How do I split a Humbucker with a 3-way Telecaster switch?

phase series and parallelIf I have a Humbucker in the bridge position of my Telecaster, can one of the coils be turned off with the 3-way switch?

A reader asked about turning off one coil of the bridge humbucker in his Telecaster via the 3-way switch. What he proposed is:

1. Neck pickup
2. Neck + one humbucker coil
3. Both humbucker coils

While I guess the answer might be technically “yes”, I am going to say the answer is in reality: “no”.

The reason is that we do not use “both coils” in the Humbucker. We actually run one coil into the next coil, and it might be better to look at a Humbucker as a Single Figure 8 Coil instead of 2 separate Single Coils. We can “split” the Humbucker by running a (switchable) wire to Ground right where the one coil meets the other coil. This actually “shorts out” the second coil, it doesn’t shut it off.  So, in order to split the pickup we need a path to Ground. The 3-way switch in a Telecaster is a “Hot Wire” that selects which of the Hot pickup leads to send to the Volume pot. There is no ground connection available and adding one will short out the entire guitar. Without a ground we cannot split the pickup.

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Basic Guitar Electronics – Les Paul Three-Way Switch Wiring

les paul three-way switchNow let’s take a look at wiring up a three-way toggle switch in a Gibson Les Paul style guitar, and while we’re at it, we’ll talk about the rest of the wiring also

So, we’re going to take a look at wiring up a three-way toggle switch in a Gibson Les Paul-style. And because Gibson electronics are different than what we have been looking at so far, we’ll take a look at the rest of the circuit as well. We’ll look at the two humbuckers, the three-way switch, two Volume controls, two Tone controls, two capacitors, and the output jack.

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Where Can I Find The Best Telecaster Guitar Parts?

Where Can I Find The Best Telecaster Guitar Parts?Telecaster Bodies, Telecaster Necks, Telecaster Hardware… Everything “Tele” links here.

If you are embarking on a project that involves upgrading or building a Telecaster, these links might help you to find some of the parts you need. All of these companies offer some pretty good stuff at fairly reasonable prices. Warmoth, for example, is probably best and offers the most options for bodies and necks, but of course, they are the most expensive.  In each case, though, be sure to explore all the options that the company offers and don’t be afraid to call them if you have any questions before you place your order.
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What Are The Best Telecaster Modifications?

What Are The Best Telecaster Modifications?So you have a stock Telecaster; now what? There are several modifications you can make that will transform your Tele.

Judging by the number of articles related to the Fender Telecaster in this site, anyone can guess that I am a big fan of this guitar. In some ways, the Telecaster is for me, the perfect guitar; it looks right, it feels right, and it sounds right. But out of the box, the Telecaster might not be equipped for exactly what you had in mind and you may want to consider a few Telecaster modifications. For example, some want more muscle in the bridge pickup, some want more beef in the neck pickup, some want a speedier neck, some want…. well, you get the picture. Fortunately, most Telecaster modifications are fairly painless. You can take the modifications to various levels and in some cases, you might want to enlist the help of a qualified guitar technician. So, that said, just use your best judgment.
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