Attention Guitar Builders!
The Sustainiac OEM Board is here
Previously only available to OEM manufacturers, these boards are now available for custom builds or serious retrofits.
The Sustainiac OEM boards have been used for over 20 years by guitar manufacturers such as Jackson and Schecter. These boards are electrically identical to the retrofit boards found in the standard kits. The OEM board has been widened to allow the Sustainiac toggle switches to be mounted directly to the board. Removing the need for any soldering.
The main advantage of this form of installation is that the hookup is far easier. It also eliminates the issue of incorrect wire placement within the control cavity which can cause electrical crosstalk and squealing.
Much like the AUX boards, also offered by Sustainiac, the number of soldering connections is about half that of a traditional installation.
But there is always a compromise. The Sustainiac OEM board is normally too big for most guitar control cavities.
This means that either a large addition needs to be made to the original cavity or a separate Sustainiac cavity needs to be routed to position the toggle switches in the optimum position.
If you want to check the installation’s dimensions, please download the schematic here.
The Sustainiac Stealth Pro OEM Board Kit includes:
- Your choice of Sustainiac Stealth PRO Humbucker or Single-Coil Driver, in your choice of Black or White. 7-string options are also available.
- Main Sustainiac Stealth Pro OEM board
- 9 Volt battery clip.
- Separate 25K Drive pot for toggle switch installs, available on request.
- Open Stereo Output Jack.
- Additional wires, heat-shrink tubing and zip-ties.
- The installation guide can be downloaded from the link below. A Wiring Schematic for your specific instrument’s pickup and switch configuration will be added to your kit prior to shipping.
Optional extras: (At additional cost)
- 9-volt battery box (requires routing installation).
Sustainiac OEM kits can be ordered for our sister site PCJ Custom Guitars.
The Sustainiac OEM board is also designed for guitars with a Humbucker bridge pickup.
Due to the shape and toggle position on the board, it is highly advisable that these OEM boards are used for flat-topped bodies. An installation on a guitar with a contoured top would be very hard to achieve. In these cases, a retrofit board install is advised.
With the toggle switch mounted directly to the board, it also means that these kits are ‘toggle switch only’. There is no Push/Pull pot install option with the Sustainiac OEM boards.
With the popularity of the Sustainiac Stealth PRO system increasing each year, Sustainiac are now releasing these OEM boards for sale. These OEM boards are really aimed more at the custom guitar maker rather than someone who wants to drop a Sustainiac Stealth Pro kit into an existing guitar.
Adding a cavity suitable for the OEM board at the design phase is far simpler than having to retrofit a board of this size into a guitar. Having said that, it’s totally possible!
The trade-off of additional routing for a much simpler electrical hookup is definitely something to consider with these OEM kits.
How Does it compare to the Fernandes Sustainer?
Here we’ll compare the Sustainiac OEM board to the Fernandes FSK101 board.
If we look at the two boards side by side, we can see that the Sustainiac board is not a drop-in replacement for the Fernandes Sustainer (which is a bit of a shame…)
While the toggle switches require the same size holes, the switches are set a little further apart on the Sustainiac OEM board than on the Fernandes. They are also set along one edge of the board rather than closer to the middle.
The two boards are the same width, but the Sustainiac OEM board is much longer than the Fernandes board.
Interestingly, Fernandes has mounted all of their connector sockets to the same side as the toggle switches and other components. This means that if you ever wanted to adjust any of the wiring you would have to loosen the toggle switch nuts and remove the board to access the wiring connections. Sustaniac has mounted all of its wiring connections to the back of the board, making both installation and future adjustment much easier. Sustainiac has also stuck with solder tab connections for both the battery and the Driver wiring. This is the same design choice found on the Aux boards.
One of the most obvious differences between the Fernandes and the Sustainiac OEM board is the switch positions while playing. The Sustainiac places the on/off switch closer to the bridge of the instrument, with the mode selector further away. The image to the left shows the Jackson DK 2S with the factory Sustainiac sheet attached. You can also see the optional gain pot fitted. This is the same configuration as Steve Vai’s Flo guitars.
It would be possible to mount the switches the other way around by rotating the circuit board, but this would mean that the switch positions would also be reversed eg. Normal mode would be in the Up position. This would lower the switches in relation to the mid-line of the guitar, which may well be something to consider. But please be aware that wire length plays a factor in the design, so the ‘standard’ orientation is far more preferable.
One of the most notable artists to take advantage of the OEM board is Steve Vai.
For years, his Ibanez JEM ‘FLO’ model was fitted with the Fernandes Sustainer system. In recent years Steve moved to the Sustainiac system in a few of his JEM guitars. With the release of the new PIA models, Steve has added a Sustainiac to this newly refined signature model.
Using the OEM version of the Sustainiac installation, the characteristics of the FLO design can be brought up to date. The Sustainiac driver can be wired you an auto-split configuration in position 4, keeping the same pickup configuration of the stock PIA design.
While the Sustainiac model is not a retail option, unlike the Joe Satriani models, it shows that the Sustainiac OEM board is a valid option for any Steve Vai fans!