View Full Version : Creating "Flo" - fernandes sustainer?

05-05-2006, 04:46 AM
As some of you may well know, recently I acquired a magnificent Ibanez JEM 7vwh, and its amazing. Nevertheless, I am a Vai whore.

I can't say I'm too pleased with the neck evolution pickup. I mean, it gives you the neck pickup sounds...but thats about it. I'd always wondered what the extra stuff on Vai's "Flo" was, so I did some research. After discovering it was a Fernandes Sustainer, I did some more research, eventually realising that I wanted one on my Jem. To cut a long story short, I want to create "Flo".

Nevertheless there are a couple of setbacks in the planning stages. First on my agenda is which sustainer kit to get. The sustainer comes in a humbucker sized kit however, Vai uses the single coil sized sustainer with an extra plastic thingy to complete it into a humbucker sized pickup. The S/C set also comes complete with an intensity potentiometer, something with the humbucker set does NOT come with, so for added features and authenticity I obviously want the S/C set. So:

- Is it possible for the average Joe like me to do the same with a single coil sized sustainer (i.e. finding a humbucker mount and mounting it on that with something else to make a humbucker sized, S/C sustainer?

- I'm guessing there's a lot of drilling involved so I'll probably not install it myself. Would a guitar shop do the necessary handiwork or would I have to track down a luthier or something ridiculous like that?

- Failing point #1, could I get a separate intensity potentiometer and attatch it to the humbucker circuit?

Thanks in advance, any help would be awesome :thumb:

Blue Moon
05-05-2006, 04:56 AM
Ok fernandes only made that white cover sustainer for stevie so i think you'll have to get a black one... which might not be asthethicly pleasing...

i didnt know it was a single coil vai had, but if u et the single coil and find a white humbucker cover to mess around with it might work

the humbucker version aint half bad at all and isnt too much different from the sc, Im sure if u email fernandes they might help u

and yup u gota make another small cavity to fit the 9v battery and 2 mroe switches on the guitars body

have u looked at the "sustainic" sunstainer?

05-05-2006, 04:58 AM
Sounds like a fun project.

I'm not terribly sure. Perhaps go to an Ibanez dealer about the modding/fitting aspect.

05-05-2006, 05:07 AM
have u looked at the "sustainic" sunstainer?

I'm actually looking at it now. Thanks for your post, I realise that doing the whole authentic deal may not work properly. Losing a neck pickup might become a problem though, unless I do this:


The Sustaniac actually looks more attractive due to the push/pull pot option. How similar is this model to the fernandes one?

05-05-2006, 05:17 AM
I'm pretty sure you could turn the other sustainer on with a push/pull.

05-05-2006, 05:30 AM
I'm pretty sure you could turn the other sustainer on with a push/pull.

Fair game, but that would require wiring fiddling stuff.

It seems the Stealth model of the Sustaniac has all this with push pull pots, and the Stealth plus has all that, plus it works as an active pickup to boot, but I'm guessing not a good one. My best bet would probably be to get the Stealth and mount a JB Jr (or other similar mini-humbucker) with it, so I still have a neck pickup. Sound like a good idea?

Blue Moon
05-05-2006, 05:40 AM
quite similar im not 100% sure, but a lot of people use it to the same affect as u want, + i think u can get it white

i remember reading a guitar project a while ago about installing one but it was ages ago... =/ jackson uses the sustanic in some of their models both single and hb

05-05-2006, 12:41 PM
the sustainiac requires a lot of wiring to install. If you aren't confident wiring a push-pull pot, you are definitely going to have to get someone to install it for you.

05-05-2006, 12:46 PM
Sustainiacs are a lot better than the Fernandes sustainers, btw. They have more options.

05-05-2006, 05:37 PM
Right then. What I'm thinking of doing is similar to the Les Paul pictured up there (only with a hotter pickup, more likely) although I'm leaning towards having switches installed. However, something cropped up in my reading about it:

Ibanez GUITARS: Most Ibanez guitars have tiny electronics cavities. Therefore, a new cavity is required to hold the circuit board. The Jem model needs to have a cavity routed underneath the pickguard to hold the Sustainiac circuit board. But, once you get it in there, the pickguard covers it up so that you can't see it. Both the Stealth and Stealth Plus models work well in the Ibanez guitars.

Many Ibanez guitars have the neck humbucker tapped on switch position 2, and the bridge pickup tapped at switch position 4. Both the 2-humbucker and hum-single-hum guitars have this feature. If you want to keep this useful feature, you must use the STEALTH model, not the Stealth PLUS. You must put a mini-humbucker next to the Stealth driver. Furthermore, you must replace the existing pickup selector switch with a 4-pole "superswitch". If you don't use the "superswitch", you cannot get the coil-tapping function with the Sustainiac installed. The "superswitch" is $15.

So I'll need to have an extra cavity routed and another switch in addition to having holes drilled in the body. I'm starting to wonder whether this is worth all the trouble on my JEM, or whether I should look at putting it another model (maybe buying that Jackson down at the shop...Jackson tremolos never looked that good to me though).

Does anyone actually have one? Is it worth the cost and hassle? Should I risk putting it into a JEM?

05-05-2006, 05:50 PM
I think you should be happy with your Jem and leave it as it is. You'll never get his tone even though I know you plan on getting his carvin and stuff dude.

Esp Griffyn
05-05-2006, 05:51 PM
Without a white cover with gold detailing like his, it will look bad.

05-05-2006, 05:59 PM
I think you should be happy with your Jem and leave it as it is. You'll never get his tone even though I know you plan on getting his carvin and stuff dude.

:chug: Fair point...

Looks like I'll leave it after all. Thanks for all the info guys...its a project for the far future now :thumb:

05-05-2006, 06:02 PM
I'd do it on a RG 550 dude.

Black maybe, that way you'd have black pickups and you could have the Sustainer/Sustainiac in the neck and have it look alright.

05-05-2006, 06:06 PM
Is the RG 550 good? I've never been able to tell what a good RG is and what a bad RG is...all those numbers confuse me =P

05-05-2006, 06:10 PM
The 550/570 RGs were the guitars back in the 90s. You know the 2550 now? That's the modern version. Basically, they're Jems without the Vine inlay, monkey grip, or Lion Claw route (though they're still routed).

They've got Edge trems and everything. You'd need to replace the pickups with DiMarzios or the like, because the stock pickups were IBZ made, but that's not much of a negative.

05-05-2006, 06:15 PM
Thanks...I just had a look at them, and they seem pretty good (except for the colour options) but I'll keep them in mind in the future. I should really stop faffing around with piddly things and buy a new amp already =P

05-05-2006, 06:16 PM
Yer, the colors weren't the greatest. I personally like the Black/maple neck combination, but you might not.

Some of the newest ones have AANJ neck joints too, which is certainly nice.

Blue Moon
05-05-2006, 10:23 PM
carvin reminds of christmas day turkey


carvin rocks