I have a nashville tele in the shop, and I was asked to install a set of scn noiseless tele pickups in the neck and bridge, but leave the texas special in the middle.  This is the model that has 3 pickups and a 5 way.  The SCN pickups are dual conductor, so the neck is black white green, and the bridge is black yellow green.  If they were wired into a standard tele without the s1 switch it would look like this....

Scroll down in the post to see the attachemnt

I used the same configuration as above to the same hot connections the stock setup had.  My problem is that positions 2 and 4 are out of phase.  My thought is that in a standard tele, the neck is reverse phase / polarity with the bridge.  In the stock nashville wiring, maybe all three pickups were the same polarity?  I imagine they wouldn't have made a special neck pickup just for this guitar so that it would have standard 5 way function.  Any ideas?

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Hi Brian.

On each pup, connect the green & black wires together. Then, the colored wire becomes the (+) and the Black/Green become the (-). Just replace the stock pups with everything connected as it was and you're done.

This type of wiring allows for reverse phase considerations ad determined BEFORE the install as the specific goal.

My guess is that you have the pups wired out of phase. BTW: "out of phase" is an oft misunderstood term. Fender doesn't wire it's stock instruments with pups out of phase. If what you're hearing in positions 2 & 4 is the classic Strat "Cluck", then what you already did is correct.

Best of luck

Brian , Id say just switch the + and _ wires of the middle pickup , so probly black becomes hot and white becomes ground . That will make the middle in phase with the neck and bridge .

Great solution, Len. It's the easiest.

 I support the "correct what's wrong" approach, not "change what's right".  Unless Brian adds a piece of tape to the underside of the pickguard which includes notes on the wiring change, the next tech inside the guitar will be VERY confused.

Again, your idea is definitely the easiest :)

Good points all around.  I tried to perform the obvious middle pickup swap, and somehow it killed the whole series of pickups, which doesn't make any sense.  The thing is, the stock wiring acted like a normal strat setup, and he liked positions 2 and 4 because of their hum cancellation, just not the inherent single coil hum of the other positions.  Now he isn't hot on the setup and I want to fix it.  I'll take another close look and make sure i've got it all correct.  


What switch do you have: the standard fender 5 way is B/BM/M/MN/N.   The Nashville mod is often done with the mod switch which gives the Tele tone in the middle B/BM/BN/MN/N which may account for something - check this out first. 

Secondly, I can't find a tech spec for the SCN Tele Pair and therefore don't know whether the pair are noise cancelling when switched together (as is a normal RW/RP hum cancelling pair) or whether they are left as standard (both the same config)  to utilize the tone advantage of non hum-bucking config. 

If they are RW/RP you may be experiencing problems as the middle pickup will be out of phase with at least one of the pickups in the standard switching. 

If the SCN pair are not hum cancelling as a pair it sounds like you have an earthing problem when you install the middle into the mix.  

Drop the neck pickup out of the circuit and get the Bridge and bridge/middle and middle position working  (providing its a standard Strat 5 way switch and not a "super" switch as previously described - if you don't know the difference just install  a standard 5 way for the time being) which validates your configuration to that point. 

At this stage wire in the neck pickup and see what happens - you may need to lift or short out an earth or two (piece of wire with alligator clips is handy) in the front pickup and it may be you are not going to get everything in phase but that's the price you pay for wanting an odd  Texas special (also check the "dot" color on the back of Texas special to make sure its not a RW/RP TS pup) in the mix.

Too may things can go wrong with this sort of hybrid  config.

Good luck,


Very thorough and quite awesome Russel, thanks.  I'm probably going to drive myself nuts here and sheer frustration might get in the way.  Here's my ideas for this one:

1. Get a new standard pickguard, wire it like a normal tele and go on with your life while still getting hum cancellation with the noiseless set

2. Get a custom guard with two full sized single coil routes, but a full noiseless strat setup and wire it like a strat

3. Pay me triple my normal rate for a pickup install so i feel like it was worth it

There are also a number of custom configurations i've found, some with a super switch, some utilizing the s-1, etc.  If you want to see some true fanaticism for modding, check this out...

The SCN pick ups are noise cancelling on their own, they do not need to be combined to be "quiet". If I understand correctly (always an "if") when the leads on the middle pick-up were reversed, it killed all sound. If it killed sound in all positions, then something got wired incorrectly. If it killed sound in positions 2 & 4, then one side of the middle pick up was grounded.

Brian, I think you've got it wired correctly, but it doesn't do what the customer wants. In the stock configuration, only positions 2 and 4 are hum bucking. Now those positions introduce the single coil noise of the middle pick-up.

While there are far too many permutations for 3 pick-ups, you already have the SCN pick-ups. How about replacing the middle pick up with a noise cancelling Strat pick-up? This will make the guitar quiet in all positions. There are both "vintage noiseless" and SCN strat pick ups as well as other manufacturers models. 

Of course, in the end, the customer might prefer the stock configuration.


Brian, Josh,

There is no reason evident why this problem cannot be solved withing the existing configuration. This is not to say it's possible it's just to get you started working through the logical sequence.   Use the Fender 5 way to start this thing off - that way the middle pickup is isolated as a single entity in the middle position - it is not critical in that situation which wire goes where - it is just important that you have output - work backwards from there if you can.

You have just got to check everything, take little steps, leave the room , have a cup of tea and a lie down and then go back for a fresh look.  If worse comes to worst I build up the config one step at a time until it stops or starts doing what I want.  If it makes you any happier, I have a boxfuls of "know good" stuff and have been know to use it to keep replacing things until the problem goes away (or I do).

Josh, I know the pickups are noise cancelling - what I don't know is their electrical relationship to each other when placed in the Tele pair mode for SCNs.  I don't assume anything these days.  I also work with what I have been given - the customers want this:  if you ask me solve another question or configuration I would do so but at present we are trying to fix a problem withing a given config.

Retro has also fallen foul of the dreaded tele neck earth-wire problem or common wire that has just about got a 100% head-scratching kill rate with repairers.  Been there, also feel your pain.  You may try lifting one of the earths (one at a time) from the switch end of the lead of the neck pickup - which is related to what  Retro is talking to and may be an issue with SCN.

Good luck. R.

I feel your pain Brian. I was asked to wire a regular mexi-tele to a Nashville Tele set-up like this....

I fussed and fiddled for a long time, re-checking my work several times.....ONLY to find out later that the maker of these diagrams had neglected to draw in 1 common jumper wire.....Aaurghhh!

He has since then fixed this fault on the diagram.

For some reason, I have a hard time in wrapping my brain around the "super-switch"!

Good luck and some movable alligator clip jumper wires will come in handy when checking the circuit!

It's always good to take a moment to fathom the circuit's signal flow before "painting by numbers."

Right on.....!

Hi Brian.

I offer this as simply a possible solution your customer may wish to consider.

One of (IMO) the best single coil sounding humbuckers for a Strat/Tele are Dimarzio's "Fast Track" dual rail series. A FT 1 in the neck & middle and a Chopper T in the bridge will solve ALL noise issues and likely sound better than the SC+TS combo. I'm in the camp with a legendary guitarist who said "I've yet to meet a pickup that I liked that has "Texas" in it's name."  The TX Specials are over-wound and in my book, that's code for "Dull".

The Dimarzio's are very reasonably priced and I can tell you from experience; they sound GREAT. To me, they're the undiscovered gems of rail pups even though they've been around for a VERY long time. They're Hi-Fi AND punchy.

Just a thought :)

Best of luck sorting this out :)


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