In some guitars, the bridge and neck pickups used to have their own volume controls. Thus, by turning the volume of the pickup
you aren't using to zero, you could get a staccato
effect by holding a note and flipping the pickup selector switch between the silent pickup and the live one.
However, standard telecasters do not have seperate volume controls. So, to create this effect, the electronics have to be modified. What happens essentially is you put a switch in the circuit which will disconnect the signal wire from the jack plug thing. A Killswitch or 'Cut-off Switch'.
For all of this, I am using a Standard Fender Telecaster. It should work similarly on all telecasters except the high end expensive custom ones.
First of all, choose a switch. Try and choose a high quality one, because noise will be an issue. There are several different types. I went for a toggle switch which is locking one way and non-locking the other. I.E.: Will always be flipped one way, you can push it back the other way, but as soon as you release it, it will spring back. I set it up so that the connection is made in the default position, and only breaks the contacts when I push the switch. I also put a rubber cover over it, so now it looks like my guitar has a small black nipple. If you choose to use a pushbutton switch, make sure you get one that is 'push to break', otherwise you will only hear your playing while the switch is depressed. Not really what you want.
If you are using a toggle switch, it will probably be DPDT or SPDT, and have more than one soldering contact. Figure out which two to use before you start.
Now we're ready to start. We will put the switch between the tone and volume knobs. The first thing you have to do is take off the metal plate that they are mounted on. Two screws. Top and Bottom. Easy.
Pull out the metal plate. You will notice that directly under where we are planning on drilling, there is a capacitor soldered between the pots. Gently bend this out of the way. What we are doing is making sure the drill won't go through anything one the other side. With a little bit of inspection, check that everything is out of the way of where the hole will be.
Now, you will have noticed that the short wires have not left you much space to move the plate around anywhere. Ideally I would have wanted to put this up in a vice for the drilling, but the wires won't stretch far enough to allow that. So, screw the plate back in where it was. Measure to exactly the halfway point between the knobs and mark this point with a centrepunch so that the drillbit won't slip when you start drilling. Get a drill bit the same diameter as the mounting hole you will need for the switch (Mine was about 6.5 mm), and using a hand drill, start drilling.
Once you are through, remove the plate again, clean up the hole with a small file and use one of those small vacuum cleaners to get the metal dust out of the cavity under the plate. Put the switch in place nice and firmly so it won't start to come loose. That would be very annoying. Use a pair of pliers to tighten up the nut that came with the switch for this.
Warm up your soldering iron. Looking into the cavity you will see many wires. A black one and a white one go down a little tunnel to the jack plug thing. We are going to hijack the white one of these. They don't give you enough slack to be able to just cut it and use the two ends. So you will have to extend one end with a bit of your own wire. Simple solder job. Wire to pin. Before you close everything up, put some insulation tape around that bare joint you made between the white wire and the extension wire. You don't want it knocking around and coming into contact with other things. Clean up, job done.
When I put mine in, there was a minor panic, because, although I had identified the correct two pins before the job, I had absent mindedly soldered the wrong ones. So there was silence. Until I flipped the switch.
This also brings me to the point that while on 'silent' mode, there will be noise. Only minor noise, but if I am sending the signal through my Shredmaster (distortion) on full distortion settings, the noise will be so eccentuated that it will create a continuous tone. I'm not too fussed. I never put the level that high.
N.B. According to cadmos, a way of eliminating the noise is to, rather than break the signal wire, to short it across to the ground of the output (the black wire).
So there you go, you will be able to do those little twitchings of Jonny Greenwood's solos.
Sorry if some of this seems obvious to you. I recently watched Spinal Tap, so, I'm catering to that sort of IQ.