is it possible that metal pickguards alleviate the static scratchy sounds?

Winky

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I'm going with yes. Static won't build up on an earthed metal plate. Adding (and earthing) copper shielding tape to the underside goes a long way towards solving this issue, too.
 

FortyEight

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i have a fender pickguard on my Starcaster by fender. Which also has a good job of shielding paint. but lots if static. the fender pickguard has foil covering most of it. maybe i should ground by attaching a ground wire. but i might try an anodized gold guard.
 

kbold

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Yes ....
Alternatively go can shield the back of your pickguard (copper or aluminium foil) .... you need to ground the foil.
Anti-static spray can help, but is only a temporary fix.
One could suggest modifying your playing style ..... but I always find my pinkie stroking the pickguard >>> crackles
 

moosie

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like the Fender anodized aluminum ones. Just curious.....
As long as it's grounded, yes. And if it's not, you probably have other noise issues, either now, or soon...

Another one that completely eliminates static, and doesn't require grounding, is a Bakelite guard. Unfortunately it doesn't come in many colors. Think back to the 50s.... black telephones, black handles on electrical appliances, and black Telecaster pickguards.
 

FortyEight

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Yes ....
Alternatively go can shield the back of your pickguard (copper or aluminium foil) .... you need to ground the foil.
Anti-static spray can help, but is only a temporary fix.
One could suggest modifying your playing style ..... but I always find my pinkie stroking the pickguard >>> crackles
Yeah i dint know, i try to play without my pinky glidung across the pickguard or anchoring it sometimes. feels unnatural to not. that being said maybe its a crutch. idk.

thanks for the tip @moosie
 

hopdybob

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like the Fender anodized aluminum ones. Just curious.....
i suspect the metal/alu is a massif one?
than is it grounded by the switch base and the metal pots.
maybe the dryer sheets could help like they do with the plastic pickguards ?
if these metal guards have somekind of protection film ore laquer than maybe the guard not grounded.
but you could test that with a multimeter
 

schmee

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I'm going with "yes".
Grounded Shielding does and the aluminum is self shielding, but may or may not be grounded. I don't think aluminum produces that static in the first place though, like some plastics do.
 

schmee

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i have a fender pickguard on my Starcaster by fender. Which also has a good job of shielding paint. but lots if static. the fender pickguard has foil covering most of it. maybe i should ground by attaching a ground wire. but i might try an anodized gold guard.
Grounding the shielded pickguard WILL remove the static. Dryer sheets may work, but usually temporary. Usually you can run foil in the body to ground and have the pickguard foil touch the cavity foil when screwed down, thus grounding it. The body foil doesn't have to be much.
 

moosie

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Just a general observation, there's a lot of effort and concern around noisy guitars. Depending on your situation, it could be from static, from RFI, or both.

I play at home. If I hold my single coil guitar up to my iMac, sure, it makes noise through the amp. That's RFI. But normally I just don't do that, and I have no RFI noise that I can call a problem. In fact, the house circuit picks up more of it, all by itself, it seems.

So, for me, RF shielding is completely unnecessary, waste of time and effort, potentially mucking up a clean instrument with goo (the adhesive on foil shielding doesn't age well, ten years on...). It also adds capacitance, just like long cable runs, etc etc, which robs that highest of high end. Noticeable? Possibly no, but it all adds up.

Static on the other hand, for me, is a major issue. Not just Fender and their PVC pickguards. Gibson uses 'em, too, on my 335 and 330. I used to think it was partly due to proximity, the plastic being over the neck signal wire, but nope, archtops with floating guards do it, too.

EDIT: meant to add that my AV and AVRI 52s which both have real Bakelite pickguards, have zero pickguard static. Not shielded. Bakelite simply doesn't generate it.

Also, I'm not entirely sure how the static issue works, or how it may present itself. I do notice that my otherwise perfectly grounded and quiet guitar, with a static-generating pickguard, will also make noise when I run my hand up the back of the neck. Note, if I touch the strings and am grounded, it doesn't happen. But if I'm just shifting positions on the neck, or heck, just sitting there idly running my hand along the neck, without touching the metal. Static.

I haven't done enough testing to confirm if it goes away when I shield and ground the pickguard.

Also, on my Teles, while shielding the guard helps a lot, it doesn't address all of it. Perhaps it's not likely to occur, but if I rub my fingers more briskly on the guard, I can still generate noise. You might expect it to be all or nothing, it either works or not. I kinda did.

Anyway, enough. The main reason for writing this was to point out the need to identify your problem before shielding against 'noise'. If you play in neon-lit bars, you may well have a serious RF issue. And keep in mind you still can't shield the tops of the pickups, so single coils are just inherently noisy, even if the guitar is well shielded.
 

Peegoo

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The short answer is yes.

All airborne interference/noise is electromagnetic in nature, but it can be subdivided into two general types: radio frequency (RF), and near-field electromagnetic flux (electromagnetic interference/EMI).
Shielding helps alleviate RF interference, but not near-field interference.

The following is a condensation of a paper I wrote years ago on the topic.

////////////////

Signal, Noise and Shielding

Playing in an electrically noisy environment is bad enough, but using high gain for feedback and effects just makes it worse because the signal chain cannot differentiate between signal (the desirable sound) and noise (the undesirable sound). Everything gets amplified. The earlier in the chain the noise enters, the worse the problem will be. Every gain stage amplifies the noise.

Shielding a guitar's cavities will block high-frequency RF/EMI. However, copper and aluminum (both known as good shielding materials) lose their ability to block low-frequency electromagnetic fields when the noise frequency approaches 1 kHz and below. This is why 50/60 Hz hum and its harmonics are often problematic in gain circuitry; the circuit amplifies the desirable signal along with the undesirable noise.

Below 1 kHz, high-permeability low carbon steel plate is used to block noise, but this is quite impractical for use in guitars and amps.

The problem of noise is compounded by proximity. In a playing situation where you as a player are situated close to noise sources, magnetic fields remain separate from the electromagnetic/RF noise component, and that makes eradicating the noise particularly more challenging. This is called near-field, or H-field magnetic flux. Farther away (far-field or E-field) the electric and magnetic fields combine and that makes managing noise a bit easier to do.

The bottom line is the best guitar shielding cannot block magnetic fields. Proper shielding will not completely cure the problem of noise getting into the signal chain because gain circuitry behaves like an antenna; it is super-sensitive to EMI and RF.

There are other steps besides shielding you should take and they involve moving the physical proximity of signal-carrying conductors (pickups, cables, pedals, amps, etc.) in relation to noise transmitters/sources. There are plenty of noise transmitters in a typical playing or recording environment. Some of the more common are

-Line noise in the AC supply
-Power supplies; wall warts/plug packs, power transformers, etc.
-Power cables/strips carrying alternating current or PCM-regulated direct current
-Lighting, especially fluorescent and LED types because they include power supplies
-Monitor displays, especially the old-school CRT types
-Electric motors, e.g., ceiling fans, refrigerators, computer fans, etc.
-Speakers; even shielded speakers can introduce noise into a signal chain
-Amplifiers; they contain their own power supply and transformer

As you can see, pretty much anything that uses AC or DC power can be a noise source. In addition to the things in your studio or music venue, there are external noise sources that offer more opportunities for frustration because you have little to no control over them.

-Airfields; radar signals and radio communications can be particularly problematic
-Commercial radio and television transmitters
-Ham radio transmitters in your area
-Electric power substations close by
-Atmospherics; electrical storms, solar activity

///////////////////
 

moosie

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The short answer is yes.

All airborne interference/noise is electromagnetic in nature, but it can be subdivided into two general types: radio frequency (RF), and near-field electromagnetic flux (electromagnetic interference/EMI).
Shielding helps alleviate RF interference, but not near-field interference.

The following is a condensation of a paper I wrote years ago on the topic.

////////////////

Signal, Noise and Shielding

Playing in an electrically noisy environment is bad enough, but using high gain for feedback and effects just makes it worse because the signal chain cannot differentiate between signal (the desirable sound) and noise (the undesirable sound). Everything gets amplified. The earlier in the chain the noise enters, the worse the problem will be. Every gain stage amplifies the noise.

Shielding a guitar's cavities will block high-frequency RF/EMI. However, copper and aluminum (both known as good shielding materials) lose their ability to block low-frequency electromagnetic fields when the noise frequency approaches 1 kHz and below. This is why 50/60 Hz hum and its harmonics are often problematic in gain circuitry; the circuit amplifies the desirable signal along with the undesirable noise.

Below 1 kHz, high-permeability low carbon steel plate is used to block noise, but this is quite impractical for use in guitars and amps.

The problem of noise is compounded by proximity. In a playing situation where you as a player are situated close to noise sources, magnetic fields remain separate from the electromagnetic/RF noise component, and that makes eradicating the noise particularly more challenging. This is called near-field, or H-field magnetic flux. Farther away (far-field or E-field) the electric and magnetic fields combine and that makes managing noise a bit easier to do.

The bottom line is the best guitar shielding cannot block magnetic fields. Proper shielding will not completely cure the problem of noise getting into the signal chain because gain circuitry behaves like an antenna; it is super-sensitive to EMI and RF.

There are other steps besides shielding you should take and they involve moving the physical proximity of signal-carrying conductors (pickups, cables, pedals, amps, etc.) in relation to noise transmitters/sources. There are plenty of noise transmitters in a typical playing or recording environment. Some of the more common are

-Line noise in the AC supply
-Power supplies; wall warts/plug packs, power transformers, etc.
-Power cables/strips carrying alternating current or PCM-regulated direct current
-Lighting, especially fluorescent and LED types because they include power supplies
-Monitor displays, especially the old-school CRT types
-Electric motors, e.g., ceiling fans, refrigerators, computer fans, etc.
-Speakers; even shielded speakers can introduce noise into a signal chain
-Amplifiers; they contain their own power supply and transformer

As you can see, pretty much anything that uses AC or DC power can be a noise source. In addition to the things in your studio or music venue, there are external noise sources that offer more opportunities for frustration because you have little to no control over them.

-Airfields; radar signals and radio communications can be particularly problematic
-Commercial radio and television transmitters
-Ham radio transmitters in your area
-Electric power substations close by
-Atmospherics; electrical storms, solar activity

///////////////////
Nice.

I can't tell what you're saying about static, if anything. Are you classifying static as near-field...? Or is static separate from your write-up?
 

Peegoo

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Nice.

I can't tell what you're saying about static, if anything. Are you classifying static as near-field...? Or is static separate from your write-up?

Static is a completely separate thing. And it's not just from the hand or fingers againse a plastic pickguard; it can be caused by the guitar body rubbing on your shirt. All finishes (nitro, polyurethane, polyester, etc.) are subject to it when the conditions are right.
 

FortyEight

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i was just trying to figure out how to get rid of the static when my finger rubs across. i already have other humming going on from my single coils or apparently 1000 other sources. i dont like the way dryer sheet film feels on the pickguard. but at this point my starcaster does it more than my squier affinity tele. it could be my lousy soldering job but everything works.

but yeah, im not talking about any hum, which i have. (mxr dyna comp is noisy, i do need a decent power supply i think). im talking about the obvious scratching sounds as my fingers drag across the pickguard.

are the baklites single play and do they still sell em?
 




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