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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I searched the board but couldn't find a topic about this. Which sustainer has a better tone with it's turned off? If Vai used the Fernandes, then the fernandes must have a decent tone, as I see Steve using FLO(and MOJO)all the time. Hows the tone on the Sustainiac Stealth plus when turned off?

Thanks, Andy
 

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I have the Fernandes that I won at Jemfest 2001. I put it in an 80's peavy model that I used to gig with (was a Eddie Van Halen type with 1 pickup and volume control but really nice wood and neck). I had a Duncan in it before and have been fairly pleased with the sound of the pickups. Not really like the EVO's, PAFs or Breeds. Really, the bridge pickup is more like a mix between the stock Gibson humbuckers and the PAFs if I had to describe it...and I like both pickups so there you go.

The neck bickup is more like the minirail humbuckers if you have every heard those. I am very happy with it. The sustainer works great as does the harmonic function. I have been very happy with it.

A note though, the reason I used the guitar I did for this is the large cavity required for the electronic board that you have to squeeze in. There is NO WAY I would put it into a JEM. I only needed a few mm extra for the Peavey so it was not that difficult but a Jem would require substantial routing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
jimmi said:
I have the Fernandes that I won at Jemfest 2001. I put it in an 80's peavy model that I used to gig with (was a Eddie Van Halen type with 1 pickup and volume control but really nice wood and neck). I had a Duncan in it before and have been fairly pleased with the sound of the pickups. Not really like the EVO's, PAFs or Breeds. Really, the bridge pickup is more like a mix between the stock Gibson humbuckers and the PAFs if I had to describe it...and I like both pickups so there you go.

The neck bickup is more like the minirail humbuckers if you have every heard those. I am very happy with it. The sustainer works great as does the harmonic function. I have been very happy with it.

A note though, the reason I used the guitar I did for this is the large cavity required for the electronic board that you have to squeeze in. There is NO WAY I would put it into a JEM. I only needed a few mm extra for the Peavey so it was not that difficult but a Jem would require substantial routing.
Thats one of the only things I am worried about. If I routed out all of that wood, it seems like it would change the overall tone of the guitar. Is the Fernandes really that much better for Vai to choose it over the Sustainiac and still have to get rid of all that precious wood?
 

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Alan at Maniac Music just put a Sustainiac in my 77Brmr.
When we discussed what guitar it was going to be installed in, I told him it was a mirrored Jem, he mentioned that he's installed Sustainiacs into two Brmrs sent to him by Ibanez for Steve.

So according to him, Steve has apparently decided to add the Sustainiac to his collection.

Alan was a really great guy to work with. His reputation for great customer service is well deserved.

As for the original question . . . when the Sustainiac is turned off the guitar retains it's tone pretty well as it uses your original pickup rather than the Fernandes one. So whether you're running a Breed, Evo, EMG or whatever your guitar is going to sound like it did before the modification.

Also, the loss of wood due to the routing is pretty minimal. The guitar isn't getting hollowed out or anything. There's just a small spot slightly larger than a 9-volt battery and another little bit under the pickguard. Both areas combined are really just a few ounces. It's not like the guitar will be three pounds lighter or anything after the unit is installed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
highspeedonice said:
Alan at Maniac Music just put a Sustainiac in my 77Brmr.
When we discussed what guitar it was going to be installed in, I told him it was a mirrored Jem, he mentioned that he's installed Sustainiacs into two Brmrs sent to him by Ibanez for Steve.

So according to him, Steve has apparently decided to add the Sustainiac to his collection.

Alan was a really great guy to work with. His reputation for great customer service is well deserved.

As for the original question . . . when the Sustainiac is turned off the guitar retains it's tone pretty well as it uses your original pickup rather than the Fernandes one. So whether you're running a Breed, Evo, EMG or whatever your guitar is going to sound like it did before the modification.

Also, the loss of wood due to the routing is pretty minimal. The guitar isn't getting hollowed out or anything. There's just a small spot slightly larger than a 9-volt battery and another little bit under the pickguard. Both areas combined are really just a few ounces. It's not like the guitar will be three pounds lighter or anything after the unit is installed.
It seems it would be that way with the Fernandes, as it routes out a LOT in the back. So when you say it uses your bridge pickup when it's turned off, does that mean it sounds like the same pickup but in the neck position?
 

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highspeedonice said:
Alan at Maniac Music just put a Sustainiac in my 77Brmr.
When we discussed what guitar it was going to be installed in, I told him it was a mirrored Jem, he mentioned that he's installed Sustainiacs into two Brmrs sent to him by Ibanez for Steve.

So according to him, Steve has apparently decided to add the Sustainiac to his collection.

Alan was a really great guy to work with. His reputation for great customer service is well deserved.

As for the original question . . . when the Sustainiac is turned off the guitar retains it's tone pretty well as it uses your original pickup rather than the Fernandes one. So whether you're running a Breed, Evo, EMG or whatever your guitar is going to sound like it did before the modification.

Also, the loss of wood due to the routing is pretty minimal. The guitar isn't getting hollowed out or anything. There's just a small spot slightly larger than a 9-volt battery and another little bit under the pickguard. Both areas combined are really just a few ounces. It's not like the guitar will be three pounds lighter or anything after the unit is installed.
The sustainer that I have came with its own pickups. I might have been able to use a different bridge pickup but not the neck pickup as that is the one that generates the effect. Steve's have a "dummy" coil next to the single coil size pickup at the neck but unless they have come up with a different design, it is not an Ibanez of any sort.

THe routing is for the board that the electronics come on. While I don't think it would effect tone, it just made me too nervous to do it. I used a guitar that already had a fairly large space for the volume and tone pots and needed very little addition room. Really, it is an issue of a square board needing to go into a triangular hole. I actually thought about it for several guitars I had and investigated purchasing another one that just had humbucker with 2 single coils (I did not like the idea of a dummy coil) but settled on the peavy that had only one pickup and had a space routed out for the other one.

This actually brings up anothe issue, The pickups have to be at a specific distance from each other for the effect to work...So make sure you do the measurements. Too close or too far and it may work but not as well.

Actually I am glad I did it the way I did. I hardly played the Peavy until I put the sustainer in it (which is a shame because it has a great neck on it). Now I play it more often and my JEMS are still untouched
 

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Andy43 said:
It seems it would be that way with the Fernandes, as it routes out a LOT in the back. So when you say it uses your bridge pickup when it's turned off, does that mean it sounds like the same pickup but in the neck position?
In the neck position, the Sustainiac driver acts as the pickup. Honestly though, as little as I use the neck pickup, I think it sounds fine. The Fernandes driver is incapable of acting as a pickup, so you'd either have to lose the use of a neck pickup completely or else add a single coil of your choice neck to the driver. It could be another hundred dollar expense to go that way.

Jimmi, good point about the routing for the circuit board of the Fernandes. That was another thing about that unit that I found rather unappealing. Mainly because I was a little spooked about drilling holes through the mirrored top of my guitar for the mini toggles and didn't want to be bothered making a back plate for the additional cavity. So if losing wood is a big issue for anyone out there considering this mod, then you have to consider that the Fernandes requires more routing and a little more B.S. than the Sustainiac.

Also worth noting for those on the fence, the mini toggles of the Sustainiac aren't attached to the circuit board and the board itself is significantly smaller than the Fernandes, thus making it much easier to conceal in the guitar without the additional trauma of adding yet another cavity.
 

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highspeedonice said:
In the neck position, the Sustainiac driver acts as the pickup. Honestly though, as little as I use the neck pickup, I think it sounds fine. The Fernandes driver is incapable of acting as a pickup, so you'd either have to lose the use of a neck pickup completely or else add a single coil of your choice neck to the driver.
Incorrect. I own a fernandes, and it works as a pickup (a good sounding one at it too).

J
 

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Jeroenn said:
Incorrect. I own a fernandes, and it works as a pickup (a good sounding one at it too).

J
Ahh, ok . . . that's good to know. When I was researching my purchase, I ran across something that said that you could add a single-coil pickup next to the driver and I could've sworn that it said something about the Fernandes driver not functioning as a pickup. This was back in November and apparently my memory had slipped some since then. I appreciate the heads-up and apologize for my mistake. I stand corrected. Thank you sir! ;) 8)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So can either one of you tell me what the Sustainiac/Sustainer sounds like when turned off? I really like the sound of my PAF pro neck, so I think I'll go with the sustainer that sounds closest to that.
 

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Andy43 said:
So can either one of you tell me what the Sustainiac/Sustainer sounds like when turned off? I really like the sound of my PAF pro neck, so I think I'll go with the sustainer that sounds closest to that.
Alan said it sounds like a good high output HB, and it does, great tone, you can adjust the output on the board to match your bridge pickup. I have the sustainiac Stealth plus installed on my rg2550ex.

By the way, i think steve uses fernandes sustainers live because he gets paid for it, but he must know for sure sustainiac is better.
 

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Just to let you know, you will have to route out alot more wood for the Board on the Fernendes then you would for the Sustainiac. So you should plan this carfully.



 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
bluealien said:
Just to let you know, you will have to route out alot more wood for the Board on the Fernendes then you would for the Sustainiac. So you should plan this carfully.



Mines rear routed too. Would I have to route anything out to put a Sustainiac in a rear routed?
 

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Andy43 said:
Mines rear routed too. Would I have to route anything out to put a Sustainiac in a rear routed?
Yes but a lot less wood...

Battery Holder & board.

Here I found this guys installation on a JEM 7vwh, but you can grasp the idea of what you will have to do on the rear, because I dont think there is enough room to squeeze the board in with the POTs & for the battery.

http://owenkelly.com/2005/09/sustainiac-install-on-ibanez-jem-7-vwh.html
 

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The sustainiac is a smaller circuit board and having tried both, I have one of each in my 2 Jem 7v's and the sustainiac is a much better unit. It has a much mellower sound as a pick up and when turned on the sustain is much more authentic than the Fernandes.
 

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Hey, looky, someone posted my how to! The Sustainiac is probably the better of the two circuits. The fernandes is a monster board requiring significant routing, so I'd be inclined to go with the Sustainiac every time.
 
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