3 Knob Tele Control Plate Hack

3 Knob Tele Control Plate Hack

3 Knob Telecaster Control Plate

This hack is a pretty simple mod for any telecaster style control plate. The classic tele control plate has gone unchanged for decades. I felt it needed a bit more functionality and I’m always up for a good guitar mod. This hack can be done two ways.


2. You can modify your existing control plate.

G&L Bluesboy Push Pull Pots Resized edited

Either way, its really not that difficult. It is possible to drill a hole in your existing control plate. But, before you start, there are a few things you should know.

*Understand, that if you make a mistake, thats it. You will probably have to get another control plate.

*IF your guitar is under any kind of warranty, this mod will certainly void that warranty. If you are like me, that doesn’t matter because you like modding your axe, and you don’t need a warranty to fix your own guitar.

Time to Complete: 30-90 minutes (Longer if you wire in a 3rd pot)

Guitar Parts:

  • 1 Guitar Potentiometer (250k-500k) This can be push/pull or regular.

  • Domed Knurled Telecaster Control Knob

  • Extra Guitar Wiring (For your new potentiometer)

Genuine Bourns 500K Split Shaft Push-Pull Pot for Electric Guitar

Fender Telecaster/Precision Bass Dome Knobs -Chrome

30 Feet (10-white/10-black/10-yellow) Gavitt Cloth-covered Pre-tinned 7-strand Pushback 22awg Vintage-style Guitar Wire


  • Hammer
  • Metal Punch (To create dent for drill bit to sit in.)
  • Drill Press or Cordless Drill
  • Correct Size Drill Bits (3/8 inch or slightly bigger depending on your potentiometer.
  • Soldering Iron and Solder
  • Crescent Wrench or Socket Set

Best Choice 8-oz. Stubby Claw Hammer with Magnetic Nail Starter

Soldering Station, 65W Tilswall Solder Station Welding Iron with Smart Temperature Control (392°F-896°F), Extra 5pcs Soldering Tips, Built-in Transformer, Ideal for School Lab, Hobby, Electronics

40 Pieces - EPAuto 1/4-Inch & 3/8-Inch Drive Socket Set with 72 Teeth Reversible Ratchet

Neiko 02638A 5" Automatic Center Hole Punch | Adjustable Impact

DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Drill Combo Kit, 2-Tool (DCK240C2)

DEWALT Drill Bit Set, Titanium, 14-Piece (DW1354),Yellow

DIY 3 Hole Telecaster Control Plate Step by Step

Step 1

Remove the Control Plate from your guitar, disconnected the selector switch, volume, and tone contro

Tele Control Plate 1

Step 2:

Using a sharpie, make a dot at the halfway point between the two existing holes.

Using your punch right on that dot to make a starter hole for your drill bet.

Tele Control Plate 2

Step 3:

Using your drill, center the bit in the punch mark and start drilling slowly. Use some kind of oil to cool the bit as it drills.

Tele Control Plate 3

Step 4:

Now that your middle hole is complete, you cant start wiring up your third potentiometer. How you choose to wire it with your pickup configuration is up to you. 

Tele Control Plate 4
Step 5:

Once you finish soldering its time to reinstall the pots onto the control plate. Then reinstall the knobs and mount the control plate back in the guitar.

Tele Control Plate 5
Step 6:

Plug in your guitar and test your work. Don’t worry if you messed up a few wires. I have done that myself on this mod, several times. Just take your time and re-solder the wires in their correct place.


Congratulations! You just finished the 3 Knob Telecaster Control Plate Hack!

Tele Control Plate 6
  • What is a 3 Hole Telecaster Control Plate?

    a 3 hole telecaster control plate is the metal plate where the electronics controls are mounted on a telecaster. A three hole plate allows for the mounting of an extra volume or tone knob. This is especially advantageous when the telecaster is equipped with humbucker pickups.

  • Where do you get a 3 knob telecaster plate?

    You can find them on Amazon or you can modify your existing telecaster control plate.

  • Can you put a five-way pickup switch in a Telecaster?

    Yes you can put a 5-way switch in a telecaster. However, you will need a wiring diagram if you plan on changing your configuration. Many tele player opt for a 4-way telecaster switch when upgrading.

  • What does a guitar bridge do?

    All bridges are designed to enable two types of adjustment.

    1. String height at the bridge (Individual Saddles or Uniform Bridge)

    2. Individual string length (for setting the guitar's intonation)

    In this step we are only dealing with number 1, String Height at the bridge.

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