I play three Telecasters, they all have standard single-coil pickups. The oldest of these has a really individual sound when using the middle pick up setting. It is really thin and nasal; great for funk and also quite good for imitating an acoustic tone. (This tone is certainly not as noticeable on the other two guitars.) A colleague suggested this may be because the pickups were wired "out-of-phase"; I had one of the pickups replaced years ago, and my colleague suggested that it may then have been wired "backwards" by mistake.

Is this likely?

If I wanted to get this same tone on my other Teles, how easy would it be to put a phase switch on a Telecaster? Would this even be worthwhile on a guitar with only two single coil pickups?

(Sorry to ask three different things in the same post, BTW…)

I have already read through the question and answers here.

2 Answers 2


Bob. I changed the switching on my Tele a couple of years ago, using a propriety 4 way switch. This gives the original switching, plus the pups out of phase. It was a bit of a fiddly job, with an almost complete re-wire, but well worth it to have an extra sound. The new switch fits in place of the original, and looking at it, you wouldn't know. Obviously, one keeps the old one to replace, should a purist buy the guitar later. Go for it !

  • I have about the same doing serial instead. I'd say reverse the bridge leads, because otherwise you need to run a separate ground for the neck pickup cover. Commented May 29, 2014 at 19:29
  • Thanks! Sounds good. I'm guessing that would be a soldering-iron-plus-screwdriver job, right? Any more than that and I might get somebody else to do it! Commented May 30, 2014 at 8:57
  • 3
    Yes - the four pound lump hammer is purely optional.It actually comes with wiring diagram, but as I said, it really needs original wiring removing and starting again. Probably easier than bastardising the existing.
    – Tim
    Commented May 30, 2014 at 10:42

Practical? Absolutely.

Beneficial? I would say so!

I recently rewired a Tele of mine, from a three-pickup "Nashville" style to the classic two-pickup, but with some tricks under the hood:

  1. A four-way pickup selector switch, offering bridge and neck pickups either individually, combined in parallel (as is standard) or combined in series; and
  2. A push-push switch on the tone pot providing a phase reverse on the neck pickup.

These two mods give a total of six possible sounds (phase doesn't matter on the single-pickup switch positions), compared to three from the traditional Tele wiring or five from the "Nashville". As you've experienced with the out-of-phase wiring on your current guitar, these non-standard tones can definitely offer something extra.

These mods are both easily reversible and don't necessarily affect the look of the instrument. As you can see from this before-and-after, though, I went for a hot-rod look anyway:

Telecaster, before and after

  • Beauties! Thanks for posting these! I'm planning to get at least one of my Teles rewired soon, so will bear these ideas in mind. Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 23:27

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