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> Has Anybody Ever Shielded A Strat, Or Any Guitar?, Do you have any hands on experience with cavity shielding?
Mudbone
post Sep 26 2010, 06:24 PM
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I got this guitar off of eBay with the intention of upgrading all the hardware, and was thinking of shielding the pickup and pot cavities. The reason being is because its a single coil strat copy, and is susceptible to 60 cycle hum.

Now I've heard that shielding reduces hum significantly, but if there is more than 10 square inches of shielding the guitar begins to lose treble. I cannot verify this claim, so I thought I would turn to the GMC community to see if anyone has any hands on experience with shielding.

My plan for this guitar is to put an aluminum pickguard shield and to put copper foil shielding on the whole pickup cavity, thereby creating a Faraday Cage. I'm not sure if I have to ground it or not, I've heard I should and I've heard I shouldn't.

So does anybody have any hands on experience with this?


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Boson
post Oct 11 2010, 09:53 PM
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No experiece of this as a guitarist or sound engineer.

But as an electrical engineer my feeling is that all metal parts should be grounded.


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fkalich
post Oct 11 2010, 11:10 PM
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QUOTE (Boson @ Oct 11 2010, 03:53 PM) *
No experiece of this as a guitarist or sound engineer.

But as an electrical engineer my feeling is that all metal parts should be grounded.


Not with a strat. Certainly not with a traditional Strat played without heavy distortion. Part of what makes the sound so unique is the lack of shielding.
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-Zion-
post Oct 11 2010, 11:10 PM
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i am playing a Gibson Les Paul, and i have shielded all holes in the body (except the pickup switch hole).. also did the pickup cavities.. haven't heard any noticeable difference in treble, but the humming has definately improved..
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fkalich
post Oct 11 2010, 11:39 PM
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QUOTE (-Zion- @ Oct 11 2010, 05:10 PM) *
i am playing a Gibson Les Paul, and i have shielded all holes in the body (except the pickup switch hole).. also did the pickup cavities.. haven't heard any noticeable difference in treble, but the humming has definately improved..


You primarily play very distorted, possibly metal? If so, I can understand what you are saying.

edit: of course the tone degradation with a Gibson will be much less dramatic than with a Strat, PU's are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

This post has been edited by fkalich: Oct 11 2010, 11:43 PM
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Mudbone
post Oct 12 2010, 07:02 PM
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QUOTE (VictorUK @ Oct 12 2010, 01:03 PM) *
Ive shielded my strat on the pickguard and inside the cavity with copper tape, took ages but it made it quieter.


So did you ground the shielding? If so did you notice any treble roll off?


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fkalich
post Oct 12 2010, 07:32 PM
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People have argued this before. I feel few if any people succeed in shielding a Strat without sucking some tone. Myself, anything that takes away from that in even a small amount, is not worth it. Strat players have always been able to manage the noise without putting on shielding.


http://www.strat-talk.com/forum/tech-talk/...ne-quality.html

edit: I should qualify my perspective. I primarily play a Les Paul I use a lot of stomp boxes, currently in series, wah, compressor, booster, distortion, flanger, octave box, Eventide Tonefactor, delay, looper, BBE Sonic Stomp. It would not matter a rat's ass whether I shielded my Strat using that loop. But I don't have to use all that with my Strat.

BTW, the Sonic Stomp is nice. Like most people I leave it on all the time, it makes the tone sound a lot better. You can get one for under $60 if you look around. Also the Eventide boxes are nice. I am going to get a Modfactor when I find a deal that I like. And maybe a Timefactor at a later date. Eventide is real nice, I mean real nice. I tried a TC Electronic Nova Modulator and sent it back, it sucked compared to Eventide quality in my view. First time I ever sent a device back, I was pretty disappointed.

This post has been edited by fkalich: Oct 12 2010, 08:07 PM
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fkalich
post Oct 12 2010, 08:46 PM
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QUOTE (VictorUK @ Oct 12 2010, 02:16 PM) *
and no i didnt notice any tone difference just less noise from the pickups...


Keep in mind that anyone who makes this mod, no longer has a basis for a side by side comparison. If you took two identical sounding strats, modified one, and then compared them straight into an amp clean channel, I bet darn straight you would hear a difference. That might not be as important to you as the benefit that you get from shielding, but it would be there. The guy named Luke from Scotland, on the thread I referenced wires guitars commercially, and he states that there is indeed a measurable change in the electrical signal after shielding, no matter how properly done.


edit: if you really want to shield your instrument, here is a good reference. I don't agree with the guy that nothing is lost. However, if you are going to do it, here you go, if you want to do it right.

http://www.guitarnuts.com/wiring/shielding/shield3.php



This post has been edited by fkalich: Oct 12 2010, 09:49 PM
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Mudbone
post Oct 12 2010, 10:03 PM
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Thank you everybody for your excellent feedback smile.gif

QUOTE (VictorUK @ Oct 12 2010, 03:16 PM) *
erm i didnt ground the shielding..... but i made sure the shielding in the cavities had a connection with the shielding on the pickguard so it creates a whole cage of shielding..

and no i didnt notice any tone difference just less noise from the pickups...


I think you didn't have any tonal difference because the shielding wasn't grounded. From what I understand connecting the shielding to the ground is what degrades the tone.


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Mojo: Hammer of Odin and a pair of Ox gonads
Inspiration: Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Zero to Hero: 1,387/10,000

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fkalich
post Oct 13 2010, 02:31 AM
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QUOTE (Mudbone @ Oct 12 2010, 04:03 PM) *
Thank you everybody for your excellent feedback smile.gif



I think you didn't have any tonal difference because the shielding wasn't grounded. From what I understand connecting the shielding to the ground is what degrades the tone.


An ungrounded shielding will have as much effect shielding as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You have to ground it or there is no point.

What sucks tone is capacitance. This will occur when metal plates are in close proximity to each other, but not touching. Here is a wikipedia definition.

"In electromagnetism and electronics, capacitance is the ability of a body to hold an electrical charge. Capacitance is also a measure of the amount of electrical energy stored (or separated) for a given electric potential. A common form of energy storage device is a parallel-plate capacitor. In a parallel plate capacitor, capacitance is directly proportional to the surface area of the conductor plates and inversely proportional to the separation distance between the plates."

Something like this is going to matter more to some people that others. I don't think it is a big deal if anyone else shields a Strat, but I would not myself, because I am a fanatic about something like this. Art is like that, fanaticism is part of the turf. So long as you don't impose your fanaticism on others.
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Ivan Milenkovic
post Oct 20 2010, 01:38 AM
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I'm not really an expert for this, but I would say that reducing hum from pickups is primarily being done with wax potting the pickups. After that it's the copper foil. Copper foil is fairly easy to do, but not sure about wax potting. I guess it's not that hard, there are tons of interesting tutorials on the web. It would be a fun project. Here's an interesting article:
http://www.guitarnuts.com/technical/electrical/index.php


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fkalich
post Oct 20 2010, 02:13 AM
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Hum as is most conventionally defined, refers to the inherent AC hum in the electrical supply. In the US it is 60 cycles per second. I am not sure what it is in Europe. Humbuckers cancel most of this by using two coils next to each other. Shielding will do little to isolate your signal from this hum. The other noise, general electrical interference, is usually higher pitched. It is the result of the electrical/magnetic fields inherent in any electrical flow . A major source of this can be lighting, or really anything electrical in the proximity. Grounded shielding will serve to isolate your signal from this interference.

The tone sucking issue with shielding is capacitance, which occurs when two charged plates are in close proximity. When you turn your tone knob on your guitar, you are bringing a capacitor into play, to suck out part of you signal, in that simple implementation the highs. Your cables also have a degree of capacitance. Low capacitance cables are available, at higher cost. Shielding can also tend to act as a capacitor, especially if improperly done. If you are going to do so, I suggest that you look at the above link that I provided for guidance, to avoid this as much as possible.

Some claim that Fender left the shielding off of the traditional Strat out of cheapness. I don't believe that. The Telecaster has shielding, at least mine does. They left it out intentionally in the Strat, as part of a design that produces the unique Strat sound. I don't know what they do with the noiseless pickup Strats, perhaps they shield those. Those don't really sound like a traditional Strat anyway. At least not when you are playing fairly clean.

QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Oct 19 2010, 07:38 PM) *
I'm not really an expert for this, but I would say that reducing hum from pickups is primarily being done with wax potting the pickups. After that it's the copper foil. Copper foil is fairly easy to do, but not sure about wax potting. I guess it's not that hard, there are tons of interesting tutorials on the web. It would be a fun project. Here's an interesting article:
http://www.guitarnuts.com/technical/electrical/index.php


This post has been edited by fkalich: Oct 20 2010, 02:31 AM
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