Fender Telecaster with P90s Build Guide
Created by the Guitar Chalk Editorial
This is an article that details a theoretical upgrade of a Fender Player Telecaster, with a dual humbucker configuration. The upgrade replaces the existing humbuckers (which are Fender stock) with Seymour Duncan P90s that fit into a traditional humbucker slot.
It's an ideal path to follow for someone that already has a regular HH Telecaster, as opposed to the Thinline Telecaster (more on that later).
Perhaps we'll do a different build guide for the Thinline.
This is for folks who want P90 pickups on their HH Player Telecaster.
Note that this won't work for Telecasters that have a traditional pickup configuration, with the two single coils. While you can remove the single coils, you have to cut and mod the body of the guitar in order to get the P90s to fit.
For the Fender Player HH Telecaster, you can remove the existing pickups and replace them with the Seymour Duncan SPH90 P90s, which are designed to fit in a traditional humbucker slot.
Pickup Upgrade and Other Parts
These are the parts I recommend for outfitting a Telecaster with P90 pickups. Use the orange buttons to browse pricing on Sweetwater.
Fender Player HH Telecaster
Seymour Duncan SPH90 Phat Cat P90 (bridge)
Seymour Duncan SPH90 Phat Cat P90 (neck)
Dunlop Super Pots
The Guitar Base: Fender HH Player Telecaster
The Fender HH Player Telecaster is the base model I recommend for upgrading with P90 pickups. As I mentioned, some people use the Thinline Telecaster. But there are multiple versions of Thinline Teles, several of which are not compatible with P90 pickups.
Instead, we're going with the safe bet base model and the safe bet P90 pickup replacement.
The pickups included in this guitar are simply called "humbucking pickups" which means they're ripe for a pickup upgrade.
Below, we'll cover their replacements.
Pickup Set: Seymour Duncan SPH90 Phat Cat P90s
P90 pickups are slightly smaller than a traditional humbucker, which means you need a piece to make them fit in an empty humbucker slot.
The Seymour Duncan SHP90 gets you the silver-coated P90 pickup in a casing that'll fit in an empty humbucker placeholding. These pickups also represent a significant sound upgrade over the existing stock Fender pickups, and will give your tone a lot more character and more of a bluesy quality.
While this is the main flavor of our upgrade, there is one additional part we'd recommend swapping out while you're at it.
Dunlop - the same company that makes Crybaby wah pedals - makes a potentiometer that we really like recommending for cheaper guitars. Grab two of them for your Telecaster P90 upgrade.
If you prefer to go with the Thinline Telecaster, make sure you get the version that already has the P90 pickups installed. Again, with Fender, you're probably going to get some kind of a stock P90, so we'd recommend replacing them with Seymour Duncan or Lindy Fralin P90s, which are going to be a major upgrade for your tone.
On the other hand, if you go with the Player HH Telecaster, make sure you get P90s with a base that'll fit in the empty humbucker slot.
There are different ways to get a Fender Telecaster with P90s, but the HH and Thinline Telecasters are the two best options available to you.
- Thinline Telecaster (the version that comes with P90s)
- HH Player Telecaster (requires the version built for regular humbucker slots)
As we mentioned earlier, note that a traditional Telecaster - with the two single coil slots - is not going to be compatible with any kind of P90 pickup configuration. You'd have to get into cutting and modifying the body, which we don't recommend doing unless absolutely necessary.
Do you have questions about our Fender Telecaster with P90s recommendation or about other options for your upgrade?
Drop them in the comments section below and I'll do my best to help out.
We'll see you there
- Guitar: Fender Player Stratocaster
- Pickup Configuration: HH
- Bridge Humbucker: Seymour Duncan SPH90 Phat Cat P90s
- Neck Humbucker: Seymour Duncan SPH90 Phat Cat P90s
- Potentiometers: Dunlop Super Pots