How to Replace the Pickup Selector Switch on a Telecaster

Written by hugh patterson
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How to Replace the Pickup Selector Switch on a Telecaster
Changing a selector switch does not require an expensive trip to the guitar shop. (James Woodson/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The Fender Telecaster is known for its gutsy yet sharp tone. While the pickup configuration has changed over the last 10 years, the pickup selector switch has not. The Telecaster uses a unique pickup switch to change the pickup configuration. A repair shop can replace the selector switch at a high cost but you can save time and money by doing it yourself using a few basic techniques.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Spray Lubricant
  • Phillips screwdrivers
  • Masking tape
  • Permanent marker
  • Dental pick
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • Flux

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Remove the plastic tip from the shaft of the selector switch. Spray a few drops of lubricant in the gap between the switch's shaft and switch's tip. Wait two minutes. Gently pull the switch tip off.

    How to Replace the Pickup Selector Switch on a Telecaster
    Remove the plastic tip from the top of the selector switch. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)
  2. 2

    Unscrew the electronics cavity's metal cover. The volume and tone controls as well as the pickup selector switch are accessed through this metal panel. Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the screws that hold the plate in place.

  3. 3

    Separate the selector switch from the metal panel. Use a small Phillips screwdriver to remove the set screws that mount the switch to the plate.

    How to Replace the Pickup Selector Switch on a Telecaster
    Make sure the screwdriver's head fits tightly in the screw's top. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)
  4. 4

    Label the lead wires and soldering tabs. Place a piece of masking tape on each wire and label them numerically. Label each of the replacement switch's soldering tabs with numbers to match each wire to its corresponding tab. Use a permanent fine-tipped marker to label the replacement switch. Do not remove the wiring until it is labelled.

  5. 5

    Heat up the soldering iron. Turn the soldering iron on. Let it heat up for at least five minutes before using it.

    How to Replace the Pickup Selector Switch on a Telecaster
    Always heat the soldering iron prior to use. (Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)
  6. 6

    Remove the old switch. Apply the tip of the soldering iron to the soldered wire. Allow the solder to heat up. When the solder melts, pull the wire from the tab. Repeat the process for all the wires soldered to the old switch, being careful not to remove the masking tape labels that number the wires.

  7. 7

    Clean the wiring. Use the tip of a dental pick to scrape off any residual solder from the wiring. If the solder will not come off the wiring, heat the solder up with the soldering iron and then scrape it off with the dental pick.

    How to Replace the Pickup Selector Switch on a Telecaster
    Dental picks will aid in the removal of old solder. (Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)
  8. 8

    Place the wires in the switch tabs. The replacement switch has a hole in the centre of each tab. Twist the wire to a point. Insert each numbered wire into the corresponding tab. After the wire has been placed in the hole, bend the wire's tip so it remains in the hole.

  9. 9

    Solder the wiring. Apply soldering flux to the bare wire and tabs. Place the soldering iron's tip on the wire and tab for 60 seconds. Apply solder to the wiring and tabs. Mount the switch on the metal plate and screw the metal plate back on to the guitar.

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