Three Cool Alternate Wiring Schemes for Telecaster®

One of the great things about the Telecaster is the fact that there are so many cool alternate wiring schemes you can use. I want to tell you about three of my favorites.

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.

We sell Tapped Tele pickups individually, and as part of the Custom Shop ’53 Tapped Tele Model T Guitar Shop Set, which includes a 5-way switch.

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.

This entry was posted in Seymour W. Duncan, The Tone Garage, Tips and Tricks. Bookmark the permalink.
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joshua-Bianca-Chaves/724363060 Joshua Bianca Chaves

    Thank you Mr. Seymour Duncan, my guitar is now better installing the AHB 2B, just an Ibanez Gio,  sounds so great!

  • Davblu218

    Any telecaster drawings available?

  • Placido Gaddi

    I am looking for a PANNING POTENTIOMETER instead of using the Toggle Switch to move the 2 pickups from bridge to neck to its fullest potentials. Please help!

  • Ian Baker

    I use the 3rd type, but with the addition of a pull switch on the tone pot to put the neck pickup out of phase for yet another range of sounds.

  • Francisco Barroso

    Can these wiring schemes be done with a Liberator?

  • colombo9

    Any suggestions for wiring Vintage Stack® Tele (lead & rhythm) STK-T3b & STK-T1n using 4-way switch ?

  • Guest

    How about wiring the standard 3-way switch (already installed) with the series (humbucker) wiring, replacing the bridge-pickup-only switch position How would I do this?

  • David Qualls

    How about wiring the standard 3-way switch (already installed) with the series (humbucker) wiring, replacing the bridge-pickup-only switch position? How would I do this?

  • jteshuwah

    Tried the 4-way switch thing, but found out I’m using just the bridge pup alone and the bridge and neck pup in series – which means I have to switch from the 1st position to the 4th position, which gets irritating while your trying to play solos. Is there an easy way to wire the 4-way switch so position 1 is the bridge pup solo, # 2 is the bridge/neck in series, #3 is bridge/neck in parallel and #4 is neck solo? How would I do this?

    • nashy

      There is. I’ve seen the drawing on the net, just google search it. The concern might be that when switching from series to parallel the current could, for a split second, travel both paths.

  • Terry Chastain

    Just got the little 59 for my tele’s bridge, and am thinking of a 4-way setup. Any thoughts?