This month, we’ll take a look at the Fender S- 1 switching
system. Essentially, it’s a special multi-stage push/push pot
designed to deliver maximum
flexibility without muddling the
appearance of your guitar with
new switches. The S- 1 consists of
a 4-pole/double-throw (aka 4PDT
or 4P2T) switch attached under
the volume pot, with the pushbutton embedded in the top of the
Strat’s volume knob. Originally,
the S- 1 was meant to be used with
Fender’s Super Switch, a special
5-way pickup-selector switch with
four independent switching stages
(instead of the standard two).
Combining these two devices
allows virtually unlimited switching possibilities with any given
Here’s what Fender says about
their S- 1 switching system: “A
near-endless array of pickup
options at your fingertips! Now
standard equipment in many of
our American Deluxe series and
American series instruments,
Fender’s groundbreaking S- 1
switching system allows players
to switch pickup configurations
in an instant. The switch is visu-
ally undetectable, but tonally it
turns your instrument into the
most versatile axe on the planet!
Located in the crown of the
master volume knob, one push
of the switch will place your
pickups in an assemblage of par-
allel, series, and pickup-combin-
ing configurations. You can have
the best of all worlds!”
As always, when Fender says
“system,” they’re describing a com-
bination of several parts. In this
case, they’re referring to the Fender
Super Switch, plus the S- 1 push/
push pot. In this column, how-
ever, we’ll focus exclusively on the
S- 1 pot. (We’ll explore the Super
Switch in a future column.) Even
with the S- 1 pot alone, you have
the power of two regular push/
pull pots, which is more than
cool. Fender’s Custom Shop La
Cabronita Especial—which sports
two TV Jones pickups, a Gibson-
style 3-way toggle, and a single
S- 1 pot—offers a good example
of the S- 1 functioning without its
Super Switch soulmate.
The Fender S- 1 switch is avail-
able in 250k or 500k versions,
each with either a knurled or solid
shaft in various lengths. So the S- 1
is not limited to use in Strats—
you can use it in any guitar. The
typical short-shaft 250k pot with
a knurled shaft for Strats is Fender
part number 0061256000. The
Of course, you don’t have to
use all four of the S- 1’s stages.
Simply connect what you need
for a given mod and leave the
other stages unconnected. The
S- 1 switch is versatile: You can
use it as a single-pole/single-
throw (SPST) switch for the
“7-Sound Strat” mod, or as
The moderately priced S- 1 pot is the perfect
solution for players who want to preserve
their guitar’s stock appearance.
500k version is part number
0061257000. Along with the S- 1
switching pot itself, Fender offers
volume knobs in white, black,
parchment, and aged white.
The moderately priced S- 1
pot is the perfect solution for
players who want to preserve
their guitar’s stock appearance.
The button is virtually invisible, and even with the switch
engaged, nothing pops up on the
pickguard. This eliminates the
big disadvantage of regular push/
pull and push/push knobs and
makes the S- 1 switch a winner.
The Fender S- 1 push/push pot.
The S- 1’s special volume knob, with its push-button top.
(DPDT) switch for coil-splitting a humbucker, or for
doing an out-of-phase mod. Or
you can harness its full 4-pole/
double-throw (4PDT) power
and coil-split two humbuckers
at the same time, or even create
an ultra-tweaky series/parallel
wiring with phasing plus an
extra capacitor. These are just
some examples to illustrate the
S- 1’s amazing potential.
So let’s dip into the S- 1’s
switching matrix. Looking at
the switch from underneath the
pot, you can clearly see the four
switching stages. The black
dots are the switch’s so-called
“commons”—think of them
as the middle lug of a regular
switch—and the two other lugs
(located left and right of the
common) make the connections, depending on whether or
not the button is pushed in.
As you can see, you can do a
lot with this switch. Hopefully
this will help you understand how
the S- 1 switch works and maybe
inspire you to develop your own
cool way of using it. The possibilities are mindboggling.
Left: The S- 1’s four switching stages. The black dots are the “commons”—like the middle lug of a regular switch.
Middle: What the S- 1 switching matrix looks like when the button is in the normal up position (not pressed).
Right: The S- 1’s switching matrix when the button is pressed down.
DIRK WACKER lives in
Germany and is fascinated
by anything related to old
Fender guitars and amps.
He plays country, rocka-
billy, and surf music in two
bands, works regularly as a
session musician for a local studio, and writes
for several guitar mags. He’s also a hardcore
guitar and amp DIY-er who runs an extensive
website— singlecoil.com—on the subject.