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Shielding and Rewiring a Telecaster, Pt. 1

Ok, I'll just come out and say it.  I don't like messy wiring!

Here's the wiring on the Lake Placid Blue Tele body.  The grounds aren't well done, and the main thing that drives me nuts is the excess lead lengths.

Why do people not trim leads?  I don't get it.  In addition to looking bad, it's bad wiring practice.  You can introduce excess capacitance into the circuit.

Anyway, I'm going to rewire the whole enchilada.

I took all of the hardware off the body.  I'm going to shield the cavities and then rewire it.

I like Lake Placid Blue.  What a cool color.

I've talked about shielding in detail elsewhere on the blog.  It's pretty simple.  You put copper or aluminum foil on the cavities.

I'm using copper adhesive-backed tape for this.  The pickguard was shielded by the last owner, so I only need to do the body.

The idea is that you're creating a 'chassis' around the wiring.  It really cuts the hum and interference level down on Fenders.  Stock Teles aren't too bad, but Strats are awful.


I leave a tiny 'lip' of foil on the top edges of the cavities so the foil will make good contact with the (shielded) back of the pickguard, the bridge plate, and the control plate.

The control plate just barely covers the cavity, so you'll need to position the foil so it's not visible around the plate when it's mounted.

I also like to put a 'tab' of foil on the area where the control plate screws are - to ensure contact between the foil and the plate.

I also put a strip of foil from the neck pickup cavity onto the top of the guitar - again so it will contact the pickguard's shield.

Now we take all the old controls off the control plate.

I'll be reusing the switch and the volume pot.  I'm swapping the tone control out for one with a push-pull switch to do a wiring mod.

Another Tele mod I like to do - disassemble the volume control pot and remove the grease from the bottom of the housing.  This makes the pot turn faster, making it easier to do volume swells.

I wrote more about this also in a previous post.

Here's the new control plate.  It's a wonderful Marc Rutters nickel-plated one.  The selector switch runs on a slant, and there's a bit more space between the switch and the volume pot.

Tele players know all about that 'pinch' between the pot and the switch when the switch is in the bridge position.  This helps alleviate that.  Pretty cool.

Here's the hardware attached to the control plate.

Next we need to wire it all up.


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