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Fernandes six string

Article from Making Music, January 1987



OPINION



Bloody, bloody, bloody. They call it a Head Crasher tremolo, presumably because it's so irritating to set up. Once I'd worked out how to set up the height of the little block beside the bridge which locks the whole assembly when you swing the trem arm down, the arm had come loose. Then when I tightened the arm up, it went out of tune if you locked it. Another guitar for review without a manual; at least it had all the tools I needed.

Fine-looking beast, though. The body is double-cutaway Stratocaster shaped, though rather skinnier, in the mode of the Aria RS series. The slim through-neck and wide flat fingerboard also reminded me of the Arias, which is no bad thing, as they were some of the finest Japanese guitars I'd come across. All wooden surfaces (with the exception of the fingerboard, dummy) are stained a delightfully deep burgundy, with the grain of the wood clearly showing through. The Head Crasher is a Floyd Rose-alike, with fine tuners, and an alien key powered locking trem.

Noise-making is via two, low impedance pickups, encased in black plastic covers with 'FGI TECHNOLOGY' printed in the bottom right in little white letters. These are designed by Fernandes Guitar International in the States, though they are presumably put together in the Zen-like atmosphere of Fernandes' Japanese plant. The pickups are not tappable, and are controlled by a basic volume and tone, plus a three-way toggle switch. Uncomplicated. The pickups are well loud, though possibly not as clear as EMGs might be.

The fingerboard is ebony, with 24 semi-rounded frets. It really is very wide, in the popular style; however, the neck profile is shallow enough to make the FR-120 eminently playable. The neck was the biggest attraction of this guitar for me. The pickups were fine, and warm, with a forceful and middly tone, like a butch Strat, rather than any kind of Gibson.

The finish is excellent — the only blemish I could find was in the allen key sockets holding the locking nut in place, which is hardly a big problem.

DECISION



The FR-120 is an extremely good-looking instrument, but to me seemed to lack a particular character — a forceful player would have to stamp his/her own identity on the sound.

Stuff all this snobbery about American guitars; the Japanese are perfectly capable of making instruments every bit as good as the Yanks'. But there are still a lot of musicians who think that £725 is too much to pay for an Oriental guitar. It's this attitude from professional musicians (can anyone else afford that much?) that Fernandes' original designs will have to overcome.

SPEC — FERNANDES FR-120

PRICE £725
BODY sen
NECK five ply maple/walnut
FINGERBOARD ebony
PICKUPS low impedance humbuckers
SELECTOR three way toggle
CONTROLS volume & tone
TREMOLO Head Crasher w/locking nut
FINISH dark-stained natural wood
HARDWARE black



Previous Article in this issue

The Value Of The Valve

Next article in this issue

Guitar Guru


Publisher: Making Music - Track Record Publishing Ltd, Nexus Media Ltd.

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Making Music - Jan 1987

Gear in this article:

Guitar > Fernandes > FR-120


Gear Tags:

Electric Guitar

Review by Jon Lewin

Previous article in this issue:

> The Value Of The Valve

Next article in this issue:

> Guitar Guru


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