Install Your Telecaster Pickups Like a Pro With These Simple Tips!

Last Updated: August 30th, 2021

Installing Telecaster Pickups can be a tricky business. Installing the Bridge pickup alone can give you sweaty palms. Even worse, if those sweaty palms lead to a slip, you can nick a coil wire and kill your pickup.

At Fralin Pickups, we’ve seen it all. We’ve seen the mangled coil wires from the mounting screws and punctured coil from the Pickguard. Fortunately, we have a pretty fool-proof way to prevent all of these mistakes, so read on to make sure your next Telecaster install is a breeze, and sweat-free!

Mind The Mounting Screws

We hate to say it, but your Telecaster Bridge pickup was designed rather poorly. Using three mounting screws (two insanely close to coil wires) can cause all sorts of headaches to the novice when installing. Two of the mounting screws are about 1/8″ from the coil wires – any slip up here can drag the screws across the fiberboard and snap the coil wire. See how close they as shown below:

Telecaster Bridge Pickup Installation
The Telecaster’s Mounting Screws are dangerously close to the coil wires of the pickup. Extreme caution needs to be exercised when installing the Bridge Pickup. Coil wires are indicated in Red above.

The key to a successful installation is to focus on the screw and the rubber tubing supplied with it. Follow these instructions here:

  1. First, put all screws through the Bridge Plate
  2. Push Rubber Tubing on each screw
  3. Push the tubing tightly against the bottom of the plate to ensure the screws stay straight
  4. Start threading each screw into pickup, one turn at a time
  5. Once all screws have begun to thread, you can now mount the pickup safely.
Make sure the Rubber Tubing is tight against the bottom of the Bridge Plate before threading.
Make sure the Rubber Tubing is tight against the bottom of the Bridge Plate before threading.

Easy Does It.

Avoiding the simple mistake of letting the Bridge Pickup mounting screws get crooked will help save your Bridge from “dying” before you even put the strings on. But, if you do indeed accidentally kill your pickup during installation, we’re always here to help get it back to working condition with our Rewind and Repair Service.

What about the Neck Pickup?

But wait! A Telecaster’s neck pickup is also susceptible to damage. Tele Neck pickups can get damaged by the pickguard if they mount into a pickguard. Be careful threading these pickups, and look out for the exposed coil wire, as shown below:

Damage can occur where the neck cover stops and the coil wire gets exposed.
Damage can occur where the neck cover stops and the coil wire gets exposed.

That should do it for today – it’s very easy to damage these delicate pickups, especially with an instrument designed like the Telecaster. However, armed with this knowledge, you can effortlessly avoid these simple mistakes. As always, let us know your installation techniques below!

Written By:

Tyler Delsack (Manager, Fralin Pickups)

👋 I'm Tyler Delsack, the Manager of Fralin Pickups. Along with managing the shop and working on this Website, I run my own website to provide free Jazz Guitar lessons.


  1. What’s up with the extra ground on the last Fender Noiseless bridge pups?

  2. Kevin Millersays

    Wain Phillips- Perhaps a small amount of electrical tape holding the spring down, put on with care to be easily removed?

    On the topic of metal springs here, I will add that the reason I’ve gone with the surgical-tubing instead of metal springs is that, with a Telecaster style pickup and metal bridge-plate, the metal springs can sometimes contribute to odd, unpleasant feedback noises. That, and not just to look and be “vintage”.

  3. Wain Phillipssays

    I have springs instead of tubing. I’m having a difficult time compressing the springs so the mounting screws will enter the pickup. What do you suggest I do in this situation.

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