Where Can I Find The Best Telecaster Guitar Parts?

Where Can I Find The Best Telecaster Guitar Parts?
Fender Telecaster

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. For bodies and necks, Warmoth is probably best and offers the most options. Of course, they are the most expensive.  In each case, be sure to explore all the options that each company offers and don’t be afraid to call them if you have any questions before you place your order.

With regards to the body, pay extra attention to the wood that you choose, there will be some variations in sound between different types. For example, Maple has a brighter tone where as Mahogany is a bit mellower. If you do choose Maple, consider paying the extra cost for “Quarter Sawn” Maple, it is most often a much better cut of wood. Some companies such as Warmoth also offer options for binding. While this is purely aesthetic and will have no affect either way on your tone, it can contribute to a very classy look, depending on your taste.

Another option worth considering is a Chambered body. When a body is “Chambered”, there are several cavities that are created in the body. This offers a kind of “Best of both worlds” scenario as you get the interesting qualities of a hollow body guitar, but without the headaches of feedback as the majority of the body is solid. Some Telecaster players may dream of a Tele with a vibrato arm; no problem. Warmoth offers you the option to have the Telecaster body routed for a standard Stratocaster bridge. In this case there will be the standard thru body tremolo construction complete with trem claw and springs.  There are certainly many options and you can go pretty crazy. Whatever your dream Telecaster may be, the links below should point you in the right direction.

Finished Telecaster Bodies

Warmoth

USA Custom Guitars (un-finished)

WD Music Supplies

All Parts

Stewart MacDonald

Telecaster Pickups

Here are a few links to articles I did recently for BestCovery.com, which include pretty much the best Tele Pickups out there at the moment:

Vintage Tele Bridge Pickups

Vintage Tele Neck Pickups

Noiseless Tele Bridge Pickups

Noiseless Tele Neck Pickups

Telecaster Hardware

Here are links for great places to get your hardware online:

Acme Guitar Works

Warmoth Hardware

Warmoth Telecaster Hardware

Reader Question: Why is my Classic 57 humbucker thin and humming?

Gibson Classic 57 humbucker
Why is my Classic 57 humbucker thin and humming?

“Sven” Writes:

I have an Gibson classic 57 humbucker witch has an really high output = 9K!! and its NOT an classic+ what I know, but installed it by iself in bridge position whith selector on treble it sounds thin, wery quiet and is humming slightly. What could be wrong?

Our Answer:

Hi Sven, it sounds like you have a wiring problem. Most likely, you have the “hot” and “ground” wires backwards. Triple-check your wiring diagram that came with the pickup. If you can confirm 100% that the pickup is wired correctly, then try touching the hot / ground wires directly to a guitar jack, and tap the pickup. There should be a loud and healthy “Thud” that comes out of the amp when you do this. If not, then the pickup is damaged.

How to troubleshoot guitar wiring problems

How to troubleshoot guitar wiring problems
Don’t give up, the problem is in there somewhere

When trying to find that mysterious buzz, logic is your most effective tool

Sometimes you might find yourself with a ground / buzz problem. This can be a truly frustrating experience and really kill the fun of building your own guitar. But, it really doesn’t have to be such a nightmare. You just need to trace your steps, that’s really it. This is all just logic. The problem is there somewhere, you just have to find it.

Assumptions:

In order to get around the fact that I am not actually sitting next to you as you work through this problem, I have to make the following assumptions:

  1. You know what you are doing. (If not, don’t be too proud to march on down to your local qualified guitar repair tech, and as him to finish the job for you. Once they have done the work, you can always look under the hood and take a look at their handy work to see where you might have gone wrong)
  2. All of your pickups are in perfect working order
  3. Your cables and amp are in perfect working order

OK, now that that’s out of the way, here are a few suggestions:

  1. Make 100% sure that you have soldered the ground to the ground and the hot to the hot. This is a very common mistake, and if you have mixed this up, all bets are off, nothing will quite sound right.
  2. Make sure that your wires in your control cavity are not touching each other. For example, many Gibson Humbuckers have two wire leads where the ground is a braided wire on the outside and totally exposed, which can really lead to this exact kind of problem. But most single coil pickups have wiring that is sheilded all the way to the tip, which is helpful. Regardless, make sure that there are no ground wires touching hot terminals, and vice versa. It’s very common that even when you have done everything right, when you put the pick-guard (or tele control plate) back in place, some exposed wires touch, causing a ground or buzz.
  3. Are you 100% sure that you wired the pots correctly?
  4. Have you tried process of elimination? Simply wire each pickup directly to the main volume pot, bypassing the 5-way switch. In doing this, you can first determine that all 3 pickups are fine, as well as your pots. If you use this approach, you can deconstruct your wiring down to the most basic components, heck, even try wiring each pickup directly to your output jack. Trust me, if you take this kind of logical approach, you are simply going to find the problem. Anything else is just guessing, and you might be up all night doing this.

Testing Guitar Wiring : Guitar Building & Repair

Some Common Wiring Problem Scenarios:

Everything Works, but the guitar squeals at minimal levels or with minimal gain.

Most likely, the main output wires are backwards. Open up the guitar’s main output jack, and reverse the hot and ground wires.

Everything works when the pickguard is un-screwed, but when I screw the pickguard firmly onto the guitar body, the signal cuts out.

An exposed ground wire is touching one of the hot wires or the pickup selector switch. Check all your ground wires and make sure that they are properly wrapped with electrical wire and nothing is exposed.

Everything seems to work, but when I have my pickup selector switch so that two pickups are selected (an in-between position) the sound is really nasal-live, really weak and really bad.

The pickups are “Out of Phase”. Reverse the polarity of one of these pickups. Best to do it to an outer pickup (i.e. the bridge or neck position) because if you do it to a middle position pickup, it will just be out of phase with the other pickup that it is currently in phase with. Note that this sometimes results in a overly squealy pickup and sometimes pickups are simply out of phase and cannot be used together.

Things seem ok at first, but one pickup squeals a lot.

The hot and ground wires are probably backwards. Reverse the hot and ground wires.

My volume pot works backwards. When I turn it clockwise, it gets quieter, and when I turn it counter-clockwise, it gets louder.

The terminals are wired backwards. Reverse the way you have wired the two outer terminals. Leave the middle terminal as-is.

I have a humbucker pickup that should be dead-quiet, but it squeals and feeds back whenever I play with any amount of volume or drive.

If your pickup has a nickel cover, then most likely you are experiencing micro phonic feedback. The only way to solve this problem is to have the pickup wax-potted by a professional guitar repair technician. Do not attempt to do this by yourself as you will most likely melt the pickup.

When I turn my guitar volume knob down even just a little, the sound gets muddy.

This is not a wiring problem. This is the natural behavior of the potentiometer. The potentiometer (or “Pot”) cuts off the volume at a certain frequency range, resulting in the muddy sound you here. Have a professional guitar repair technician install a “Volume Kit”. This places a small capacitor between your middle and right terminals. The end result is that the highs are maintained when turning your guitar’s volume knob down. This is a really worthwhile (and fairly inexpensive) modification that turns your volume knob into a very useful tool.

Guitar pickup wiring troubleshooting

Summary

When I was younger I spent many many late nights pulling my hair out, trying to find out where buzzs and squeals were coming from. 99% of the time, it was something very simple that I overlooked. Rarely was it a deep and mystical issue. I promise that you will learn from this, and each time you wire up your guitar, you will get better.

Here is a schematic for a typical strat assembly. Not sure what kind of guitar you have, but I’m sure that if this schematic is not correct for your guitar, you can easily find one using Google:

http://support.fender.com/service_diagrams/stratocaster/010-7400_02C_SISD.pdf

Just remember to be as logical as possible and retrace your steps. The buzz is in there, you just have to find it. Best to try removing as many variables as possible and isolating each component. You’ll be sure to find the buzz.

Wiring Electric Guitar – 1 Pickup 1 Volume 1 Input Jack

How guitar electronics work tone, volume, pickups etc