Could a GC or a luthier install a Fernandes Sustainer inside my strat?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Jericho-79, Mar 29, 2021.

  1. Jericho-79

    Jericho-79 Strat-Talk Member

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    Hi everyone. I hope I'm not asking a dumb question here.

    I haven't been to a Guitar Center in a long while. And I have zero experience with luthiers.

    Since 2018, I've owned a Fender Classic Series '70s Stratocaster in olympic white.

    [​IMG]

    I'm currently interested in the Ed O'Brien Signature Stratocaster with the built-in Fernandes Sustainer system.

    [​IMG]

    But I do NOT want to purchase another guitar.

    What I'd really like to do is to have a sustainer system installed inside my Classic Series strat.

    Specifically, I want to change out all three original pickups on my MIM strat; and replace them with a single-coil-sized Duncan JB Jr. humbucker in the bridge position, a Texas Special single-coil in middle position, and a Fernandes Sustainer driver in the neck position.

    Could I take my Classic Series strat to my local GC or luthier to achieve these mods?

    Will a GC or a luthier be able to customize my MIM strat with a pickup configuration similar to that on the EOB signature?
     
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  2. marksound

    marksound Strat-O-Master

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    DO NOT take that job to Guitar Center.

    Ask around, and find out who the local gigging players use. Contact the person and ask to see examples of their work, and for a written quote.

    That's a good start.
     
  3. Impulsive guppy

    Impulsive guppy Strat-O-Master Silver Member

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    No.

    It's way too complicated to retetrofit this.

    You would come out ahead to just get a Schecter or other guitar with it already installed.
     
  4. didger

    didger Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    No no no do not go to Guitar Center. My suggestions:

    1) Find a dedicated guitar tech, not a big box store. This is a major job. Find the recent thread about a Guitar Center tech butchering a guitar neck just drilling out tuner holes, let alone routing out a big chunk of the guitar's body as is needed for the Sustainer circuitry.

    2) You may not like this one as you're a bit attached to your guitar, but what I would probably do is sell the Classic Series and buy the Ed O'Brien. The cost of the Sustainer system, the other two pickups, routing out the body and installing the system will likely get close to the cost of a whole guitar.

    EDIT: really, what I would do is just buy the second guitar rather than spend that much money changing one I already like, but you said you don't want to do that. :p
     
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  5. Seamus OReally

    Seamus OReally Mr. Serious Gold Supporting Member

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    Any competent technician can do what you want. Not all of them are bad, but you are less likely to find a good tech at GC. A freelancer would probably ask that you bring him the pickups you want installed. This should not be a difficult or expensive job... but ask around before choosing a tech. Maybe the best one in your town works for GC!
     
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  6. Impulsive guppy

    Impulsive guppy Strat-O-Master Silver Member

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    Have you looked at what is involved to install a Fernandes sustainiac? It's not just a pickup swap.

    https://www.sustainiac.com/install.htm
     
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  7. marksound

    marksound Strat-O-Master

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  8. Seamus OReally

    Seamus OReally Mr. Serious Gold Supporting Member

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    A competent professional would have no trouble with a complicated installation.
     
  9. didger

    didger Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    And notice the price. $359.99 for the kit... which is out of stock, anyway. Add the two Fender pickups, and if you're buying all that new, you're over $550 with tax before even paying someone for the big job of routing a big chunk out of your guitar and installing these touchy electronics.

    I considered doing this about 5 years ago. Instead, I waited until I found a good deal on a used Fernandes Retrorocket. I got that for less than $500, can use that when I want the Sustainer, and didn't lose my normal single coil tones on any of my Strats.
     
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  10. systolsys

    systolsys Strat-O-Master

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    I've just read the instructions. It's a board, some wire clips, a battery, a bit of desoldierng/resoldering in a tight space.

    https://www.vintagejapanguitars.com.br/en/fernandes-2000-sustainer-installation-manual/

    Do not give it to GC.

    Ask around luthiers. You're looking for one who is very comfortable with electronics. Somebody who does also Effect Pedal and Amp repairs as well might be a good call.

    This is less about traditional luthier skills which are focussed on guitar building, repair and setups. On the flipside, I'd be willing to install this in one of my guitars because I've been soldering electronics for over 30 years... but I get nervous as hell when it comes to fret levelling.
     
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  11. Impulsive guppy

    Impulsive guppy Strat-O-Master Silver Member

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    Can the same effect be accomplished with a pedal?
     
  12. didger

    didger Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    They need both sets of skills. A Strat's control cavity isn't nearly big enough, so it requires routing. It needs to be somebody you also trust to hack into the body of your guitar.
     
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  13. didger

    didger Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    Nope. It's like a built-in Ebow, but unlike the Ebow, can work on multiple strings at once.
     
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  14. systolsys

    systolsys Strat-O-Master

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    Kinda/sorda. It's more like an e-bow in that it magnetically excites the strings to create the effect. A compressor and/or feedback pedal works on the signal.

    It's designed to emulate standing in front of a stack of Marshalls where there is so much volume the air coming out the speakers is able to resonate with the strings.
     
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  15. systolsys

    systolsys Strat-O-Master

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    Gotchya. I just found a rear-shot of the Ed O'brien. That's an ugly layout for the additional cavity and the battery route. You think they'd at least make an attractive cavity shape.

    I agree with the poster above. OP is best off buying an Ed O'brien. Swap the necks if desired. Sell off the other parts. Will be less stress and probably the same amount of cash by the time labor is included.
     
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  16. Bob the builder

    Bob the builder Most Honored Senior Member

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    Oh, you're serious.
    I thought this was a joke thread.
    DON'T GO THERE !!!!!
     
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  17. Bowmap

    Bowmap I nose a thang or two. Platinum Supporting Member

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    You will need to have a battery route.

    EOB004-sm.jpg

    You will need cavity for the electronics.

    DSC_0075 sm.jpg

    You will need to drill holes for the on/off and mode switches

    EOB011sm.jpg

    The output jack will need to be re-wired.

    The system will need calibration.

    Yeah... a little more than swapping pickups.

    EDIT: I have not learned to love the neck yet. It is a chunky soft V.
     
  18. Bowmap

    Bowmap I nose a thang or two. Platinum Supporting Member

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    If you are just looking for sustain then a pedal could get you 75% there. But the EOB allows a lot more player input into what is going on with the sound. You can keep a note or two going on a pair of strings almost like a drone tone and using tapping technique run off a melody on the other strings.
     
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  19. Paul47

    Paul47 Strat-Talker

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    I know you may NOT want to buy another guitar, but in this case, if it were me, I'd just bite the bullet and get an Ed O'Brien.
     
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  20. Believer7713

    Believer7713 The Pink Bunnyman Frankenstein Silver Member

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    OHHHH one day!!! One day I will be building my own version of the EOB from scratch. I plan to do it with a natural finish and cover plates that match the grain. Over all, I agree with @Seamus OReally. A competent tech with good woodworking skills can do it. I've carved more wood out of guitar bodies to make alterations or repairs that would give a lot of people a heart attack. It's nothing that can't be done but it will end up costing at least a half shiny penny.
     
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