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previous: Doc Steve:I have a tele that wa... -- 10/29/1998 12:49 PM View Thread

Re: 4 way switch for Tele

11/2/1998 1:51 AM
Steve A.
Re: 4 way switch for Tele
    Well it took a few days but I got my tele shielded with copper foil tape and wired up the harness using an isolated ground scheme as per John Atcheley's defunct site. I wasn't sure if the controls would fit into the cavity with the large 2.2uF/100v isolating cap on the side of the p-p volume control but it did fit in and didn't short anything out. (That is one advantage to using copper foil tape instead of conductive paint, which can get scraped off and create problems later.)  
    I decided to use a 500k p-p pot in conjunction with the TBX tone control, with an RC network of 220k/180pF across the hot terminals of the volume pot to smooth out the response and keep the sound from getting muddy at the lower pot settings. After studying the schematic for the 4-way switch, I strongly recommend that the cavities be shielded because the neck coil is always live (with the neck coil black wire disconnected for the bridge-only position an unshielded guitar could pick up a lot of hum.) The 4-way switch would need a 3rd pole to kill the signal lead going to the neck pickup.  
    The pickups I installed were SD Antiquities and they sound fantastic, with a nice Tele twang and harmonics from the bridge pickup thick enough to slice. I like the TBX control instead of a regular tone control to add some brightness to the series position if desired. Or if you need a brighter sound from the stock positions for C&W. While I usually use a tone cap smaller than 0.05uF, that value works well on a Tele with a TBX. The p-p pot switch reverses the polarity of the neck pickup; the series out-of-phase linkage has a nice midrange "honk" to it. The parallel out-of-phase linkage is a bit thin and whiny (as to be expected) but I've always thought that works better on a tele than practically any other guitar, mainly because the neck and bridge pickups are so unlike each other.  
    The pickups I took out were SD Vintage Tele stacks with 3PDT switches to select between the hum-cancelling and the power modes. The lower output hum-cancelling mode was a bit on the wimpy side, and the "power" mode was a bit too raw with little refinement. With the full shielding job, the Antiquities aren't that noisy and they have a real character that the Vintage Stacks lacked.  
    I'll be drawing up a schematic for the wiring harness (using the John Atcheley grounding method) and posting it to my site in the next week or two.  
Steve Ahola  
P.S. One trick for shielding guitars with copper foil tape: I use desolder braid to connect the shields on the various cavities. It is much flatter than bus wire so the pickups leads slide right over it rather than getting all tangled up.