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Thread: To shield or not to shield

  1. #1
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    Default To shield or not to shield

    I'm currently in the process of building my first warmoth guitar, a pink crackle 80's shredder. I've got the pickups (duncan distortion/mayhem) and the hardware coming in the mail but I've hit a wall. I've been reading up on shielding and I can't seem to find a solid consensus (shocking in the guitar world ). Some say that shielding paint is the way to go, some say tape, and a few have said that it doesn't matter. I typically play jacksons so if I'm trying to go after that vibe whats the way to go?

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    Mojo's Minions RorySquier's Avatar
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    Default Re: To shield or not to shield

    I'd go with adhesive copper tape which seems to be popular. I heard shielding paint is a messy pain to work with.



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    Default Re: To shield or not to shield

    With humbuckers it probably won't matter, and may not be worth the trouble. Shielding is a much bigger deal with single coils.
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    Default Re: To shield or not to shield

    Copper, unless you have several guitars to do- paint is expensive, and with just 1 guitar, you'd have a lot left over.
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    Default Re: To shield or not to shield

    Both both. Do both.

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    Default Re: To shield or not to shield

    Tape definitely.

    Or both, but I don't think it'll be worth the effort. Tape works very well on it's own.

    There's hardly an excuse not to shield your guitar even with humbuckers. There's always a chance of interference anyway, and poor shielding is usual source for problems.
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    Default Re: To shield or not to shield

    I think it helped to reduce interference issues on all my guitars, be HB or SC. I use tape but paint is cool, too. Just don't forget to connect the created Faraday cage to the GND at some point.
    Last edited by NecroPolo; 05-21-2019 at 09:27 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: To shield or not to shield

    I usually just use a piece of tape or two on the control cavity, shielded wire for the longer runs, and a broken loop around the inside of the single coil covers and that is more than enough to deal with any noise. Anything that won't fix is due to a fault in soldering or a component that needs to be replaced.
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    A Ficus ehdwuld's Avatar
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    Default Re: To shield or not to shield

    I have used the aluminum foil tape from the auto parts store
    Does the same thing just less expensive

    And of course humbucker probably wont care

    If you have a front mounted guitar
    Use paint, it looks better

    If it's under a pickguard, tape it
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    Default Re: To shield or not to shield

    Aluminum will work electrically to shield against interference, but it will cause more eddy currents than copper. This tends to make pickups sound softer/darker. Might be a good thing or not, depending on what you want and the sound of the pickups you've currently got.
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: To shield or not to shield

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarStv View Post
    Aluminum will work electrically to shield against interference, but it will cause more eddy currents than copper. This tends to make pickups sound softer/darker. Might be a good thing or not, depending on what you want and the sound of the pickups you've currently got.
    Not if you don't fully encircle the pickups with it. Like I mentioned earlier, I put tape right up next to my pickups and as long as I leave a little break in the loop, there is no change in the tone.
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  12. #12
    Ultimate Tone Member Nagisa's Avatar
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    Default Re: To shield or not to shield

    Copper tape turned my noisy LP into a super quiet guitar. Btw a lot of the noise was coming from the switch cavity. Once I taped that up the noise went down significantly.

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    Default Re: To shield or not to shield

    I like the adhesive copper foil.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: To shield or not to shield

    Tape.

    Paint works great but you need 2-3 coats at least. There is a risk of getting it on the finish of your guitar. Not a risk I'm willing to take.
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    Default Re: To shield or not to shield

    If you are playing live in clubs under show lights, whips with PDUs, stage pins and twist locks -especially in a single coil config, you are going to want to add copper tape the inside cavity and solder ONE wire (ONE PATH) direct to the ground of the 1/4" guitar jack IF the tape isn't touching the control pots (IE you cut around them) -make sure there is only one path from everything to the 1/4" -otherwise, you will have ground loops noise.

    If you are playing at home, with friends and ocassional gigs for fun, I'm not sure it's worth the effort -unless you want to learn -which if you love guitar and electronics as much as I did/do -then it is worth it.
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: To shield or not to shield

    Quote Originally Posted by NegativeEase View Post
    If you are playing live in clubs under show lights, whips with PDUs, stage pins and twist locks -especially in a single coil config, you are going to want to add copper tape the inside cavity and solder ONE wire (ONE PATH) direct to the ground of the 1/4" guitar jack IF the tape isn't touching the control pots (IE you cut around them) -make sure there is only one path from everything to the 1/4" -otherwise, you will have ground loops noise.
    Ground loops cannot exist in an electric guitar. The only path to ground on an electric guitar is the amp. You can have fifty wires grounding the shield on your guitar and it will be no different than if you only had 1.
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: To shield or not to shield

    Quote Originally Posted by Chistopher View Post
    Ground loops cannot exist in an electric guitar. The only path to ground on an electric guitar is the amp. You can have fifty wires grounding the shield on your guitar and it will be no different than if you only had 1.
    Ground loops is the wrong terminology, I apologize, you don't want multipath grounding through audio components such as Pots, switches, and especially active components when you can avoid it.
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  18. #18
    A Ficus ehdwuld's Avatar
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    Default Re: To shield or not to shield

    Quote Originally Posted by NegativeEase View Post
    Ground loops is the wrong terminology, I apologize, you don't want multipath grounding through audio components such as Pots, switches, and especially active components when you can avoid it.
    Do you mean like al Les Paul guitars since the 50s?
    Two volumes each with a ground
    Then those combined to the Jack

    Every two or three volume circuit has "multiple ground " combinations to Jack

    Dont they?
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: To shield or not to shield

    Quote Originally Posted by ehdwuld View Post
    Do you mean like al Les Paul guitars since the 50s?
    Two volumes each with a ground
    Then those combined to the Jack

    Every two or three volume circuit has "multiple ground " combinations to Jack

    Dont they?
    Passive Humbucking set ups probably not a concern, with Single Coils, active pickups and such, a single path for a Faraday shield in a cavity is one path out of best practice.
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  20. #20
    tonewood instigator
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    Default Re: To shield or not to shield

    The logic I've always thought that the "one ground only" idea came from is that although multiple grounds in itself isn't a bad thing, it opens more opportunity for a bad soldier joint to introduce noise. It also looks a lot neater to use a single ground.
    Like the fool I am and I'll always be
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    They can change their minds but they can't change me
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