the shield wire for the (-) terminal of the battery. Pulsating dc current will travel down the shield. The small resistance of the shield plus the resistance of the connection between the jack ground and the plug ground will develop a small pulsating voltage due to the current flowing in these resistances. You will hear this pulsating voltage as a large, ugly, grungy distortion. You can do such a thing with a very low current device such as a preamp effect. But the larger currents of the sustainer will cause this problem.

    We think the best way to do this is to add a second stereo TRS jack to the guitar body.

    The important thing is that you CANNOT use a single TRS jack, and connect the 9-volt (+) to the RING, and the 9-volt (-) to the SHIELD. Many people ask us this question. EXPLANATION: Severe distortion results because the rather high (100 ma peak) pulsating current through the shield will actually produce a pulsating voltage across the resistance of the shield. You hear this as distortion in the guitar signal. Furthermore, every time you move the guitar plug moves slightly inside the jack, causing loud "scratching" noises or even "pops".

    ADDING A SECOND TRS JACK: This way, the battery (-) current will have its own return path back to the power supply. If you accidentally get "mixed up" and insert the guitar plug into the power supply jack etc, it won't hurt anything.

    USING A 4-PIN XLR FOR EVERYTHING: This is kind of what we do with the Sustainiac Model C CORD-ROUTING OPTION. The downside is that you have to install a 4-pin XLR jack into your guitar body. But, it is an "elegant" solution to the problem. The Model C CORD-ROUTING OPTION uses a 3/8 in. diameter "snake" cable that contains 2 shielded pairs. The guitar signal is carried on one shielded pair, and the battery current is carried on the other shielded pair. You end up with a single wire going from the guitar down to the floor, and no distortion or strange noises. We can sell lengths of this cable for $2.00 per foot. This item is not on the Sustainiac website because it is a low-volume item.


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

SUSTAINIACâ STEALTH PRO Electromagnetic sustain system

  • 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.

  • email: info@sustainiac.com

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