S-1 switching. Fender Elite Stratocaster Soft Touch Knobs and S1 Switch. Position two: bridge and neck pickups wired in parallel, Position two: bridge and neck pickups wired in series, Position two: bridge and neck pickups in parallel, Position four: neck and bridge pickups in series, Position two: bridge and neck pickups in parallel and out of phase, Position four: neck and bridge pickups in series and out of phase, Position two: bridge and middle pickups in parallel, Position three: bridge and neck pickups in parallel, Position four: middle and neck pickups in parallel, Position two: bridge and middle pickups in series, Position four: middle and neck pickups in series. Externally the American Elite Stratocaster has Fender's timeless style, but under the hood it's an entirely new breed of guitar designed for 21st-century players who constantly push the envelope. The S-1 switch offers five additional pickup wiring options when engaged: Position one: all three pickups wired in series, Position two: bridge and middle pickups wired in series, Position three: middle and neck pickups wired in series, Position four: bridge and neck pickups wired out of phase, with a special tone capacitor, Position five: bridge and middle pickups wired in series and out of phase, in parallel with neck pickup. Just as interesting is the fact that Fender, well aware of the widespread regard for the in-between switch settings almost from the start, let 14 years elapse before officially acknowledging them. With over a dozen new innovations, each guitar is a true performer with eye-catching style, exceptional feel and versatile sound from the very first moment you plug it in and play. Take a closer look at how this key Strat feature makes it such a versatile guitar. Guitarist Buddy Merril, an early champion of the Stratocaster who played with the Lawrence Welk orchestra, used the “in-between sound” as early as 1955. Without engaging the S-1 switch, the first three blade switch positions deliver standard Telecaster wiring, with a special in-series fourth position that creates a thicker tone with more output. Since the Stratocaster is Fender’s sole three-pickup guitar, its pickup switch has an important job to do. Of this unintended “chaos of overtones,” Smith notes that, “Leo never intended the Stratocaster to produce its most popular tones.”. Many other great guitarists subsequently used the in-between sounds extensively, including Ike Turner, Rory Gallagher, Eric Clapton (“Bell Bottom Blues” and “Lay Down Sally” are good examples), Robert Cray, Mark Knopfler (a middle/bridge sound fan, as heard on “Sultans of Swing”), Nils Lofgren and others. Be the first to know about new products, featured content, exclusive offers and giveaways. Not only that, but S-1 switching can vary from model to model within the same instrument type. The 1968 Fender catalog noted that guitarists could “Select any of three positions or even between the natural positions for sound aplenty.” Finally, in 1977—23 years after the instrument was introduced—Fender replaced the Stratocaster’s three-way pickup selector switch with a five-way switch; a modification that remains to this day as a standard feature. Also note that there’s some quite interesting history behind the Strat’s pickup switch. Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. For the first 23 years of the Stratocaster’s existence, from its 1954 debut until 1977, the pickup selector was a three-position switch. Position five: neck pickup only With over a dozen new innovations, each guitar is a true performer with eye-catching style, exceptional feel and versatile sound from the very first moment you plug it in and play. With a three-way selector and only two pickups, the American Elite Telecaster is simpler than the American Elite Stratocaster. Players figured it out almost immediately. Middle pickup and neck pickup together. This produces a thinner and more-hollow tone of the kind often heard in, for example, funk and early electric blues. Here is the configuration when the S-1 switch is off: When you engage the S-1 switch on the American Elite Strat, you have even more tone alternatives that you don't get to hear every day. They discovered that balancing the pickup selector in between the notched positions provided additional sounds, typically described as thin, delicate, honky, quacky, hollow, and especially funky.”, Or, as Smith put it his book, using the switch to mix the sound of two Strat pickups produced “snarling nasal tones that literally redefined electric guitar sound. The Elite Stratocaster also keeps the innovative S1-switching system with the switch cleverly hidden in the volume knob. They found that by somewhat precariously lodging the switch in one of the two “in-between” spots—between the bridge and middle pickup positions or between the middle and neck pickup positions—they could get two different dual-pickup combinations. “Contrary to a widespread assumption about the in-between positions,” Wheeler wrote in* The Stratocaster Chronicles*, “the pickups remain electrically in phase.”, The in-between positions sound different, as Wheeler pointed out, because pickups in different positions respond differently to string vibrations, cancelling out certain frequencies when operating simultaneously.