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.

Broadcaster Blend Wiring

The first one is the oldest one: the original Broadcaster wiring scheme with a blend knob.

Telecaster Broadcaster with Blend Fender


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.

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.

Fender Telecaster - Tapped Tele, 5 Way Switch Wiring Diagram

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.

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.

Fender Telecaster - 4-way Switch Wiring Diagram

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

Join the Conversation


  1. 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!

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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?

  5. 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?

  6. 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?

    1. 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.

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

  8. Here’s something amazingly cool about the Broadcaster with Blend circuit: If you add a switch to put the neck pickup out of phase, there are a million cool tones available by using the bridge pickup and blending in the out of phase neck pickup. I’d use one of those push/pull switch pots if I was you.

  9. i use the 4 way with my tele clone (tokai) … its fun to have a ‘more oomph’ setting available
    one of my fav tele wirings is very unorthodox … standard volume knob … then, a blender knob that is neck-only when rolled off all the way, 50/50 mix of neck/bridge at the center detent, and bridge-only when rolled all the way open … then, the 3-way blade switch becomes a tone control with a few resistors switched into the circuit to function like a partially rolled-off tone control … use a regular tele wiring to discover what ‘part way’ resistance readings of the tone pot sound good to you … i liked no resistance, 100K ohms, and 250K ohms for my 3 settings … to be honest, i rarely even left the ‘no resistance’ setting because the blender knob and varying in my picking technique gave me all the tonal range i needed

  10. Can someone point me to a wiring diag for a Tele, Tele neck single (2 cond), Seymour Duncan STK T2b (4 cond), 5-way switch (neck only, neck and bridge series, Bridge parallel, Bridge one coil, Bridge Series), 2 VOL no tone

  11. I really like the tone in your video of the ’53 Tapped Tele. It must be ordered thru you guys I assume. Nobody has it listed anywhere on the web that I could find. I’ve been thinking about adding EMG’s but you need a battery. I was curious if that’s what you were doing. Funny coincidence, I’m looking to upgrade my Tele so it matches up with my Jeff Beck & Eric Clapton strats. All to avoid a lot of nob twisting when I change guitars.

  12. I have a Seymour Duncan Tele bucker I bought used & set aside for a future project. How can I best identify the exact model? I have an idea about installing it in the neck position with another bucker at the bridge.

      1. I hope it has something to ID it, but I’ve temporarily misplaced it, shucks.. My idea is to cut up a stock Tele bridge plate so that it “hugs” the end of the fretboard, and routing the body enough to install a Tele bridge humbucker in both positions. I also am making a pick guard out of some quilted cherrywood that showed up in my firewood. I’ll find the pickup, and get back to you in a while, I promise.

  13. 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.
    It would be nice to see a picture of this, not to mention your wiring diagram does not show a separate wire going to ground from the neck p/u.

  14. Hey don’t know if anybody’s listening but I need a decent schematic or layout for a Tele with one single coil, one humbucker and a 5 way switch. Got one thats OK, but would like to see the official Seymore Duncan version.

  15. I just did the 4-way mod in a telecaster for a friend. It really added to the sonic capability of the Tele, and now you can get classic Malcom Young tones out of the guitar!

  16. I am doing this mod now and have a double hummbucker at the bridge and an S1 switch in the volume pot, my tech could not seem to get the wiring right, I hope this helps my tech with this problem.

  17. Thanks for the article. I got inspired and did this one (with the standard components, 3-way switch, just resoldered)
    1. (Old neck position) pickups i series with the cap between them. Powerful and slighly mellow sound
    2. (Old middle position) pickups i series. Powerful and bright sound. In this first two positions, the old tone-control does nothing. 3. (Old bridge position) pickups in parallel. Old tone-control works as volume control for the pickup in bridge-position and ordinary volumecontrol controls pickup in neckposition. In this position, you can blend the pickups as you want and achieve all three traditional telecaster sounds.
    The switch also work as a kill swich between the brigde pickup and position 2.
    The downside is you dont have the traditional tone-control.
    Best regards,
    Oskar Schönning
    Stockholm, Sweden

  18. the tele wiring i am most tempted to try is the one where you have master volume knob closest to the pickup (for easier swells), then a blender pot on the middle knob to merge the pickups and then two values of resistor (say, 250k and 100k) wired to the 3-way switch for the tone control options … i think this would provide a lot of variety and if the pickups were rw/rp, you’d get hum cancelling to some degree all across the blend taper expcet at the end points

  19. Hi,
    I have purchased the Quarter Pound set For My Telecaster A.S,
    My repairman installed them as instructed with the page that came with them,
    and there is noise and feedback in all 3 Switch positions, when touching the volume and tone there is also reaction.
    He checked and resoldered again and there is still strange noise i didn’t have before with the original pickups.
    We also lowered the pickups and it didn’t solve the problem.
    your help please
    Thanks In advance
    Sarit Kleinman.

  20. I have a Seymour Duncan that has A N1 sticker on the bottom, It has staggered pole pieces on the top and rails on the bottom of the pickup. It has three conductors White, Red, Bare and the bare wire is soldered to the rails on the bottom. I tested it and the Red is Hot and the white is neg. Does anybody know what pickup this is and how is this wired in a 4 way switch setting? So does this make the White wire a Coil tap? Or is it just another ground or both?

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