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Telecaster 5 Way Control Plate Set

(10 customer reviews)



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Telecaster 5 Way Control Plate Summary:

“I bought a £70 guitar from ebay as a project and put these pickups in plus the controls and in my opinion,  it sounds better than any guitar costing 5 times that.!”

Complimenting the Ironstone Telecaster pickups, this Telecaster 5 Way Control Plate set consists of a hand built, custom wired control plate and a pair of specially matched Tele pickups to give a complete Telecaster multi-tone solution that can be dropped into your guitar with minimal effort.

The control plate uses high quality components, and  features a Strat style 5 way lever switch to expand the normal Telecaster tones, along with Treble Bleed and Gibson ‘Vintage 50’s’ tone control mods.

There are plenty of good designs around for multi-tone Telecaster pickup switching, but the Ironstone Telecaster 5 Way Control Plate design avoids expensive and complex ‘super’ switches, and focuses instead on simplicity and maximum tonal value for money.

The control plate is hand wired using high quality components including;

  • Heavy duty metal enclosed 5 way lever switch to minimise noise and increase long term reliability
  • ‘Orange Drop’ (Sprague / Cornell Dubilier) 33nF tone capacitor
  • 2x 250k A / Log taper potentiometers
Only available through this website, this hand-built set is assembled in small batches, so please allow up to one working week from purchase to despatch..

Please note: The price above is the UK total price including standard Royal Mail postage. Non UK customers will be advised of an additional small postal charge during the checkout process (see Shop page for current charges).

EU customers; regretfully, following the EU import VAT regulation changes of July 2021, we are unable to support direct website sales to EU countries (EU countries will not be accepted at the checkout stage). 



Telecaster 5 Way Plate and Pickups Set

Telecaster 5 Way Control Plate Function:

Probably the most often requested ‘additional’ Telecaster configurations are Bridge and Neck in series, and ‘out of phase’ tones. The Ironstone Telecaster 5 way control plate and pickups set custom switching gives the following options;

  • Position 1 – Bridge & Neck in Series
  • Position 2 – Bridge Pickup only
  • Position 3 – Simulated ‘out of phase’ tone
  • Position 4 – Bridge & Neck in Parallel
  • Position 5 – Neck Pickup only
Position 1 delivers both pickups in series for a fuller ‘fat’ tone and increased output, reminiscent of a humbucker.
Position 3 uses passive filtering to generate a classic ‘out of phase’ effect, the ‘thin’ and reduced volume tone.

Additionally, the Telecaster 5 way control plate features a tone control wired as the famous Gibson Vintage or 50’s configuration, renowned for its smoother control and perceived fatter, more transparent tones (check out this Premier Guitar Web link) .The volume pot is also fitted with a 1nF treble bleed capacitor, that not only preserves the treble as the volume is rolled off, but can give a range of new tonal possibilities as it allows bass to be rolled away while treble is left relatively constant in the mix – the opposite of a normal tone control.

Particular attention is given to earth wiring using a ‘star’ earth point and eliminating duplicate earth loops. To keep the correct guitar shielding & earthing during switching options, the supplied Bridge pickup wiring is custom modified (see photo below). To accommodate differing Telecaster body routing wire runs, the pickups are supplied loose with a connection diagram included with every set to enable easy hook-up (just 5 joints to solder) to the control plate. The Telecaster 5 way control plate itself follows standard overall Fender dimensions;
Length = 160mm
Width   =  32mm
Plate mounting holes centre to centre = 150mm
A minimum body cut-out depth of 30mm is required to mount the control plate.

Special thanks to Alan Reigh for the following videos of his immaculate Tele build featuring the Ironstone 5 way pickup and control plate set. Sound clips to follow!

Telecaster 5 Way Control Plate Soundclips:

Thanks to Alan Reigh for this collection of soundclips from a 5 way Ironstone set up. They provide first Clean and then Dirty variants for each of the 5 switch settings;

  • Position 1 – Bridge & Neck in Series
  • Position 2 – Bridge Pickup only
  • Position 3 – Simulated ‘out of phase’ tone
  • Position 4 – Bridge & Neck in Parallel
  • Position 5 – Neck Pickup only

The clean files were all recorded using a Mesa Boogie DC-2 Studio Caliber, mic’d up with a Shure Beta 57 into Logic Pro X. The dirty clips were recorded direct into Logic Pro X using the Scuffham S-gear plugin.




10 reviews for Telecaster 5 Way Control Plate Set

  1. Andy Cromarty (verified owner)

    Review of Telecaster 5 way control plate set:

    I recently fitted the Telecaster 5 way control plate and pickup set to my guitar. No problems with the fitting and wiring, the instructions were very clear, and all required parts were included with the set.

    The guitar I have is a beautiful Fender Japan ’62 reissue Tele that was let down badly by the original pickups. Supposedly they are Texas Specials, but there’s no indication on them. The main problem was that the neck lipstick pickup was microphonic, making popping noises when tapped by fingers or even the (plastic) plectrum.

    The Ironstone pickups sound excellent. No signs of noise and no microphonics!
    The single pickup selections are as expected for a Tele, nicely mellow for the neck pickup and bright for the bridge pickup.
    The combined positions sound amazing, a blend of the two pickups. The parallel position gives a touch of Strat style quack, while the series position is a wonderful full sound.

    I am very happy so far, I can’t wait for the next rehearsal or gig 🙂

    • Anthony Partridge

      Thanks for the comments Andy. As is so often the case, even big name manufacturers often equip their guitars with rather underwhelming pickups. Anyway, you have that sorted now, and of course the extra tonal range provided by the (I think) unique custom 5 way switching. Cheers, Tony

  2. Dusko (verified owner)

    My mate from Wales kept suggesting that I should get a Telecaster for some time and that’s what I did; I’ve bought a great Tele style guitar that is just a fantastic playable axe, BUT the stock pickups were sounding very muffled and thin. I might be new to teles but I know what Tone I need and since my Strat already has the amazing Ironstone Silvers in it with a 7-way switching I knew where to go to pimp my Telecaster! Off to Tony’s!

    I ordered this 5 way Tele harness set with his pair of Tele pickups. Got it in no time from UK to Denmark!! Fast shipping and well packaged! Tony was also helpful via email as I had some extra questions regarding the harness.

    After I loaded my tele with this set/harness, I gave the Tele a spin but could not find the tones I was looking for. Wrote to Tony again and he suggested focusing on pickup heights. I did that and after some fine tuning the heights I have found My Tone!
    The treble bleed is not my tone so I took it out (personal taste). I also dislike 50’s wiring so re-wired it to normal Tele wiring (personal taste and easy to do).

    This guitar is now my go to! It covers all from twangy tele tones to shwangy fat humbucker like tones on the Neck-Bridge is Series! The N+B in Parallel is just so musical, love it with chords/arpeggios! What surprised me positively is the bridge pickup which normally should be very sharp and trebly and in my book something I never use, but in this case, the Ironstone Te bridge is very warm yet cuts through anything in the mix!

    Im now looking to get a Humbucker in the bridge for my Strat that has the Silvers in, as I do miss a proper Humbucker tone for live performances where noise canceling is needed. So far Tony’s ST and TE pups have made me enjoy music making/playing so much I can not imagine his Humbuckers doing anything less than that. I trust Ironstone and hope Tony will start making some P90’s and Mini Humbuckers soon (maybe a Goldfoil too) 😀

    • Anthony Partridge

      Thanks for all of the comments and compliments. No immediate plans for P90’s or single coil size humbuckers at present though.

  3. Jase rees (verified owner)

    I installed these in my squier Tele as the stock ones were lifeless. The punch, and unmistakable Tele tones you get with these are incredible for the price. You can adjust volume, and tone for an added variety of sounds on top of what you already have. I was unsure how to wire them to begin with, but Tony was more than happy to point me in the right direction, and was simple in the end. I’m looking into upgrading another guitar with humbuckers next, and will go with Ironstone again.

    • Anthony Partridge

      Upgrading pickups can be a bit daunting first time round, but a decent new set can give a stunning transformation, and Ironstone is always willing to give advise (together with a mass of free online technical support articles and diagrams).

  4. Benjy (verified owner)

    Ok bit of context first, I’m a middle aged, advanced beginner/beginner intermediate player and as well as spending as much time as I can spare practicing I’m also interested in buying cheaper, second hand guitars and doing a bit of modding. This was my first go at replacing the electronics in a cheap, secondhand homemade tele and the results have been incredible! The set is beautifully made with quality parts, not the thin, possibly single stranded wire and weedy switches/pots that seem to come as standard in low end guitars. Once plugged into my amp the first thing I discovered is the sheer presence of the sound. Not just volume (although I think I could join Spinal Tap now on that score alone) but the clarity of the notes without any break up or unwanted distortion (this was through my clean channel). The range of tones is also impressive and something I need more time to fully explore but the 5 way switch is a huge advantage over the standard 3 way.
    So all in all I feel that I now have a great sounding guitar for under £200 in total and I’ve learnt that this is definately the way to go for those on a budget who want to sound like they’re not!
    The customer service was also second to none, so I’ll certainly be back next time I find a bargain used guitar that needs some help being heard!

    • Tony Partridge

      Glad to hear you are so impressed with the tone of this set. And yes, careful quality component selection is at the heart of Ironstone’s way of doing things. Enjoy!

  5. Gordon Flint

    I bought the control plate and pickups to try to add a some life into an otherwise dull and muddy sounding cheap telecaster copy, you may ask why bother but the actual guitar itself is rather nice. Well fitting the parts was really easy, the instructions are great, the look and feel of the parts is also really good. As to the sound, well the range of tones available is really very impressive and have really brought some vibrancy the guitar, with a good balance of bass through to treble, I’m delighted with results.

    • Tony Partridge

      Thanks for the review, and very glad to have breathed new life into (clearly!) a much loved guitar. Once again this proves my theory that with the right electrics, even a humble guitar can become something exceptional. Tony

  6. ChrisAdmin

    “… all I can say is” WOW” the pickups and tone controls are just amazing, what a difference they have made,
    in fact my mate will soon be contacting you about a set for his Tele.
    I bought a £70 guitar from ebay as a project and put these pickups in plus the controls and in my opinion, it sounds better than any guitar costing 5 times that.
    The 5 way switch gives you a greater variety of tones, and the sound is so good,
    I can’t put my guitar down. I just want to say thanks again.”

  7. ChrisAdmin

    “I thought I’d update you after some playing around this weekend. My initial thoughts are still there – this is an incredibly versatile setup.
    I’ve installed the set into an Alder bodied Tele with a heavy Gotoh bridge. The result is a very warm and rich sounding Tele – not too much twang but plenty of presence. The quality of the components in the Telecaster 5-way set is second to none. Everything slotted together
    well, and despite my reservations about my soldering skills I managed the 7 joints easily enough (5 on the switch and two on the jack).
    With everything assembled and plugged in I was delighted that everything worked first time. One of the most surprising things is the
    amount of sustain available, the Gotoh bridge will help but those Alnico V magnets add something of their own to the mix.

  8. ChrisAdmin

    The different tones available are a revelation. I have only got a Squier 50s Classic Vibe Tele of my daughter’s to compare it against;
    we both thought that sounded pretty good until we heard this. (also see footnote)
    Position 1 (bridge and neck in series) gives an amazingly full sound, something not too far away from a humbucker.
    Position 2 (just the bridge) gives more of a twang, but it’s a lot fuller and warmer than the Squier.
    I can see me spending a lot of time on this setting!
    Position 3 (pseudo bridge out of phase) is still surprisingly rich, it’s definitely a thinner tone, but has a bit of bite.
    Position 4 (bridge and neck in parallel) seems more harmonically rich than the normal middle setting.
    Position 5 (neck only) has much more depth than the Squier, but without some of the bridge pickups warmth.

  9. ChrisAdmin

    The tone control is a significant improvement on the standard setup. Why aren’t they all made this way?
    All that is left is for me to thank you for such an incredible set of pickups and switching. It’s opened my eyes (and ears!)
    to what is possible. When you compare what you get for the price with anything else that I’ve found I don’t think this setup
    could be bettered without spending twice as much.
    Next time I have a project on the go I will certainly be back for more. It has been a pleasure dealing with you. It’s rare to find someone so attentive and caring in this age where most people hide behind impersonal emails. I wish you well in your venture! “

  10. ChrisAdmin

    Ironstone suggested how to use the treble bleed on the volume as yet another tone dimension.
    Select position 1 for example for the big fat tone , then back off the volume a quarter turn. Suddenly with the bass / mid volume cut but the treble coming through you have a sort of treble boosted version of the original!
    Customer comment; “I’ve just tried that setting – you’re right about the treble boost. Brian May on a Tele!”

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