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

to shield or not to shield ?

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

  1. JohnnyCrash

    JohnnyCrash Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 12, 2005
    Fullerton, CA
    UPDATE, proof

    OK folks, not to open the can of worms again, but I have finally FINISHED my project.

    I had a new Lite Ash Telecaster... if you've been reading this longassed post, it's the one giving me noise issues!

    The electronics sucked bad, so I had replaced the pots already. The noise was still unbearable, BUT the treble was better after this simple upgrade.

    TODAY I GOT MY NEW POTS, SWITCH, AND SHIELDING COPPER.

    I had first replaced the pots as follows:
    300k Volume Pot
    250k Fender No-Load pot
    Fender 3-way Switch

    UNGROUNDED
    I then copper foiled the control cavity, being carefull NOT to touch the control plate. Still had the trash/noise. I then copper foiled the pickguard, ungrounded... still had noise. NO CHANGE in noise reduction or tone.

    GROUNDED
    Finally I simply overlapped a piece of copper from the control cavity over into the area underneath the pickguard, and grounded this. The cavity's foil would then ground the pickguard via the overlap connecting when the guard was screwed down.

    AT THIS POINT, I was going to confirm what I already knew, and foil the bridge pickup cavity... then I figured, "what the hell, I've spent an hour thusfar" and I tried it WITHOUT shielding the bridge pickup cavity.

    GUESS WHAT, GROUNDED IT WORKED PERFECTLY.

    Now in practical uses of the Faraday Cage principle, it is NOT 100% possible to make a PERFECT cage... so shielding the pickup cavity could probably make the noise reduction even better... BUT I am now tired of looking at this Tele's guts and the noise is gone!

    MY NOISE SOURCE
    During this whole process I noticed alot of the noise seemed to be originating from the pickguard almost. PVC and other items can hold Static Charges (I just saw the MythBusters "PVC pipe canon" episode on TV, strangley enough).

    My source of noise was the CHEAP plastic pickguard holding static charges!!!

    TONE
    My tone didn't seem to suffer much if at all, BUT then again I now have a No-Load and a 300k pot instead of what I heard on it before (250k pots all around). I still have single coil 60 cycle hum, but no static noise!!!

    I'm sure using a Seymour Duncan "Vintage Tele Lead" or "Vintage '54" pickup would add even more treble and snap, plus probably more mids (judging by Resonant Peak and D.C. Resistance), BUT I really like the slightly "softer/warmer" treble the Alnico II gives me, cause it still has plenty of Treble, clarity, and "Spank/Snap".

    Doing this in a step by step approach, I had eliminated cheap pots and switch as the noise culprit... perhaps I should get a Bakelite guard or something as well. IDK.

    SO, IN MY TEST, THE UNGROUNDED METHOD DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

    By the way, Lite Ash Teles are great guitars after you replace the cheap electronics ;)
     

  2. maestrovert

    maestrovert Poster Extraordinaire

    can o' worms

    a can of worms gits ya the most fish ! ;-)
     

  3. Fuzzyhead

    Fuzzyhead Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 20, 2005
    Bonn (Yer-up)
    @JohnnyCash: You exactly described the situation on my guitar before and after shielding! I can only back this with my experience (that isn't a lot though).
     

  4. maestrovert

    maestrovert Poster Extraordinaire

    hmmmm....

    Heya 's
    i'm sure you're both much more knowledgeable than i......i've never had a static-y pickguard.....the climate where i live doesn't get very "dry" , i'm on the beach, you can see part of my backyard in my avatar.....

    my music/recording room, has 2 computers both with crt monitors, and 4 overhead flourescent lights with dual 48" bulbs....noise used to be a problem (especially during recording), but it's much reduced with the simple addition of foil.
    i am absolutely positive it's not grounded...... perhaps in my location the fields aren't strong enough to overcome the foil, but at your location it is..... ??

    as we speak i'm building yet another DeLacugo Sparklecaster (Flames/American Flag design) to complement my Candyapple green flame Sparklecaster(again on my avatar)....i was thinking of using the Lace Tele Pups this time (i've partscasters with Bardens, Lollars and Duncans and DiMarzio's) BUT nothing sounds as good to me as the Fender '52 RI Pup set......and again, i'm using the Fender '52Ri replacement neck and hardware, etc
    i'll continue to experiment and will keep y'all posted if i hit on anything that distinctly "does the trick"....

    Thanks for your input and the conversation....glad to have met y'all and consider you newfound friends....The beer offer's always open Johnny , as long as Corona's ok with ya.... ;-)
     

  5. JohnnyCrash

    JohnnyCrash Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 12, 2005
    Fullerton, CA
    Beer

    I live on the other end, and other ocean... California. No dryness, I seriously think it's the cheap pickguard material.

    As far as beer, I'm not *usually* a beer person, I prefer Guinness... but I'll drink just about anything.

    My favorites are Bourbon, Jameson Whiskey (both on ice, or neat), and Rum and Cokes (in a pinch).

    I *almost* bought a 52RI pair... how do they sound compared to other Tele pickup models? Maybe I should start a whole new thread on this, but what other Tele pickups have you tried, and... you know, I'll just start a new thread :)

    I like the pickups I got, but I wouldn't mind seeing what else is out there.
     

  6. Fuzzyhead

    Fuzzyhead Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 20, 2005
    Bonn (Yer-up)
    Re: hmmmm....

    Not me.... ;)


    My living room (where I play ;)) has a WLAN-router in it.... That's baaad, real baaaaad, I tell you.... ;)
     

  7. OZ T 001

    OZ T 001 TDPRI Member

    17
    Apr 28, 2005
    Great Corn Desert
    Experiment

    I am building a Tele for a customer, and he says I can use it for a shielding experiment. I have it set up with a friend of mine who works on police and taxi radios and has a lot of equipment that generates electronic emissions to try different frequencies after I get the guitar shielded. I'm going to do it my usual way with aluminum foil tape and Circuitwriter and try it grounded and then ungrounded. Then, I'm going to use conductive shielding paint and try it both ways. This might take a few days as I'm waiting for him to decide on some hardware, then I have to finish the neck and body. I will get back to y'all. 8) BTW, just finished a shielding/grounding/PUP replacement/rewire on my wife's Bronco bass. Said she never got shocked this morning. What'd I miss? ;)
     

  8. maestrovert

    maestrovert Poster Extraordinaire

    update: more'n a year on.....

    in a recent thread, this subject has come up: http://www.tdpri.com/viewtopic.php?t=53674
    the following is from Mr. Lawrence's post in that thread (via cut & paste):

    "Aluminum has some strange properties, and it’s the only commercially available metal I know of that can eliminate the buzz caused by light dimmers. An inch thick copper or brass shield cannot reduce the buzz caused by light dimmers but .003 thick aluminum foil can! This is known some thirty years and the reason why Belden introduced double shielded cable ( Copper braid plus aluminum foil). There is one problem for guitar cords -- the double shielding makes the cable too stiff . It helps quite a bit when you shield your guitar with copper and aluminum foil.

    Try this one-- wire a single coil to a jack and plug it into your amp. Put the pickup on a table next to your amp. Take an aluminum pan from your kitchen and put it slowly on top of your single coil and watch the hum disappear.
    "

    and from another post in that same thread:

    "Jwells393, I wrote: “Wire a single coil to a jack and plug it into your amp. Put the pickup on a table next to your amp. Take an aluminum pan from your kitchen and put it slowly on top of your single coil and watch your hum slowly disappear.” There isn’t one word about light dimmers. Do you think that I make a statement that I cannot prove? If so, I challenge you. Lets make a bet for $1000.00 and if I win, I will donate that money to the TDPRI.

    Bill
    "

    i was honored (and amazed!) to have received a phone call from Mr. Bill Lawrence, and we just hung up not more than 5 minutes ago.....
    Among the many subjects we discussed for over 1 1/2 hours, was the topic of this thread (and the thread in the link above), and the physics involved.....he patiently explained the why of my experiences related in this thread....
    WHEW ! fellers, all i can say is: he's waaaay over my head.....
     

  9. daddyopapa

    daddyopapa Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 27, 2005
    BC Canada
    So much information for my wee pea brain. I just finished my partsoTele last night with single coils. I used StewMac stick-on aluminum foil in the control cavity (rear routed) and bridge pup cavity. I didn't bother with the neck pup as it is too tight to work with and as I have a 4 way switch, I pulled the ground lead from the cover and ran a direct ground for the cover. I used a wire to ground all the foil to the ground on the output jack so I have a true Farrady cage. I have no hum but then, I'm in a basement with no fluorescent lights. I did it just because the guitar was all parts so it took 10 minutes. My strat has just the tiny bit of sheilding on it that fender sticks around the pots and it doesn't hum either. The mystery continues.
     

  10. teledude66

    teledude66 Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    51
    Oct 8, 2004
    Lawndale,N.C.

    But since I shielded my tele with copper tape I don't need it anymore...:D
    and it solved my static sounding pickguard too...
     

  11. SteveY

    SteveY Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    67
    Mar 26, 2004
    Santa Cruz, CA
    I have experienced the former (hand is up), but never the latter (hand goes back down).:D
     

  12. weissguy

    weissguy TDPRI Member

    13
    Jun 11, 2006
    Denver, CO
    This is all over my head, but I was rewiring my tele and decided to try and shield. It is a thinline, so I didn't do the control cavity. I used the stewmac kit and did both pickup cavities. I did overlap the tape to touch the pickguard and the bridgeplate.
    I ran a wire from the each cavity to the ground on the volume pot.
    Questions:
    1. Since the bridgeplate is grounded from the bridge pickup, should I disconnect the ground wire. Does it create a ground loop? What are the symptoms effects of a groundloop?
    2. The guitar is fairly quiet unless I'm right infront of the amp. However, touching the strings or bridgeplate, does not reduce any buzz or hum or change the sound - is that what the shielding is supposed to do, or did I screw up the wiring? It's definitely a strange feeling to take my hands off the guitar and not hear a difference. Note that I installed a fishman powerbridge, with their battery powered powerswitch/vol pot.
     

  13. jdimitri

    jdimitri Tele-Meister

    Actually, that's what the guitar's meant to do.
    If you touch the strings or one of the metal parts of the guitar the noise level drops, it means u did that the guitar isn't grounded properly
    Now that it doesnt change when u touch the strings, mission accomplished ;)
     

  14. JohnnyCrash

    JohnnyCrash Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 12, 2005
    Fullerton, CA
    Why would you resurrect an "I told you so" thread almost a year old (wait, how old? more than a year?)?

    On top of that, why wouldn't you include all, any, or part of your "over your head" explanations of your phone call? Afterall it seemed so painfully obvious and judiciously correct before.

    "Pink, White, noise generators, oscilliscopes, frequency spectrum analyzers..." it seems you've pulled out all of the stops with anecdotal "evidence", but still nothing HARD and solid.

    No disrespect to any respected member of their field (Lawrence, Leo, or otherwise), but everyone still seems to have different perspectives... yet no solid proof! Why is this thread still here?

    Electricity does not follow artisan's voodoo - it follows the laws of the universe. The PROVEN scientific concepts discovered and tested decades ago have been explained at length, yet the anecdotal evidence is what keeps returning (Faraday may as well be Farah Fawcett to some folks)!

    Hunting down noise/static on guitars with static susceptible plastic garbage pickguards may be challenging, BUT try hunting down and killing noise in an amp (or a half a dozen) - this will open your eyes to what is going on, immensely.

    I respect everybody on this forum, but this seems to be a grudge match still festering like a Junior High schoolyard fight. We're adults here afterall. Let's let it go.

    There has been nothing NEW (or solid) brought to this STALE, YEAR OLD thread...

    Now let's get back to REAL topics and play nice (and play loud).
     

  15. maestrovert

    maestrovert Poster Extraordinaire

    as this appears to be addressed to me, i shall respond in kind....
    i'm neither the first, nor shall i be the last to resurrect old threads around here....but as you question my motive, the topic of this thread and Mr.Lawrence's posts in this thread coincide, and apparently, completely corroborate my experience.....no "Junior High Shoolyard" immature motive i assure you....(gee, tanx alot pal, tanx alot ! :lol: )

    because i figured Mr. Lawrence could (and would) speak for himself, and doesn't need me "putting words in his mouth" as it were...and i'm not knowledgeable enough to completely understand his explanation, let alone convey it !

    EditorJuno aka Bruce Morgen (sp?) pm'd me requesting my contact info, within an hour Bill Lawrence rang me, and we discussed this thread in particular....he tried to explain the various forms of magnetism (electro, ferro, etc) and the properties of aluminum to me....the closest he could come in the limited time & format of a phone call was to explain it to me as: aluminum has "para-magnetic" properties that copper and other metals do not share....again, all waaaay over my head....

    as for my use of my frequency analyzer, it was only to benchmark/document any possible effect the addition of aluminum foil might have had upon my guitar....and i do not know how i could've been any clearer upon that point...

    will you be refuting Mr.Lawrence's assertions then ?
    again, via cut n' paste:
    “Wire a single coil to a jack and plug it into your amp. Put the pickup on a table next to your amp. Take an aluminum pan from your kitchen and put it slowly on top of your single coil and watch your hum slowly disappear.” ..../.... Do you think that I make a statement that I cannot prove? ...../..... Bill"

    what say you to this(again, via cut n' paste from Mr. Lawrence's post) then? :
    Aluminum has some strange properties, and it’s the only commercially available metal I know of that can eliminate the buzz caused by light dimmers. An inch thick copper or brass shield cannot reduce the buzz caused by light dimmers but .003 thick aluminum foil can! This is known some thirty years and the reason why Belden introduced double shielded cable ( Copper braid plus aluminum foil).
    (the bold emphasis above is my "highlight"-addition)


    i've no grudge here Johnny.....i'm here with an open mind, to learn and to share....i learned something "straight from the horse's mouth" so to speak, and shared it freely, as these discussions are how i, and others here learn.....However, if you feel this topic and/or thread should be dropped/let go, you're well within your right to your opinion, though i'd like to remind you that no one coerced you or anyone else into posting here....

    no ? will you be accepting Mr. Lawrence's challenge then ? $1k in cold hard cash seems pretty solid to me....

    no, play REAL LOUD !!:cool:
     

  16. JohnnyCrash

    JohnnyCrash Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 12, 2005
    Fullerton, CA
    When Ole fuzzy says shielding sounds like it saps his high end, I believe him. When Mr. Lawrence says what he says, I believe him as well.

    That's not contradictory, it makes a difference to them, so it's equally very real to them. So I'm not going to dispute anybody, even though you invite me to dispute Mr. Lawrence :)

    Disagreements are normal. Oh well. As long as we do what works for ourselves.

    Like I've said, I've only had a small fraction of the guitars I've owned ever really need (more like beg for) shielding (and they ALL had static cheap plastic pickguards - nothing to do with dimmers, 60cycle hum, or etc). Copper foil got rid of that crappy noise for me... so if you happen to need it, shield it. If not, save yourself the trouble.

    Que sera.

    Now, this is where we ALL can agree :)

    I'm cranking the amps for you right now brother! I can almost hear your amp, in FLA right? I'm aiming mine eastward brother, maybe we can jam through the continental delay :)
     

  17. maestrovert

    maestrovert Poster Extraordinaire

    les'see here....you're in SoCal ? i'm on the W. Fla coast....hmmmmmm....we oughta be sounding real good out over the Texas Gulf coast right 'bout now!
    Heya Johnny, i'm toastin' ya with a nice glass of Geo.Dickel #12 ! whacha drinkin' there Bro' ?
     

  18. spatescroll

    spatescroll TDPRI Member

    53
    Jun 15, 2006
    I use no hum stack pups (humbuckers), Could be usefull to shield pickguard, control cavity, and maybe even neckpup cavity? Thanks.
     

  19. jdimitri

    jdimitri Tele-Meister

    Hmm i shielded my guitar using the stewmac kit today...
    Nothing really changed, except i have to position the control plate, otherwise nothing comes through
    It's not even grounded properly, when i touched one of the knobs the buzzing kinda reduces
    Anyone care to say what's wrong?
     

  20. onceagriffon

    onceagriffon Tele-Meister

    255
    Apr 22, 2006
    USA
    jdmitri, did you follow the directions in the Stewmac kit or from guitarnuts? I have used the copper foil and shielded wire on both a Strat and Tele with excellent results. Was you guitar pretty quiet to begin with? Also it will not help a lot with poor house/club grounds. Both my guitars still have a bit of "touch the strings the hum stops" left over at home, but not where I take lessons as there is a better ground there. It did get much better after shielding though. Some things to look for are controls touching the shield where it shouldn't, not grounding the shield of the output wiring at one end, a poor grond connection for one of the pickups, bad solder joint, etc. The list can be quite long. I never even considered many of the things in the lengthy and heated debate above, I just followed the directions on guitarnuts for my Tele and it worked very well.
    Rob
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2006

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