Sustain Rules

Day 363 Week 52 Q4 Saturday, December 30, 2023

In most matters, sustain rules it rules in terms of relationships. It rules in terms of jobs, which I guess should be a kind of relationship. It rules in terms of sex. But what I’m thinking about most is the rules in terms of guitars. When you play a note, and it lasts for a while, then you know it is there. If it fades away in an instant because you were playing 64th notes, it just doesn’t matter very much.

The electric guitar and the acoustic guitar or two very different instruments. Of course, the acoustic guitar came first. But the problem with acoustic guitars is the notes don’t last for very long. You plug a string at the notice here, and then it is gone. This is why people like to sing in the bathroom, in a cathedral, or in any place where there are reflective surfaces to keep that sound bouncing around for a long time. It is also the reason why distortion on guitars came into such vogue. It was the way to make a note last longer. The Guitar was just trying to keep up with violence and saxophones, whose players could make a note last for a long time.

Yes, it can be flashy to play very quickly, and this seems to be one of the marks of virtuality, but the reason Miles Davis became famous, is he played long notes. Now, there are times when Sound lasts for too long, like when musicians play in a gymnasium. A cathedral sounds much better than a gymnasium. For that matter, when somebody speaks, if there is a tremendous amount of reverberation, the intelligibility goes way down, so sustain is not always preferred, but it always rules.

Coming back to Guitar for a moment, one of the most famous guitars in history is the Les Paul. The body shape is instantly recognizable, which is why it is still so popular. The reason it is instantly recognizable is because when you play a note on a Les Paul, it lasts for a while. The guitar weighs more because there is more wood in it, which allows notes to be sustained for longer.

Even though a Gibson less Paul sustains for longer than a Fender Stratocaster, the other superstar famous instrument, neither can stand alone without an amplifier. Without the amplification, you can’t hear the sustain because it is not loud enough to overcome ambient noise, except in the middle of the night or early in the morning before anybody wakes up, and there is not much sound competing with it.

With or without an amplifier or a pedal, sustain still rules because the note doesn’t last, so you don’t know that it was ever really there. This is true of people as well as Notes as well as ideas. An insight is to be adopted that it has to be sustained long enough to be adopted because sustain rules.