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I have a Fender Ultra Stratocaster with SSS configuration. The pickups are branded as Ultra Noiseless™ Vintage Strat®. I use Ernie Ball Mighty Slinky Nickel Wound Electric Guitar Strings, 8.5-40.

Initially I thought it was my action that caused the weak sustain on >20 frets on high E string. I adjusted my truss rod and raised the saddle. That did help. But I ran another experiment. I wanted to eliminate frets from the variables. I picked a note on 22 fret (highest) on high E string and a note on 22 fret on low E string. The sustain was drastically different with low E ringing much longer.

It's reasonable that my pick can transfer more energy to a thicker string, hence low E rings longer than high E. But I think the sustain is unreasonably weak on high E string, compared to my PRS CE24.

Another speculation I have is that my pickups are too high? Or the magnetic poles too high? I noticed that Fender's Noiseless Pickup still uses staggered pickup poles despite the guitar has a compound 10-14 inches radius neck.

Would this affect sustain and I can't do anything about it? I can lower the overall pickup height but cannot adjust the staggered poles (unless I swap pickups but that's a lot more effort than making adjustments)

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    Did you try lowering the pickups? Feb 3 at 22:28
  • You probably only need to lower the neck pickup by 1 mm or so. Feb 3 at 22:48
  • Thank you for the suggestion, let me try that tonight and report back my findings
    – mofury
    Feb 3 at 23:56
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I found my own answer after lowering my pickups. I can hear a noticeable difference in sustain but I think the mass of the string also plays a significant role. Lowering the pickup increased sustain substantially on the low E string. I need to switch to higher string gauge to get my desired tone. Also, I compared it to a PRS CE24 which has humbucker. Humbuckers in general have more sustain.

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