The La Cabronita Especial from Fender has gone through a few changes since its launch. It started off as a Custom Shop Limited Edition, then a more “affordable” version was introduced as part of Fender’s “Telebration” series, and now finally Fender is producing a Mexican made “standard” version (to be released in the UK later this month).
The original Custom Shop 2 pickup version came with a very cool capacitor network and S1 switch in place of a regular tone control, explained by Mike Eldred in the video below.
Here is the Fender wring diagram for the La Cabronita Especial.
The two subsequent models come with no S1 switch at all, so no on-board tone control. The S1 switch and knob needed are rare as hen’s teeth, and expensive. Many partscaster builders either add a regular tone control or leave it out entirely. If you want to get the Fender functionality but don’t want to use an S1 switch, here is an alternative using a push/pull or push/push pot.
This will take a little preparation to install as the contacts on push/pull pots are tiny, and there’s not a whole lot of space for the grounds to be attached – the usual process is to solder the grounds to the back of the pot. However there is very little space on the p/p pot, even with the ground tab at the base of the switch. Work out where you want to solder the grounds and how you plan to do it before firing up the iron!
The way the S1 switch works on the CS La Cabronita is simple (in fact an S1 switch is massive overkill for this application) – each pickup has its own capacitor network for independent voicings. When the switch is disengaged, the caps are out of the system. When the switch is engaged both sets of caps are added to their respective pickups. So you have 2 voicings for each toggle switch position – pickup with no tone and pickup with fixed tone. The same functionality as the Especial for a fraction of the cost of an S1 switch and knob.
I can’t take credit for working this out – one of my customers, David, did the heavy lifting testing the circuit. Many thanks, David.
I hope someone finds this useful – I will be building a 2 pickup La Cabronita soon and will be using this scheme, so I will let you know how it turns out.
UPDATE: We now have capacitor kits in stock for this mod.