A History of Fernandes Guitars
FERNANDES has two brand names on the market; FERNANDES and BURNY.
The company was founded in 1969 as Saito Musical Instruments and
registered as FERNANDES in 1972. Originally manufacturing flamenco
guitars, the company expanded production over the years to include
different acoustic models, electric guitars, bass guitars, amplifiers
and accessories and is today one of the most famous Japanese guitar
They didn't official announced but Mr. Saito asked Mr. Hidesato Shiino
to develop the
Fernandes electric guitars line in the early 1970fs.
Mr. Shiino conducted all series and introduced copies of the Fender
Stratocaster (FST series), Telecaster (FTE series) and bass guitars
under the FERNANDES brand. These were a very good copy of Fender as
compared to earlier copies by GRECO, (Matsumoku era) MORRIS and others.
As with GRECO (see A History of GRECO Guitars) these early guitars were
probably designed using Fender photos but all dimensions were metric
instead of fractional inch. Nonetheless, the Japanese younger generation
was knocked out by the looks of these guitars.
The actual manufacturer is Kawai Gakki. They made all Fernandes guitars
as OEM contract.
FERNANDES also introduced Gibson copies under the BURNY brand name.
The early catalogs featured TV, SG and Firebird copies. These Gibson
replicas were unique in that most Japanese manufacturers were using
bolt-on neck bodies but BURNY was very good at set-neck construction.
In addition, the SG copy included the vibro-tremolo unit.
As an interesting side note, the BURNY name was supposed to be Bunny
(as in rabbits) but was misspelled. On learning of the error and the
English meaning of burn, they decided to stick with the original BURNY
FERNANDES offered the big size Guitar Amplifiers at the same type of guitars
These Amplifiers were named "Royal", look like Orange Amplifier.
These are also conducted by Mr. Shiino.
In 1975, FERNANDES introduced copies of the Gibson Les Paul Standard
and Custom. They utilized the solid mahogany back and 2 piece top of
the Gibson and closely matched the set-neck construction of the Gibson
originals. Probably, in 75-76, Fernandes has started to discussion with
Tokai Gakki to start the OEM production.
In 1977-80, Fernandes started the new logo mark guitars (We called it
as Stone@(in Japanese "Ishi" --- The mark is very closed to Japanese
Chinese character "Stone") logo. Tokai use very good wood materials for
this OEM contract. Tokai feedback these manufacturing knowledge for
their Les Paul and Strat replica.
In 1981, under intense legal pressure from Gibson and Fender, FERNANDES
introduced "The Revival" series. FERNANDES was forced to change the design
of the logo mark and inlay on the head peg board to distance themselves
from the Gibson and Fender designs. Many different logo and head designs
mark this era. However, the guitars were developed very much.
They checked the Gibson/Fender Vintage guitars, and analyze them.
The body cavities, PU, Tremolo units and others..., They completely
made clone guitars. These are incredible nice quality guitars as price listed.
The following are short explanation of Fernandes Strat Replica history
1973-74 Traditional Type "Fernandes" Logo --- Kawai
1975-77 Spaghetti Type "Fernandes" Logo --- Kawai/Tokai
1978-79 Stone Type "Fernandes" Logo --- Tokai
1980-81 Stone Type "Fernandes" Logo --- Changed to 22F --- Tokai
1981-90 Revival Series Logo --- Probably Tokai
2003 Revival Second Generation --- No idea about the MFG
FERNANDES is also well known in the United States for its Sustainer system
which uses electromagnetism to vibrate a string for an indefinite period?
as long as the user continues to fret the note. This was a huge leap forward
in electric guitar technology and the custom shop at FERNANDES and dealers
worldwide installed Sustainers on many manufacturersf guitars.
(updated April 24, 2012)