Keith McMillen Instruments Announces StrongArm Six-String Sustainer

KMI_strongarm_bridgeAt the 2014 NAMM Show: Keith McMillen Instruments is introducing their latest invention: the StrongArm Six-string Sustainer.  

The StrongArm Sustainer picks up and drives all six strings by systems embedded within the actual saddle piece. The sensor saddle of the StrongArm pickup sees minute changes in position of the strings’ termination at the bridge. The result is a pickup that is full and even sounding with a broad range of response. A simple blend control adjusts the mix from your regular magnetic pickups with the StrongArm Sustainer sound.

Here’s McMillen’s intro video for the StrongArm:

Why make a polyphonic string sustainer?

Keith McMillen explains the inspiration for his newest invention:

“I’ve been pondering and prototyping polyphonic string sustainers for the last 35 years. None of the magnetic approaches I tried could ever deliver on all fronts: sustain strength, tone shaping, pickup quality, tiny size and low power at an affordable price.”

“The StrongArm Sustainer is one of the best things I have ever thought of while showering,” adds McMillen. “I can finally take a bath.”

A single simple control adjusts the amount of sustain, going from “angelic smooth” to “nasty hard”, for any length of time desired until the player stops it. The sustainer and pickup are the size of Fender style saddle pieces allowing easy OEM and retrofit installation.

The StongArm Sustainer operates on AA batteries, and comes with a USB port for charging and communicating with the (free) editor. Users can make presets that control all parameters.

The Keith McMillen Instruments StrongArm Sustainer system comes with six sustainer saddles, smart driver card, rechargeable battery system and editor. StrongArm Sustainer list price is $495.

For additional information, consult the Keith McMillen Instruments website.

13 thoughts on “Keith McMillen Instruments Announces StrongArm Six-String Sustainer

  1. For that kind of price, and the fact that I don’t want a fender guitar. I’d rather just buy the system from sustainiac or fernandes. does the same thing and from what I heard in that video. their sustainers are more balanced.

  2. Oh. Just noticed the price. I’ll file this under “awesome, but only for other people”. Like people who own the robotic guitar or a buchla. 🙂

  3. At least from what Youtube can show, none of the other sustainer systems like Fernandes or Sustainiac can really come close to the tonality and level of dynamic control as an E-Bow. This doesn’t necessarily nail that sound either, but it does get darn close! I just want to know how much of the guitar you will inevitably have to route out of the body to accommodate the electronics, and what the real price will be – the website doesn’t actually list one.

  4. I have Fernandes sustainer systems on two guitars, one is a retrofit kit and one is a Fernandes guitar. The Fernandes system uses the bridge pickup to send a feedback signal to the sustainer neck pickup which feeds vibrational energy back into the stings. It does not have a separate pickup and signal for each string like the StrongArm. Also is the case of the retrofit kit you must replace the bridgeand neck pickups with the Fernandes pickups. The sound of the StrongArm in this video seems to me to be much more like the acoustic driven feedback one gets with between an amp speaker and guitar than the Fernandes system. Unfortunately the video does not demonstrate the control, if any, you have over the harmonic content of the signal.

  5. Neither the Fernandes , the Sustainiac, nor an Ebow are polyphonic. Only the Moog is. This, so far seems quite superior to all of the other systems, and I have each of them, except for Ebow. The USB port also sends 6 channels of audio to a computer. Imagine 6 vsts, or 6 soft synths being driven by this. IMO this is a very huge step forward for modern guitarists.

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