Tech Tips: Tele 4 Way Mod
1st May 2020
What is the mod?
The Telecaster 4 Way Mod utilises a 4 way pickup selector switch to provide the standard three Tele pickup positions, plus one extra position, where the bridge and neck pickups are connected in series. This provides a fuller, thicker tone compared to the standard three, with a pronounced midrange. The key wiring consideration when connecting coils in series is that the point where the two coils meet cannot be connected to ground. With Telecaster pickups, the start wire of each coil is connected to ground, in order to provide a ground connection for the bridge pickup's baseplate and the neck pickup's cover. When making the series connection in the 4 Way Mod, we need to connect the finish of the bridge pickup to the start of the neck pickup, so that neck ground connection has to go! The link between the coil start (black wire) and the cover has to be separated and a new grounding wire attached to the cover.
When using our pickup builder to spec your pickup set, you simply need to select "YES" for the 4 Way Mod and your pickups will come ready with the necessary ground modification that it needs. Otherwise, we have a VIDEO HERE which shows you how to make the modification yourself.
Wiring up the 4 way switch is quite straightforward and we have a WIRING DIAGRAM HERE. The new grounding wire for the cover needs to be permanently fixed to ground and the remaining two wires hooked up to the switch as shown, with a couple of jumper wires also added to the switch.
Pickups which are modified for 4 way can also work just fine in a standard 3 way setup, by simply connecting both the black wire from the coil and the separate cover ground wire to ground, so, if you are just considering maybe modifying your guitar in the future, getting them made with the 4 way mod is a safe bet.
I hope that helps you with getting some fresh tones from your Tele! As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions about selecting or installing your new pickup set.