A completely constructed Control plate, for a Fender® Telecaster®, wired to the modern standard - 3 way switching, 1 volume, 1 tone, bridge, both and neck - as we all know and love.
Built using the highest spec parts - CTS pots, Oak Grigsby Switch, Cornell dubillier cap, 22 AWG vintage cloth hookup wire and a switchcraft socket, all connected together, ready to do, and mounted onto a beautifully plated control plate and barell knobs fitted.
The Standard Parts
This particular model is specifically designed to be used with single coils; simply because it’d get pretty daunting pretty quickly if we let you tweak every single part.
Pots – we always use CTS pots where we can, they’re top quality, they’ve got an exceptionally long life span, they’re what’s been used on the Telecaster® since day one, and let’s be honest, that’s the tone we’re chasing with this assembly.
Caps – You’ll see various discussions out there about which cap is the best, “which value/which voltage/what materials are going to give me the best tone?” – And there’s a whole raft of opinions as to the right answer. Rather than get drawn into it, we’ve kept it simple – you’re getting a 0.047, 100v Cornell Dubliner Orange Drop cap. Not because we don’t subscribe to the whole “great cap debate” – but it’s just the most bang for your buck you’re going to get. It matches up to the originals in terms of electrical specification.
Wire – we use vintage correct 22 AWG black and white cloth covered waxed wire. A dream to work with and has no adverse effects on your tone.
Socket – That’ll be a Switchcraft standard Mono, best in the business if you ask us, dead simple to get your head around how it works, and just like CTS – will probably outlast every other part on a guitar.
3 Way - This is what we’d call the standard setup for your average Telecaster® - it’s a full sized switch that’ll give you Bridge, Bridge and Neck in parallel and the Neck on its own – exactly how you’d expect if you’ve played any Tele® since about 1967! (Before then – wiring was a little different to say the least!)
Control plate – OK, it’s not the most interesting part you’ll find on your guitar, but it’s worth bearing in mind that we use a 32mm wide plate, which will be standard on 90% of Telecaster® styled guitars out there (there are other sizes, but they’re getting rarer and rarer by the day thankfully). When we talk about the assembly colour, the control plate is the main component of that, be it Chrome, Gold, Black, Nickel or Reliced, it’s a steel plate, electroplated in the desired finish.
Knobs – This was a bit of a bone of contention when it came to customisation to be honest. It was very tempting to offer knobs in different colours to the control plate and screws, offer them in different styles, different sizes. To be truthfully, it was just too much choice sadly, so we’ve limited you a little bit here – depending on your choices when it comes to optional extras you’re either getting solid shaft, dome topped knobs in the same colour as the Control plate. If you pick up the phase switch or wide range tone, then you’re getting push fit knobs (which work better with the split shaft pots well be using in those cases)
Tip – Supplied with a barrel switch tip.
Fender®, Squier®, Stratocaster®, Strat®, Telecaster® and Tele® are registered trademarks of Fender Musical Instruments Corporation and Axesrus ® has no affiliation with FMIC
Please note – these assemblies are made to order, and as
such, come under the rules and regulations pertaining to
custom work in regards of returns.
How to - Prep
This is how we build up the standard control loom for a Telecaster®, and its actually not a bad little guide to follow if you’re interested in doing it yourself either – we’ll show the details to watch out for and how we do things to a very high standard to get the best results.
What we’re using
The Telecaster® is normally wired up with short, solid shaft (250k audio taper) with a 0.047 capacitor, a 3 way switch and a mono socket – and has been since the 60s – so we’re following that here, using CTS pots, an Oak Grigsby Switch, a Switchcraft Mono, a Cornell Dubillier orange drop cap, and as a nice historic touch, 22 AWG vintage cloth covered wire.
So lets start with the preperation.
You're going to need some basic tools here - soldering iron (we use a 50 watt number, but anything upwards of 30 watt will be fine) a pair of side cutters to snipping wire, a pair of pliers for various jobs, and a screw driver for mounting the switch - any medium cross head will do)
The preparation is half the battle here – so heres how we do it. Get all your parts together, get a cardboard box (we have a plastic template we use, but its the same idea) - poke holes in it that match your control plate. It'll save you any embarassing scratches to your hardware.
Take your volume pot – first using just your fingers, and then using a pair of pliers, bend the right hand lug over so its in contact with the pots casing – this will be your ground point, and make the pot function as a volume pot.
The tone pot doesn’t need anything doing to it just yet.
Take the orange drop, and pull the legs out so they look like the photo – just makes connecting it up easier when we get to that point.
Trim the legs down so you’ve got roughly 5mm from the bend.
The Wire #1
This is the boring bit, but plenty of folks struggle with the cloth covered wire, so heres the tricks!
First off – cut your wires to length.
You’ll need the following.
160mm (volume pot live output)
100mm (switch wire)
50mm (tone to volume wire)
170mm (ground from volume to mono socket)
The Wire #2
Now you’ve got your lengths – its time to get strip! This is push back wire, so it’s a little tricky, but heres how to do it.
Taking the length in one hand, between thumb and fore finger, and about an 25mm from the end where you want to expose the core, remember to grip nice and firmly.
The Wire #3
With your other hand, thumb and fore finger, grip the very end of the wire – again, good and tight.
The Wire #4
Now push the second hand towards the first. Then insulation on the wire will compress between both points of contact.
The Wire #5
Now remove the first hand (the one 25mm in), keeping the “pushing hand” gripping firmly. With the now free hand, just smooth the compression down the length of the wire, just a little light pressure, and run your “pinch” down the wire.
The Wire #6
Do this to all the lengths, exposing as much or as little of the inner core as you need to. As a rough guide, I like to expose about 5mm of the core, but, honestly? Do however much you feel comfortable with.
The Wire #7
The only wire that differs from this is the switch wire – where you’re actually exposing about 35-40mm of core, and you’ll cut off 10mm of the insulation, and thread it back over the core. This is to protect against shorts when we come to connect the thing to the switch.
The process is the same though – pinch, pinch, push, smooth. Personally, once I’ve exposed a few mm at the end, I’ll use the pliers to pull the core out from the insulation – saves time, but theres no reason you cant do it by hand.
We’ve now got ever read to go. Switch, tone pot and mono socket need nothing doing to them before we attack them with solder, so we’re ready to go.
How to - Volume
With all the prep done, its time to get the soldering iron how, and get those connections made.
The Volume pot
Starting with the "bent over" lug, place the soldering iron so its in contact with the lug and the base of the pot. This is going to heat the up, and make the area capable of melting the solder.
Go with the flow.
Now slowly feed the solder into the area, and it will melt, and it will flow, and it'll get into all the little nooks and crannies to give you a rock solid collection.
Notice how its flowing flat? Not in a dome? This is the correct way to solder.
Dont worry about burning out pots or excessive heat - whilst its not impossible to damage parts during soldering, pots, are their casings are pretty bomb proof - just let the heat do its work and get a good joint here.
And you're done! The thing nearly everyone stuggles with when they first start soldering (soldering to pot cases) is that easy.
Worth nothing that the above photo, thats looks a fairly hefty bit of solder - its just so we can show how it should be, if yours is a little smaller then that, then thats fine. Just as long as you've got a good, smooth covering of solder that is over both the lug and the pots case.
Notice how there isn't any burnt orange gunge around the solder? That shows that the solder hasn't been burnt by excessive heat.
Now repeat the process on the input and output lugs as shown - same principle - iron onto lug, let it heat for a second, then feed the solder in. Remove the iron, remove the solder.
Technically speaking, this isn't tinning - we think of it as flooding the terminal - but its a similar idea.
What we're going here is putting on the solder we'll be using to connect the wires, so we wont need to add any more. (saves growing that magical 3rd hand!)
So now we start putting wires on! Grab your longest white wire (vol pot live output @ 160mm) and you should already have the end stripped back (if now, check out how we do it #1)
Place the exposed core onto the solder as shown above, and then put the soldering iron onto that core.
The trick is this - the heat from the iron passes through the core, and into the solder. By the time to solder has become a liquid, the core is hot enough to pull it up (via capilary action)
Live wire 2
Now simply remove the iron, and let the solder reset to a solid, and you should have a good, solid connection.
Now, sometimes (usually when you dont put enough solder on in the tinning stage) you wont get as nice a connection as the above. When this happens to us, we just put the iron back on the terminal, and put more solder in there - the wire might fall off, but at that point its just a case of repeating the process from step 1 (and you'll definately have enough solder on there by the 2nd go!)
Live wire 3
Now taking a firm hold of the wires insulation, give it a little pull and a little twist to expose some more of the core away from the lug. Smooth the wire out to push the compression in the insulation to the end of the length.
Live wire 4
Now trim off the end which should now contain no core, and reverse the process - push the insulation back towards the lug. Should leave you an exposed length of core at the far end. This will be going onto your mono socket, but not yet!
Live wire 5
This ones probably optional, and if you're going it for yourself, then you dont really need to do it - but its best practise, and for us, its pretty important. Heatshrink! (you do get it in the wiring kit)
Heat shrink basically seals the whole lug, wire and solder joint in a rigid coating (just give it a blast it a hair drier set on high, or a paint stripping heat gun set on low and it'll shrink and set) and that gives great stength at the joint.
Now for the ground wire that'll go to your mono socket.
Same principle as connecting a live wire - take your long black wire (170mm), take the exposed core, put it on your already soldered case, fold it in place with the iron, give it a second, and then feed a little solder on.
Wired for sound!
And the same as the white wire - pull, twist, expose a little more of the core, smooth the wire, trim off the slack, and push it back.
You should be left with something similar to the above. A volume pot thats ready to go into any single volume guitar!
Twist and shout
This ones optional again, but we like doing it, purely because it looks nice and neat - nothing flash, just a case of gently twisting the wires around each other.
We also put on heat shrinks at the end, ready for the next stage, the mono socket.
How to - Tone & Switch
Now for the Tone pot
I'm going to assume by this point, tinning the terminals, and connectiong the wires to them is no problem - just follow the guide set out in the volume pot section.
The cap is the only tricky part really. Connecting to the central lug is simple - tin the lug, one of the cap legs (doesn't matter which) up to it, apply a little pressure, and heat the leg.
Grounding the thing is the same as connecting the black wire to volume - heat the other leg and the case, give it a second, apply solder, let it flow, remove iron, let it cool.
Andthe input of the tone cap is the same as the live output on the volume - take your shortest wire (50mm white) - solder that onto the left hand lug, pull away a little more insulation, trim off the slack, push back, and if you fancy, stick on the heat shrink.
Switch it up
The switch on a Telecaster® can seem pretty daunting, but they're pretty rugged little parts if you treat them with a bit of respect.
They're actually a little tempremental to heat strangly - what happens is, if you over heat the terminals at any point, the solder has a habit of flowing down into the "path" of the wiper blade inside, and causing a jam.
So the trick is - tin the terminals first! just a little solder on there, make everything ready for the wire.
With the switchs metal frame facing you, its the 2 lugs on the near left, and the 2 lugs on the far right.
Getting the wire on
With the only remaining wire you'll have (100mm, with the insulation pushed back onto the core at one end) - place the first end onto the near left 1st terminal, heat the core, melt the solder, and you're done.
Repeat the proces on near 2, far right 3 and 4 - thats the connections made that'll give you bridge, both and neck switching..
As with all the other connections - pull the wire away a little, trim is down and push it back.
Switch is done.
And this is what you'll be left with!
Notice how the solder on the lugs is only on the very tips of the lugs? Thats correct - you really want to avoid getting solder down any further then that, otherwise it can cause the switch to fail mechanically (the more solder you get down there, the sooner its going to fail!)
Connect 'em together
Heres where things really start coming together - take the wire from your tone pot, and the wire from your switch. Shove them both into a piece of heat shrink, and grab both exposed cores, at the same time with your plier. Twist them together, heat them with the soldering iron, and apply a little solder to connect them properly.
Switch and Tone assembly
And you'll be left with something looking similar to this - tone pot and switch both connected by their outputs. Now we move back to the volume pot and the final stages of soldering.
How to - Mono and Finish
Time to finish everything off - most of the hard works done now - only the mono to connect, and put the switch assembly onto the volume pot. So here goes!
Heating the Terminals
Tinning the terminals on the mono is a little trickier then the lugs on the pots, purely because its a larger piece, but the principle is exactly the same. Soldering iron onto the terminal, heat it up, and feed solder onto the hot section.
As the solder goes on, it'll turn into a liquid, and flow across the terminal. Remove the iron, and allow the solder to set.
And you'll be left with something that looks like this. Worth noting that the terminals have specific functions - the one that is connected to the central "ring" is the ground (in that it connects to the ground on the mono plug) and the one that connects to the arm, is the live (tip on the plug)
Getting the wire on
Connecting the wires to the terminals is the same as on pots - so taking the two wires from the volume pot, white goes to the live terminal, black goes to the ground - place the exposed core onto the tinned terminal, place the soldering iron onto the wire, the heat will melt the solder and flow onto the wire. Remove the iron and allow to set. Repeat the process on the other wire/terminal.
And you should be left with something like this. Notice how the cores of the wires dont go into the holes? Simply connecting the to the "face" of the terminal gives the perfect connection. Ensure that the solder it smooth and solid over both terminal and wire.
Remember that heat shrink we put on the wires when we finished the volume pot? Time to push that down over the terminals on the mono socket - this protects from any shorts, and also gives strength to the solder joints
Switch and Tone connected
Taking the twisted wires from your tone pot and switch, place it onto the left hand terminal on the volume pot - both the wire and the terminal are already tinned at this point - so its just a case of holding it in place, applying the soldering iron, and it'll make the joint.
No More Soldering!
And thats it - thats every single connection on the control loom made (except the pickups atleast!)
More Heat Shrink though
Push the last little bit of heatshink up over the terminal, and i think, we're just about done, leaving you with a volume pot, which has the tone pot, switch, and mono socket all connected.
Get the loom laid out roughly as you want it, and give it a blast with a hair dryer set on high (or a hot air gun if you've got one, just to shrink those heat sleeves) - and its job done.