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Sustainer Tele Custom -- Questions!

mr benn

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hi guys,first post here...

i tried to use the search function to find what i needed but didn't get very far...

basically i'm building a fsk401 kit into a 72 tele custom

type guitar

i'm using a full sized bridge bucker and i've had a pickguard made that's got a place for the single coil driver as close to the neck heel as possible,and then routed for a full sized bucker about 5 mil apart from the sustainer driver.

i've also routed for a jag style 3 switch control plate instead of the standard 3 way toggle on the lower horn,(not sure how i'll wire this,i doubt the jag switches would work so i was thinking i might modify the idea and have a plate made to hold the two sustainer mini switches and a mini 3 way toggle for pickup selection)

so my big worry is using the neck bucker so close to the driver coil,i've heard if i use a covered one i'll get problems right now i'm thinking it'll be a seymour '59 or jazz model,should i use open coil?

if i do use an open coil neck bucker can i use a chrome p/up ring surround without hassle?

can i use a seymour instead of the fernandes bridge bucker?

anything else i should consider? thanks guys

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You can use any humbucker you want in the bridge, but keep in mind you cannot use the sustainer and the neck pickup at the same time. When the system is turned on, the neck pickup is cut off by the electronics and the output is switched to the bridge pickup. I've never heard of the cover being a problem, other than you can't use a cover over the actual sustainer driver.

Also, the mini-switches for power and octave, at least on the Fernandes, are soldered to a PC board as a unit. So you may be limited to where you can put the actual control switches.

If you haven't bought the kit yet, check out the Sustainiac system. If I were going to install a Sustainer, that would be the one I'd use.

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Hi There...

Welcome to PG Mr Benn

Here's my search that gives 2 pages of stuff that may be useful...

"fernandes" search in electronics

In particular, my recent reply to a post quoted here may be of interest...

Hi there Burchill

Welcome to PG. A web site with Sustainers...ah ha...this one!!! Check out the search function...a search of Fernandes brought up some good stuff...press this link and you will find a bit including pics...PG Search on "fernandes"

I'm not sure of exactly what kind of info you are looking for but Fernandes does have a PDF on installation on their web site...Fernandes wiring pdf

Here's a link to a member here who installed one in a Gem and the routing required to install it...Arrowhead Ibanez Sustainer Install. Also check out the Sustainiac site, very similar requirements...

I know the Sustainer Thread is long but there is information like this on there...(p73)...Fernandes Install Into Kramer Guitar...which is particularly good.

I don't know of any strat installs myself (other than my own DIY Sustainer Strat) but it is possible at least with the Sustainiac System and I know guys like Vai use it in a guitar like a Gem so must be able to acomodate multi-pickup gutars. But the wiring is complex and support is limited and it will require routing, at least for the battery (that needs regular changing so the Strat's scratch plate is not going to be practical).

It probably is a job for someone with a fair bit of experience in such things...but if you check this seach out, you may find all you need. Otherwise, you are welcome to join the Sustainer Thread as there are people who look in there who may well have done it...good luck...pete

As it happens, the latest edition of "Guitar Player" Magazine has a 2 page article on having a Fernandes system professionally installed into a Tele...that would also be of interest.

Of the above links...check out the Kramer install. Fernandes have the switches for their sustainer hardwired to a fairly large circuit board. In that link you will see that the circuit needed to be modified so that the switching is taken off the board...sounds like what you are proposing. Sustainiac have their switches on flying leads already.

Otherwise, Crafty has well answered most of your questions there. You do need to watch the driver coil wires are kept clear of any other wiring in the system too...well at least as much as possible...this will include the wiring from the switching as well. You can get slide switches with a lot of poles so the Jag idea may work out (sounds kind of neat) but not as easy to use or as sturdy as the toggles. Making the kind of mods you are talking about will break any warranty and a Sustainer can be a tricky install. Sustainiac is just a little more versitile than the fernandes in the installation it would seem, and there is a little more support from them (in the USA) than you will get from Fernandes (so I'm told).

So, because the Sustainiac is more aimed at this kind of custom install it probably is a better bet. Both systems work well. Otherwies, there's a fair bit of stuff on my "Sustainer Ideas" thread and I'm sure people there would be interested in your project. This thread is about all things "sustainer" and I for one have some questions about the fernandes system if you have one that could be answered by someone who has one before installation.

It's this very kind of installation that my "D.I.Y. Sustainer" project is aimed at. If you are not familiar with that, have a look at a few of the more recent pages on my Sustainer thread. But, should you get the Fernandes, join in there too, as we may have some answers or links for you and I'd have some questions as well <ahttp://www.projectguitar.com/uploads/emoticons/default_biggrin.png' alt=':D'> ...best of luck... pete

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cool thanks for the replies guys,

firstly i already have the guitar,and i got the sustainer kit for a bargain price 125 shipped so i couldn't pass it up,even though i originally thought the sustainiac would be much easier to install (i'm still waiting for the kit,should be in the post tomorrow)

i know that i can't use the neck pup with the sustainer,thats cool it's just i don't like most single sized humbuckers,though i haven't tried any in the neck position

the flying leads thing looks like a good solution to my problem of the switches location,i don't really like how loads of fernandes guitars have them sticking out behind the bridge it looks terrible,and awkward to reach

maybe the jag switching will work so? i think they look great

i'm guessing that one is triple throw,one double?

i'll be sure to check out that GP,but now that y'all know i don't have the sustainiac option,and i gotta go fernandes have ya any more suggestions?

maybe i'll make a kind of net diary of the build??

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My only suggestion is that you take your time and if you're not very experienced with soldering, practice on an old calculator or radio first. psw brought up a good point about the warranty issues and since you're modifying the basic kit, you're now on your own.

Good luck. Lettuce know how it goes!

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you sound like you got a bargain...the fernandes is a good system, nothing wrong with it's workings...

What i'd like to know is more about their circuitry...

fsk401 kit


If possible, could you identify the numbers on the little chips on their circuit??? Also the way in which it is connected may be of interest....and basically what you get in this "kit"

Otherwise...I'm sure heaps of people would like to see how you go about this project.

The guitar player article shows two large cavities put into the guitar behind the bridge to take the circuit and switches and the battery...and how tricky this is!!!

Taking long leads to the switches may be a bit of a problem so beware of that. It also means a lot of wiring (as you can see in the Kramer install) The Jag plate sounds like a really neat idea...a jag control on a tele is an interesting idea in itself...should look great!!

Out of interest, the DIY Sustainer is much smaller than these designs and because you are doing it yourself, more flexable. The driver can be made as thin as 3mm if you are clever and the circuit at least half the size of the commercial systems. But it is still going through development. Given the amount of work required to get any system into a guitar, it is a viable option. I am in the process of making it easier for people who'd like to go DIY by developing circuit boards and stuff this year...

Anyway...love to see how this all goes and you must post pics up showing how you go about it...(oh and any info about the device is always of interest to people like me looking into how these things work and how to make them even better)...enjoy, the sustainer guitar is a lot of fun to play!!!... pete

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