Shielding and wiring questions

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by crsuribe, Oct 7, 2020.

  1. crsuribe

    crsuribe New Member!

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    Hello All!

    I am upgrading a 50's American Original Strat and want to preserve the original looks of it but make some upgrades inside. I plan on building a fully grounded Faraday cage with copper tape and either aluminum pickguard shielding foil or a solid aluminum pickguard shield.

    My questions are:
    1. Is there an advantage to a solid aluminum shield (.018") versus pickguard shielding foil (.003")? One concern I have is having the thicker solid shield push my pickguard out enough that dirt and dust will collect and would look a bit silly as well without providing a huge advantage? Am I wrong?
    2. I am installing Lollar Blonde pickups on an American Original 50's Strat and can't decide whether to do a blender mod or keep the standard wiring. I was looking at the pre-wired Emerson blender kit versus their standard wiring kit. I know this is a personal preference thing but am interested in hearing your thoughts.
    Thank you in advance for your help!!!
     
  2. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    No benefit to heavier shielding.
    Be careful... the jack and tip of the plug are very close to the side of the cavity, and it is not uncommon for there to be shorts against foil shielding in this area.
    Honestly, I would not bother with the jack cavity, but if you insist, I'd put a layer of tape around the top curve.
    Another trouble spot is the control cavity below the switch, but there is enough depth on a Corona/MiM body for that not to be a problem, likely this is only an issue on the thinner Squier bodies.
     
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  3. CadillacBob

    CadillacBob Strat-Talk Member Silver Member

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    I have a 56 American Vintage Strat which I added copper tape shielding. I fully did the whole cavity and I also used the copper tape to just extend what aluminum tape that was already on the pickguard. Make sure you buy the tape that has conductive adhesive. It made a big difference and cut down the humming. I'm not sure about the solid Aluminum shield but the tape works good and won't raise your pickguard. As for worrying about the dust, well my pickguard is an 8 hole so has slight gaps that I guess dust could get in but never had an issue.

    As for the wiring - yes its preference, I kept mine original with the vintage wiring.
     
  4. crsuribe

    crsuribe New Member!

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    Did your tone change at all with the shielding?
     
  5. CadillacBob

    CadillacBob Strat-Talk Member Silver Member

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    Did not notice any tone change at all, just cut the noise
     
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  6. crsuribe

    crsuribe New Member!

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    Excellent points. Wonder if it's even really worth it to shield at all?
     
  7. vid1900

    vid1900 Most Honored Senior Member

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    Copper foil is the best, and you can solder to it.

    Put a piece of electrical tape over where the tip of the cord might touch it.
     
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  8. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    If the wiring is done properly, there it the potential for a small improvement.
    "Properly" being defined as pickup leads, and the run from the volume pot to the jack being twisted, and keeping the single runs of "hot" between the switch and pots to a minimum.
    Your pickups are the source of most of the noise, and shielding the main body cavity can reduce anything picked up from behind.
    The short lengths of wire in the control cavity are too short to really amount to much of anything.
    Unfortunately, you can't shield the top of the pickup ;)

    But keep in mind that AC hum is 60hz. That wavelength is measured in yards... actually miles. 60Hz has a wavelength of 5,000 kilometers.
    Even at 1/4 wave, it's 1,250 kilometers. A grounded chain link fence can protect against that.

    Of bigger concern, and more today than in the 70s, are sources of higher frequencies, such as 2.4Ghz WiFi, which is closer to 5" for the full wave.
    Computers, light dimmers, fans with electronic power supplies... Everything that we have grown to love that didn't exist in a typical home in the 70s is a potential noise source.
     
  9. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh needs you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too.

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    I use the aluminum duct tape you can get at your friendly neighborhood home improvement warehouse. Al is superior to copper when it comes to filtering "buzz" and it's a lot less expensive than the copper tape you get from guitar parts suppliers. When applying, I put a small cut in with an X-acto to fold a tiny portion of one layer into the other at the seam between overlapping sections to create a contiguous shield and it's worked beautifully for me. Screw in an eyelet with a ground lead attached to it and Bob's yer uncle.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2020
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  10. 98springer

    98springer Strat-Talk Member

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    On the edge, baby!
    I used the copper tape with the conductive adhesive and shielded the pickup and control cavities as well as the whole back of the pickguard. I grounded the cavity shielding to the trem claw using that wire that should be there already and extended some of the cavity shielding up onto the top of the body in a couple of places so that each tab covered a pickguard screw hole and poked a hole in the shielding where the screw hole was. That way when the pickguard is installed, its shielding makes contact with tabs from the cavity shielding which is already grounded to the trem claw and controls. I saw this in a video or it might have come with the instructions for the shielding.

    A lot of manufacturers use shielding paint which is that black paint you see in the cavities. I don't trust it but a lot of folks swear by it.
     
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  11. crsuribe

    crsuribe New Member!

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    Thank you for sharing your knowledge on this! Very much appreciated and certainly worth considering!