Guitars with Sustainer/Sustainiac pickup installed

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by philiprst, Feb 15, 2009.


  1. philiprst

    philiprst Supporting Member

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    Can anyone give me a rundown of production guitars that have either the Sustainer or Sustainiac pickup installed. If you have one I would love to have your overall opinion of the guitar both as a platform for the pickup and in general. Thanks!
     
  2. auburn-grad

    auburn-grad Member

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    Jackson has a sustaniac model on one of their Dinky guitars.....pretty cool....
     
  3. cmatthes

    cmatthes Member

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    Hamer also had the Sustainiac as an option with the Chapparal line in the late '80s/early '90s. It turns up in a few other Hamers on a custom order basis as well.

    Fernandes also has had it available on a number of models since the late '80s.

    It's a neat little device (kind of like an easier to use E-bow), but I've never really had much use for it with the stuff I've been playing over the years. It's fun to mess around with though!
     
  4. Roodyrocker

    Roodyrocker Member

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    Jackson has the USA made PC1 which has the Sustainer neck pickup, single coil middle, Dimarzio Super II bridge, Mahogany body, maple fretboard, and Original Floyd Rose bridge. It has a 5 way blade style pickup selector switch and two mini toggles to turn the Sustainer on/off as well as to get harmonics. Incredile guitar!
     
  5. karma1

    karma1 Member

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    I've had a fair amount of experience with sustainers. I used to own a Fernandes Revolver Pro (Strat-style w/ Floyd Rose). I currently have a highly modded PRS Santana SE that I've installed a Sustainiac in. I had the Fernandes for about four years and the guitar itself was decent - not great, but ok. But I bought it primarily for the sustainer, which, after years of using Ebow's was a really cool thing to get into.

    By comparison, the Sustainiac is a better product in every way - sound, operation, installation, tech support, etc. Nothing wrong with the Fernandes, but the Sustainiac is a bit better. However, installing it is a HUGE job and may involve having to route out some of the wood depending how much room there is in the control cavity. This goes for the Fernandes too - in fact, more so since the circuit board you have to install is larger. Most techs charge around $100 for installation. It took a friend of mine who has a degree in electrical engineering and has installed a Sustainiac in his own guitar, over 8 hours of work to do the job.

    So for someone who just wants to check it out and see if a Sustainer is for them, they might be better off buying a Fernandes - especially a used one if they can find one. I think I sold mine for about $350. Some of the higher end Fernandes guitars are excellent guitars in themselves. A few popular models are the Monterey which is Les Paul styled and the Ravelle which has more of a metal-style guitar look. Also, Gibson makes a Les Paul - the Neal Schon signature model that has a Sustainer, if you have about 7 grand to spend on a guitar.
     
  6. franksguitar

    franksguitar Member

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    Kramer used to make an axe with one
     
  7. Roodyrocker

    Roodyrocker Member

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    I still say best bang for the buck is the Jackson PC-1. Its not 7 grand like a Les Paul Neal Schon and its higher quality than the other lines out there like Fernandes. Sounds and plays incredible.
     
  8. eurotrashed

    eurotrashed Member

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    It uses the DiMarzio Super 3. The Super II is a neck pickup, and not many people use them.
     
  9. Dave Klausner

    Dave Klausner Member

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    I'm really intrigued by the Sustainiac. Just saw Adrian Belew last night with his signature Parker Fly that features that pickup (among other electroninc goodies - 13 pin MIDI output, Variax, etc.) and he put it to great use.

    My question for guys who have them is this. I use the neck pickup a good 80% of the time. How would you describe the tone of the Sustainiac pickup when it's just used as a straight neck pickup?

    Thanks!
     
  10. karma1

    karma1 Member

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    I use the neck pickup a lot too and was concerned about swapping the great-sounding Duncan Jazz w/ 3-way switching out of my guitar to install the Sustainiac. I did some research before doing it and found favorable reviews. I've found the tone of the Sustainiac neck pickup to be actually quite good. I'd describe it as a fat single coil sound. Not quite a humbucker yet a little bit thicker than a typical Fender single coil sound. But I wouldn't say it has the growl of a P90. I'm very satisfied with the tone of it. It's much better than the sound of the Fernandes Sustainer as a stand alone neck pickup.

    However, it is possible to install another pickup along with the Sustiainac in the neck (on the humbucker model). The bottom half the the Sustainiac driver is actually a dummy cover - there's nothing under there, it's just filling the dual coil space of a humbucker. That can be removed and another single space pickup installed - although it requires some fancy wiring from what I understand. I had thought about doing that originally, but I'm happy with the tone of the neck pickup by itself and don't feel a need to.
     

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