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A Quick and Easy Way to Add Sustain to Your Les Paul Guitar

Updated on August 18, 2009

From now on, whenever I restring my Les Paul, I will do this easy step that adds more sustain to your notes and improves tone.

This simple step is free and does not take any longer than changing your strings the normal way.

The secret to longer sustain: Enter the stings thought the stop tailpiece backwards. In stead of making a straight shot from the tailpiece, put them in going towards the bottom of the guitar, bring them over the top of the stop tailpiece, and let them rest in the Tune-o-matic bridge while winding the strings at the headstock like any other electric guitar.

I got this idea from reading online about how famous Les Paul player, and guitarist for the Black Label Society, Ozzy and more, Zakk Wylde strung his guitars this way because he like the tone and sustain it gave him. This is definitely a man I would trust concerning Les Pauls (or any guitars for that matter). You may recognize Zakk Wylde’s Les Paul from pictures – his is the one with a black and white bulls-eye on it. Perhaps you have seen the orange and black “buzzsaw” design or maybe the camouflage bulls-eye Gibson Les Paul.

This trick really works! I was amazed at the added sustain I got from my Les Paul Custom after I did this. The reason I believe it works is because normally, the strings are touching very little of the stop tailpiece, which means the tailpiece vibrates the wood very little when the guitar is strummed. When the stop tailpiece vibrates, it vibrates the wood the guitar is made of, and the more wood vibration there is means then longer the sustain will last. However, if the strings go through backwards, then they touch the initial amount of tailpiece plus touching the entire top of the stop tailpiece causing more vibration of the wood in this area, which I stated earlier adds sustain to your solo notes and chunky power chords.

Next time you restring your Les Paul or SG guitar, be sure to give this technique a shot! It really works!



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    • noiseyfly profile image

      Craig Bruebaker 

      5 years ago from Spokane Washington

      If Zac suggests this then I will give it a try. Thanks

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      That's interesting, I always thought that keeping vibration out of the guitar and on the strings was the way to longer sustain?

    • parkerk393 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Arlington, Texas

      That's a great idea! I hadn't thought about doing that. Glad you enjoyed it.

    • music love profile image

      music love 

      9 years ago from United States

      This was a great bit of information. I think I'll try it on my ES 335, which already has a fair bit of sustain.


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