Wringing and wiring a Humbucker neck!

The Real Jake

TDPRI Member
Apr 2, 2021
Tele tailsmen,

This post is about the sunburst guitar pictured.

I’m in the process of installing… rather I have installed some new pickups on a Tele build… but I’ve run into problems. Mainly, too much buzz on the bridge pickup (G&L) and almost no existent sound on the Gretsch neck humbucker (probably from an Electromatic model).

The bridge pickup has a metal back, not plastic … what’s the proper way to ground it? The tutorials have been lacking, with done saying that,because it’s metal, it should naturally ground to the bridge. Confusing.

The humbucker… it’s possibly I grounded the hot wire and wired the ground wire to the selector … could that be causing it’s problems?

Also, the pots are quite old, possibly soiled; I have applied deoxit to them with little effect; it might be time to replace them. If do, should I consider 500k pots, at least to the volume pot, to better accommodate the Humbucker? Is there any danger in mixing 500k and 250k pots?

I ask because I had a much more successful build with the green telecaster, also pictured. It has 250k pots, a Fender Texas special in the bridge and an generic brand humbucker-shaped p90 in the neck (like a Duncan phat cat, but much cheaper). So you see, that neck pickup in the green is actually a single coil. The Gretsch in the sunburst is a humbucker, possibly wired wrong, possibly grounded to the wrong type of pot.

I don’t care so much about Pure Tele sound with this (sunburst) build, just as long as I get the full volume /tone capabilities of both pickups.

I realize this is hard to ascertain without pictures of the guts of the guitars, just looking for your thoughts as I take another shot at this thing!



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Tim S

Gold Supporter
Oct 27, 2008
Upstate NY
Ditch the old pots for a start. Somebody threw them away in the first place.
Absolutely — Start with a pair of 500k audio tapers to accommodate the humbucker and use a 270k resistor on the lead pickup to adjust it for 500k pots.