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How do I Rewire a 1952 Reissued Fender Telecaster Pickup?

Updated April 17, 2017

The '52 Telecaster Reissue captures the sound of the original Fender telecaster. Its vintage wiring is designed to produce a twangy guitar tone that works very well for country, rockabilly, and certain styles of blues. However, if you want a more modern sound, a modern pickup kit is included with the guitar. Rewiring the guitar updates its tonal options by allowing for more control over the pickups. The vintage wiring is more limited. It does not allow you to play both pickups at the same time.

Download telecaster wiring diagrams from Fender.com. Click on the "Wiring/Parts" page and scroll down to the wiring diagram for the 1952 Telecaster. Print a copy of the diagram. Scroll down the page again and find the diagram for the American Standard Telecaster. Print a copy of the diagram.

Put a towel or soft cloth on a workbench and place the telecaster on it.

Remove the strings from the guitar.

Unscrew the pickguard with a Phillips head screwdriver. Gently lift the pickguard out of its cavity. Place a cloth on the guitar to protect the finish. Flip the pickguard over and lay it on its top so you can access the neck pickup.

Unscrew the bridge plate and lay it on its top.

Remove the Phillips screws holding the control panel in place. Gently lift the control panel up and flip it on its top.

Heat a soldering iron. Use the soldering iron to remove the wires from the pickups and controls.

Solder the ground and hot wires to the neck and bridge pickups. The white wires are the ground wires. The black wires are the hot wires.

Solder the ground and hot wires to the switch, volume and tone potentiometers according to the diagram. Solder the wires to the output jack.

Reassemble the guitar by gently threading the wires from the control panel through to the pickup cavity. Place the control panel back in place. Replace the bridge pickup and plate and place the pickguard and neck pickup. Replace all the screws.

Tip

Keep the wiring diagram of the American Standard Telecaster on the work bench as you work. The '52 Telecaster sounds best when played through a Fender tweed amplifier.

Things You'll Need

  • Fender wiring diagrams
  • Workbench
  • Soft cloth
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Soldering iron
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About the Author

Robert Russell began writing online professionally in 2010. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and is currently working on a book project exploring the relationship between art, entertainment and culture. He is the guitar player for the nationally touring cajun/zydeco band Creole Stomp. Russell travels with his laptop and writes many of his articles on the road between gigs.