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Fernandes Sustainer vs. Sustainiac Stealth Pro


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I can give you good advice on this as I've owned both and done a lot of research on them. A few years ago I owned a Fernandes Revolver Pro (Strat-style guitar w/ Floyd Rose) with a Sustainer. I had it for about four years and the guitar itself was ok, but I really had it for the Sustainer which I used a lot especially in my recording. However, I eventually sold it because I really don't care for Floyd Rose trems. I was going to swap the Sustainer out of it into another guitar, but was advised against it by a couple different techs. So I started looking into the difference between Fernandes and Sustainiac, and after a lot of searching, I wound up getting a Sustainac Stealth Plus and putting it into my PRS Santana SE.

 

By comparison, there is nothing wrong with the Fernandes, but the Sustainac is definitely a superior product in every way. For one, the circuit board is smaller and easier to fit in the guitar than the Fernandes. Whether it will require routing is totally dependent on how much room you have in your guitar's control cavity. You have to install the circuit board and a 9 volt battery in there. My guitar had a fair amount of room inside, but I did have to do some very minor routing, although it was just on the inside - it didn't show on the outside.

 

Let me just say for the record, that installing either one is a BIG job. It's not like just dropping in a pickup. It took a friend of mine who has a degree in electrical engineering and has installed one in his own guitar, over eight hours to do the job on mine. Most techs charge at least $100 dollars to install them. Just so you know, you will have to remove your neck pickup which is replaced by the Sustainer driver/pickup. The one on the Sustainiac is actually quite good and sounds like a fat single coil. The one on the Fernandes was pretty mediocre.

 

Another plus is that the customer service/tech support at Sustainiac is top notch. They provide tons of info on their web site and will personally help you on the phone or email with any questions or problems that come up during installation - I know, because we had to call them in the middle and get some more info. They were very helpful and a pleasure to work with.

 

The Sustainiac also sounds better than the Fernandes. It's got a three way switch for different modes (harmonics). Again, I have nothing negative to say about the Fernandes, but the Sustainac is better, in my opinion.

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Definitely some good information so far. Don't you have to route for either one of them though, if you want to put the battery door in? It seems like it would be really inconvenient to have to take the pick guard off each time the battery needs changing.

 

Keep up the discussion though, folks. Interesting stuff here.

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Yes, you definitely have to route if you want to put a battery door in - and pretty major routing too. I put my battery in the control cavity. It's not as convenient, but it's just two small screws on the back of the guitar to get to it. Although if I were putting one in a Strat, I might do the routing because having to remove the strings and pickguard would really be a pain.

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does it have to be the neck pickup that goes? can you put it in place of the middle pickup?

 

From what I understand, yes, it has to be the neck pickup. You might want to check www.sustainiac.com to see if there is any info about putting it in the middle. When I installed a Sustainiac in my PRS Santana SE, I hated to loose the neck pickup because I had a Duncan Jazz in there that I really liked. However, the Sustainiac as a pickup is actually quite good sounding, while the Fernandes I used to own didn't sound nearly as good as a neck pickup.

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