Photo 1. Photo courtesy of Allparts.com
If you’ve ever owned a Telecaster, you may know how frustrating it is if the 1/4" output jack starts to get loose. On a Tele, the jack is held in a recessed cup secured to the body with a metal retainer clip embedded in the jack cavity. Over time, the simple action of plugging and unplugging your cable can bend or loosen the clip, making the signal short out while you’re playing.
Fortunately, there’s an excellent alternative to using a Tele’s stock jack mounting hardware. Made by Electrosocket and available from such luthier suppliers as Allparts and Stewart-MacDonald, as well as vendors on Reverb.com and eBay, the machined aluminum jack mount attaches to the Tele body with two screws (Photo 1). The Electrosocket is inexpensive, easy to install, and—get this—it lets you adjust the output jack to accommodate a right-angle plug. Here’s the best part: The Electrosocket stays put and can even prolong the life of your output jack. Let’s investigate, shall we?
Project overview. Our project guitar is a ’90s Fender Telecaster. When its owner brought it into the shop, the stock jack cup was very loose. We agreed it was time to replace it with an Electrosocket.
With one exception—which I’ll explain in a moment—the tools required are all standard items you’re likely to have in your toolbox: a medium Phillips head screwdriver, a 1/2" nut driver, and a drill with a 3/32" bit.
Okay, what about the specialized tool? Some background: The stock Tele jack clip is a piece of metal wedged into the circular cavity that houses the 1/4" jack and mounting cup. From the control cavity, the jack passes through a hole in the clip and then through a similar hole in the mounting cup. Threaded onto the jack, a 1/2" nut holds everything together from the exterior of the mounting cup. If the thin clip gets bent out of shape, the jack cup starts to wobble.
Photo 2. Photo by John LeVan.
The trickiest part of this project isn’t installing the Electrosocket, but rather removing the clip without damaging the cavity or surrounding finish. You can do this with a hammer and nut driver, but there’s a much better way. Stew-Mac offers a nifty item called a Tele Jack Installation Tool (Photo 2). It costs less than $20 and lets you safely extract the stock clip by bending it in a controlled way—just enough to remove it from the jack cavity. I’ll cover both techniques, but again, if you love your Tele, consider adding the TJIT to your toolbox.
Photo 3. Photo by John LeVan.
Removing the stock jack cup. First unscrew the control plate from the top of the guitar and lift it off just enough to expose the control cavity. Next, use a 1/2" nut driver to remove the nut holding the output jack to the mounting cup. With your finger, push the jack back through the cup and clip, and into the control cavity. Remove the jack cup—it should pull right out of the cavity (Photo 3). If not, you may have to tap on it with your nut driver to break it loose.