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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Telecaster to Esquire conversion project - Completed

Contributing Member

Memphis, TN

Sep 10th, 2019 10:36 AM   Edit   Profile  

What's on the Bench ?

A conversion from a Telecaster to a 1955 Esquire.

The Esquire is a single pickup Telecaster with 3 amazing tones due to a combination of wiring and capacitors, when wired up as the modified Eldred mod listed below, which give you the following combinations:

Switching position #1. This rear position is true bypass. The guitar’s single pickup is routed directly to the output jack, with the tone and volume control removed from the signal path for maximum twang and spank, and to provide a good solo boost.

Switching position #2. This middle position is also the same as on a standard Esquire, with the pickup signal routed through the volume and tone controls. It sounds a little warmer than position #1.

Switching position #3. In this front position, the pickup is routed through a single, small capacitor and volume control, and the tone control is bypassed. This gives you that mid-range "snarl" tone much like a wha wha pedal 1/2 way depressed. Very useful when soloing.


The original guitar was a Fender Squire Vintage Vibe series, pine body with translucent milk blond finish. These guitars are an incredible value and can be gigged right out of the box if need be.

I replaced the switches and jack with USA made Switchcraft hardware, a DiMarzio Twang King pickup, two new CTS 250K pots, white Esquire pickguard, strap locks, Gotoh "In-Tune" brass compensated bridge saddles.

Fret dress and polish, intonation set and checked.

The chosen capacitors brands and values are:

In the #2 position, the tone control cap is a Mallory 150 coupling capacitor, 630 volts at .022uf

In the #3 position, that cap is an Sprague Orange Drop, 225P at 100 volts and 4700pf.

I started the the values mentioned in the above article and then adjusted the values until I liked what I was hearing.

The finished product:

Contributing Member

If irritation occurs

discontinue use.
Sep 10th, 2019 11:30 AM   Edit   Profile  

That came out great. Looks authentic too!

Contributing Member


Sep 10th, 2019 11:49 AM   Edit   Profile  

Very cool!

Contributing Member

olde New England

If you can't play good, play loud
Sep 10th, 2019 12:39 PM   Edit   Profile  

Cool! I built a '56-esque Esquire out of eBay parts, with a Musikraft "Esquire" decaled neck as a basis. I wired mine to the '56 wiring scheme (I believe) with tone bypass but still through volume, volume and tone, and tone bypass but through a cap that really muffles the tone. I'm interested in what the diff is between that the the Eldred scheme. Maybe a more useful tone.

(This message was last edited by swampyankee at 02:46 PM, Sep 10th, 2019)

Contributing Member

American Patriot

About as ordinary as you can get.
Sep 10th, 2019 12:41 PM   Edit   Profile  

Great looking Esquire.

I just finished a 5 lb. Pine Tele that is feeling great after playing a heavy one.

Contributing Member

Memphis, TN

Sep 10th, 2019 02:24 PM   Edit   Profile  

Swampyankee, the modified Eldred is a must do.

The normal tone control is just about useless, way to bassy and muddy.

The values that the modified Eldred shows are pretty close to what I did, however I found that with the values I choose, the tone control is now defined, no mud, and quite useable, and the value I choose for the #3 position gives it that snarl like the cocked wha, but with more definition due to the value I selected.

I'm sure these values will also depend upon what make and model pickup your using, so what I did was wire up two sets of jumpers so I could swap out different caps without having to solder and de-solder. Makes it a breeze to try different values.


FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Telecaster to Esquire conversion project - Completed

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