Modifying Your Tele for Nashville Style Wiring

nashville style wiringWanna 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 modify your Tele for Nashville Style wiring.

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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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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Buzzing and Crackling Problem with Marshall MG10

crackling problemTry your amp and guitar in someone else’s house. If you still have the problem, try a different guitar, then a different amp. This should lead you to the buzzing and crackling problem.

Phillip from Wales asks:

“Hi, can you help please. I got this Marshall MG10, and I’ve had this buzzing and crackling problem when I play the Strat. I sent it back to them and they listened to the sound recording I had of the buzzing and they said I had a loose earth connection or the cable I was using to connect the guitar was no good.

Do you have a diagram of how to check the earth connection; would be most grateful to you.”

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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?

Well, 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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Guitar Pickup Wiring: Phase, Series, and Parallel

guitar pickup wiringLet’s take a look at guitar wiring, 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.

So we’ll start with the basics of guitar pickup wiring by examining what it means when guitar pickups are wired in-phase, out-of-phase, series, or parallel. The first thing we’ll need to do is understand a little about how our pickups are made and how they work.

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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 one that might require extensive experimenting before you’re able to get it 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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Can I Split a Humbucker With a Three-Way Switch?

three-way switchIf 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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Stratocaster Five-Way Switch Wiring – Basic Guitar Electronics

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

So, then let’s go ahead and talk about setting up that five-way switch wiring in your Stratocaster. We covered the Telecaster and its three-way switch and one Tone control; now we’ll look at the Stratocaster, its five-way switch wiring, 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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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 refers to Telecaster three-way switch wiring, I am going to use all of the standard Fender Telecaster values in the diagram.

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Tone Control Wiring for your Guitar – Do it Yourself!

tone control wiringLet’s look at the basics of tone control wiring and how to adjust it to get the best sound from your guitar.

For many people, the tone control itself is just a potentiometer (Volume knob) with a capacitor attached to it. When the tone control is turned all the way up, the tone is at its brightest, and as you turn the knob down (off), the tone darkens (i.e., high frequencies get rolled off). What might not be generally known is that the other components, especially any other Volume and Tone controls, will also affect the tone, so their values must be considered. Also, your tone is YOUR TONE, so unless you are trying to restore a collector guitar to original specs, it’s better not to just blindly follow guidelines and rules and call it a day. Instead, use your ears and this guide to get the best tone from your guitar. So, with that said, let’s begin with the components of tone control wiring:

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