Fender SCN pickups and S1 switching: opinions?


So what's the verdict so far on the new Fender SCN (Samarium Cobalt Noiseless) pickups and the S-1 switching system?

I'm considering a couple of Strats that come with this package (American Deluxe 50th Anniversary Strat, or American Deluxe Ash Strat :confused: ), and would love to hear some opinions on how they sound.

It's been a while since I shopped around for single-coil pickups, but as a reference I do love the Fat 50s in my Fender Showmaster FMTs.

Please let me know what you think, good, bad, or ugly!

Surf Twang

I like them. They do not sound exactly like traditional single coil pickups but they are close. I A-B'd a couple of American Deluxe Strats with a Custom Shop 56 Closet Classic and one of the Deluxe's came very close in tone, the other didn't. But, the Deluxe's offered much more tonal variation and were very quiet.

If you have to have the exact traditional single coil Strat sound then you may not be happy with the SCN PUPs. However, if you are open-minded and want tonal variety along with a tradional style tone then you will dig them. IMHO, they are a big improvement over Fender's previous noiseless PUPs. Bottom line: I think they sound like a Fender Strat, plus they're quiet and the S1 switch gives you more flexibility.


Gold Supporting Member
I agree with Surf. I actually tried them at length yesterday. They kick the $h!t out of the Fender Vintage Noisless pickups that they replaced in the Strat lineup. They should have call them Vintage Toneless pickups...I hated them. The new ones are good sounding pickups, that are "almost" there. The S1 switching system adds a thickened but hollowed out kind of tone on each setting which was pretty cool, and very useable. All in all, I call them a winner compared to where Fender came from with their previous generation noisless solution.


Silver Supporting Member
I tried them for a few minutes a couple of months ago. Bottom line, I thougt the "fat" tones were cool (I think that was with the button down), but I thought the "regular" SC sounds were lousy. They had some of the high-end sparkle of real SCs, but none of the "roundness" I'd expect. Very flat sounding.


I really like the SCN pups. I was in a local guitar store just yesterday and almost, ALMOST, walked out with an Am.Deluxe strat w/ SCN's and S1 switching, and a "V" neck. I A/B'd it with a Custom Shop '54 relic strat and the relic was nowhere near the tone of the SCN's. Actually, they had a Highway 1 strat that sounded better than the relic 54 strat. The manager thought I was on crack until we A/B'd them. We both agreed the SCN's were the best of the lot. I think they sound very "stratty" and with the S-1 switch, you can get some fat tones, as well. I didn't think the vintage noiseless sucked as bad as others have mentioned, but I do believe the SCN pups are a marked improvement.

I have always liked the Delta Tone pups Fender has put in a most american made strats. I came home, picked up my '98 Am. Standard and went back to A/B/C them against the relic, Am Deluxe, and my standard. I liked the Am.Deluxe the best. I have to admit, I don't get starry-eyed over a relic b/c it is a relic or custom shop b/c it is a custom shop. I actually think the Delta Tone pups sound better than the CS'54 pups. At least the way I set my amps. Depending on the amp, the settings, etc, you can draw different tones out of the same guitar.

Try 'em out plugged into an amp you are familiar with, and the settings you know you like a strat to sound good with. Then plug in the SCN's and try them out.



Silver Supporting Member
I did not care for the Strat versions all that much...
as they seemed somewhat dull..

But the Tele versions... have exceeded all my expectations..
They have more then enough Tele spank imaginable,
& when you push the switch into parallel wiring mode.
they take a very fat, huge Tele tone ...

Totally in shock about how much I'm liking their tone capabilities...:YinYang


i purchased a $1600 strat and after a week i took it back,,,the pickups were awfull and i didnt feel like putting another $300 into my strat after i paid $1600 for it,now i could of bought a bottom range custom shop for that money.
they didnt feel like normal singles and the switiching was just not needed


Silver Supporting Member
I have 2 American Deluxes with SCN's, an SSS & a HSS. The SCN's in the SSS (neck & middle) are parallel coils, bridge is series. The neck & middle SCN's on the HSS are wired with series coils. As one would expect, the parallel SCN"s have some more chime & are a bit thinner (closer to "vintage"), & the series wiring has more girth & a bit more output. Both are quite useful.
I have played Strats with true singles for over 30 years now and appreciate the classic Strat tones a bunch!! I use the SCN's through a GT-8, with extensive EQ possibilities. I find that with EQ tweaking I can get them sounding like my ears & mind tell me a Strat should sound. They are not vintage singles but are great Strat pups. I have the 2 Deluxes in my music room along with several Strats with various Fender & non Fender true singles. The SCN's are a little "sweeter" than the true singles but not quite as shimmery. I like the sweet! I pick up the Deluxes every time now.
The S1 tones are a little wierd- they are quite thick & somewhat muffled sounding clean, maybe useful for jazz? With a bunch of OD and some more EQ they get pretty usefull, especially for slide. The location of the S1 is great, easy to switch in mid song or even mid-line, though the durability has been questioned.
Live the absence of noise is GREAT. I don't think I could ever go back to single coil hum live after playing the SCN's for a couple of years. I didn't realize how obnoxious the noise was until it disapperared. I know there are some who say the noise is part of the charm but I am not among them. I think the SCN"s are great when approached with no preconceived notions and the willingness to take then as what they are, not that they aren't something else.
Side note, I have discovered recently that the SCN's sound great with Snake Oil Brand strings!

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