In this post we are going to fit perhaps the most unused component of a Status Quo guitar… the neck pickup! However, our Francis Rossi guitar would look very odd without it, so we still need to fit it, wire it up and have it fully functioning.
Old style pickup installation
As mentioned in a previous post (see Pickguard) there are no screw holes in the pickguard for mounting the neck pickup. This is because the neck pickup on older Teles was mounted directly into the pickup cavity in the body rather than screwed in through the guard. So fitting/adjusting the neck pickup isn’t quite as straightforward as it is on a modern Tele.
In order for the pickup to be fitted correctly and to allow height adjustment to be carried out, we are going to use two standard screws threaded through two mounting springs sandwiched between the pickup and body. The pickup will float on the two springs and a certain amount of height adjustment will be possible if required. The body has already been drilled to accommodate the passing of all necessary wiring between the three main cavities (see Drilling) so there is nothing to stop us installing the neck pickup at this stage in the build.
The two pics above show the wires of the new pickup being threaded into the pre-drilled conduit in the neck pickup cavity and out the other side into the control panel cavity. These wires along with the two from the bridge pickup can just be coiled up in the control panel cavity in readiness for soldering into place at a later stage in the build.
After drilling two holes in the base of the body cavity we can assemble the pickup, screws and springs as shown in the first of the two pics below. The pickup is then carefully screwed into position, making sure that it can still be freely adjusted at any height and that it does not get stuck anywhere. The second pic shows the pickup fitted nicely into the cavity. We are now ready to cover all of this up with the pickguard. It’s worth noting here that the pickguard should not need to be removed again as all of the wire ends are now hanging loose in the control panel cavity.
If pickup height is critical it should be adjusted before screwing down the pickguard as any further adjustment is impossible on older style Teles once the pickguard is fitted.
As you can see in the first of the two pics below, we have now refitted the pickguard. The second pic is taken from down low to show how the pickup has been left adjusted fairly high for now. The height is fairly unimportant if you’re playing Status Quo songs anyway, but it’s nice to know that the pickup is fully wired up and operational, should you ever have the urge to use it.
Check out this clip below of Quo performing A Mess Of Blues from 1984. There are many excellent views of the guitar throughout the performance (especially during the solo) and even more after the song when Francis (who has a broken string) and Rick are chatting to Noel Edmonds and we get to see extended views of the guitar including a few glimpses of the back.
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