Three Cool Alternate Wiring Schemes for Telecaster®
1. Broadcaster Blend Wiring
The first one is the oldest one: the original Broadcaster wiring scheme with a blend knob.
With this wiring, position 1 is the bridge pickup, position 2 is the neck pickup, and position 3 is a dark neck pickup tone with all the treble rolled off. That position 3 sound is too dark for a lot of players, though some guys like it for playing jazz or faking bass lines. But the coolest thing is, when you’re in position 1, the tone knob acts as a blend switch, and you can mix in as much or as little of the neck pickup as you like. There are some really nice blends in there that you can’t get with the standard wiring scheme.
There’s a trade-off, though: You don’t have a regular tone control. So this is probably not a good choice for players who like using their tone knobs for wah-type sounds. But if you don’t use your tone knob a lot, or just use it to take off a little top end when you’re in the bridge position, you may find you get everything you need from the blended settings.
For a super-authentic tone, try this with my Vintage Broadcaster Pickup Set.
2. Tapped Tele® with 5-Way Switch
The next idea uses the Tapped Tele pickup I developed. I’d always wanted a Tele or Esquire pickup with two output levels: a lower-output vintage sound and a hotter sound with extra volume and sustain. I designed a version for Alan Dutton, Jeff Beck’s road manager. Jeff heard and liked it, and he used it on his Guitar Shop album.
When you install this with a 5-way switch, you get the usual vintage Tele sounds in three of the positions. But in the other two, you get the beefier, full-output bridge pickup alone, and the full-output bridge pickup mixed with the neck pickup. I like this one because you get all the traditional sounds, plus two great higher-output settings.
3. Tele with 4-Way Switch
This is another cool wiring scheme that gives you all the traditional sounds plus something extra. The only special part you need is a 4-way switch.
This gives you the usual Tele sounds in the first three positions. But in position 4, you get both pickups in series like a humbucker. It’s a big boost in output and a big, fat tone.
But you need to make one important adjustment: The neck pickup’s cover has to be grounded with a separate wire. That means you have to flip the pickup over and cut the little un-insulated jumper wire that connects to the cover. That leaves a 1/4-inch nub of wire connected to the cover. Attach a new wire to that, and connect it to ground.
This wiring works great with any vintage-output Tele pickups. It’s also great with our Five-Two® for Tele pickups, which session players like Brent Mason and Dean Parks like because they provide great Tele twang, but with a slightly tighter, more focused low end.
Man, there are just so many great Telecaster wiring options. You can find even more of them at seymourduncan.com/wiring.