P90 pickup replacement

Another quick bit of work for Tim. He recently aquired a very nice Japanese telecaster - love that bigsby!


A peek under the scratchplate reveals that the previous owner had fitted a p90 in the neck position. They did a very tidy job, and the with the pickguard in place you’d never suspect a thing, but Tim was unhappy with the way the original pickup was left hanging in space. The tele neck pickup is traditionally screwed directly to the body, and the floating mount wasn’t condusive to good treble response. If you’ve seen Tim play you’ll know he loves his treble!

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So, I carefully shaped a block of sycamore to plug the p90 route. The neat routing job done by whoever fitted the p90 made this much easier, and meant I didn’t need to do any work to the body to get a good fit.

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With the block in place, I used the pickguard to mark the pickup location, and marked out the pickup route. I didn’t have a template made up, so I milled the cavity using a 5/8″ cutter on the benchtop milling machine, then cleaned up the diagonals with a 1″ chisel. Tim specified the pickup height (top of the pickup level with the surface of the fretboard) and I worked out the depth of the route accordingly - In this case it had to be 9.5mm deep.

Finally, I tested the fit of the pickguard to ensure everything was in place. I had to cut an extra recess in the block to accomodate the big solder blobs on the baseplate of the pickup otherwise they tipped it over towards the neck. After adjusting that, everything fitted perfectly, and the pickup is back to being screwed securely in place.

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