Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fender S-1 switch looks engaged when it isn't !?

I really do like the samarium cobalt pickups employed by Fender in conjunction with the S-1 system. However, there are a few complaints that I'd like to fix. The first complaint is that the S-1 switch often looks like it is engaged (depressed in the photo above) when it in fact is not engaged. The second complaint is that it is difficult to turn the volume pot. If you look closely at the header photo you will see very small gap between the bottom of the pot knob and the top of the pick-guard. What most people have done is press down the pot knob until it is flush with the pick-guard and therefore friction develops between the pot knob and the pick-guard.

To fix this problem I found that I would need to remove the pot cap entirely. This must be done carefully to prevent damaging the pot cap. The pot cap is fragile and relatively expensive in terms of mass to cost. I used a tool in order to prevent damaging my customers' guitar.

Next, I removed the potentiometer from the pick-guard using a knob/bushing puller (StewMac) and removed the lock washer located between the pot and the underside of the pick-guard.

The culprit!

I find that this washer is a little too thick and the pot cap doesn't seat low enough to prevent the S-1 switch from looking like it is "ON."

I swapped out the old lock-ring and installed a thinner washer shown on the left below. The thinner washer allows more of the pot shaft to be exposed thus allowing the outer pot cap to sit deeper on the potentiometer. With the outer portion of the pot cap sitting lower the inner S-1 sits higher and no longer appears to be engaged.

You must be certain to hold the pot when you tighten it to the pick-guard otherwise the assemble will not go back together properly. If the pick-guard assemble doesn't just drop back into the body cavity then you have to adjust the rotation orientation of the pots so that they do not interfere with the wire harness or touch the wood of the guitar body.

When installing the S-1 switch you must first install the S-1 center piece. Adjust the volume pot so it lines up with ten then install the cap assemble (S-1) going in the pot hole first, with the number ten closest to the pick-up screw as illustrated below.

Carefully seat the pot cap with the S-1 shaft going in first. I placed a thickness gauge (~0.89mm/0.035") beneath the pot cap to set a gap. If you don't have a thickness gauge handy you could use a business card or an extra thin guitar pick beneath the pot cap to prevent pushing the pot cap on too deeply. See illustration below.

Once you are completed the switch will line up and not look like it's engaged when it is NOT and visa versa.

Nice, all done and ready to go!

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