Lindy Fralin Pickups - 4 Way Switch

4-Way Switching For Your Tele

We get asked about 4-Way Switching a lot. It’s a simple mod that when added to your Telecaster, puts your pickups in Series, instead of Parallel. You can get a pretty beefy tone with both pickups on like this, and it adds a new dimension to your favorite guitar.


Fralin Series and Parallel

In a standard guitar, like a Strat or a Tele, your pickups are in Parallel. What this means is each pickup has its own path of output. For instance, the White (hot) leads connect to the switch, and the Black leads attach to Ground. Series wiring puts your pickup’s outputs into your other pickups. To illustrate, we’ve made an illustration:

Parallel Wiring gives the pickup the shortest possible distance to the Output Jack. Series wiring gives the signal a much greater distance to travel. The signal experiences more resistance, thus getting bigger and beefier as a result.

You might have noticed a volume drop when you switch between pickups in the middle positions. With Parallel wiring, the perceived sound decreases when combined with another pickup.

For instance, if you only selected your Bridge pickup, it’s output is 100%. When combined with another pickup, say, the Middle pickup, it’s output seems to drop by approximately 25%. The combination of the Bridge and Middle might result in a total combined output of, say, 50%.

Series wiring combines the pickup signals in a way where the volume is louder and thicker. When your pickups are wired in series, the combined signals would equate to 200%.

Note: the above percentages are only used for explanation, and are not accurate.


With a 4 Way Switch, you get the following switching capabilities:

  1. The Bridge
  2. Bridge and Neck in Parallel
  3. Bridge and Neck in Series
  4. The Neck
Fralin Pickups 4-Way Switching For Telecaster

To wire it up, take a look at the following diagram:

Note: If your Neck Pickup has a cover, you will need to separate the jumper connecting the cover to ground and run a separate wire off of the cover to be grounded separately. For a How-To, check out our guide here.

How It Works:

Position 1: Bridge Only

Neck White = Connected To Output
Neck Black = Connected to Nothing*
*(Since this is the coil wire, the Neck pickup doesn’t have continuity)
Bridge White = Connected to Output
Bridge Black = Hard Ground to Pot

Position 2: Bridge & Neck Parallel:

Neck White = Connected To Output
Neck Black = Ground
Bridge White = Connected To Output
Bridge Black = Hard Ground To Pot

Position 3: Bridge & Neck Series:

Neck White = Connected To Output
Neck Black = Bridge White
Bridge White = Neck Black
Bridge Black = Hard Ground To Pot

Position 4: Neck Only

Neck White = Connected To Output
Neck Black = Ground
Bridge White = Connected To Nothing
Bridge Black = Hard Ground To Pot

If you know this is the mod you would like to do, you can order our pickups with a “3-Wire Neck“. What we will do is give you a lead that runs off of the cover. If you already have a Tele Neck and want to convert to a 4-Way Switch, you will need to solder a wire to your cover and remove the ground connection from your coil. Basically, clip the jumper wire that grounds your cover to your black lead. To see how this mod is performed, check out our guide here: Convert your Tele Neck into a 3-Wire Neck

We hope you found this article helpful! Give us a call or shoot us an email with any questions.

Written By:

Tyler Delsack

👋 I'm Tyler Delsack, the Manager of Fralin Pickups. I've been a guitarist for 26 years, and along with managing the shop and working on this Website, I love tinkering with things!

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