Is it true that I should not have to do shielding on guitars with humbuckers? As with any repair or replacement what you remove must be correctly reinstalled. Finally, we need to connect the cavity shielding to the main circuit. Not a bad price for the improvement. Attach this lug to a side wall with a small wood screw. When things are removed sequentially you may want to lay them out in an order that represents how they are to be reinstalled. This is sufficient for a grounding plate but offers little to no shielding and not even close to creating a Faraday cage. The shielding paint I bought online, which was a good product, was purchased directly from an American manufacturer with great reviews. I appreciate you guys for writing good articles that actually inform, and not just try to promote or sell stuff. I shared links to some of your articles and they agreed you write great stuff. Shielding your pickups is not a must-do but it is a good idea. Most importantly – make sure the tape runs up the sides and on to the top of the body as shown in the photo below. IMPORTANT! #A290-4oz) guitar shielding paint. Where possible you may want to use a few zip ties to bundle wires – be certain to trim the ends of the zip ties. If everything beeps, you have successfully created a fully grounded Faraday cage and therefore a well shielded guitar. Watch your fingers! A Ground Connection connects every piece of metal on your guitar and acts as a return path to the amp. People may complain about StewMac prices, but they never complain about StewMac quality. After I installed the foil I used a razor blade to carefully cut around screw holes and openings for the electronics. Does it matter? Do the difficult areas first and finish by doing the open areas. To fully understand what shielding is and how it works you should learn about a Faraday Cage. from the pickup cavities). Carefully wrap the windings (not too tightly) with electricians tape. Once you have soldered and taped the wire into place, use your multimeter to test for continuity between the jack socket cavity and the main cavity. When applying shielding tape (not paint!) Unless I plucked a string, I couldn’t even tell if the guitar was plugged in. With the body cavities, all cleared, carefully clean the areas to be painted with a household spray cleaner. Per a 2013 article by the pros at Seymour-Duncan, here is what you can expect shielding your guitar to do and not do for you: “Humbuckers themselves don’t hum. There are a few techniques you can use to add additional Shielding and better Ground your guitar. If you want to compare shielding paint prices for a similar product you can visit LessEMF.com and compare their YShield Liquid (Cat. If you’re going to do a really complete job, how do you get shielding paint inside of wiring tunnels like going to a jack? Your Faraday cage currently looks really pretty...however it is useless unless it is well grounded. Shielding is effective when all areas shielded are in contact with one another and they are grounded. Next, use 1/2″ strips of conductive tape to cover the electrician’s wire. Once this is done, test for continuity between the copper shielding and the casing of the volume pot (ground). To test conductivity – use your multimeter on the continuity test setting….if you have done it properly, you should have full conductivity between any two given points on the pickguard. I think single-coil guitars need conductive shielding. They are very effective and were used on vintage Strats back in the 50s and 60s. Many guitars will come from the factory with conductive paint covering the control and pickup cavities but this is not always the most effective way to shield a guitar. The commonly overlooked but critical aspect of shielding is correctly grounding the tape or paint. You do a great job of keeping spam comments out of your blog. When I use copper tape I always have small, odd-shaped pieces left over. Generally, you will need to add shielding around the coils and sometimes within the covers. THE BASICS: A Ground (or Earth) connection is a term that relates to a multitude of topics related to electrical engineering.For our intents and purposes, a proper Ground connection is an essential part of your guitar’s wiring. Test from a range of different points from within the cavity (ie. Next, apply wide pieces to cover the areas. This now means that the control circuit is grounded. Make certain that every bit of the shielding tape is firmly pressed into place and stuck onto the guitar body. Repeat this process until the whole cavity is covered. Can you paint the back of the pickguard instead of using the metal foil? You should also make written notes. Hiring a guitar tech means money you would otherwise waste can be used to get a professional job and keep your hands clean. Shielding definitely helps if you play near fluorescent lights and other electrical systems. If you are using copper tape purchased from our website, the adhesive on the back is fully conductive. I have a metalpickguard…do I need to shield that too? We’ll start by shielding the pickguard. You can probably get it done for $40-50 and within 24-48 hours. If you choose to replace the unshielded wire with shielded wire, or solder tape connection points, you must be very careful to not overheat your pickups. The idea of shielding is to create a grounded “Faraday cage” around the electronic components (basically a grounded conductive enclosure) inside your guitar - pots, switches, wiring and pickups etc… The electronics inside your guitar act as antennae for nearby electrical equipment and so unshielded guitars are vulnerable to the inevitable feedback. Your article is very well thought-out. In this guide (and the above video) we will show you how to create a perfectly grounded “Faraday cage” protecting your guitar’s electronics from outside interference using copper shielding tape, the most popular way to shield your guitar. Great article, thanks! Refer to the below photos. It is particularly common with single coil pickups (more so than humbuckers), which is why many guitarists opt to shield their guitar. The answer is lower cost and more convenience for you. DO NOT attempt this work unless you have the full knowledge, understanding, skills, and tools to complete this project. The commonly overlooked but critical aspect of shielding is correctly grounding the tape or paint. Is it okay to use the “scrap” pieces of copper tape? Kennesaw, GA 30144 Pay attention to ensure each strip overlaps the previous one, as well as making sure the tape goes over the edge. Thanks! It is impossible to completely shield your guitar from their waves (short of putting it inside a metal box) but you can go a long way to reducing the impact and unwanted electronic feedback while playing. Please allow me to add the recommendation to use the copper foil tape and never the silver aluminum foil product – it’s flimsy and doesn’t work very well. Conductive shielding paint provides a very effective alternative method for shielding your guitar. What shielding will do is prevent the wiring inside your guitar from acting like antennae and picking up stray signals floating around. I like the idea of using both conductive shielding paint and copper foil. Relative to electric guitars and bass guitars, conductive shielding for a guitar is a process to block electromagnetic interference which can affect tone. Allow a full 24 hours drying time between coats. Precise installation and wiring are critical to prevent damage and have your guitar properly function. Installing a grounding wire and screw is an important part of shielding your guitar. I’ve settled on using only copper tape. Conductive shielding paint or Copper/Aluminium Tape? Do a Google search for guitar repair near me and you will find someone in your area who can do this work for you. The one certainty is that shielding a guitar is always a good thing. There are two main methods to shield a guitar – shielding graphite paint (conductive paint) or more commonly, aluminium or copper tape. To save on tape you can use these excellent aluminium shielding plates designed for Strat pickguards. You will probably need this information to help you with reinstalling the components. It also takes several coats of the paint to reach a suitable level of continuity. Once the whole pickguard is covered, use a box cutter or suitable blade to carefully trace through the pickup, controls and screw holes. You can use an awl or ice pick to make small holes to prep screw-holes. NOTE - while this is hardly a dangerous job, the edges of the copper foil tape can become very sharp. All Rights Reserved. I mean, does everything have to be covered or is it okay to just do most of the surfaces of the cavities? I used to think shielding work was just a trick for a shop to make money. We strongly recommend using copper tape for plastic cover plates. The exact process for any particular guitar brand or model may vary from this guide. Refer to the below photos. Most Strat pickguards will come from the factory with aluminium foil acting as a grounding plate surrounding the switch, tone and volume controls. The paint does not need to be applied to the full edge of the outside of any cover plates but needs to provide a “lip” upon which the shielded cover plates will make contact. Shielding definitely works to eliminate fuzzy noise. Will the paint inhibit the conductive properties of the tape? If it beeps, you're good to go! I was skeptical at the beginning, then I got it back and my Strat was quiet as a mouse. Unfortunately, RF (radio frequencies) and EMI (electro-magnetic interference) are inevitable with electronic equipment. Wouldn’t they, by design, eliminate the need for it? Have a work area with ample room and lighting. Bend it around the corner and solder each end to the copper tape. If you have a humbucker without a cover you should at least consider installing covers on them. My cost ended up being around $20 per guitar. Start with the bottom, then sidewalls, and include a lap over the edge of the cavities. This is your chance to make your work look super professional by neatly routing wiring, making tidy solder connections and keeping things clean. Buying from a reputable vendor is your only way to know you’re not wasting your time and money. The good news is that most anything that is not blocked won’t be a problem where you typically play your instrument. The best guitar shielding method is to use either specially designed copper tape or specially designed shielding paint. If you elect to use shielding tape you need to cover areas in a similar manner. Guitars with humbuckers do not need it. In particular, I’m glad you mentioned reputable sources to buy conductive shielding paint. info. Hopefully, your pickups use shielded wire which gives you a head-start on this part of the job. We strongly suggest working with a small guitar repair shop for this service and do not use one of the big-box guitar stores or music centers. I recently put the foil on my pickguard. You may find this easier to do with pipe cleaners which will hold paint and allow you to reach within the small openings. On top of this, conductive (graphite) paint is a lot more expensive – you only justify the price if you are shielding several guitars. 2. This blog is excellent. This means, that when you have screwed the pickguard back down you know that the copper or shielding plate underneath the pickguard is connected to the foil in the body - thereby creating the conductive enclosure required. For this work, we strongly recommend using your cell phone to take numerous, clear photos of where items are located, how they are wired together and other similar details. It would save money but I’m not sure it would stick to the plastic. We suggest starting your paint by using a pipe cleaner or very small brush to paint wiring tunnels (holes). Success! And I have enough tape to do maybe two more. Having so much leftover material means you’re paying for far more than you need. Don’t forget to clean the back of your plastic pickguard before sticking down the copper foil. A properly formed Faraday Cage protects electronic components from external radio frequency interference (RFI). 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