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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Telecaster Neck Pickup Confusion

Contributing Member

Lisle, IL USA

That's what she said!
Apr 8th, 2018 10:23 PM   Edit   Profile  

I guess I am missing something and need guidance. I’ve never done a Tele build before and the neck pickup installation has me confused. There are no holes and the pick guard and the pickup came with 2 screws that look like wood screws and 2 springs. The screws feel like they thread tightly through the holes in the pickup, so it’s almost like they are machine screws with a point on the end. I’ve searched the web and it seems like folks say to drill 2 pilot holes, then place the springs between the bottom of the pickup and the wood, with the screws in the pilot holes. Here’s where I get lost. When attempting to set the pickup height, it seems to me that turning the screws could result in driving them deeper into the body, which could result in them coming all the way through. Perhaps I am thinking too hard about this, but it just seems strange.

Is this the way to actually install the pickup? It strikes me that a machine screw would work better with some foam under the pickup to stabilize it, but any pickup screws I have seem to be wider than the screws provided.

Any advice is welcome

Mick Reid
Contributing Member


American-made in Oz!!
Apr 9th, 2018 02:28 AM   Edit   Profile  

The vintage (or vintage style) teles did have the pickup mounted to the bottom of the route as you described.
Personally I find that a pain in the backside because you have to remove the p/guard if you need/want to adjust the height down the track. Not a big deal but...

I always drill the mounting holes in the p/guard and install it like a strat pickup (but that's just me - and I've never owned a vintage anything)

If you're going for the vintage "look"...

Depending on the depth of the route (don't know what brand of body you have) there *should be* plenty of timber to mount the pickup to without going through the back. Chances are you'd be adjusting the pickup "up" rather than down (further into the wood).

If you measure everything: route depth; body thickness; height to frets from top of guard etc, you should be able to calculate pretty closely where the top if the pickup will need to be.
Then you can determine if there will be a conflict with screw length.

If by chance the route happens to be too deep, there's fixes for that too, but we can cross that bridge later :^)

Hope this helps, and I'm sure one of the master builders will have more (or better) info!

(This message was last edited by Mick Reid at 06:34 AM, Apr 9th, 2018)


New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
Apr 9th, 2018 07:19 AM   Edit   Profile  

There's not much more to it. You can mount the pickup either way. Tele neck pickups are manufactured with threaded holes so you can suspended them from the pick-guard if you want. If you decide to not drill holes in the pick-guard and mount them to the body, you need to either use screws where the shank of the screw under the head of the screw is smaller than the threaded section or, you need to enlarge the threaded holes just a little. I like being able to adjust the pickup with the pick-guard installed so I drill holes in the pick-guard. But its a cleaner look if you don't.

(This message was last edited by wrnchbndr at 09:20 AM, Apr 9th, 2018)

Contributing Member

Lisle, IL USA

That's what she said!
Apr 9th, 2018 08:58 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks, I'm going to have to give this a little thought. I do like the idea of being able to adjust the pickup without removing the pick guard. Right now I am leaning in that direction.

Contributing Member

Pueblo, Co

Pulu si bagumba!
Apr 9th, 2018 09:05 AM   Edit   Profile  

Depending on where your truss rod screw is having the pickups mounted to the body allows you to pull the guard off and get to the neck without much ado, at least it does for me and my vintage style tele's.

I also prefer the "no screws" look of the guard.

Hope this works out well for you. Love me some Telecaster!!

Contributing Member

Lisle, IL USA

That's what she said!
Apr 10th, 2018 01:33 PM   Edit   Profile  

Well I decided to drill the pickguard. I drilled two very small holes using the pup holes as my guide. The holes wound up too close to the pup cutout that I see no sense in trying to enlarge them, could've been my fault. I ran over to Guitar Center and got a pickguard with the pup mounting holes & will proceed from there.

Thanks for the info.

Contributing Member

Get ready for the

Buena Buena
Apr 10th, 2018 10:01 PM   Edit   Profile  

I know I'm late, but for future reference...

If it's a black pickguard, you can fill the holes with black epoxy. It's easy:

Lay some Scotch tape over the holes on the face of the pickguard. Flip the pickguard face down.

Mix up a tiny bit of black epoxy, and use a toothpick to apply it in the two holes. Don't drop a blob in; it won't work because it will trap an air bubble in there.

Instead, get a little epoxy on the tip of the toothpick and carefully paint it into the hole, slowly building up the epoxy until it's level with the top. A magnifying glass or magnifying visor is a huge help with this.

Do both holes (you have about five minutes working time) and let it set up for 30 minutes. Remove the tape from the face and lightly polish the face and the repair will be pretty much invisible.

Contributing Member

Lisle, IL USA

That's what she said!
Apr 11th, 2018 09:20 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks Peegoo, I will have to remember that next time I want to reuse this pickguard.

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Telecaster Neck Pickup Confusion

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