I had this Fender Telecaster bridge pickup repair in the other day and thought I’d show you it. It’s from an ’87/8 Fender Telecaster USA Standard.
Tele bridge pickups are the essence of Rock’n’Roll. For those of us that love our Teles there’s just nothing like it. So how come they sound so different from Strat bridge pickups? The magnets are usually the same, the windings are about the same so what makes Telecasters so distinctive?
There are 2 factors:
1) The Tele has a steel baseplate. This base plate increases the pickup’s inductance (by about 7%) giving it a bit more power. It also changes the shape of the magnetic field a little, broadening the magnetic window so the pickup ‘hears’ a bit more of the string. I use this principle on my ‘Tui’ Strat pickups. https://mrglynspickups.com/2020/03/29/tui-hot-strat-set/
2)The pickup is mounted to the steel bridge plate. Put a Tele bridge pickup in a Strat and you’re only half way to a true Tele sound. It really does make a big difference.
So, back to the repair – this pickup was completely dead showing ‘open circuit’ on the test meter. As with every one of these repair jobs I start by checking for dry solder joints – always worth ago. The solder joints were fine so time to look further.
As you can see from the picture there’s a lot of corrosion on the pole pieces. My suspicion is the corrosion has spread to the inside of the pickup and caused a break in the windings. I need to get in there and investigate.
Once the windings are cut out it’s pretty obvious the corrosion has caused the problem. Fender pickups are wound directly on to the pole pieces so a bit of rust and they’ve had it.
I clean the rust off and treat it with an anti rust product . Then I glue the poles to the fibreboard using superglue to make them secure.
After that it’s a few coats of shellac to seal everything and finally I wrap the pole pieces with tape. I know it seems a bit extreme but I want to keep the windings from touching the pole pieces so this doesn’t happen again. The tape is so thin it won’t make any difference to the sound.
It’s all about preventing this problem from occurring again.
Then finally I re-wind the pickup to the original spec.
After the pickup is wax potted and the protective string replaced and waxed the Telecaster Bridge Pickup Repair is done and it’s ready to go back to its owner.
It’s really satisfying saving old pickups.
If you have a pickup problem get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org
For new pickups visit the website, I make 2 flavours of Telecaster sets.
Mr Glyn’s Pickups is based near Auckland, New Zealand. We manufacture a full range of electric guitar pickups for every situation.