For some guitar lovers, Fernandes Guitars are known with its unique solution such as Sustainer system, pre-installed active pre amp, amplified mini guitar "ZO-3". However, they are also important player in Japan Vintage Guitars.
It originated in 1969 as Saito Gakki who was the distributor of flamenco guitars. This background is the reason of its brand name that came from Arcange Fernandez the manufacturer of Flamenco Guitars.
Fernandes brand was born in 1972 when they started production of electric guitars. As they did not have own production facility, Tokai, Kawai and some others were the OEM suppliers.
The brand “Fernandes” was used for Fender guitar replicas and for Gibson replica “Burny” was applied. The first-generation models that had Fender style logo was released with higher price than other Japanese brands. Although it was not well made replica, its quality was quite high and had unique features as well such as solid maple body Stratocaster etc.
In 1978, the second generation was released with changing headstock logo design. It is called as “Ishi-logo” or “Stone logo”, as its “F” letter design looks like Japanese kanji letter “石” meaning the stone. It was started as similar solution as first generation, but gently changed to real copied replicas like other Japanese brands such as Greco, Tokai and others. However, at the end of Ishi Logo generation, they released some unique solutions such as 22 fret Strato, double wiring single coil pickup (variable coil turns with switch), coil tap system and so on. This sort of modern technical approach had taken over to next generation model “The Function”, but the most noteworthy portfolio of Fernandes is RST “The Revival” series born in 1981. At that time “Super Real” series from Greco and Tokai “Reborn Old” and others had great success with its high level copy of Fender and Gibson guitars. Fernandes had to change the direction from modern solution development to vintage traditional style copy as it was the market demand.
“The Revival” series are one of the most important players of low suit Japan Vintage Guitars, I will introduce some more details later.