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‘66 Tele with vintage wiring - change to modern? (Pics Added)

davidos

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
748
I have a ‘66 Tele with the original wiring... I don’t use the dark tone position and I do like the sound of the modern middle, both pickups position. Is it difficult to switch to modern? Will it open the tone up a bit as far as clarity?
 

Laurent Brondel

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,645
I would, definitely.
Another twist on the Tele wiring is to connect the tone pot only to the bridge pickup, that leaves the neck pickup loaded only by the volume and a bit louder and brighter, and allows to balance the high end of the bridge (that can be excessive, especially from the mid '60s onward).
 

esoteric pete

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,856
i greatly prefer the modern wiring....i personally wouldn't find much use for vintage wiring on a telecaster specifically.
 

hogy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
13,025
I have a ‘66 Tele with the original wiring... I don’t use the dark tone position and I do like the sound of the modern middle, both pickups position. Is it difficult to switch to modern? Will it open the tone up a bit as far as clarity?
It won't change the clarity aspect. Realize that the "modern wiring" won't give you anything you don't already have, except convenience. You have the "middle" position now, you just have to balance the pickup selector between the bridge and middle position, just like on a 3-way Strat switch.

Rewiring to "modern" is easy, but the better approach might be to just take the old harness out intact, switch, pots and jack all factory connected. All you have to do is unsolder the pickups from the switch and ground. Then build a whole new harness and stash the old one away for resale time.

Fender started using 1meg pots in '67. I have occasionally seen them in guitars with a late '66 neck date. 1meg pots in a Tele are awful in every way. If you have those, definitely build a new harness with 250k pots.
 

Fitzer

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,936
My old 66 Custom was 100% original except for modern wiring and a refret. It did not affect resale value on that guitar despite the rarity. For what it’s worth
 

idylldon

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
111
Wire it the way you want. Personally, I like a four-way switch on a Tele and I wire mine so it's bridge, bridge and neck in parallel, bridge and neck in series, and neck on its own. Works well for my needs.

Cheers,
--
Don
 

bluejaybill

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
897
I have done that change in several vintage Telecasters, might think about it twice now though!

I have found that the pickups are often out of phase when you do this though, making it necessary to fiddle with one of the pickups to get in phase. YMMV.
 

56Tweed

Ge Fuzz-o-holic
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,247
It won't change the clarity aspect. Realize that the "modern wiring" won't give you anything you don't already have, except convenience. You have the "middle" position now, you just have to balance the pickup selector between the bridge and middle position, just like on a 3-way Strat switch.

Rewiring to "modern" is easy, but the better approach might be to just take the old harness out intact, switch, pots and jack all factory connected. All you have to do is unsolder the pickups from the switch and ground. Then build a whole new harness and stash the old one away for resale time.

Fender started using 1meg pots in '67. I have occasionally seen them in guitars with a late '66 neck date. 1meg pots in a Tele are awful in every way. If you have those, definitely build a new harness with 250k pots.
I thought Fender was still using '66 pots well into 1968. it seemed like a rather large purchase. I can pull and check on mine, but i thought I remembered them dating to '66 as had a bunch of other '68s I've looked at.
 

davidos

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
748
Thanks for all the replies! Here's the guitar and wiring in question. '66 250k pots... Interesting that the pickup and capacitor wiring was threaded through the little holes in the switch. Don't think they do that anymore...? It seems like it might be 'less' modification to keep the original harness and just modernize the current wiring... Remove 2nd capacitor and rewire switch... not sure... six of one...?

Had to include a shot of the THICK headstock... :)

IMG_2077.jpg

IMG_2079.jpg

IMG_2082.jpg

IMG_2083.jpg
 

Fitzer

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,936
Nice. My custom also had a maple cap neck. Tough to find. If you want to put any future potential buyers at ease, just have a very well known vintage guitar dealer do the wiring change and keep the receipt with the guitar. If this were a ‘52 Tele in that condition, I’d say leave it alone, but no one is going to cry foul over a CBS era Fender with an extremely minor and 100% reversible wiring change.
 

davidos

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
748
Nice. My custom also had a maple cap neck. Tough to find. If you want to put any future potential buyers at ease, just have a very well known vintage guitar dealer do the wiring change and keep the receipt with the guitar. If this were a ‘52 Tele in that condition, I’d say leave it alone, but no one is going to cry foul over a CBS era Fender with an extremely minor and 100% reversible wiring change.
Thx... It's already been refretted too... (or regretted as auto-correct likes to say...)
 

Amp_Addicted

Member
Messages
663
I would take the original control panel out and sub in a newer one with recent pots, cap & a 4 way switch. I would also add a treble bleed, but that's optional. Some collectors will be happy that you have left the original control panel more or less intact.
 

davidos

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
748
Update: I took the original control plate assembly out and left it intact minus 2 pickup leads and the pickup ground to the Vol pot. Plan was to use the original control plate, knobs and switch but the switch was glued(?) in place many years ago (possibly from factory?) so i had to yank an assembly out of my Custom Shop closet classic Tele.

The 3 positions (modern) sound incredible through my BF Princeton Reverb...!

Need to source a lightly aged control plate (I wouldn't call the original a relic... more of a new patina with scratches and a few dings...), top hat and knobs for the '66... Callaham?
 

moehuh

Member
Messages
349
Need to source a lightly aged control plate (I wouldn't call the original a relic... more of a new patina with scratches and a few dings...), top hat and knobs for the '66... Callaham?
I have a Callaham Tele, which obviously has his hardware. The knobs are fantastic. Heavy, but they feel very solid. Combine that with pots that have some resistance when turning and it feels like a tank. I also have an aged / distressed bridge with saddles on another Tele and it looks very good. Nothing overdone, just de-shined and done right IMO.
 




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