Saturday, August 10, 2013

Harrison Telecaster Assembly Part 2: Wiring

Wiring a Telecaster is pretty simple given it's just six parts: 2 pickups, a three way switch, tone and volume controls and a small capacitor. The first step is to mount the hardware on the control plate:

3-Way Switch and Pots Wired
Then follow one of the many wiring diagrams easily found online. Nothing much to it. It actually takes longer to cut and tin the five pieces of connecting wire than it does hook 'em all up.

Since I installed the bridge pickup in the previous episode, the next step is to mount the neck pickup in the pick guard. It works just like the bridge pickup - little screws (2 this time) and rubber tubing. Unfortunately, the pickup's wires have a long way to go and they're really not stiff enough to make it through the rather tight route in my Warmoth body. The solution:

Pulling the Neck Pickup Wires through
Slide a piece of guitar string through the route, crimp the pickup wires onto the right hand end, and gently pull 'em through. Once complete you end up with this:

Pickups & Jack Ready to Connect
From left to right, output jack, bridge pickup, neck pickup. You might find that the screws supplied with your pickups  are too long to fit in the Warmoth neck pickup route. They're made of pretty soft metal and easy to cut with regular diagonal cutters. I had to trim about an eighth of an inch off mine to allow the pick guard to lie flat.

Wiring Complete
Now we can wrap up the wiring. The black wires are the "ground" wires and the white and yellow wires are "hot". It's just a matter of soldering everything together.

First the hot leads (yellow and white) from the pickups get soldered to their spots on the 3-way switch. The the signal wire from the output jack to it's spot on the volume control and finally I attached the three signal grounds to the body of the volume pot and the remaining leg of the tone capacitor to the body of the tone pot. (Some builders like to run the tone cap. over to the volume pot so all the grounds are on one place.)

Note that I left the pickup leads full length. There's plenty of space in the control cavity and in the (highly likely) event I ever swap them out they'll be easier to reuse in another guitar that may have different routing.

Before drilling and screwing everything down I backed both controls off, carefully plugged in and gently tapped the pickups with a small screwdriver to make sure both were operating and the 3-way switch was correctly wired.

Next! Drilling, Neck and Final Assembly

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