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Telecaster Elite ‘83 bridge pickup

I was sent an interesting faulty pickup the other day. It’s a bridge pickup from a 1983 Fender Telecaster Elite. Fender did a few unconventional things around that time and this is one of them.

The Telecaster Elite pickup is an unusual shape which means that it’s not an easy pickup to replace so I really needed to save this one.

Telecaster Elite pickup
Telecaster Elite ‘83 bridge pickup

Inside the plastic cover is a humbucker encased in some sort of resin. At least one of the coils is faulty so will needs to be re-wound. This resin is great until there’s a problem, I just had to dig the bobbins out. There was no way the coils were coming out undamaged so I gave the customer a call to explain they both needed re-winding. He was happy so I got on with it.

Tele Elite pickup bottom
Telecaster Elite ‘83 bridge pickup
Tele '83 elite
Telecaster Elite ‘83 bridge pickup
Elite Tele'83
Telecaster Elite ‘83 bridge pickup

It’s a pretty delicate operation to get the coils out without damaging them.

'83 Elite Tele pickup repair
Telecaster Elite ‘83 bridge pickup
Telecaster Elite pickup bobbins
Telecaster Elite ‘83 bridge pickup

Once they were out and cleaned up it was a straightforward re-wind. I matched the dc resistance to the original spec of 11.3KOhms and put it all back.

1983 Telecaster Elite pickup
Telecaster Elite ‘83 bridge pickup
Telecaster Elite Pickup 1983
Telecaster Elite ‘83 bridge pickup

If you have any duff pickups, get in touch. Most old pickups can be saved.

Pickup re-winds are a big part of what I do.

In the early days back in the 1990’s I re-wound a lot of pickups. It was an invaluable introduction into the inner workings of electric guitar pickups.

Back then there were a lot of 60’s and 70’s quality pickups around to practice on, they weren’t as valuable or sought after as they are now. Because of that I got to see how pickups were put together in the old days, the construction, the potting material…

There wasn’t much information available so experimentation was the only way to learn. I made so many bad pickups back then but made a note of every single one, how I’d wound it and what the result was. By using that method I got closer and closer to what I wanted. I also made a note of all the re-winds I did and the original spec if I could get it. I’m still writing in that note book to this day and it’s becoming a fantastic reference tool when I receive an unusual pickup repair from a customer.

I still really enjoy re-winding pickups, I think I have a strong instinct to fix things. I would much rather repair a faulty old pickup than sell a customer a new one. Sometimes, of course, the customer wants a different sound that the old pickup can’t give them and a new pickup is the way to go.

Please feel free to contact me about any faulty pickup by email ( or by phone (021 912 678).

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updated 3 April 2023

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