4-Way Tele Mod?

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by RetiredNSquired, Dec 19, 2018.

  1. RetiredNSquired

    RetiredNSquired Squier-holic

    Age:
    64
    Jun 20, 2018
    Canton, Ga
    Been putting out lots of questions gearing up for my upcoming Tele project. This will be my first Telecaster.I try to research everything WAY before jumping in, to try and minimize wrong turns along the way. Got most of my decisions made as to body, neck, and finally found what I was seeking for pickups. Not gonna be anything splashy or flashy, that just ain't me. One last decision I'm considering is whether to go with a 4-way switch, for series pup connection. Have any of you guys done it, and is it that much of a difference that it gets really used? I know, I analyze things to death sometimes!
     
  2. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Squier-holic

    I think it's worth being able to put them in series to get another voice. You can also wire an out of phase switch. I used two push-pull pots for these two, but a 4-position switch to add the series connection is really all you need.

    If you do ever go with a pot with a switch, go with a push-push. It's easier to switch while playing.
     
  3. IronSchef

    IronSchef Dr. Squier

    Age:
    56
    Jun 18, 2012
    Flew here on my Dragonfly
  4. dbrian66

    dbrian66 Squier-holic

    Age:
    49
    Jul 14, 2017
    Maryland, USA
    I don’t have a Tele set up for the pickups to be in series, but I do have a Tele set up with a five way switch that gives me the standard three Tele selections along with one that puts the pickups half out of phase and the fifth position gives me a brighter neck pickup. The half out of phase is a real nice selection. Here is a really good article about it.

    https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/22967-mod-garage-the-bill-lawrence-5-way-telecaster-circuit
     
  5. RetiredNSquired

    RetiredNSquired Squier-holic

    Age:
    64
    Jun 20, 2018
    Canton, Ga
    Well, THAT just made my decision easier! Looks just like what I need. Thanks for sharing it.
     
  6. Ralph124C41

    Ralph124C41 Squier-holic

    Feb 10, 2016
    I'm also a huge fan of the 4-way switch and I have had it installed in both of my Tele clones. It is such a cheap and easy option that I am frankly surprised that FenderSquire doesn't offer it stock in many of its models as it would just add a few dollars to the price and in large numbers would be almost nothing. That fourth position is so rewarding that my regular neck setting almost never gets used.

    Dbrian66, I will have to read up on that 5-position wiring because the out-of-phase settings on a Strat are my two favorite positions of all my guitars.
     
  7. Papa Joe

    Papa Joe Squier-Axpert

    Age:
    90
    Dec 12, 2009
    Swanton Ohio
    Another fan of the 4 way here..I really like it with low output vintage pickups..
     
  8. mb doug

    mb doug Squier-holic

    Jan 4, 2012
    Long Island
    I like the 4-way switch mod too. It's an easy way to get another voice out of a tele. That 5-way sounds like something I need to try out too.
     
    Kenneth Mountain, so1om and dbrian66 like this.
  9. Ralph124C41

    Ralph124C41 Squier-holic

    Feb 10, 2016
    Oh, I forgot to add. The fourth position is also louder overall so that helps as Papa Joe said with weaker pickups or if you are using very low-wattage amps, such as my 3-watt Blackstar Fly without the extension cab. It also helps me on my 10-watt Blackstar ID: Core 10 if I want to get as clean a sound as possible without using much gain.
     
  10. HDCornerCarver

    HDCornerCarver Squier-Meister

    Age:
    28
    133
    Mar 18, 2017
    Lake George, NY
    For the effort, the 4-way is an awesome mod! Turns my somewhat jangily Tele to a deeper, darker hard rock machine. Unless I do a Broadcaster build, I doubt I'll own a Tele that doesn't get a 4-way installed.
     
  11. jskeen

    jskeen Squier-holic

    Feb 9, 2016
    Texas
    I can't speak as a player for which switch mod is better/more useful in an actual gig situation, but as a guitar tech/electrical engineer, both are a real improvement over the normal tele wiring. I think just from my experience installing many variations of both over time, the Bill Lawrence 5 way offers the most significant change in tone, with the 4th position using a small cap to phase shift a portion of one pickup's output signal by 90 degrees. This tends to have a more noticeable effect than simply offering a choice in the pickups connection between parallel and series dual modes. You need to look carefully at how the different positions are laid out and see which would work best with your playing style. IMHO, not being able to easily find the position you want when you want it is a more important determining factor than the difference in tone they provide.

    One other note strictly on the installation. Either version will work just fine with a humbucker for either or both pickups as long as you use a 3 wire installation. However, due to the nature of the switching changes in the 4 and 5 way mods, if you use a coil split switch in conjunction with either mod, the two will interact and partially offset each other. You will still get different tones in each position, but there will not be as much as you would get from the coil split function in a standard 3 way/coil split setup. Might be even better, or not as good, depending strictly on what you are looking for.
     
  12. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Squier-holic

    Age:
    39
    Oct 5, 2014
    Gilbert, AZ
    I will put a series option in any single coil guitar if it's available. Great, practical mod, do it.
     
  13. so1om

    so1om Squier-Axpert

    Age:
    52
    Feb 10, 2010
    Chicago
    i'm still on blackguard wiring. :eek::oops:
     
  14. mtjo62

    mtjo62 Squier-Meister

    Age:
    56
    375
    Dec 14, 2009
    USA
    I agree. It is like having a passive boost compared to the single and parallel positions. Should be a standard setup on all Teles.
     
  15. jvin248

    jvin248 Squier-Meister

    238
    Jan 10, 2014
    Michigan
    .

    Who doesn't want a free stealth les paul for $11?

    It's my auto-install for any Tele I plan on playing regularly. My avatar has a 4-way with the switch to the rear like Bill Kirchen. My Strats get the Armstrong Blender mod which is a wiring only change to blend between SSS and HSH.

    You should look up a few Tele models though:
    -MIM Triple Tele that was out around 2014.
    -Nashville Tele models
    -Brent Mason Tele
    -Different neck pickups: Strat, humbucker, P90, Jazzmaster (Strat can drop in but the others will involve some routing)


    .
     
  16. daan

    daan Squier-holic

    Oct 21, 2013
    Twin Cities
    If it took Fender until the 80’s to put a 5-way into the Strat, I’m not surprised they haven’t made a 4-way Tele even an option yet.
     
    Kenneth Mountain and dbrian66 like this.
  17. Papa Joe

    Papa Joe Squier-Axpert

    Age:
    90
    Dec 12, 2009
    Swanton Ohio
    Long before the 4 way I was adding a switch to go series..
    Same with the Strat switch..I wired the old 3 way like a Tele and put the middle pickup on a separate switch..
     
  18. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Squier-holic

    I was experimenting with my Tele and '57 Princeton amp a little while ago. I set the amp to clean, but just barely, with the neck pickup alone. Then when I switched it in series with the bridge pickup the output level increased and the amp got into breakup. That was pretty neat, and seems useful. I know you can do the same kind of thing with the volume knob, but getting a different voice while adding distortion could be a good lead sound.
     
    Kenneth Mountain and dbrian66 like this.
  19. Papa Joe

    Papa Joe Squier-Axpert

    Age:
    90
    Dec 12, 2009
    Swanton Ohio
    Another kinda neat thing that can be done with the series wiring is to have it out of phase..I accidentally wired one like that one time..When the guy that I did it for heard it, he ask to leave it like that..
     
    dbrian66 and Kenneth Mountain like this.
  20. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Squier-holic

    It may have been one of your posts that got me to add the out of phase switch to mine. I can't say I use it very often, but it certainly is a different sound, and to me, worth having. The out of phase switch works with the pickups in series or the usual middle switch setting of parallel.

    I think the opening music to the TV show Better Call Saul has some out of phase pickups.
     
    Kenneth Mountain likes this.
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