Repairing a Telecaster Bridge Pickup
Here’s an interesting one. A customer got in touch with a pretty new Telecaster bridge pickup that was no longer working. The coil ends had snapped away from the hookup wires, the higher piece of flatwork had started to work loose from both the polepieces and the base. If you look closely in the top pic you can just make out the snapped coil wires, the problem being that there’s very little protruding coil wire left to work with. The customer’s fear was a complete re-wind.
The upper flatwork is pulling away from the coil & pole pieces. this can happen if the pickup is either potted in too high a heat warping the flatwork or if the polepiece is too loose in the flatwork.
The danger is that if this continues, the flatwork could pull away from the polepieces completely leaving the actual coil wire exposed.
Also, the baseplate isn’t fully flush to the base of the pickup, not a big issue in itself but an example of poor quality control at the manufacturer’s stage.
To fix the pickup I carefully peeled away the base ring of protective cotton string to give me slightly more coil wire to work with. Thin jumper wires were carefully soldered to each broken end of the coil and wedded to the hookup wires to complete the circuit then taped down to keep them in place before wax-potting. The flatwork was carefully pressed back into place and held. Finally the pickup was wax-potted to keep everything secure and seal the coil.
Checking with the meter showed an output of 7.26k and with a quick wire up to the test guitar, the pickup was back up and running.
I always try and work it so a re-wind is the last option as many customers want to preserve their pickup’s tone – sometimes its inevitable but in this case the pickup was sorted.