The FenderTelecaster Lover's Modification Site!

Cormac Phelan

Dublin, Ireland

Cormac Phelan's Tele with BigsbyWhat you're currently doing musically: I've just begun recording a third album, which will take around one year, if past projects are anything to go by. Last July, I finished an album called 'Come Back', which can be downloaded from

Who some of your biggest influences are: Alan Sparhawk, Kenny Burrell, Adam Jones, Howard Alden, Jonny Greenwood.  I'd play like Burrell & Alden if I could, but I'll settle for Sparhawk & Greenwood for the moment...!

What I did to my Tele: I bought a used Deluxe Series Nashville Tele in NYC in January, which came with stock 3-pickup config and a 5-way selector. Pickups in positions 1 & 3 are Tex-Mex Tele, while position 2 is a Strat pickup.

Alder body, c-shape neck, maple fretboard, Medium jumbo frets, with a semi-transparent Honey Blonde finish. The bridge was originally an American vintage 6-saddle, but I swapped it out for a WD 6-saddle due to the later Bisby modification. Tuning machines are Fender Vintage style. The stock nut has been filed down to a smooth set of contours.

The first modification was the addition of a dinky little red Killswitch, installed in the plate between Tone and Volume Cormac Phelan's 'killswitch' control platecontrols. I used a simple Push-To-Break button, soldered into the live output wire. I know there are more graceful ways of achieving cutoff circuitry, but this does the job for me. I find that the PTB switches work much better as killswitches than a toggle, since the spring-loaded tapping action is much more forgiving for faster cutoff styles.

The second modification was the addition of a Bigsby B-5 tremolo system, with a WD metal plate and replacement bridge. I went for one of the 'Bigsby' labelled B-5s, rather than the Fender 'F' branded model. The Bigsby is a real beauty to play, and stays in tune astonishingly well after using a little Nut Sauce on the contact spots.

After the Bigsby installation, the neck needed shimming to maintain low action. I actually prefer how this feels to play, since I've become very fond of the feel of a Chambered Telecaster, which have really high string clearance from the body due to an angled neck and Tune-O-Matic bridge.

That's about it...I don't think I'm forgetting anything! At the end of it, the Tele now plays like a dream, and has an incredibly versatile palette of sounds thanks to the extra middle pickup, and Strat-o-tone switching possibilities.

Cormac Phelan's 'killswitch' installation 

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