Photo 2 shows the CRL switch I’m about to install. Take a moment to compare it to the wiring diagram. Use the spring to orient yourself with the various lugs and their functions.
Install the replacement switch. CRL switches come with mounting screws, and you can either use them or the screws from the original switch, assuming they fit. Mount the switch on the control plate, then insert and tighten the screws.
Note: You can install the switch oriented in either direction, but sorting out the wiring will be easier if the new switch is oriented the same way as the original. In other words, if the spring on the old switch was facing the pickups, then mount the new switch that way too.
Wire up the new switch. There are four lugs for attaching wires on each side of the blade switch, making a total of eight lugs. For this classic Tele scheme, we only need to solder three wires onto six lugs. Each pickup lead will have its own dedicated lug. The other four lugs will be used to join both sides of the switch and connect the switch to the volume pot.
Before you begin wiring, review this simple breakdown of the switch while comparing it to the diagram. Each number represents a different lug on the switch. Next to the lug number is a description of the wire you’ll need to solder.
Spring side of the switch
1. Output wire to volume pot
2. Connects to prong #1 (switch output)
4. Lead from neck pickup
Non-Spring side of the switch
1. Lead from bridge pickup
3. Connects to prong #2 on the spring side of the switch to join both sides
4. Connects to prong #3 (non-spring side)
Tip: Unsure of your soldering skills? Check out “Soldering 101: A Step-by-Step Guide.”
Solder the leads from the pickups to the blade switch, and then add a jumper wire to connect both sides of the switch to its output lug. For the jumper, use a piece of 12-gauge stranded wire. Be sure to “tin” the entire wire before you solder it onto the switch. Tinning the jumper will make it easier to solder the wire in place, and you won’t need much additional solder. Finally, solder the wire from the volume pot’s input lug to the output lug on the switch. Photo 3 shows the CRL switch with the completed wiring.
Test drive. Now it’s time to button up the Tele. Flip over the control plate and re-install the screws to secure it. (Aren’t you glad they’re in that little box?) Now you’re ready to test out your work. Your Tele should have the classic switching configurations:
• Position 1: Bridge pickup only
• Position 2: Bridge and neck pickups
• Position 3: Neck pickup only
If everything is working correctly, slap on a new set of strings to celebrate the completed project and get ready to enjoy your new switch!