Pickup Switch Replacement
Ok, in this installment we’re going to attack another common problem in electric guitars, a bad pickup selector switch. This is a fairly straightfoward repair, but can be a little intimidating the first time you do it. Oftentimes the switches get a little scratchy and usually cleaning them solves the problem, but if your switch is losing its signal altogether or it feels loose, it’s probably time to replace it.
The only parts required in this project is the proper selector switch. In this case, it’s a *Fender Tele 4-way pickup switch. You will need a few tools, including a phillips screwdriver or two, wire cutters, *wire strippers and a good *soldering station & solder.
If you’ve never done any soldering, I would encourage you to watch some how-to videos on YouTube and then practice with some scrap wires or an old switch before you start on your beloved guitar.
When you first pull the control plate/pickguard, take out your phone and take a lot of good pictures to remember where the wires go on the new switch. If you can find a wiring diagram on the net, even better. Print it out and keep it close for reference with your pictures on your phone. Work slowly when removing old parts and don’t disconnect anything you don’t need to. -No need to cause extra work for yourself.
When you mount the new switch, check that the orientation is correct before you begin soldering any wires. Take your time and check all your connections for any bad ones. When you’re done soldering, reference you pictures and diagrams. Then stop and take a break. Go get something to drink, come back and check them again before you put it together. No worse feeling than pluging in and realizing you’ve got to take it all back apart!
The video below demonstrates changing a 3-way switch in a Telecaster to a 4-way switch. This is a very popular modification and adds a setting to a Tele that is much “fatter” than the original settings. All of the procedures are the same as what’s described above.
If you’re having switch woes, hopefully this guide will get that axe screaming again!
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