Sustain Analyzer for Android: Mute a Bass guitar to get the Beatles / Motown sound

The secret of the classic Beatles and Motown bass sound lies in the short sustain time of the notes. Use Harmonic Tuner Sustain Analyzer for Android to measure sustain times of string instruments or to adjust sustain times using string mutes. String mutes shorten the sustain times of a note’s harmonics depending on their material, size, pressure and position, shaping and defining the timbre of an instrument.

Sustain Analyzer allows to measure and compare sustain / decay times for the individual harmonics of the notes. Note decay typically varies within the note range of an instrument (Example: dead spots on guitars / basses have a significantly shorter sustain time on their first harmonic = fundamental frequency than on the harmonics above).

With the note protocol features of Sustain Analyzer you can compare sustain behaviour of different strings on your guitar or of the notes on different instruments (Example: Sustain behaviour with guitar different bridges, Sustain behaviour with or without tremolo).

Demonstration of sustain adjustment (with an adjustable foam mute) and systain / decay measurements using Sustain Analyzer and a Fender Jazz Bass:

Guitar sustain measurement with Harmonic Tuner Sustain Analyzer

Short demonstration of Sustain Analyzer for Android: Sustain of a Strat-style (synchronized tremolo) electric guitar is measured with Sustain Analyzer’s modules & compared to a Telecaster.

1. Sustain Graphs module (Showing level decay curves of the first harmonics and Sustain values / T60 decay time in seconds & dB/s)
2. Sustain Bargraph module
3. Automatic recording of the measurements in a Protocol, store measurement as Protocol Overlay preset. Compare to previous measurement on a Telecaster guitar (Both measured on the D string)

What to see in the D-string measurement shown here: The low note’s fundamental frequency (1st harmonic) on the Strat-type guitar has a significant shorter sustain its harmonics and than on the Tele guitar (due to the strings on the Strat being attached to a tremolo spring system).
Both Strat and Tele style guitars have dead spot frets, where the fundamental frequency decays very fast (only the harmonics stay audible then), but the Strat/tremolo guitar has more of them on its D string – propably due to the tremolo acoustics as well.

The Telecaster measured here is a Fender Baja Tele (Ash body, 1-pc maple neck). The Strat type guitar is a low-priced asian model

Update 1.14 of Harmonic Tuner app family now on Google Play

Sustain Analyzer and Guitar Setup: new features in the first common update of the Harmonic Tuner apps as a family of 7. Visit Grain Apps on Google Play.

The new instrument bridge/nut adjustment features of Harmonic Tuner Guitar Setup app are now also a part of the most versatile tuning tool Harmonic Tuner Intonation Expert. Use it here with stretch tunings (suiting your guitar’s inharmonicity, easily measured with Intonation Expert) or use it to adjust intonation even of unusually fretted instruments of unequal temperaments.

Sustain Analyzer now has some new useful features:

  • Compare several stored sustain measurement protocols directly
  • Display the initial levels of the measured harmonics at note attack (as additional bar diagrams or intuitively as brightness of the sustain bargraphs)
  • Configurable unit of sustain (Seconds or dB/s)
  • New curve-style protocol look
  • Improved sustain / decay measurement for more accuracy

Example: Similar dead spots of first harmonic (fundamental) on two “Tele”-style electric guitars (new curve-type plot):

The same dead-spot measurement data in the conventional dot-style diagram.

Initial levels of harmonics displayed in the sustain bargraph module if activated in app settings – now displaying decay time T60 in seconds.


Sustain Analyzer – Sustain Protocol & Overlay

With Sustain Analyzer’s protocol features your can quickly visualize how sustain changes along an instrument’s note range,
for example to detect dead spots and wolf notes. With the overlay features you can quickly compare the sustain behaviour of different instruments: sustain protocols can be easily compared, stored and exported as text value lists.

Sustain protocol of an electric guitar’s low E string – each note is shown with its overall sustain value and the individual values of the first 4 harmonics:

Sustain protocols of low and high E strings of an electric guitar compared using Sustain Analyzer’s overlay functions:

Sustain Measurement with Sustain Analyzer

Sustain Analyzer estimates how fast the harmonics levels of a note decrease over time.
The level and sustain envelopes of a note’s harmonics define its timbre.
The app shows amplitude graphs of each measured harmonic and its sustain as dB/s metric and decay time (seconds, T60).
Alternatively the app can display the harmonics’ sustain as bargraphs (dB/s).

Sustain graphs of an electric guitar note:

Sustain measurement: harmonic-wise bargraph view of Sustain Analyzer: