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Question on Nashville pickup placement

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by pint07, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. pint07

    pint07 TDPRI Member

    Feb 6, 2013
    So I've been putting it off for quite a while and making do with my 5120 (which is beautiful, I just need something a bit different for what I'm doing).. but tomorrow, I'm making the dive and purchasing my first tele (woop!). I'm getting a sexy blonde nashville deluxe with a maple neck and stock tex mex pickups, and he's throwing in a Seymour Duncan Hot Rails. I purchased a CS nocaster set already and my idea was to put the nocaster neck in the neck spot, the nocaster bridge in the middle slot, and the hot rails in the bridge slot. That way I could have switch options for the SD and the nocaster bridge together for distortion and the nocaster bridge and neck together for everything else. I'm new to teles, so my question is... Is there anything wrong with putting the nocaster bridge pup in the middle spot?

    How do you guys think this will sound? Would selling the SD and converting it to a two pup design be a better bet?


  2. Donelson

    Donelson Tele-Afflicted

    May 31, 2011
    Nashville TN
    The neck, middle, and bridge PUs are completely different in shape, etc. Not interchangeable.

  3. pint07

    pint07 TDPRI Member

    Feb 6, 2013
    Ooohhh so I can't even use the SD if I'm using the no casters? Should I try to convert to 2 pickup? I know that's possible, I saw a thread on it someplace

  4. flyswatter

    flyswatter Friend of Leo's

    Jan 12, 2013
    Tele bridge pickups are nothing like Strat pickups. They have 3 screws and a triangular base. So you'd need to do some ugly routing to fit a bridge pup in the middle position. That's why Nashville Teles typically have Strat pickups in the middle. I you look at photos of Nashvilles/ open routing on various Teles/ Strats you'll see the difference.

  5. Informal

    Informal Tele-Holic

    Jan 16, 2013
    Custom pickguard and you can run whatever you want in middle and neck.. as already stated, neck pickup is tele neck pickup unless you bust out a router.

  6. Donelson

    Donelson Tele-Afflicted

    May 31, 2011
    Nashville TN
    I just re-read this thread.

    Why change anything? Play the axe for a long time, as-is. Not a few days; a long time. On many a gig. Like, for months, or more. Then you will have good knowledge to proceed with. If there's a problem with the sound, it is highly unlikely that the PUs are the problem.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013

  7. Duffy

    Duffy Tele-Holic

    I have a Fender Nashville tele like yours and I didn't think the tex mex pickups were at all remarkable so I replaced all the pickups with a custom ordered set of Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro pickups. It now is great, very quiet, sounds like a tele should in my opinion, and has beautiful tone.

    A Nashville telecaster typically is "noise cancelling" in positions 2 and 4 on the pickup selector switch. The reason that this is the case is because the "middle" pickup, a stratocaster pickup, is Reverse Wound/Reverse Polarity (RWRP). This is the way the stock Fender Nashville is made, theoretically.

    Your problem with using the Nocasters in a Nashville tele is that the bridge pickup, I believe, is RWRP. Because the "bridge" pickup is RWRP, that means that "only" the bridge/middle pickup selection on the five way pickup selector switch will be noise cancelling in a standard five way wiring scheme like you now have. You will only have one out of five switch settings that will be noise cancelling if you put the Nocasters in.

    Assuming that it is cool to have a Nashville telecaster and you want to have one, you will probably also want to have it being noise cancelling in two of the five pickup switch positions; then again, this may not be what you want.

    The typical or so called "right" way to do a Nashville telecaster is to have a strat middle RWRP pickup and have it noise cancelling in 2 and 4.

    In order to have the Fender Nashville telecaster, a very nice type of guitar, be noise cancelling in positions 2 and 4 you will need to get a new set of pickups custom made, at least to some extent; because the "middle" pickup, only, should be RWRP; and the neck and bridge should be non-reverse wound/reverse polarity.

    The Nocaster pickups will not work in this fashion in a Nashville telecaster. The Nocaster bridge pickup is RWRP, I believe. You will need to have a non-RWRP bridge pickup if you want to have a Nashville tele that noise cancells in 2 and 4.

    When I decided to change out the pickups on mine, I contacted Seymour Duncan, no affln., and talked to the customer service technical support guy (805 964 9610 if you are interested) and we decided that a great set of pickups for the Nashville telecaster would be a set of SD Alnico 2 Pro tele pickups and a RWRP Alnico 2 Pro strat middle pickup. Again, no affilliation with Seymour Duncan.

    However, the "normal" retail set of tele Alnico 2 Pro pickups would not work correctly because the neck pickup in that set is RWRP - therefore he specified and I ordered a Seymour Duncan custom shop "non-RWRP" Alnico 2 Pro tele neck pickup. Because the pickup had to be specifically made for me, it took about a week to receive the pickups after I ordered them. There was no extra charge for the pickup to be custom made.

    To go along with the tele pickups he specified and I ordered a normal RWRP Alnico 2 Pro strat pickup. You have to say you want a RWRP middle Alnico 2 Pro pickup because you can get them either RWRP or non-RWRP. They gave me a black pickup cover for the middle strat pickup free - it just slides on, there is nothing holding it on until you mount it into the guitar with the screws and springs/tubing assembly.

    Instead of using the regular SD Alnico 2 Pro bridge pickup, I ordered a Seymour Duncan Jerry Donahue Alnico 2 Pro bridge pickup. Both the regular A2Pro and the Jerry Donahue are great sounding bridge pickups, in my opinion. The regular one is just as great sounding as the Jerry Donahue.

    The pickup swap was very easy to do and it was beautiful sounding in the end, properly grounded, quiet, and very toneful. I did it myself. It was a major improvement over the stock Fender pickups that did not sound remarkable, to my ear, or noise cancel in the 2 and 4 switch positions to any noticeable extent. The new pickups are completely quiet in 2 and 4 and are quiet in general, plus they sound a lot better to me.

    You can obviously do your guitar any way you want. If you decide that you want it to be a Nashville tele and noise cancel in 2 and 4 you can consider getting pickups from any company or companies that are:

    Neck tele pickup, non-RWRP
    Middle strat pickup, RWRP
    Bridge tele pickup, non-RWRP.

    I would suggest keeping it as a Nashville style tele. You can always pick up a regular tele. The Nashville is kind of special.

    Another thing - on the stock Fender Nashville tele you can not combine the neck and bridge pickups like you can on a regular two pickup tele with a three way switch.

    If you decide to put in new pickups some people have a more complex wiring scheme put in that has even more than five possible sounds, adding at least the bridge/neck sound. This type of wiring is more complex and possibly would need to be done by an expert guitar tech, or with the guidance of someone that knows what they are doing.

    My Nashville tele sounds really great. Personal preference was that "I" wanted it to noise cancel in the 2 and 4 positions and I did not want to convert it to a two pickup tele.

    So, in the end it turns out that a "Nashville telecaster" is quite different than a traditional tele, in its stock form, and can be modified to be even more different, while still having the same three sounds incorporated into it as a traditional tele with two pickups and a three way switch.

    Good luck. I hope you find this information useful. Maybe you are already aware of all this. I know I learned a lot when I did the pickup swap on my Nashville tele.

  8. vintage clubber

    vintage clubber Friend of Leo's

    Apr 12, 2012
    Mechanicsville, VA
    I did my FrankenNashville a little different. It started out as a standard tele configuration with a 4 way switch. I didn't want to lose the 4 way options, so I added the middle pickup wired to an on/off mini toggle.


  9. Duffy

    Duffy Tele-Holic

    Nice. Great idea using the mini toggle for the middle pickup.

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