To shield or not?

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by JohnnyMac, May 21, 2019.

  1. JohnnyMac

    JohnnyMac Squier-Nut

    Age:
    66
    501
    Mar 5, 2018
    Front range Colorado
    Hey all,

    How many of you shield your Squier projects? I'm starting on an SE and I'm trying to decide whether or not to bother with shielding the cavity. If I do, I'm going to use the copper tape method (I bought the tape). I've only had a static problem on one Strat and I remedied that by simply putting aluminum foil on the back of the entire pickguard and pinching a wire between the guard and the body and soldering the other end to a pot.

    What do think? Is complete cavity shielding worthwhile?

    Thanks,
    J
     
  2. so1om

    so1om Dr. Squier

    Age:
    51
    Feb 10, 2010
    Chicago
    I have fine luck with paint, sometimes copper tape. You can NEVER underestimate a good ground and shielding.
     
  3. Robb

    Robb Squier-holic

    Jan 13, 2011
    Chertsey Canada.
    I always shield, in doubt :)
     
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  4. mitch_cumsteen

    mitch_cumsteen Squier-Meister

    316
    Jun 25, 2018
    Planet, Idaho
    I was skeptical, but it actually works. I just did a non-scientific test. I have motion activated lights in the bathroom next to where I play and those lights always induce static into my guitars. Same exact guitars, same settings, and the unshielded one had about 2 or 3 more times static noise than the shielded guitar. With the lights off, the shielded guitar is less noisy too.

    It's cheap. It's easy. Why not?
     
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  5. Conghaille

    Conghaille Squier-holic

    Jul 12, 2016
    Elsewhere
    I didn't shield some of my early projects, but now I always do. The way I see it, I'd rather do a good job the first time, rather than figure out what to do later IF a problem arises. (Or live with quirkiness that I might not think of as a problem.)

    The way I think of doing the best job possible up front: I'll have this for years; what's a few extra hours of effort and one or two more days of calendar time? It might be the difference between thinking something is great or just okay.
     
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  6. JohnnyMac

    JohnnyMac Squier-Nut

    Age:
    66
    501
    Mar 5, 2018
    Front range Colorado
    All good points. Especially concerning taking precautionary measures up front rather than needing to correct an issue later. And the satisfaction of knowing that it was done, for what that's worth.

    So, copper tape or paint?
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
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  7. Robb

    Robb Squier-holic

    Jan 13, 2011
    Chertsey Canada.
    May as well go with the tape :)
     
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  8. Conghaille

    Conghaille Squier-holic

    Jul 12, 2016
    Elsewhere
    I hear good things about both. I use copper tape. For me, I'm more comfortable with the visible consistency and meter testing is straight-forward and quick. Also, copper is shiny. :)
     
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  9. Bassman96

    Bassman96 Squier-holic

    Age:
    41
    Nov 13, 2010
    Oak Harbor, WA
    For me the tape is aggravating af to put on and get it to actually stick where I want it too. Maybe I just have fat fingers but I prefer the paint. Easier to apply does the job well enough and can be applied to the guitar after assembly without unsoldering anything. But yes .. do shield. It makes a difference.
     
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  10. mitch_cumsteen

    mitch_cumsteen Squier-Meister

    316
    Jun 25, 2018
    Planet, Idaho
    Another option if you have a Lowe's or Home Depot nearby is Reflectix aluminum tape.

    EDIT: Don't use this to shield a guitar. The adhesive acts like an insulator and thus not a very good option when you have to overlay strips.

    Untitled-1.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
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  11. mofojar

    mofojar Squier-Meister

    Age:
    36
    491
    May 9, 2019
    Calgary, Alberta
    I use the 2" copper tape from Amazon with the conductive adhesive.

    I've heard that adding too much shielding can cause an issue with your tone but I haven't ran into it. I've read comments that you don't really need to double shielding paint with copper as the extra ground area changes the circuit in some fashion, but in my experience it has only helped and I haven't noticed a loss of brightness or anything people claim will happen with excess shielding.
     
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  12. JohnnyMac

    JohnnyMac Squier-Nut

    Age:
    66
    501
    Mar 5, 2018
    Front range Colorado
    I wonder if the adhesive is conductive?
     
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  13. so1om

    so1om Dr. Squier

    Age:
    51
    Feb 10, 2010
    Chicago
    no, but fold it back on itself -metal to metal.
     
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  14. strat_strummer

    strat_strummer Squier-holic

    Age:
    57
    Nov 24, 2018
    Crappie fishing.
    No question, I shield every single guitar.
     
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  15. mitch_cumsteen

    mitch_cumsteen Squier-Meister

    316
    Jun 25, 2018
    Planet, Idaho
    Actually, DON'T use the aluminum tape. You're right, the adhesive acts as an insulator. I just tested a little piece and it was either reading open or really high resistance.
     
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  16. ElRey67

    ElRey67 Squier-holic

    Age:
    52
    Jan 10, 2016
    Chandler, AZ
    I shielded my first Black Strat project with copper tape (conductive adh) and it was easy to install, and in the end worked great.

    Then I did a full strat build for a friend and I totally forgot to shield the cavity. Not sure why.....I guess it was the other obstacles I was facing with the build that made me forget. And it definitely did not have shielding paint in the cavity.

    However.....that guitar is the quietest guitar I’ve ever played. And he’s had it for months and used it a lot and says he loves its quietness. I’m talking zero sound until you hit a string. It barely makes a pop when you plug in as well. It’s really odd.

    Maybe he’ll experience some noise later on down the road? I’m not sure.

    Any idea why this is?
     
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  17. wonkenstein

    wonkenstein Squier-holic

    Feb 3, 2017
    NH
    I've shielded all of my projects using the adhesive copper foil tape, I like it, but I've used conductive shielding paint for other player's axes and it gets the job done just as fine. Shielding does make a big difference in keeping your axe quieter. Just be careful to make sure none of your live connections are touching your shielding anywhere so you don't ground yourself out.
     
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  18. Lonn

    Lonn Administrator Staff Member

    Age:
    57
    Dec 19, 2009
    Carmel IN
    Admin Post
    Not sure of the brand but I've used silver aluminum adhesive tape for years with great results. Just did one the other day and will do my other strat next week.
     
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  19. wonkenstein

    wonkenstein Squier-holic

    Feb 3, 2017
    NH
    You know none of the old original Fenders used any shielding in the control or pickup cavities. But on the factory wired Strats I'm familiar with from the 70s on up, some of them did have an aluminum foil shield on the underside of the pick guard (like what we're seeing these days) where the controls mount. As long as the grounding is good from the electronics to the trem claw and the pots, switch and jack are nice and snug these are pretty darned quiet.
     
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  20. Bassman96

    Bassman96 Squier-holic

    Age:
    41
    Nov 13, 2010
    Oak Harbor, WA
    The idea is to create a cage that blocks rf frequencies from passing through the wires. Just like placing a circuit board into an aluminum enclosure. I wouldn't stress too much about it creating a circuit it's self but more that it's all encased and it will do just fine if your ground loop is done properly on the wiring/bridge.
     
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