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Tips, Tricks and Road Stories


How To: Install Fender Custom Shop Texas Special Pickups on a Fender Stratocaster

December 5, 2011;

The Fender Custom Shop Texas Special Pickups may not look much different than standard Fender Stratocaster pickups, but your ears will tell a completely different story. The Texas Special Pickups are a great, affordable way to immediately upgrade your Stratocaster without having the purchase a completely new Fender guitar.

Fender Custom Shop Texas Special Pickups create a perfect treble/bass balance of high, mid, and low tones, and are the preferred pickups of bluesy rock, jazz, and country guitarists everywhere. The sound is punchy with high-output.  Texas Special Pickups are standard equipment on premium instruments like the Steve Ray Vaughan Strat and other high end models.  Treat your Fender Stratocaster to a trio of Custom Shop Texas Special Pickups; it’ll thank you later.

External equipment needed:
•    Phillips “1” screwdriver
•    25W soldering iron and iron stand
•    Sharp craft knife
•    Pliers
•    Masking tape
•    Wet sponge to remove excess solder from the iron


1. Remove the strings one at a time, starting with the thin, high E string and working your way up to the thicker, low E string. Along with making access to the pickups and scratchplate easier, this eases tension on the Strat’s neck and prevents a potential electric shock.

2. Use the Phillips “1” screwdriver to unscrew the scratchplate.

3. Use the 25W soldering iron to carefully and quickly unsolder the jack socket, pickup selector connections, and tremolo ground wire on the pickup end. Doing this quickly protects the control pots from heat damage.

4. Separate the pickup wiring loom with the craft knife, and label each of the wires appropriately to remind you where each wire needs to be re-connected in the Fender Stratocaster electric system.

5. Using the screwdriver, carefully remove the old pickups from the scratchplate and replace them with the Fender Custom Shop Texas Special Pickups. Be sure the soft latex washers are correctly positioned on each screw under the scratchplate.

6. Wrap the Texas Special Pickup wires into a clean loom and trim them to the required length to reach the connection pots.

7. Holding the three black common ground wires in place with a heat-insulation tool (popsicle sticks work well), solder the wires to the back of the volume pot.*

*Note: a properly sealed solder will look shiny and bright.

8. Take the white wires and solder them to their corresponding pickup selector positions, using masking tape to bind their looms together in one place.

9. Reattach the jack socket wire and tremolo ground wire, and screw the reassembled scratchplate back in place under the Fender Stratocaster’s bridge.

10. Plug your Stratocaster in and enjoy the instantly upgraded sound from your new Fender Custom Shop Texas Special Pickups!

Purchase your Fender Custom Shop Texas Special Pickups today to take advantage of Sam Ash’s free shipping! You won’t find a better selection of Fender Stratocasters and Fender replacement pickups than the vast Sam Ash inventory.

Note on your Fender Warranty:  Although Fender has a limited lifetime warranty on its electric instruments, the electrical components are only warranted for a period of 1 year from the date of purchase.  Provided that you install your new pickups correctly (or have them installed by a Fender authorized Service Center) your new pickups are also warranted by Fender for a year from date of purchase.  If you don’t feel comfortable installing your own pickups, contact us at 1-800-472-6274 and we will arrange for one of our Fender Authorized Technicians in NY or FL to do the work for you for our standard fees.