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. WrapAround

    WrapAround Tele-Holic

    May 17, 2003
    Re: 2 words

    or noiseless pickups.....

    I'm also one of those who don't bother with shielding the cavities. I kjust try to be quick with my volume control. ;)

  2. JohnnyCrash

    JohnnyCrash Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 12, 2005
    Fullerton, CA
    Evolution is a theory. The concepts we're talking about here: grounding, shielding, electricity are all very well established scientific FACT... to indicate this is not quantifiable, "proveable", or established science is like saying YOU personally, can't prove gravity works 100% *as science says it does in -every- aspect*, so the "possibilities are limitless"... Physics students, or god himself, it seems would not convince some otherwise.

    The ideas and concepts behind them simply do not support "physical shielding" in *this sort of application* - IN OTHER APPLICATIONS yes, XRays especially, BUT RF, ElectroMagnetic Interference and other noise involved is established scientific fact.

    It does seem logical to make this jump though on first glance.

    NOT ALL WAVES ARE CREATED EQUAL. Otherwise dentists would shield you from errant XRays with copper foil, or duck down pillows, or any variety of things... lead works because of the science involved with XRays, in particular.

    While tone, personal taste, etc is subjective, scientific laws that have been established as fact are NOT subjective... I'll be the FIRST to distrust alot of modern science - one year doctors say do "plan A", the next year they say "plan A" is bad for you, do "plan B". Not ALL science has been established, BUT some aspects are.

    That being said, I PERSONALLY usually agree that shielding is NOT preferred, FOR ME. It does sound, to my ears, to zap a mite off of my top end (and with Teles that's were the Mojo is), BUT like I keep saying, I have ONE Telecaster that makes an orgy noise BEYOND 60 cycle hum... it's gotta be shielded... I'm trying to keep the Treble by using a 300k Volume pot and a 250k No-Load Fender tone pot (I dislike 500k or 1meg pots on my Teles, not enough "beef").

    An interesting note is that Strats are often more shielded in factory, whereas Teles are not. The steel bridge plate, as well as control plate seem to have always shielded errant noise better... all the "extra" pickups and controls make Strats more of an "antenna".

    One thing I love about Telecaster's (I'm sure we all do, actually) is the PURE SIMPLICITY. 3 saddles, 2 knobs, ONE-piece neck... I'M SURE WE ALL AGREE THAT Leo really hit the mark with the Telecaster. Keef Richards has said he believes Gibson and Fender got it right at the very beginning - everything else has TRIED to improve on these original designs since then.

  3. JohnnyCrash

    JohnnyCrash Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 12, 2005
    Fullerton, CA
    Speaking of...


    You all seem to be an adventuresome lot... has anybody tried mixing and matching pots like I am *about* to do?

    300k Volume pot, 250k Fender "No-Load" Tone pot.

    Any thoughts on this? I created a thread on it, but the next day a flood of other threads buried it lower... nobody has posted yet.

    Also, there is an alternate wiring to the "stock" way that simply wires the live wire to a different post on the tone pot... this supposedly helps keep treble when turning volume down... 1. HOW does this work, and 2. Has it been successful for any of you guys?

    I'm sure we've beaten the shielding horse to death.

  4. OZ T 001

    OZ T 001 TDPRI Member

    Apr 28, 2005
    Great Corn Desert
    Keeping the sound

    Get a 0.001uf capacitor, wire a 150kohm resistor across the leads, and then wire the capacitor between the hot end of the VOLUME pot and the pot wiper. BTW, where did you find a 300k audio taper pot? It won't make a hearable difference. A 500k pot will have more mids and highs.

  5. elgorgon

    elgorgon Tele-Meister

    Sep 10, 2004
    Reston, VA
    Re: Speaking of...

    You likely won't notice the difference between the 250k and 300k values, if there is any difference to start with (these pots tend to be within 20% tolerance; anywhere from 200k to 300k could be labeled as a 250k). However, the no-load pot will make a huge difference (when in no-load mode). The output and highs will increase as the signal is no longer "loaded" by the tone control.
    I've mixed pots in all kinds of applications from Teles to Gibsons and so on and the results have all been useable, some moreso than others.

    The "50s wiring mod" of switching the tone control's connections consists of moving the tone control's lead on the Volume pot. I've seen another alternate where you also switch the tone control pot's lugs, but that doesn't do much (if anything at all).
    With the Volume pot's lug swap you end up applying the tone control only to the active signal rather than the entire load of the pot. (When you turn down to "5" in the standard configuration the signal shunted to ground still loads down the output. With the alternate wiring you only tap the pot's active load for the tone control.)
    Mark Norwine explained it all in technical terms a few years back on Weber's Guitar BBS. Unfortunately for you I have nowhere near the expertise and knowledge that Mr. Norwine has.
    Yes, it works. But it's subtle and only works when you turn down your volume knob. Try it before you add high-pass caps but don't be surprised if you still need to add a high-pass cap.

  6. maestrovert

    maestrovert Poster Extraordinaire

    Agreed on some points, but still questioning

    i DEFINITELY agree, that shielding in the normal way does indeed cause "Tone sucking" , "loss of sparkle" (or any other term it may be known by), which is exactly why i'm seeking another way.
    i have never said or even thought that the accepted way of shielding does not work, but in our application it does indeed cause adverse side effects (see above).
    Just because something has always been done in a certain way, it does not necessarily preclude the possibility of another method also working through other means.
    Therefore i continue to question, to seek, search and research, and i also dare to "think outside the box".
    i refuse to accept anyone denying an idea --any idea(!) whether my own or not-- merely on the basis of "just because".
    Ultimately, the problem will be solved, the solution may possibly turn out to be something SO obvious we'll all kick ourselves for not having thought of it ourselves, and/or for not thinking of it sooner.
    ;-) and i promise on Scout's Honor, i won't say "i told ya so....honest i won't, really ;-)
    In stating my idea/position/reasons, i have tried to not come off as argumentative, or as a "know it all" precisely because i'm the first to admit my ignorance in many areas.......BUT the Laws of Physics are indeed the Laws of Physics, and wave mechanics are wave mechanics, and i must indeed respectfully disagree with your "reasons" why it can't/won't/couldn't/wouldn't work.
    The principle IS sound.
    The theory IS proven.
    Practical application of material(s) unaffected by electromagnetic waves/radiation/fields, is all that remains.

    and last but not least, Thanks !! any other info or links to info are greatly welcomed and appreciated.

  7. JohnnyCrash

    JohnnyCrash Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 12, 2005
    Fullerton, CA

    Thanks elgorgon,

    That answered my question perfectly.

    I want to avoid the cap volume mod for now, in fact Treble loss turning my vol down is not even a giant issue to me.

    As far as the pots, I experienced a 250k's "range" when replacing pots on... well, a Tele. One was a little hotter, the other a little lower. This gap, though subtle, was irritating as hell to me! I figured a 300k would simply be on the higher end of the 250k spectrum.

    OZ T 001, as far as the 300k pot, I found it on:

    I don't like what 500k pots do to Tele's mids and warmth. I'm just trying to keep *slightly* up with the pickup's resonant peak, on a few minor fronts. I will keep your classic cap/resistor tip in mind... I just may want a little extra "sauce" when tweaking the knob.


  8. Freddy Fender

    Freddy Fender Tele-Meister

    Oct 6, 2004
    Ontario, Canada
    The reason (I think) non grounded shielding in a guitar doesn't work is because of the fact that the shield will be in close proximity to the pickups in the pickup cavity. If the noise (which is a voltage) is not discharged from the shield, that voltage is coupled or induced (or whatever you want to call it) into the pickup because the magnetic field is strong enough and the shield is close enough to allow this coupling. I think the Faraday cage principle works ... just not in the case of a guitar.

  9. JohnnyCrash

    JohnnyCrash Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 12, 2005
    Fullerton, CA

    The Faraday principle IS grounded. In maestrovert's theory here, he is wondering if it can work un-grounded. The Faraday Cage is exactly what "normal" guitar shielding is technically called.

    Maybe I am confused as to what you're saying.

    maestrovert's idea is to NOT ground it, so as to avoid high-end/Treble loss, and block the noise *physically*. If this is possible, Telecaster players will need to buy maestrovert a drink (or four), as a Telecaster's Treble is our favorite thing!

    I guess the conclusiveness we seek may be a long coming, maestrovert. While we may disagree on this, we do agree on Telecasters! Thanks for the Strat info too :) I may, or may not be buying one, but I'm closer to my decision.

  10. maestrovert

    maestrovert Poster Extraordinaire

    If it works ?

    Heya Johnny !
    i think that should be "when" ;-) and i'll be buying drinks all'round too....

    Actually, it does work, TO A DEGREE...and Ole' Fuzzy and Freddy are correct, when the field (static or magnetic, either or both) is too strong, it overcomes the foil......but it DOES help as it stands, ungrounded --reread Chickenpicker's posts (the cookie sheet) as well as my own. As i said it's at best a compromise....
    i believe the principle in the example of how lead works in the Xray instance, is due to the molecular density and/or thickness of the lead which is enough to overcome the penetration of the wave/field.... ;-)
    and just maybe lead foil IS all we'll need, and then the drinks get bought! ;-)

    Thank you for posting the links, and the info, if you've more ? i am trying to learn, and also to think for myself....there MUST be a way.....tho i might be so completely off base, i'm not even in the same Galaxy, but i'm tryin' (can't fault a guy for that)....
    'sides, i LOVE my Teles (and Strats too)

    again, THANK YOU , one and all

  11. JohnnyCrash

    JohnnyCrash Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 12, 2005
    Fullerton, CA
    Beer will be waiting

    ONCE it can be quantified, *proven*, and explained... I'll send you a 6 pack minus 2... it'll be like I drank a few beers with ya... unless you're a heavy drinker - then I'll send you a 12 pack minus 4.

    I'm one of them skeptical types :)

    I think I may hold off on getting a Strat now. They just may not be for me.

    maestrovert, what kind of Strat(s) do you have? What makes you reach for your Strat out of your "herd" of guitars? I feel like I'm missing something here :(

    Perhaps it IS merely a "personal taste" sort of thing, but... IDK... I love guitars :)

  12. Chris S.

    Chris S. Asst. Admin Staff Member Ad Free Member

    Mar 26, 2005
    Near TELE-Town (Wash. DC)
    Admin Post
    Whee, what a fun and interesting thread. ;-) I admit I hadn't been paying much (actually, any) attention to it, until I noticed it had *70* responses. But I'm glad to see you guys are playing nice. :)

    I don't really have much to add, except that I'm reminded of a funny story about theory and application:

    A man is flying in a hot air balloon when he wanders off course and becomes lost. As he's drifting over an open field, he spots a man down below. He yells down, "Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?"
    The man below yells up, "Yes, you're roughly 75 feet above the ground, drifting north-north east at approximately two miles an hour."
    "Wow, you must be an engineer," says the balloonist, somewhat sarcastically.
    "Why yes, I am, " replies the man below. "How did you know?"
    "Well," says the balloonist, "You've just given me a bunch of detailed information that, while all technically correct, is of absolutely no use to me."
    The man below yells up, "And you must be in management."
    "Why yes, I am," replies the balloonist, somewhat surprised. "But how did you know?"
    "Well," says the man on the ground, "You have no idea where you are, how you got here, where you're going, or what to do about it, but you expect me to be able to help. You're in exactly the same position you were before we met, but now it's my fault." ;-) CS

  13. Fuzzyhead

    Fuzzyhead Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 20, 2005
    Bonn (Yer-up)
    Thanks for the chuckle, Chris! Very nice one.

    Just to clarify my post: I do not question maestrovert's idea.

    Physically speaking, a Faraday-cage is only a Faraday-cage if it's grounded. That's part of the definition. On the other hand: There are EM-shields that work ungrounded (for example in computer-electronics) and I have absolutely no experience to tell you that this wouldn't work on a guitar....

  14. maestrovert

    maestrovert Poster Extraordinaire

    Electrically inert material ?

    Perhaps a thin sheet of rubber ? if i'm not entirely mistaken, isn't rubber "inert" electrically ?
    Non ferrous materials are defined as being unable to accept and/or hold a magnetic charge, (ie: cannot themselves become magnetized) but while lead and aluminum are non ferrous, they ARE still CONDUCTORS (which is why they still need to be grounded to be "most effective" as shields....
    The lead sheet works in the x-ray example because of molecular density and/or thickness, but lead is still a conductor electrically....
    Which has me thinking...(;-) Oh NO! not THAT again ! aahhhhhhh! ;-) ).....the Prof in the Farady cage being fired on by Tesla coils....if he/they'd been in a rubber chamber (sealed and/or of sufficient thickness etc.) would have remained safe ?

    Johnny: i've a bunch of Strats....including a minty '61, and a thrashed '57 among the best sounding....and 3 or 4 Strats get used rarely, as i'm definitely a Tele freak....(nothing but nothing sounds like the bridge Pup TWANG !!) but i DO use them! Though mostly for the vibrato arm.
    i only occasionally utilise the "mid" positions (2 & 4) on my Strats equipped with the 5 ways....i also mostly use the neck Pup, as i too do not "like" the springy and/or "in between" tones....
    One thing that i think is a VERY important part of the Strat tone receipe is bridge set up...the "sproing" thing you hear some Strats do means that string energy is being Vibrato bridges are set up as follows : with strings and springs removed, and the body laying flat and level on the bench, i back the 6 screws out a ways....and taking each individually in turn, tighten them until they just begin to lift the back of the bridge plate away from the body, and i back off slightly until the plate lays flat....(continue for all screws) .....i restring and respring, and have a fair amount of spring tension (4 springs) holding the plate flat to the body for max tone transfer and also for tuning stability in case of a broken string.

    Strats ARE great, i just prefer Teles (go figure huh ? ;-) )

    as for my idea...again, the theory IS proven, and is in practical everyday use....all that's required for our Tele-tonerrific-guitarcentric needs is practical application of the correct materials

  15. Fuzzyhead

    Fuzzyhead Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 20, 2005
    Bonn (Yer-up)
    Re: Electrically inert material ?

    I don't think so..... At very high voltages like that the rubber would propably have burned right through. Then again, if you make it *really* thick (a metre or so) the energy would have probably discharged somewhere else...

  16. maestrovert

    maestrovert Poster Extraordinaire

    noise, hum and tone

    Thanks Fuzzyhead....i think that i did mention "of sufficient thickness" i guess that's a yes ?

  17. Fuzzyhead

    Fuzzyhead Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 20, 2005
    Bonn (Yer-up)
    After thinking it through.... Yes! :D But then again this would work with a "sufficient thickness" of *anything*... wood, glass... even paper. The thickness of the different materials would of course vary, but as long as it's "sufficient"..... ;)

  18. maestrovert

    maestrovert Poster Extraordinaire

    maybe....just maybe....

    Thanks Fuzzyhead !!

    The commonly accepted means of noise reduction in our guitars is to COUNTERACT the noise/magnetic/static fields by ELECTRICAL Faraday Cage shielding, reverse wound/reverse polarity Pups, aka"humbuckers"....
    But this has adverse effects ("tone suck") on our guitar's signal....
    So, if the noise/magnetic/static fields can be physically PREVENTED from affecting our circuits to begin with.......?

    THIS is the basis of my no need to counteract something that's not affecting our guitars to begin with, and WITH NO COUNTERACTION, NO ADVERSE EFFECTS ! !

    i understand Johnny's meaning perfectly well, and he is correct in that X-rays operate in a different way than magnetic/static fields.....and while X-rays are not necessarily "charged particles", magnetic/static fields/waves ARE charged particles and DO HAVE PHYSICAL PROPERTIES, AND THEREFORE CAN BE AFFECTED THROUGH PHYSICAL MEANS !
    (please re-read my post "Ahem" of May 3rd for the operating principles of waves, and the means by which they can be and are affected)

    i have previously noted that the differing makeup/properties of the waves/fields/frequencies (etc) would require differing materials to counteract them....

    Again, the concept IS proven, the theory IS proven and IS IN COMMON EVERYDAY USAGE (as Fuzzyhead has noted in the ungrounded computer EM shielding application).....
    All that is required is practical application of the necessary materials for our needs.

    What materials would work best ? What materials are electrically inert, and of sufficient molecular density, that wouldn't require a "too thick" lining to be of practical use? Would thin rubber sheeting with/without foil (copper, aluminum or lead ?) lining be effective ?

    ;-) ;-) C'MON GUYS, SOMEONE HERE KNOWS ABOUT THESE THINGS, HELP US OUT HERE ! ;-) ;-) i'm trying, thinking and testing, but would also appreciate the testing and input of others.....

    THESE are the Questions, NOT whether or not "Physical Shielding" is possible....
    It's already proven, already "quantified" and in common everyday use, & i've explained it as best i can in my admittedly limited way........can ya help a guy put it into practice (rather than just deny the concept) .....ANYONE ?

    Heya Johnny, i don't normally drink, but will buy ya a beer or 3 anyways ! Corona ok with you ? ;-)

  19. OZ T 001

    OZ T 001 TDPRI Member

    Apr 28, 2005
    Great Corn Desert
    Have you ever... all the shielding info on John answers a lot of your questions, along with a great Tele step by step shielding procedure, with pictures (using copper foil, BTW). Remember, Maestro, guitars aren't rocket science. Marconi would feel very much at home inside the average Strat or Tele. Now a Line6, I don't know.

  20. maestrovert

    maestrovert Poster Extraordinaire

    Rocket Science ;-) (-;

    Thanks, OzT.... ;-)

    i know it's not "Rocket Science", and that the technology we so dearly love is all but ancient, but again, just because something has always been done a certain way, does not necessarily preclude other methods working through other means......

    Perhaps my idea has been or is also being considered by someone more knowledgeable....perhaps this discussion has triggered a brainstorm in your mind ?

    How best to bring this into a practical, workable form ? As i've said, my plain ungrounded foil "helps" but is no cure......however i think it's a step in the right direction towards the solution of the noise versus "tone sucking" dilemma we ALL live with !

    Basically i'm just admitting a certain level of inexperience with the physical, electrical and/or chemical properties of various compounds, therefore my questions concerning the practicality of differing materials to apply.
    i know that there are members here whose work and/or interests requires a high level of expertise in these subjects.....again i claim no expertise in any field.
    The questions i've posed remain.....

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