Shielding a guitar – solderless adhesive foil
Copper foil looks great. I also take joy in the fact that the electrons enjoy more freedom of movement in a thin foil than in a thick paint. :D
Because soldering on aluminium foil is tricky at best, just make a few indentations here and there along the points where the tape interlaps. Or simply fold underneath a corner of the top tape so that the top/clean surfaces make contact. (see photos)
-on the internets: Terry McInturff
I am a firm believer in shielding a non-vintage guitar as completely as is possible.
What is meant by shielding? It means that…as much as is possible…the pickup cavities, the pickups, the controls…are all surrounded by an electrically conductive metal foil, paint, etc that is grounded. A good job of this will substancially reduce the amount of Radio Frequency (RF) buzz and interference that will come out of the speaker cabinet.
It can make a big difference. All sorts of RF can create havoc…not only from radio stations, but also from light dimmer packs, flourescent lighting, and even digital cash registers!
While I personally recommend conductive paint..applied liberally, in multiple coats…adhesive-backed foil can work too.
Main aim…surround all components as much as is possible…test to make sure that all shielding is connected to ground…also to make sure that no accidental grounding-out of any component can happen via the shielding should a securing nut happen to come loose, etc.
Myth: Shielding will change the tone of the guitar
This is only true if you consider RF noise to be a part of the musical tone of a guitar. I consider RF to be unmusical noise. Totally undesirable.
Common error: not doing a neat and thorough job, not grounding the shield properly
Remember that the goal is to surround the components with what amounts to a grounded, conductive enclosure…technically, a Faraday Cage. The shield must readily conduct electricity (test with a VOM) AND be connected to ground via sturdy means.
Tip: how to paint internal wire holes
Pipe cleaners make a good “brush” for this.
Shielding will not detract from your tone. Arguably, the tone will be improved.
Great shielding + Excellent electrical components + world-class wiring = totally professional work “under the hood”
Im painting on shielding today, and so this topic came to mind.”