1953 “Blackguard” Telecaster Custom-Built Wiring Harness – featuring “Orange Drop” Caps


You bring the talent. We’ll supply the kick ass wiring…   


Hoagland Custom, located in sunny Fernandina Beach, Florida, has specialized in custom guitar wiring and pickup making for over 25 years…

& we love what we do!

The original two-pickup Esquire wiring is characterized by the absence of a real tone control. Instead, the second pot acted as a blend or pan control between the two pickups, and this was only engaged with the 3-way pickup selector switch in the rear position. In May 1952, Leo modified the circuit to incorporate a true tone control by skipping the blend functionality and discarding any two-pickup combination.

Today we know that it was not Leo’s idea alone, and this change was mostly made because of Bill Carson’s suggestions. Carson worked as a professional Western swing guitarist and was Leo’s favorite guinea pig for testing his Telecaster and early tweed amp designs. Carson never really liked the blender wiring on his Telecaster and came up with the idea to incorporate a real tone control.

The birth of the 1953 “Blackguard” Telecaster wiring.

This circuit is often referred to as the “dark circuit” or “Blackguard” wiring and was roughly used from mid-1952 up to late 1967. Within this 15-year period, the circuit stayed mostly untouched, but Fender changed the specs of the two capacitors several times over the years.

This does NOT include the control plate but we have a great selection of control plates here in our shop.


  • STANDARD – silver dress washers, nuts, switch mounting screws, & output jack
  • OPTIONAL – black or gold dress washers, nuts, switch mounting screws, & output jack
  • OPTIONAL – “Pure Tone” premium mono output jack


  • Sprague “Orange Drop” poly capacitors (2), a.047mfd values


  • P1 – (switch lever on the right): Bridge pickup alone with tone control engaged. (This is identical to today’s modern Telecaster wiring.)
  • P2 – (switch lever in the middle): Neck pickup alone with tone control engaged. (On modern Telecasters, this position engages both pickups wired in parallel.)
  • P3 – (switch lever on the left): Neck pickup alone with a bass-y-sounding preset and no further tone control. (On a modern Telecaster, this selects the neck pickup alone with tone control engaged.)


  • 1 CTS or Bourns Pro Series volume control, 250k value, audio taper
  • 1 CTS or Bourns Pro Series tone control, 250k value, linear taper
  • Sprague “Orange Drop” poly capacitors (2), .047mfd value
  • 3-way lever style switch
  • Switchcraft mono output jack
  • Gavitt vintage style, cloth covered wire
  • easy-to-follow wiring diagram
  • tech support phone & email
While all of our wiring solutions are built to be installed rather easily, we always recommend that you have a guitar professional at your local guitar shop install it for you. There are issues that sometimes come up during installation (grounding, etc.) and your local guitar tech is equipped to diagnose & handle those for you.

Contact Hoagland Custom with any questions regarding this wiring solution, our custom, handcrafted Hoagland Custom pickups, or any other guitar wiring solution that you might need.


Additional information

Weight .5 lbs
Dimensions 8 × 6 × 2 in

Silver dress nuts, washers, switch mounting screws, & output jack +$0, Black dress nuts, washers, switch mounting screws, & output jack +$12, Gold dress nuts, washers, switch mounting screws, & output jack +$15

Output Jack

Switchcraft mono output jack +$0, "Pure Tone" premium mono output jack +$6

Player Orientation

Right-handed +$0, Left-handed +$10

Wiring Orientation

Standard-wired +$0, Reverse-wired +$10

Treble Bleed Mod

No, thanks… +$0, Yes, please! +$5