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‘68 Telecaster bridge pickup repair

I repair quite a few old pickups and thought you might be interested this ‘68 Telecaster bridge pickup repair.

68 Tele Bridge Pickup. Fender Telecasterbridge pickup from 1968
’68 Tele Bridge Pickup

Assessing the damage

As you can see it’s looking pretty tired. I quite like seeing pickups like this – it’s clearly given great service for decades. This is just wear and tear and the sign of a happy life, and although it isn’t working now there’s no reason why it can’t be made good for a few more decades.

guitar pickup - Telecaster Bridge

One of the first things I noticed is the black tape. Underneath it is the original waxed protective string. I’m not sure why someone added that.

'68 Tele Bridge repair
'68 Tele pickup bridge plate

The plate underneath has aged fantastically but as you can see the earth wire is missing from it. I re-solder the connections just in case there is a dry joint but the pickup is still dead.

repairing a vintage telecaster pickup

I suspect this is the fault- the top plate has warped over time and the corrosion has got in and damaged the windings. That top plate looks like a skateboard deck – it should be flat! This ’68 telecaster bridge pickup is going to need a re-wind.

'68 Tele date

Removing the windings

With the back plate off you can clearly see the date.

vintege guitar pickup corrosion

And here it is, this is the problem. With the windings cut away you can clearly see that the corrosion on the pole piece has spread into the winding. There’s a bit of wax in there too from when it was potted originally.

So here’s the plan. I need to flatten that top plate back. Then clean up the pole pieces. I need to do something about the corrosion. And finally re-wind the pickup to original spec. And most importantly make it look like nothing ever happened.

Repairing this 68 Telecaster bridge pickup

pickup lacquerTelecaster Bridge pickup

Cleaning the poles is easy, then I flatten the top plate and glue it in place with super glue. Originally it was just a push fit. Then I treat the rust with some anti rust stuff. Here you can see it masked off so I can give the poles a couple of coats of lacquer.

Tele pickup - rewind

Next I wrap the poles with thin tape. I want to protect the windings from future corrosion. I want this pickup to play hard for another 50 years.

Telecaster Bridge Pickup repair

Then it’s re-winding and wax potting and finally replacing the original string.

Of course, I forget to take a photo of it with the string on.

If you want a Telecaster pickup set similar to an old 68 Telecaster bridge pickup take a look at my “Silver Lady” set. The Silver Lady is wound to very similar spec to the old Fenders.

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‘68 Telecaster Bridge Pickup

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updated 3 April 2023

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