Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

to shield or not to shield ?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by pirana, Apr 19, 2005.

  1. pirana

    pirana Tele-Meister

    Feb 23, 2005
    I just got my Lollar special T pups today & want to know if I should shield the pup cavities with copper tape before mounting them. Sorry if this seems like a dumb question. Any advice, suggestions, etc. would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Vince a

    Vince a Tele-Holic

    Feb 9, 2004
    Modesto, CA
    I do it to "any" guitar that I've opened up . . . it certainly cannot hurt it! Should take only a few minutes . . .

  3. maestrovert

    maestrovert Poster Extraordinaire

    shielding ?

    ALWAYS a good idea

  4. kp8

    kp8 Friend of Leo's

    Aug 22, 2004
    Seoul, Korea

    but aren't there arguments against shielding?


  5. maestrovert

    maestrovert Poster Extraordinaire

    arguments against shielding

    well, some "purists" have "reasons" ie: Leo didn't shield 'em , it adds capacitance, it "sucks my tone"....
    personally, i don't think so.....Leo did shield the neck Pup, and for tone reasons too.
    i STRONGLY dislike flourescent lights (and other stuff) humming thru my amps.... i simply line my Pup and control cavities with regular aluminum foil....i've a-b'd it...doesn't "suck tone"....and does keep things quiet....
    works for me, but as always, y.m.m.v. & i.m.h.o.
    give it a've most likely got tin foil in your kitchen, so it won't cost you a thing, and it couldn't be easier

  6. yegbert

    yegbert Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 28, 2004
    Maryland (US)
    Re: Shielding

    I would like to hear any opinions against shielding. Maybe some who want the tone they get playing a setup that's on the verge of microphonic squeal, a la Roy B?

  7. Stan Martin

    Stan Martin Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Mar 22, 2003
    Re: arguments against shielding

    I'm no purist, but shielding does affect tone. The high end gets muted. Shielding the pickguard is a good idea if you have a non-traditional Tele neck pup. I think shielding the control cavity is fine, but the tone issues, at least for me, seemed to be detrimental when I shielded the pickup cavities.
    I would shield everything but the pickup cavities. You will still benefit from the shielding,but you won't suffer "tone suck".

  8. Freddy Fender

    Freddy Fender Tele-Meister

    Oct 6, 2004
    Ontario, Canada
    Re: Shielding

    I think the only negative is a higher risk of shorting something like the switch to the shielding material. If anything fits in really tight it would be advisable to put some electrical tape at any tight points to prevent this.

    Over the years I have been back and forth on this ... shielding my guitar ... and then ripping it out .. but I have just shielded my strat using conductive paint. It's pricey but IMO it beats tape or foil in ease of use and it looks professional when done. I also use shielded wiring from the pickups to the control cavity. It all helps.

    I believe the reason some people have different experiences with shielding and the loss of top end is because it depends on how close the shielding material is to the pickups ... the closer it is the more highs you lose; which might might even be a cool thing for some people.

  9. maestrovert

    maestrovert Poster Extraordinaire

    y.m.m.v. foil

    like i said, i've a-b'd does NOT suck tone, or cause any loss of highs, (b.t.w. i do have a frequency analyzer and pink/white noise generators)
    i merely line the bottom and sides of my cavities with foil....being careful not to "spill over" to the top.....(sorry, shoulda mentioned that in the 1st)....
    the neck Pup has shielding in the form of the cover, and the bridge Pup has the plate as do the controls.....

  10. fezz parka

    fezz parka ---------------------------

    Stan nails it above.

  11. chickenpicker

    chickenpicker Friend of Leo's

    Jan 25, 2005
    Shielding pickups

    I've shielded cavities (using aluminium foil) and a) couldn't believe the difference in hum - I now do it routinely; and b) have never noticed a change in tone. It's possible that we simply alter the tone settings on our amps to compensate for subtle changes.

    As well as the cavities, I shielded my stratocaster's pickups in the same way - first wrapping the windings with insulation tape, then a shield of aluminium foil, all under the pickup covers. However, I remember reading that such shielding should not form a complete "ring" around the windings, so left a gap in the shield.

  12. maestrovert

    maestrovert Poster Extraordinaire

    foil etc

    notice : i'm not connecting to ground, which would add extra capacitance....i'm merely lining the Pup cavities....try it, you've the foil on hand and it couldn't be easier...
    it DOES help, and does NOT "suck tone"

  13. fezz parka

    fezz parka ---------------------------

    Interesting take on it Maestro...I'll try it!

  14. Kevin

    Kevin Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    Terre Haute, IN
    Re: foil etc

    Perhaps you should say, "To my ears, it does NOT suck tone."

    It changes the sound. Period. Even if shileind just makes things quieter, what we hear is different than what we heard before. Some people may equate that with "changing tone," whereas others may not.

    For example, I think that I lose a bit of "presence" and "sparkle" in the combined positions if I use RW/RP pups -- I still use them, though, as I will sacrifice that little bit of sparkle to get rid of the hum. Other people don't hear a difference, at all. Perhaps I'm just "missing" the hum that I expect to be there, but, TO MY EARS, something is gone.

    It's the same with shielding, potting, or anything else. If you change something, the sound changes. Some like shielding, others don't. I will shield the control cavities (only) of particularly noisy guitars, but will leave others alone. The decision to shield should be a function of the particular guitar, the playing environment, and the player.

    The problem with absolutisms is that few things are, in fact, absolute.

  15. maestrovert

    maestrovert Poster Extraordinaire

    funny....(odd that is)

    my frequency spectrum analyzer shows no v.o.m. shows no difference either, sorry, i've no oscilloscope as yet..... i HAVE a-b'd it before and after....
    Again, i'm NOT connecting to ground, merely lining the bottom and sides of my Pup and control cavities, being careful NOT to "spill over" to the top, the bridge plate or the control plate....and as i'm NOT connected to ground, there is NO extra capacitance, and NO "tone suck", no loss of highs, and best of all , NO HUM from lights etc...
    if it's not connected to ground, it's NOT part of the circuit , and as it's not part of the circuit, electrically it's not there....basically it CAN'T suck tone ( that wouldn't be the case if it was connected to ground)
    it works, and it helps, and it's basically free and easy
    and yes Kevin, to my ears it does sound quieter, and no i haven't changed my amp or mixer settings....

  16. fezz parka

    fezz parka ---------------------------

    My experience has been the same as Kevin's. In guitars that I have shielded, I end up removing it, cuz the sparkle does indeed go away. The best frequency spectrum analyzers I've got are sewn to both sides of my head. I trust 'em... :D

  17. maestrovert

    maestrovert Poster Extraordinaire

    and your shielding WAS connected to ground i'd bet..., mine isn't
    think about it

  18. fezz parka

    fezz parka ---------------------------

    I am going to give your method a go in one of my really noisy guitars.:D

  19. Kevin

    Kevin Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    Terre Haute, IN
    Re: funny....(odd that is)

    Again, you're missing the point.

    If there was noise and now there is no noise, the sound has changed. It doesn't matter what someone's instruments tell them, what matters is if the person playing the guitar feels something is "missing" -- even if what was missing is the hum.

    As far as what your instruments tell you, there must be some mistake. If there was audible noise before shielding, it would show up in the frequency spectrum analysis. If the spectrum analysis indeed does not change after shielding, then you haven't gotten rid of any noise. If the analysis <u>does</u> change, then how can you say the tone hasn't changed?

  20. Freddy Fender

    Freddy Fender Tele-Meister

    Oct 6, 2004
    Ontario, Canada
    Re: funny....(odd that is)

    Hmmm ... we are talking magnetic pickups here. Pickups are inductive therefore no physical connection is needed to affect it. If you are not draining off charges from the shield then that "noise" voltage can be induced into the pickup.

    A Tele is not as noisey as a Strat. I'll bet if you try your method with a Strat it would still be a noisey guitar, BUT, I would be happy to be proved wrong!

    A question that comes to mind is if grounding a shield is not necessary why is it done on the Tele neck pickup cover and the baseplate of the bridge pickup?

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