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Here's one of my latest experimental toys from ebay...

http://jemsiteforum.com/sharefiles/index.php?action=viewimage&image=Fernandes 1.JPG

It's a Fernandes strat copy with sustainer...and it was fairly cheap. I've wanted a traditional looking strat, but with something more. Had been toying with the idea of a Warmoth project, but thought this would be worth a whirl. Thought I'd post a little review as these get inquiries here occasionally.


The body is what first attracted me...it appears to be solid alder (3 pc?) with a 50s style tobacco burst...good looking finish. It's fairly light, partly due I'm sure to the extra routing for the sustainer electronics.

The neck is fairly traditional strat style, small frets, shallow v--playable but does not have a high quality feel. Maybe a Warmoth replacement needed?

The hardware is so, so...the trem functions about like any strat trem (ain't no edge).

The pickups are not very good...lowish output and not impressive tone. I have a set of Fender CS Fat 50s I may pop into the middle and bridge to see how that helps. I was pleased to find that the neck pup functions as a magnetic pup when the sustainer is off...it sounds kinda thin, but at least is works.

The sustainer works...as far as I know it's the standard Fernandes unit. It only functions with the bridge pup...a bit limiting IMHO. It doesn't pump out the sustain as I expected it would...it works best with lots of gain and more volume...a compressor helps too. I suspect it only works as well as the bridge pup. Probably needs a higher output pup in the bridge to make it sing--thinking a SD Lil' 59.

For comparison, I just picked up a cheap/mint/used Fender Mexi strat...which generally feels and sounds like a slightly better guitar (this mexi happens to be one of the better ones I've played). I think with some upgrades (neck & pups) the Fernandes might be a nice piece, and still come in at just a tad over $400 total.

Anybody else have experience with sustainer guitars?

84 Posts
Fernandes sustainer strat

I have a Fernandes Monterey with a sustainer system.

It should sing like hell no matter how much output the pick ups have, some suggestions:
  • One of those knobs should control the intensity of the sustainer, turn it all the way up.
  • There should be a push/pull pot that changes it from sustain to feedback.
  • And lastly, and most importantly, check the battery in the back of the guitar. There should be a red light that you can see through the plastic back-peace. If the battery is low, the sustainer won't work nearly as well, and the pick ups will lose output. If the battery runs out completely, the guitar is dead.

I hope this helped, but you probably already knew all that. :) I don't know if your guitar works the same way as mine, though.
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