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Could I have my strat modded at Guitar Center?


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Posted (edited)

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

 

I haven't been to a Guitar Center in a long while. So I need some advice from any GC regulars.

 

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

 

https://davesguitar.com/products/fender/classic-series-70s-stratocaster-olympic-white-wmaple/

 

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

 

https://www.musicradar.com/reviews/fender-eob-sustainer-stratocaster

 

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 to achieve these mods?

 

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

Edited by Jericho-79
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I would guess so, but you could do the mods pretty easily yourself with a soldering iron and a credit card [to order the parts].

Why are you asking this here instead of calling your local GC and talking to the repair guy?

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The problem is that you spend a good bit of money on results that are completely unknown. Shop around and find out what kinda money you're talking for uncertain results, then look at the price of the guitar you're trying to mimic. Always remember that the guitar you hear &  like, most likely ain't gonna sound the same in your hands.

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Posted (edited)

Please understand that installing a Sustainiac is not a trivial modification.    I put one in a flying vee for a guy - it was a major project.

 

 

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IMG_3200.JPG.bb9d338667e9edb144597dd853b8f161.JPG

 

Would I trust Guitar Center to do this?   Absolutely not.

Edited by Freeman Keller
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Posted (edited)

It's a MAJOR bit of surgery to install as Freeman said. The average price per hour by GC, depending on the tech and the quality of their work, is between 60 and 100 an hour. I installed on in an Ibanez RG about 10 years ago, I know what a PITA  it was. Minimum 5 to 7 hours. If you hunt, you can find one for the 400 range. A lot easier then hacking out your fav.

And a side note here: Quite a few of GC "techs" I have run across were hired because they knew how to change strings, and owned a screwdriver. Would you trust the guy? Will you be willing to wait however long it takes him to do the job?

 

And Mikeo, not the same thing in any way shape or form. A Sustainiac is a pickup and circuit board that acts like an Ebow, but on all 6 strings at a time.  It magnetically vibrates the strings.

Edited by badpenguin
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Posted (edited)

As I recall I charged the guy for ten hours of labor plus some parts.   We made new front and back covers and some other stuff - he didn't blink when I handed the invoice.   I had to route the guitar to fit the pcb and batteries, I believe Sustainiac makes some models for strats that fit in the trem cavity.    

And for what it is worth, I wouldn't trust GC to change my strings.

Edited by Freeman Keller
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1 hour ago, Freeman Keller said:

As I recall I charged the guy for ten hours of labor plus some parts.   We made new front and back covers and some other stuff - he didn't blink when I handed the invoice.   I had to route the guitar to fit the pcb and batteries, I believe Sustainiac makes some models for strats that fit in the trem cavity.    

And for what it is worth, I wouldn't trust GC to change my strings.

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Hey guys. OP here.

Would my best bet be seeking the advice from a luthier near where I live?

I looked up a couple of small guitar repair shops close to my place.

One of these luthiers specializes in the "design and building the custom guitar of your dreams".

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Posted (edited)

Since the definition of "luthier" varies my suggestion is to take the guitar and all of the information you can find about the sustainer (they had pretty good instructions when I installed mine) to the person who might do the work and get an estimate.

Installing the sustainer will probably involve routing the body which might mean some finish touch up.   You need room for both the PCB and the battery (and make the access to the battery easy).    There is substantial wiring in addition to the pickups that you want changed.   I made new pick guards and a back panel cover and had them engraved.   You will need to do the usual setup work.     As I said before it is not a trivial mod.

Edit - I want to empathize that I installed a Sustainiac (tm) not a Fernandez Sustainer.    I can only speak to the issues involved with that particular unit.   They have pretty good information about their sustaier

https://www.sustainiac.com/stpr-org.htm

You are on your own with the Fernandez model.

Edited by Freeman Keller
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Okay...you don't want to buy another guitar, but the reality is that you should.

Having looked this over...you can get a used Ed O for about a grand.

A used Fernandes sustainer p-up will run you around $400, assuming you can find one. Plus the harness, another $20-30

Duncan JB Jr. humbucker= $89

Texas Specials? I rarely have seen these as single units, and I did not find any on Reverb, e-bay, etc.; and a set of three runs ~$200+. You could buy the set and sell the other 2 p-ups for maybe $70 each...eventually.

I have no idea what GC would charge to get the parts and do the work, but I'll bet it'll cost $3-500 in labor[through overhead] on top of the parts.

Frankly...I know this is not the way you want to go, but buy the used Ed O, save yourself all that hassle.:wave:

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