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WRGKMC

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I was browsing the other day and came across a deal on copper foil tape I couldn't pass up. 

The Tele I built a few weeks ago has cheap Squire pickups and they don't hum-buck in the middle pickup position.  I eventually plan on buying better pickups but I figured shielding the cavity wouldn't hurt.  I have two other guitars that could benefit by better shielding too.  I stumbled across this which is an excellent buy. 

1 inch  by 66 feet  https://www.amazon.com/LOVIMAG-Conductive-Shielding-Repellent-Electrical/dp/B071JKLFXX/ref=pd_sbs_229_t_2/140-3122674-5187461?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B071JKLFXX&pd_rd_r=920dd496-a374-4d21-89b8-e10d0c68e0ba&pd_rd_w=b9c4T&pd_rd_wg=FhpNY&pf_rd_p=5cfcfe89-300f-47d2-b1ad-a4e27203a02a&pf_rd_r=BR0DDQ2GGRDR7M523VJY&psc=1&refRID=BR0DDQ2GGRDR7M523VJY

You can get 2" at 33' for the same price.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018RDZ3HG/ref=sspa_dk_detail_2?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B018RDZ3HG&pd_rd_w=cnNpB&pf_rd_p=c83c55b0-5d97-454a-a592-a891098a9709&pd_rd_wg=5Ryfq&pf_rd_r=GGVRCK56AA3BFECKF0ZC&pd_rd_r=0bf02694-6387-4e62-9d19-5415259a0c3d&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExWFBTTEdFWkE3SDE3JmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMzI2NDk0QjFQR0tGTkw1VUo3JmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA2MjE1MDdHU0pLSzlGMlNYQVEmd2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9kZXRhaWxfdGhlbWF0aWMmYWN0aW9uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl

Stu Mac charges $23 for 15" of 2"  which is 4X more expensive for the same stuff.  Dimarzio charges $13 for a 3" by 2 foot piece.  That's more then 11 times the cost. 

I got the 1" because I plan on wrapping the wires to the neck pickup creating a "shielded wire" to the pickup instead of trying to shield the entire body cavity.  Tele's use a partially exposed wire channel which is too tight to try and apply shielding of copper is a better choice.  I'll do the control cavity and possibly the back of the pickguard too.  The neck pickup has a shielded wire to that pickup and the bridge itself is steel so it probably wont benefit much from additional shielding. 

 

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For something like the neck pickup wires for a Tele, I can see why you'd opt for 1" copper foil tape, but for doing the back of a pickguard or the inside of a control cavity, I think 1" would be too much of a PITB to work with, especially if you were trying to do a nice, clean installation. Give me 2" or 3" for something like that!

And yes, that's a good price! Thanks for the heads-up. :cool2: 

 

 

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I saw the 2" after buying the 1".  I figured I'd get that next time.  

In my case many of the guitars I built myself and have oddball control cavities with rough surfaces.  Lining them wont be so easy.  I've done several using aluminum tape which is 2" and you wind up trimming.  1" may actually be a blessing given its easier to get in small cramped spaces.  Too bad aluminum is a really bad Mu metal. It's good for shielding extremely high frequency wires like cable TV but it has very little effect on low Frequency AC waves which pass right through it. You need a couple of millimeters to match what a thin piece of copper does.   

Using double the number of strips on a pickguard may be a problem for a beginner but its actually less work to install because you don't have to trim as much.  I used the 2" on a tele pickguard and still hade a fair amount of trimming to do.  So long as you trim the edges neatly the number of strips isn't an issue, in fact any overlapping only increases its grounding abilities.  Maybe someone totally unskilled would have an issue applying tape neatly or making sure its electrically soldered to ground, but for most this isn't rocket science. T

he toughest part installing it is making sure the foil doesn't touch any active parts in the cavity that might short the signal.  Tele control cavities can be very tight.  I used a 4 way switch on my Fender and it was tough getting it in there without hitting a ground wire or pinching wires.  I typically use non conductive tape over the foil in hot spots likely to touch it and minimize possible shorts.  

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Is the adhesive an insulator? I soldered all the overlaps when I did my Carvins just in case.  :D

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15 minutes ago, 1001gear said:

Is the adhesive an insulator? I soldered all the overlaps when I did my Carvins just in case.  :D

I do that too.  IMO it's good practice.  The adhesive is conductive, but not as good a conductor as copper. And, soldering the joints helps keep it in place, and makes it look tidy. 

Thanks for the heads up WRGKMC.  That's a good deal .

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I too will likely tack pieces together just to be sure. Copper oxidizes over time and even if the glue contains a metallic powder like copper to make it conductive, time isn't friendly to metals like Copper, Silver Iron/steel, and Nickle etc.  A quick tack of solder when attaching the ground wire and you're good to go. 

I wouldn't mind finding a low cost source for the metallic paint too. I have a couple of guitars that have it and they have excellent shielding.

 

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37 minutes ago, WRGKMC said:

I too will likely tack pieces together just to be sure. Copper oxidizes over time and even if the glue contains a metallic powder like copper to make it conductive, time isn't friendly to metals like Copper, Silver Iron/steel, and Nickle etc.  A quick tack of solder when attaching the ground wire and you're good to go. 

I wouldn't mind finding a low cost source for the metallic paint too. I have a couple of guitars that have it and they have excellent shielding.

 

I thought you needed a metallic seal so I ran beads over every overlap lol.

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22 hours ago, 1001gear said:

I thought you needed a metallic seal so I ran beads over every overlap lol.

That's overkill but it wont hurt anything.  You'd only need a single bead of solder the size of a small wire to ground them.   

What you're actually doing by adding the shielding is creating a shielded chassis within the guitar body, the same as your guitar amp has to shield the components inside from external magnetic radio waves.  The guitar cable that connects the two is shielded too. 

You can google a scientist named Faraday for more information on the topic.  Specifically "Faradays Cage"  which was used in early static electricity experiments by people like Ben franklin and was later an essential part of radio designs shielding stray waves and getting clear reception.  The theory behind it is, airborne magnetic radio waves seek ground (earth).  They will take the path of least resistance to get there.  Whatever is inside the grounded box is isolated from whatever waves are in the air surrounding the box.    

This picture is of course an extreme example of the box being able to ground the high static voltages. The box acts as a lightening rod.  In audio the waves are only magnetic not Plasma discharges as see here.  Never the less, the magnetic waves are grounded keeping the interior free of electrical noise.  The shielding must be nearly continuous to block the maximum amount of 60Hz magnetic waves which are the strongest because we built that AC grid to power Our towns and cities.  Shielding is a matter of percentages.  May older Tube radios and TV's used steel screen much like you find on a screen door as a shield on the bottom of the chassis.  This allowed the chassis to stay cool.  The tube would make the air rise and cool air would get drawn in through the screen through convection current as the hot air rose and created a vacuum.   The screen did a fair job grounding most of the hum.  What was left was far enough below the normal audio to not be noticed.   

Related image

You can take into account how Fender guitars were designed here too.  The parts were mostly Telephone/radio parts, including the jacks and switches. Leo only built amps designed to run clean.  He built guitars dirt cheap and shielded wiring wasn't a priority.  Today Fender uses the term Vintage design is an excuse not to spend the money to shield their guitars.  Shielding doesn't affect the tone it simple increases the amount of headroom you have.  They are too cheap to spend $1 and add shielding even 50 years after the crappy wiring became a problem.  Instead they offered expensive pickup designs as a solution, often sacrificing classic tone as a trade off.  You'd think by now they'd take at least a few pennies and spray the cavity with metallic paint and ground it instead of making tens of thousands or musicians do it themselves, often badly, and developing a reputation of being to cheap to fix their crappy design. 

 

 

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