Installing a Fernandes Sustainer
Kit into a Kramer Sustainer Body
Forum bro TommysGs created a terrific writeup about installing a Fernandes Sustainer Kit into a late 1980s Kramer Sustainer body. This is a project many have attempted to undertake, but had trouble doing because some modification is needed for the Fernandes Unit to retrofit the Kramer bodies.
I purchased a Fernades sustainer kit for @ $120. There are some modifications required to fit the Kramer sustainer body without doing any modifications to the body.
First off the switches are mounted in the middle of the board so I removed the switches and soldered about 3 inches of wire. I used solid copper wire but standed wire may be better as it is more flexable. It also might be helpful to trim the posts on the switches shorter to get them to sit lower to the board.
Then I bent the wires over to get the switches close to side of the circuit board. Put some electrical tape on the board and the bottom of the switches so they don't contact anything.
Notice the green wire. This connector needs to be removed from the circuit board because it interfears with the input jack when you put it in the body. I removed the wire from the connector and put it in the connector that is for the bridge pickup because it has a connector clip to snap into the connector and cut a new wire to solder into the board.
If I do this again I will probably remove all the connectors from the circuit board and hard wire right to the board as the connectors are tall and make it so the board just barely fit into the control cavity.
The green wire you see on the
right is the wire I soldered into the board after removing the connector. This
is the sustainer pickup (neck) output wire. The red green and black wires to the
right are from where I removed the small pot from the back of the circuit board
they refer to as AGC (sustainer gain control) because the Kramer has this
feature wired into a pot on the front of the guitar which is the knob farthest
from the volume knob. Use a ohm meter to determine the wiring or draw the
connection locations as they will be wired to the post in the body the opposite
from the one on the board. The wires that are sticking straight up are for the
bridge pickup. That is were I put the green wire I removed from the board
earlier as it had the connector clip on the end of th wire and I snapped it into
Remove the LED from the board and solder in about 4 inches of wire as you will put the LED into the hole in the body. You can get a LED holder at Radio shack. This is the battery indicator light.
Mount the input jack. You will need a sterio input jack as the ground to the volume pot and the sustainer board groun connects to one of the ground posts and the batery ground connects to the other. DO NOT connect the two grounds together because the batery ground turns on the sustainer circuit when a cord is plugged in. Install the pots the ones on the left and middle are 500k and the one on the right for the sustainer gain is 250k. Run all the wires low and against the far wall for clearance on the sustainer board.
Make all or most of your
electrical connections before mounting the sustainer board. The kit comes with a
schematic. Fernades recomends wiring the Duncan pickup as connecting the black
and green wires together and using the white for hot and the red for ground. I
wired it the way you normally wire a Duncan which they say will work and it
sounded like shit (bright). so I recommend that you use there recommendation.
The schematic shows a Gibson style pickup selector switch but you will want to use a ON-ON-ON mini switch. It is a little confusing on how to wire this. So if you are looking at the switch and have it oriented so you have the two rows of three posts running vertical (up and down) you put the purple wire (bridge pickup output) on the top right. The white wire (from the volume pot and the blue wire (main output from the sustainer board) on the middle right, the yellow wire (sustainer pickup return) on the middle left, and the green wire (sustainer pickup output) on the bottom left.
(NO POSTS ARE CONNECTED ACROSS)
Put some electrical tape on the back of the pots and the input jack barrel so nothing on the board shorts out on them. The board will be at a slight angle as there is a huge component on the back of the board you need to get low enough to get the cavity cover on.
Arrange you wiring connections for the bridge pickup over the volume pot so you can change it without having to remove the circuit board.
And finally the almost finished product. I just need to get some black speed knobs and it will be finished.
Turned out pretty good!
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