1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Telecaster electronics

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by ReneJaszi, Jan 17, 2021.

  1. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    17,836
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Western Connecticut
    By the way, if you purchase a pre-wired harness, you still need to solder the connections to pickups and output jack. You can pay a tech for about the cost of a decent soldering station.


    Whichever way you go, here's what you need and what you don't:

    10¢ capacitors are just as good as the $20 variety. Measured capacitance is all that matters, and even that doesn't matter as much as what your ears hear. All caps vary slightly in value, even the expensive ones. Close enough is good enough, in this case.


    If you're planning to wire a harness from scratch, you might prefer the cloth-covered wire, as it's usually already tinned (easier to solder), and the wire lays better, where you place it. Also, you can't melt the insulation with an errant touch of the iron. Though for a clean install, you'll still want to strip the ends, despite the 'push-back' moniker.

    That said, there is no tonal reason to choose it. Cheaper PVC-insulated stranded 22 AWG is just fine.


    Get full size pots. CTS 450G is the standard Fender dish-back pot, with a 10% tolerance. Very high quality. A good supplier for these, if you want them loose, is The Art of Tone. Emerson pots are nothing more than these CTS pots, specially ordered to their specs. They are low torque, so you can spin them easily. They claim to have a slightly different audio taper – I've not done any testing on these, but I have used themm and never noticed a difference in taper. Finally, they claim a tighter tolerance – 8% vs 10%. This means they fall in a range 230k – 270k, compared to the regular pots' range of 225k – 275k. It SO does not matter...

    Emersons are high quality, because CTS are. I just don't see a reason to pay 2x the price, when the originals work just fine.


    For blade switches, CRL and Oak-Grigsby are the ones to get. Many of us prefer the CRL because of the tighter 'click' action, and possibly for nostalgia, because they're modeled on the design of the very early switches. But they only make the standard Tele and Strat switches. If you need a 4-way, or a super switch, get an Oak-Grigsby.


    I think most builders would agree – unless you're going for exact originality, use an Electrosocket for the output jack, and dump the clunky original version. Much easier to install, it doesn't require a special tool; and it won't come loose over time. Cleaner look, too, IMO.


    Best to have your control plate in hand before routing the cavity. Measurements may vary...
     
    hepular, Billy3, Danb541 and 4 others like this.
  2. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    3,077
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2019
    Location:
    Adirondack Coast, NY

    All good stuff. FWIW, this is what I started doing with cloth-wrapped wire. Takes about as much time as trying to strip them cleanly.

    20200607_121603.jpg 20200607_121743.jpg
     
  3. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    3,077
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2019
    Location:
    Adirondack Coast, NY
    No need to apologize. @moosie pretty well explains it.

    I would add:

    1. "Standard" pot values for those pups would be 250k for both T and V. If you like brightness, you may want to go with a 500k V pot. Tone pot value doesn't matter much. If you go 500k for the V and 250k for the T, if you find the tone is too bright, simply reverse them!

    2. Most people use a .047 T cap for those, but if you like brightness, consider a lower value. I would recommend an orange-drop cap, but any ol' cap will do. Oil/Paper also look cool, but are a waste of money.

    3. If you want to buy a loaded plate from Emerson or 920D, you may or may not be able to specify pot values and such. Ask them. Again, I like 920D because they don't use "boutique" components. They are a work of art.

    4. If you are going to build this piecemeal, I would probably start with the body, routed for the pickups you want, then add components as you can afford. But while you are assembling/finishing the body, start thinking about your numerous neck and tuner options. I would also recommend keeping an eye out for a "used" neck that someone ordered and didn't like. It may be just what you want and save you some cash and may be virtually unplayed. While not likely to happen, someone else's mistake can be your gain.

    Enjoy the build and think each step out in advance to avoid spending more than you have to.
     
    hepular likes this.
  4. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    17,836
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Western Connecticut
    If it's a partscaster assembly, then that works.

    If a scratch build, I strongly advise getting ALL the hardware and materials in your hands before doing anything. No surprises later.
     
  5. ReneJaszi

    ReneJaszi TDPRI Member

    Age:
    21
    Posts:
    8
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2021
    Location:
    Hungary
    Thank you @Boreas and @moosie a lot for your very detailed explanations. You helped me a great deal.

    I already bought some hardware: pickguard and knobs things like that. I'm eyeing a satin chunky Fender (Vintera 60's) neck and an alder Hosco body (what have you heard from those?)
    An other thing I wanted to ask: does Fender use metric for their knobs or imperial so that's the size pots I'm gonna get.

    Also from your suggestions looks like I'm gonna assemble my own electronics so thank you. (Although very unsure what to buy since I can't find everything you mentioned.

    Also do I need a treble bleed thingy?
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2021
  6. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    17,836
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Western Connecticut
    That's a new one :).

    Some cloth ends fray more than others. Gavitt is the stuff. Also, use SHARP strippers. I use the stripper from StewMac that's sized specifically for small pickup wires, 20 - 30 AWG. It's incredibly sharp. Makes all the difference, IMO. It's not very expensive, but if you have to pay for shipping, too (I have their StewMax free ship plan), then you might consider a cheapie on Amazon for $5. I have no idea if they're as good, though. One thing about StewMac tools - they're always good.
     
  7. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    17,836
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Western Connecticut
    Is it a matter of not finding at all, or not finding stuff that will ship to Hungary?

    The Art of Tone is one of the better places for electronics parts. For things like knobs, control plates, neck plates, I prefer to go with Fender branded, because I know they'll be right. Darren Riley is a great source for that stuff.

    Regarding knobs and CTS pots, they're not metric.


    The treble bleed circuit is to avoid losing treble when rolling down the volume pot. It's something that happens naturally in a passive guitar circuit (passive means no onboard battery). It all depends on what you're used to, and what you hear. Some folks I think are very familiar with the loss, to the point where they use it. Roll down for rhythm playing, dime volume to solo (which also then gets brighter and cuts through the mix).

    But if you like your tone to be your tone, and volume to just adjust loudness, either install a treble bleed (and then you need to decide which values to use), or you could start by wiring it 50s style. That's just a simple move of one wire, and it also reduces high end loss but in a different way. Free to try. Shown below, just move the green wire to the new position (shown as the dashed line).


    Screen Shot 2021-01-07 at 01.15.59 AM.png
     
    ReneJaszi likes this.
  8. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    3,077
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2019
    Location:
    Adirondack Coast, NY
    I have the same stripper. But that doesn't prevent the cloth from fraying down the road. I have a ton of shrink tubing lying around. I like the cloth wire that has a waxy feel to it.
     
    moosie likes this.
  9. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    3,077
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2019
    Location:
    Adirondack Coast, NY
    I wouldn't bother with the treble bleed. They can always be added later. Get the guitar assembled and play it first. If you look up in #22 above, the right-hand picture shows a V-treb, which is a variable treble-bleed circuit. Here in the states you can buy them already installed on a CTS V pot for around $10. They can be fun to experiment with if you are really into treble bleeds, but totally unnecessary IMO. I play at full volume 90% of the time.
     
    moosie likes this.
  10. preactor

    preactor Tele-Holic

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    947
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Location:
    gainesville, ga
    Great chance to learn a new skill that you can use on other guitars in the future.
     
  11. DeepDangler

    DeepDangler Tele-Meister

    Age:
    30
    Posts:
    458
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2020
    Location:
    Mequon, WI
    If you’re trying to cut down on wiring time, these are nice kits. 22 bucks and all you need to do is wire the pickups to it.

    https://www.guitarfetish.com/Comple...ed-USA-Switch--Fits-Telecasterreg_p_7105.html

    Alpha pots and good wires. All capacitors of the same value sound the same. Don’t buy into the hype about better tone with paper in oil and other exotic caps. As long as your electronics are decent, it will sound good. A CTS pot sounds the same as an Alpha.
     
    Boreas likes this.
  12. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,361
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Location:
    Florida
    Brief hijack: Anyone know what gauge and kind of wire is typically used in telecaster control plates and a good place to source it? Also, where to you get those straight pieces of stiff, bare wire that some people use to connect the pots?
     
  13. Sceeter

    Sceeter TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    33
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2014
    Location:
    Holiday, Fl
  14. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    3,077
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2019
    Location:
    Adirondack Coast, NY

    My arsenal:

    2021-01-21_11h15_05.jpg

    There are no hard rules, but for Fenders I use 22 ga solid, tinned, push-back wire. The buss wire I use is 18 ga tinned copper.
    But any gauge will work. I have even used old G-strings in a pinch.

    Most guitars from the Asian market use plastic stranded wire. I prefer solid because it is stiffer and stays where you put it. Stranded wire is more flexible and typically not tinned unless you specify it or pre-tin the connections yourself. Tinned wire is MUCH easier to solder because it requires less heat to be introduced to the wire and any components. But if you are working in TINY Gibson cavities, flexible wire may be easier to manipulate.
     
    El Tele Lobo likes this.
  15. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,361
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Location:
    Florida
    Awesome. Where do you get your supplies from?
     
  16. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    3,077
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2019
    Location:
    Adirondack Coast, NY
    Pretty much anywhere that sells wire - preferably guitar wire. I buy mine from Amazon, eBay, StewMac. Some places sell 1-5 foot lengths - you don't need 50 foot rolls. Try to get cotton-covered push-back wire. I bought some red wire once that LOOKED OK, but the cloth was some sort of "plastic textile" which virtually exploded every time I cut it. It went in the trash can.
     
    El Tele Lobo likes this.
  17. Billy3

    Billy3 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    48
    Posts:
    418
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2020
    Location:
    Charleston,Sc
    It's kind of a crap shot! I have bought all brands and they are not consistent. You get lucky sometimes. Resistance values can be all over the place with lots even within the same brand, type,and value! I do recommend buying a good switch, decent 22 awg wire, doesn't have to be cloth. The only reason they used it back in the day was it was cheaper than others, not better. Kind of opposite today , a and decent solder and iron. Make sure to watch a video of two to learn how to use and take care of it. A multimeter is a must have. Don't waste your money on expensive caps. They really don't make a noticeable difference. Voltage is so low in a guitar. I like doing it myself. You can learn a lot and cheaper. Don't fear the solder.Lol! Keep on pickin!
     
    hepular likes this.
  18. hepular

    hepular Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    886
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2019
    Location:
    abilene, tx
    in my 20s I wasted a bunch of good guitars because i had no idea or interest in learning how to set them up or modify them to what i wanted.

    the time i spent learning how to build and work on bicycles in my 20s paid off over and over again, though--& eventually, when combined with youtube videos--led me to learning how to work on guitars.
     
    Boreas likes this.
  19. teleplayr

    teleplayr Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,548
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2012
    Location:
    Nicoma Park, Oklahoma
    I'd steer away from using solid core wire myself.

    I understand players wanting to use cloth wrapped wires (for the vintage obsessed crowd), but in reality who's going to see it and will it even make a difference in the sound of your guitar?

    I worked in the OEM electronics industry for years and multi-strand wire was always used. Using solid core wire will work but any repetitive bending (when removing control plates for example) will weaken sold core wire and can eventually break, multi-strand wire will take the stress. If your going to use solid care and there's no chance of ever having to shift it around doing mod's or whatever it will work.

    Buying wire from any hardware store or supplier will work for your application, Stew-Mac normally has higher prices for materials that can be sourced from less expensive and sometimes local suppliers, (not to mention shipping charges and the turn-around time).

    Whenever I have used cloth insulated wire (when working with a vintage or vintage re-issue instrument) I buy it from my local luthier who buys it in bulk for a much lower price than what Stew-Mac charges.

    Just a personal observation and opinion.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2021
    Boreas likes this.
  20. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    3,077
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2019
    Location:
    Adirondack Coast, NY
    Inspecting my inventory it seems most of my push-back wire is indeed tinned and stranded. Some is solid that I tend to use more for switches that don't get much manipulation. I agree, flexing solid core isn't a great idea. So I would amend my statement - as long as the stranded wire is tinned, (which stiffens it somewhat), it should be fine. The ground buss should be solid.

    FWIW, I bought some silicone insulated wire for some other projects where it worked well, but it is EXTREMELY flexible and kinda like working with a live worm. If you need flexibility in a tight location, you may want to consider it. But I would avoid it for general guitar work.

    Another hint - when you trim the solid leads from a cap, save the trimmed portion. These small pieces can come in handy for short ground buss leads.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2021
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.