Fernandez Sustainer System

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Guitarbum, May 4, 2020.

  1. Guitarbum

    Guitarbum Member

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    Anybody ever try a Fernandez sustainer system or know where to buy one for a reasonable amount? See video demo below. So cool. Gotta find one.

     
  2. fullonshred

    fullonshred Well-Known Member

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    bump for views
     
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  3. golem

    golem Well-Known Member

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    I've tried one in a guitar from the company. It was neat, but I didn't find myself using a lot. The new EOB signature strat has it stock if you like starts. Otherwise go for an older Fernandes with one.
     
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  4. ID10T

    ID10T Well-Known Member

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    @shupe13 had a Schecter Shredder with Sustainiac pickup, so he knows something about the subject, but he didn't have that guitar long.
    Maybe he can tell you why it had such a short stay.
     
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  5. Pilipete_Townshend

    Pilipete_Townshend Well-Known Member

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    I "had" an old and only Fernandez 1990. one of the biggest mistake I made by selling it for no valid reason which was the neck was slimmer than my baretta collections. One of the best playing guitar in its category and it has the built in sustainer. The guy that bought it emailed and asking me why did I sell the guitar..............?:hearteyecat:
    That was long ago now...
    joe fernandez.JPG
     
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  6. golem

    golem Well-Known Member

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    It occurred to me to mention that the sustainiac isn't a whole lot different. Some prefer one over the other, but according to some it's pretty similar.
     
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  7. shupe13

    shupe13 Active Member

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    I didn't really find the Sustainiac all that usable. One setting was semi cool (simple feedback), but there was a very audioble boost or "clank" almost every time I switched the system on. I'm not sure how to explain it. If I muted the strings it was less noticable but that kinda killed the live vibe.

    Live and at nosebleed levels, I don't think it would have mattered. This was my first experience with the Sustainiac, so I could have very well been the problem.

    Not knocking it. It's just not for me.

    Sent from my REVVLPLUS C3701A using Tapatalk
     
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  8. Guitarbum

    Guitarbum Member

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    Anybody know a good pedal that will do something similar?
     
  9. shupe13

    shupe13 Active Member

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    EHX Freeze maybe?

    Sent from my REVVLPLUS C3701A using Tapatalk
     
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  10. shupe13

    shupe13 Active Member

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    A point I forgot to make is that I really like using the neck pickup. That said, the Sustainiac sounded like a single coil to me. Not necessarily bad, but not impressive either. Not the sound I wanted in an '80s style shredder.

    Sent from my REVVLPLUS C3701A using Tapatalk
     
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  11. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Well-Known Member

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    I bought a Fender Ed O’Brien Strat a few months ago from Sweetwater just because of the installed Sustainer. JB Jr bridge, Texas Special middle and the Sustainer in the neck.

    I had to lower the middle pickup almost flush with the ‘guard, but since I did that, I’m very pleased with the Strat sounds it makes.

    The Sustainer is a ton of fun, no doubt, but I have to be deliberate in the application, because initially, it’s kind of weird, and setting the sensitivity to suit your playing style can be a little tricky.

    Once you do, however, you have a chunky neck Strat, HSS, that’s all Strat, but with that cool sustain trick up your sleeve.

    About the neck: it’s a good bit fatter than the Standard C, soft V at the nut, rounds towards the 12th fret. It’s a telephone pole compared to some of my guitars, but once you get used to it and get your form tightened up, it’s fine.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  12. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Well-Known Member

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    When the Sustainer is ON, the bridge pickup becomes active and the Sustainer driver in the neck does it's thing, making the strings vibrate. What each application delivers, sonically, when engaged, is a function of the installed bridge pickup more than anything else.

    The hard-edged JB Jr works well for this, but I'd imagine there are a lot of others that would do as well.
     
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  13. mozz

    mozz Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    You want sustain get a tonebender. Even a good fuzz with high gain will sustain for a long time. That being said, I put brass neck inserts in a few guitars and it makes a difference.
     
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  14. shupe13

    shupe13 Active Member

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    I should have clarified. Sustainiac not engaged and using the neck pickup...

    Sent from my REVVLPLUS C3701A using Tapatalk
     
  15. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Well-Known Member

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    My mistake.

    Yeah, I could see that. Mine is installed in a Strat, so I was expecting to hear SC sounds.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  16. solteroblues

    solteroblues Well-Known Member

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    I bought a Schecter with the sustainiac, but not for that reason. I sent it back pretty quickly, as i just had no use for it, but you may want that weird feedback. just not my style.
     
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  17. dspellman

    dspellman Well-Known Member

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    I've got Sustainers (Fernandes) in several of my guitars.

    Most were installed by Gary Brawer in San Francisco, who's probably *the* guru on these things, both for Sustainiacs and the Fernandes type. When I was first looking into sustainers, Fernandes actually recommended him, and he's the guy who did the Sustainer installations for Gibson's "pilot series" of Neal Schon signature guitars about 15 years ago.

    Sustainers were designed to do two things.

    One was to produce that feedback loop that you get when you're too close to a loud amp. People like Carlos Santana used to find that specific spot in front of his amps that produced that during a sound check, and then he'd mark that spot on the stage floor with a piece of tape.

    The second was to sustain a note or chord until the battery ran out (or until you shifted your finger placement).

    Fernandes sustainers mostly have a stiff PC board with switches included that you install by routing the back of the guitar and drilling two holes through the front of the guitar above the board.

    While you're back there, you install a quick-open battery box for a 9V. Depending on your usage, you may burn through 9V batteries or not, but it's best to have a spare at the ready and easily replaceable (IMHO). Sustainiacs are often stuffed into the control cavity with the switches very close to the existing pots. It's a cheaper, quicker installation that has drawbacks. If the 9V battery is also stuffed into the control cavity, it's a recipe for screwing up a solder joint on a pot when you replace the battery. And it's harder to get to.

    I prefer using the Sustainer PCB with the switches behind the tailpiece or FR bridge, out of the way.

    Generally, the neck pickup position is where the sustainer driver goes. When you switch ON the Sustainer, you're automatically using the bridge pickup and the neck position driver. On most installations, there's no other choice and the Sustainer driver becomes, by default, the neck pickup when the Sustainer is turned off.

    There are two Sustainer boards, the FS101 and the FS401. The latter is difficult to find, but is better. There are two different size Sustainer drivers: the full humbucker size and the single coil size. Both will do a good job as far as the Sustainer operation is concerned.

    You may not be happy with the sound of the neck position sustainer driver as a pickup. Gary Brawer has a cure.

    With a lot of work and fiddling (because a wrong installation can leave you with a squealing mess), it's possible to tuck the single coil size sustainer driver AND a single coil size humbucker into a full-size humbucker ring and set it up so that the sustainer driver works as it should and that the single-coil size humbucker becomes your neck pickup when you shut down the Sustainer. My rigs have a DiMarzio Fast Track II in that position. It's an 18K pickup and LOUD in that position, but very different as a neck position pickup than as it is in its normal position in the bridge of a superstrat. My bridge pickup is a fairly hot (9.2k ) 57.

    The 401 PCB has three adjustment pots onboard, as well as headers to allow those pots to be wired in remotely. My guitars have the Sustainer Intensity pot run out to one of the quad of pots on a standard LP arrangement, and I use the hell out of it.

    Thus the extra expense and time to set up the sustainer to allow using a different pickup as the neck pickup.

    There are a bunch of benefits to using the Sustainer.

    One, you don't need gain and fuzz to sustain a note. You can do it with a clean sound as well.

    Two, you don't need a pedal; it's on the guitar already, so if you're using a wireless and wandering around, you're not tethered to the pedalboard.

    Three, you can reproduce that loud amp/too close feedback loop while sitting in a control room with no amp anywhere.

    Four, you have control over that transition to an octave above sound that a feedback loop will sometimes give you if you move around, again, with no amp in the room at all.​

    Most players will try a Sustainer out for a minute or two and then never use it again. The number of pro players who use a sustainer, particularly when recording, is stunning, and it seems to be a dirty little secret even when live. Once you're used to it, you can hear it and see it both in recordings and live.
     
  18. dspellman

    dspellman Well-Known Member

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    BTW, the three position switch allows you to select: sustain the original note / sustain the note but transition it to an octave above / sustain the note with a bit of the original note and the octave combined. There are actually some optional switch position sounds available, including having the note transition to a fifth above rather than the octave, etc.

    "Buy one for a reasonable amount," it should be noted, should also have a mention of the cost to install it. Stuffing a Sustainiac and a 9V into the control cavity is relatively inexpensive. Installing a Fernandes solid circuit board and routing a battery box will be more.
     
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  19. rrobbone

    rrobbone Well-Known Member

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    I agree with dspellman.

    I have a Schecter with a Sustainiac factory installed, and I really like it. It comes in handy when I want some feedback since I record direct ot digital. I don't find the passive tones of it to be unusable, but I can see where someone would consider the mod dspellman suggests.
     
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  20. Mikesr1963

    Mikesr1963 Well-Known Member

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    $800 Schecter. The sustainiac itself is expensive and not a simple add to a guitar.
    upload_2020-5-5_17-41-57.png
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2020
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