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Pickguard - For Telecaster® - P90 Conversion
Pickguard - P90 Conversion - Suitable for 1959 - 2014 Fender® Telecaster®

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Description Technical Specs Wiring / Instructions / Customisation

Main Description


This pickguard is typically designed to fit a Fender® Telecaster®, but with the added option of a Soap bar sized P90 in the neck slot. This is o ften overlooked as a viable option, because it can require extra routing to the body, but a P90 is the real dream when it comes to that classic Tele® tone!

The warmth and body, which you only get from P90s, is exactly what the Telecaster® is all about – and not too dissimilar from the traditional lipstick pickup you’ll see fitted normally.

Where the P90 outshines the lipstick, is that it’s so much bigger, brasher, dare we say better?! The higher output, the lack of metal covers dulling certain frequencies, the dual magnet design – these factors really help balance out a Tele® and gives something very modern sounding, without compromising on your bridge pickup tone.

Hole configuration

Like most of our plates designed for the Fender® Tele®, we’ve built around the timeless “eight hole” design that’s been in circulation on every Fender® Telecaster® since 1959/60.

Initially, the eight hole setup was released to help combat the warping seen on the early Tele® plates, with the three ply option replacing the old single ply version completely in late 1959. For completeness sake we carry both single and three ply plate, but please be aware that a single ply plate can be prone to this warping, even with modern materials.


Once you get past the P90 in the neck, this plate is as standard. The bridge section is cut out to accept both Modern and Vintage style Telecaster® bridges, and the control plate is cut out to 32mm, which will take a Fender® control plate or the Axesrus® Control plate.

Fender®, Squier®, Telecaster® and Tele® are registered trademarks of Fender Musical Instruments Corporation and Axesrus® has no affiliation with FMIC

Other Part Compatibility

For some unfathomable reason, the humble Tele® has seen more "factory" modifications then any other guitar i can think of - from the glaringly obvious, like dual humbuckers fitted with locking tremolos, to the frustratingly subtle (different size control plates or bridge routes!) - so, just as a little bit of re-assurance, its probably worth listing a few of the common parts that interact with the pickguard here, that'll commonly turn up on the same guitars

Telecaster Control Plates

Control plate

All of our pickguards for Telecaster® use a 32mm wide control plate - thats pretty much the standard nowadays. Once upon a time, Squier® were using 34mm wide control plates, and Fender® Japan will use a 32.2mm control plate (although I'd argue that 0.2mm isn't really enough to worry about personally) - but for the most part, all models with a control plate, will have a 32mm one, atleast from Fender® and Squier®, so thats the standard we work to.

1.6mm Thick control plates match up with 1 ply thin pickguards, and 2mm plates match up with 1 ply thick, 3 and 4 ply pickguards.

Axesrus Late 50s P90


Any Tele® fitted with a P90 neck is going to end up being a little "lop sided" sadly - P90s dont really come in that many flavours believe it or not - they're normally around 8K, and induce pretty highly - usually up above 6 Henrys - so whilst i'll link here to a P90 that'll fit this plate (and be a very good P90!)... its still a P90 - so make sure your bridge pickup has the poke to keep pace! Usually, a normal Tele® bridge pickup is around 3-4H - you want to go hotter then that if your pairing with a P90 - something like our T90 would be ideal! (clues in the name eh?) - gives you the best chance of avoiding any huge volume differences between pickups

Remember too, because of the phasing on a Telecaster® - the bridge is reverse wound/polarity (not the neck!) - so you want a bridge P90 in the neck slot, not a neck pickup (P90 necks are reversed! But dont worry, 99.9% of them are electrically exactly the same!)

Gotoh BS-TC1S Bridge


This being a very much "standard" plate, it'll accept any of the "normal" bridges you'd expect to see one a Telecaster® - the big metal plate, holds the bridge pickup, sits in the notch at the rear of the plate, with a few millimeters of clearance around the edge.

Its worth remembering with the 80s plates, that they have a cross over point - they've been used on guitars that take the 4 screw (vintage/lipped/ashtray) bridges, they've been used on Mexican guitars (which have conversion bridges as standard - look modern, but the mounts are the same as vintage) and they've been used on guitars that take the (increasingly rare!) 3 screw bridges.

The plate itself is designed to take pretty much any Telecaster® bridge, but worth checking compatibility on bridge vs. guitar too.

Pickguard Screws


You do, weirdly, see some variation in pickguard screws - but for simplicities sake, we keep all of our plates working to the same size thread/head. Stops things getting confusing.

Axesrus Loaded Control Plate for HB Neck Tele


Now, guitars that mix and match P90s and single coils hit a slight niggle - the single coil wants to be seeing a 250k pots, and the P90s wants a 500ks - esqpecially on the volume - with a Tele®, your not getting 2 seperate volume pots in there - so theres a little tweak to the wiring! If you wire a 500k (or a 470K resistor) in parallel with the single coil, whenever the bridge pickup is in the circuit, it'll "see" a 250k pot on the volume.

Very handy, because it stops the thing getting razor sharp.

We do pre-loaded control plates that are fully customisable if your looking to make some tweaks, but as standard, its a great fit for this type of guitar.

Tortoise Shell Explained

You’ve probably noticed with the pickguards, we do A LOT of different variations in tortoise shells – and even then, we barely scratch the surface when it comes to completing the line-up.

Basically, Tortoise shell, originally, way back when, when it first started (long before the electric guitar was a thing) was just that – pieces of a tortoises shell, fixed together into a shape, and polished until semi-transparent (some of the early acoustic pickguards were actually made this way)

Now, obviously, none of us want to see a return to those practises, but seemingly, everyone liked “the look” – so with the advent of plastic in the early part of the 20th century, science found a cheaper way (it wasn’t until the seventies when trade in hawksbill turtle (the main source of Tortoise shell) shells became illegal!)

The first “plastic” Tortoise Shells were made from Nitrate plastics, usually Celluloid – and, frankly, it’s pretty gorgeous! Its semi-transparent, it’s got a sort of leopard skin look to it, and it soon worked its way onto guitars (again, most acoustics)

The problem is – Celluloid plastics are astonishingly flammable – they have a low point of combustion, and once they’re burning, they don’t go out until the fuels gone, or they flame is deprived of oxygen. As you can imagine, no one really liked working with Celluloid. It was risky to use (cutting = friction = heat) it was dangerous to store, and it wasn’t really suitable for the job at hand ( it changed colour when exposed to sunlight, it warped, it shrank, it was generally, pretty badly behaved!)
Never the less, it did eventually find its way onto electric guitars by the late 50s and early 60s, but was soon replaced for something more suitable and much safer.

Nowadays, you see Tortoise shells in either Polyoxymethylene (more stable as a material, but still very flammable) or PVC (which is fairly bomb proof, but does give off toxic fumes if burnt)

Now, getting to the modern day – Tortoise shell comes in 5 “variants” for us (ignoring the Celluloid offerings, they’re still out there, and great for historical accuracy, but just be VERY careful with them – not only in buying them/storing your guitar once its fitted, but also in actually sourcing the stuff, we’ve yet to find a factory who will even consider making a plate with it (too big a fire risk) and even when we do, its very cost prohibitive (more expensive to buy the things then we could ever dream of selling them for!) – there are guys out there making them though – but as a rough guide, expect to pay upwards of £150+)

Classic Tortoise Shell


Now this is a funny one. For the longest time, it was the only Tortoise shell we had access to, and honestly – its OK – turns up pretty often on mid-priced guitars, such as the Squier® Classic vibe and vintage modified lines – personally, I think of it was a cheats Tortoise shell, because it seems to be a screen print sandwiched between the layers of PVC, and as such, it looks a little flat. It is, however pretty uniform, so if you want all your tortoise shells to look the same, classics the way to go.

3 Ply Brown Tortoise Shell

3 Ply Brown

Now we’re talking – rather then a “flat layer” brown tortoise is the real deal – layers of semi-transparent PVC (one yellow, one brown) over laid to give that characteristic look. For whatever reason, the 3 ply version shows a little more yellow in the mix then the 4 ply. It shows a great depth of colour as a result, and if pressed, I’d say it was my favourite of the shells.

4 Ply Brown Tortoise Shell

4 Ply Brown

Slightly darker then the 3 ply version, less yellow bleed through in the mix (presumably because the yellow “layer” is thinner)

3 Ply Red Tortoise Shell

3 Ply Red

Similar to the brown version really – yellow and red, one on top of the other, but it’s the same principle, same results, just a little more vibrant then the brown.

4 Ply Tortoise Shell Pickguard

4 Ply Red

Where the brown 4 ply shows a little less yellow, the red version pretty much cuts it out completely. Its almost bordering on a red pearl for us, and certainly not without its charms. Ideal if you really hate the idea of the yellow peeking through.

Celluloid Tortoise Shell Jazzmaster Pickguard


For completeness sake, heres a photo of a celluloid plate too - i think we can all agree, it looks absolutely glorious, and theres a real depth to the "shell" effect - but if you look closely at the photo, you can probably see that the plate (in this case a Jazzaster) has badly warped, its been kept in the same conditions as the PVC plates above, for the same amount of time, but its way past being usable now.

Pearls Explained

Pearloid plates are similar to the tortoise shells, but theres a little less subtly between them, and they dont really have anything overly interesting in their history - as far as i can tell, they're always been PVC, and the variations in colour and pattern are pretty easy to follow.

So lets take a closer look.

White Pearloid Scratch Plate

White Pearl

The most common pearloid you're going to see - "white pearl" - i think its safe to say we all know the look. Interesingly, Pearl pickguards are actually made from a material intially intended to be a faux "mother of pearl" (which is the inside of an oyster shell)

Parchment Pearloid Pickguard

Aged Pearl

More common then you'd think strangely - fairly safe to think of it as the Parchment version of white pearl. For whatever reason, the pearling is a little tighter, with fewer blank spots between the reflective sections.

Ivory Pearl back plate for a Strat

Ivory Pearl

If Aged Pearl is the Parchment, then Ivory Pearl is most definately the Ivroy to the white - much more creamy in colour. Usually, you only see if in a 3 ply triple Ivory - not very common nowadays, but does occasionally turn up.

Avalon Mother of pearl pickguard for a stratocaster


This is a fairly new pattern as far as we can well - actually a much closer representation of that "mother of pearl" look that the original pearloids were going for. Rather then being broken up into reflective "squares", its more bothches and swirls, gives it a nice crisp finish.

Faux Abalone pickguard for a Strat


If Avalon is getting closer to mother of pearl, then its probably only right that we've got one thats getting close to its opposite number, abalone (which is the inside of the shell of a few species of marine snail) - its certainly a very "unique" pattern, and again, is more swirls then squares.

Black pearl AM standard back plate

Black Pearl

Black pearl is always a bone of contention for us - its not "really" black - its more a dark grey colour - there is a blacker version out there (not that we can find it!) called "Moto Pearl" - but yeah, they've both got their place.

Purple pearl strat plate

Purple Pearl

Hardly an all time classic, but not without its charms. Nice tight pearling, very few gaps between the squares, so nice and uniform - a love it or loathe it colour i suppose. Pair it with a black body and black plastics, and its a nice little statement piece though.

Blue Pearl Strat Back plate

Blue Pearl

Colour aside, its a fairly traditional pearloid - reflective squares, blue tint - looks a bit crackers on its own, but with the right body, it can work really well.

Green Pearl Tremolo spring cover

Green Pearl

Again, a bit of a novelty colour for me - not exactly what you'd call a classic, but if thats your thing - more power to ya.

"Whites & Creams" Explained

Ok, even i'll conceed that this isn't the most thrilling of toics at this point, but there is actually plenty of confusion when it comes to the "off white" pickguard colours, so seeing as we're ticking off pearls and tortoise shell varients, we might as well address the parchments, mints and creams too.

So lets get stuck in

White Pearloid Scratch Plate


We carry all our white plates in the above "shade" - its a completely opaque pigment, and is what you expect really, a very clean, crisp, pristine white.

Parchment Pearloid Pickguard


Occasionally called "aged white" in the trade - parchment is the next shade in from white, slightly darker with a very slight creamy/yellow tint - think of it like old news paper.

Ivory Pearl back plate for a Strat

Ivory 3 ply

As called aged white (and a source of much confusion!) - Ivory is the only plastic that differs in colour in its 3 and 1 ply forms. The 3 ply above is quite a yellow, almost buttery cream, almos shades of nicotine staining.

Avalon Mother of pearl pickguard for a stratocaster

Ivory 1 Ply

And, for completeness sake - Ivory 1 ply. Strangely, never called Aged white - differs from the 3 ply version quite drastically, its much more a cream colour.A little softer, much less nicotine yellow.

Faux Abalone pickguard for a Strat


Now, Mint is where things get really fun.

Mint was originally designed to mimic the "greening" of white celluloid plates as they age, but as they've become more popular, tastes have changed a little, so you see some variations within mint, so we differentiate between these variations.

At the bottom, you've got Mint "B" - the original Mint - its quite dark, and quite green. Any guitar you see online with a mint plate, is likely to have a mint B - its the most common of the mints.

Slap bang in the middle, you've got Mint "A" 3 ply- this is a slightly ligher then B, and is a half way house between parchement and Mint B for me - a little more subtle, a little less green.

And right at the tip, we've got 1 ply Mint "A" - slightly different to the 3 ply version, a little less green again.

Sound Clips

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