How to Modify Your Telecaster for “Nashville-Style” Wiring

nashville styleWanna add a dash of “Strat” tone to your Tele? In this article, you’ll learn how to set up your Telecaster for “Nashville-Style” wiring.

Let’s talk about the Nashville Style Tele, what it is, how it is wired, and whether or not you can mod your Tele to be Nashville Style.

A Nashville Style Tele is just a Standard Telecaster with three pickups instead of two, and a five-way selector switch instead of a three-way selector switch. This Mod was created by Tele players looking to coax some Strat style tones out of their Telecaster while still retaining that crucial Neck + Bridge pickup combination not found on the Strat.

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The Seven-Sound Stratocaster Modification

seven soundDo you want to add a “Tele” sound to your Strat? How about all three pickups at once? Try this Seven-Sound Stratocaster Modification.

The Seven-Sound Strat Mod (also sometimes referred to as the Gilmour mod) is an easy mod that you can make to your guitar to give you more tone versatility, and despite its name, you can make this mod on any type of guitar that has three pickups and a five-way switch.

The five-way switch gives Strat players plenty of versatility in tone. Position 1 is the Bridge pickup, Position 2 is Bridge + Middle, Position 3 is just the Middle pickup, Position 4 is Middle + Neck, and Position 5 is Neck. What the five-way switch does not provide is a way to select the Bridge + Neck pickup, or a way to select all three pickups at once. This is exactly what the Seven Sound Strat Mod provides for us.

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Coil-Splitting a Humbucker Pickup with a Mini Toggle Switch (DPDT)

mini-toggle-switchLet’s talk about how to wire up your guitar so that you can split your humbucker pickup using a mini toggle switch.

Why a Mini Toggle Switch?

A humbucker pickup contains two coils, and with a simple modification we can use a switch to “shut off” one of the coils, causing it to sound and act like a single coil pickup.

The choice to use a mini toggle switch is purely aesthetic; you can use absolutely any kind of switch that you want to but you will need to modify your guitar to hold it. A mini toggle requires drilling a hole that is less than 1/4 inch and takes up very little space once it is in place.

If you have the type of guitar that requires you to drill a hole through the wood, into the electronics compartment to add a toggle switch, then I recommend taking it to a pro, unless you really know what you are doing. If you’re lucky enough to have a Stratocaster or another type of guitar with those large pickguards that give you access to the electronics by removing them, then you can probably drill a small hole in the pickguard and add the toggle switch yourself if you are very careful and have the tools.

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Coil-Splitting a Humbucker Pickup with a Push-Pull Pot

push-pull potHave you ever wanted to turn off one of your humbucker pickup coils?

So, here we’ll talk about how to wire a humbucker pickup so that it can be split into a single coil pickup using a push-pull pot. For the split you need a four-wire humbucker; you cannot split a two-wire without first modifying the pickup itself. Each coil has a Hot and a Ground, and a determination must be made as to which is which before we get started.

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What does it mean when guitar pickups are wired in-phase, out-of-phase, series or parallel ?

phase series and parallelLet’s take a look at Phase and how to make sure your pickups are In Phase with each other. Let’s also examine polarity, and how to wire pickups in Series or Parallel.

What does it mean when guitar pickups are wired in-phase, out-of-phase, series or parallel ?

To answer this question the first thing we’ll need to do is understand a little about how our pickup is made and how it works.

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Basic Guitar Electronics – Treble Bleed Circuit Wiring (aka Volume Kit)

treble bleedDoes your tone get muddy when you turn your volume down? Learn how a treble bleed circuit fixes this problem.

The treble bleed circuit is one of the easiest mods that you can perform on your guitar, but it is also a mod that might require extensive experimenting before you’re able to it get perfect. The treble bleed is meant to preserve treble loss as you turn down the volume control on your guitar by creating a very simple high pass filter to counteract the high frequency loss inherent in the volume control. You will want to add this mod to your guitar if you feel that rolling off the volume causes your tone to change too dramatically, thus becoming muddy or dull.

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How Do I Split a Humbucker With a Three-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 three-way switch?

A reader asked about turning off one coil of the bridge humbucker in his Telecaster via the three-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 two 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 three-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.

We’re going to take a look at wiring up a three-way toggle switch in a Gibson Les Paul style guitar, 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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Basic Guitar Electronics – Stratocaster Five-Way Switch Wiring

blues telecaster pickupsLet’s try something a little more difficult with the Strat style five-way switch: three pickups into a five-way switch with 1 Volume and 2 Tone controls (SPOILER ALERT: It’s not difficult at all).

Let’s talk about wiring a five-way switch to your Stratocaster. We covered the Telecaster and its three-way switch and one Tone control; now we’ll look at the Stratocaster and its five-way switch and two Tone controls. Even though we’re talking about the Fender Strat and how it’s wired, the switch will work the same way in any guitar with one Volume and two Tone controls. If you are changing your switch it might also be a great time to check out the other components in your guitar to see if they are also due for an update. Be sure that you have high quality pots with the right values, and check the value of any capacitors as well. Check your Output Jack as well, as this is another very common part to wear out.

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Basic Guitar Electronics – Telecaster Three-Way Switch Wiring

telecaster three-way switchLet’s take a look at re-wiring a three-way switch for a standard Fender Telecaster guitar. If you have already tried out our Volume and Tone wiring guides, this would be a great next step.

Wiring up a Telecaster three-way switch

The information in this article will apply to any similar three-way “Lever” switches that are used in many different Strat style guitars. The Gibson Les Paul and several other similar guitars use a three-way “Toggle” switch and that discussion will be in a different article. Since the title of this article is “How To Wire A Telecaster” I am going to use all of the standard Fender Telecaster values in the wiring diagram.

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