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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Shielding for Telecaster

Surfinboy
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USA

Practice!
May 22nd, 2019 09:05 PM   Edit   Profile  

My Telecaster is noisy as hell, especially around dimmer switches, computer screens, random 60-cycle hum. My guy says copper shielding will make a difference. He prefers that to shielding paint. Thoughts? Never shielded a guitar before.

On the contrary, my PRS David Grissom, even with the coils split, is quiet as hell. What gives?

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
May 22nd, 2019 09:24 PM   Edit   Profile  

Shielding definitely helps. I've never seen a properly conducted scientific study proving that copper shielding is better than paint or vice versa.

Whatever approach you take, it's crucial that you shield the back of the pickguard with copper or aluminum foil. Also, whatever shielding material is used in the cavities must be brought up to slightly overlap onto the top of the body so as to make intimate contact with the back of the pickguard and control plate.

And there should be a wire going from a known electrical ground (e.g., negative lug on jack, back of a pot, etc.) to the shielding material. Usually done by wrapping a half turn of the bare end of the wire around a short round head or pan head wood screw and screwing same into body at bottom of a cavity with a washer to trap the wire.

(This message was last edited by Te 52 at 11:25 PM, May 22nd, 2019)

Pinetree
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This is my 2nd Rodeo

May 22nd, 2019 09:58 PM   Edit   Profile  

Shielding is easy to do.

Stewart McDonald sells a great little kit.

Good advice above ^

Mick Reid
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
May 23rd, 2019 02:12 AM   Edit   Profile  

+1 on good advice above.

Here's a pic of a tele & strat I did a few years ago that demonstrates the overlap that Te 52 is talking about to contact with the shielded pickguard.

The ground wire isn't shown in the tele photo, but I installed it as described above before reassembling everything.

Cavity shielding

Peegoo
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
May 23rd, 2019 05:55 AM   Edit   Profile  

Shielding won't protect against most 60-cycle hum, which is electromagnetic interference (EMI). What shielding does block is radio-frequency noise (RF).

Specific to Telecasters: if you don't shield the inside of the output jack's bore, you should use a length of shielded coaxial cable to run signal from the volume pot to the output jack.

A shielded lead from a dead pickup is a good source for shielded co-ax. Another great source for small co-ax is an old style serial printer cable. There's usually four co-ax conductors in them. The unshielded conductors in old serial cables make good hook-up wire for guitars and other low-voltage applications.

If you don't have shielded cable, you're not totally out of the RF-rejection game. Cut your wires about 30% longer than the direct run and put a tight helical twist in the pair

like this.

(This message was last edited by Peegoo at 08:17 AM, May 23rd, 2019)

Doc Sarvis
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Tuned Strings and Tight Lines
May 23rd, 2019 09:28 AM   Edit   Profile  

Like Peegoo wrote, shielding won't help with 60-cycle hum. However, I have shielded most of my single coil guitars. It was easy and I enjoyed doing it.

The older I get, the less I can tolerate 60-cycle hum. I have taken to playing single coil-voiced humbuckers like JBE (my favorite) or Fralin blades.

If I want to reminisce, I play the Fenders with traditional single coils.


wrnchbndr
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New Jersey

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May 23rd, 2019 09:51 AM   Edit   Profile  

When I see a post like this I always suspect that there is a flaw in the wiring strategy but then there are guitars that are just noisy. I just had such a guitar on my bench. All of the replies thus far are on the money.

Shielding does help but it requires that additional precautions are made and you need to be a lot more careful with your wiring or you'll create problems with the signal output shorting to ground. If a wire with signal touches the shielding paint or whatever type of shield material you use, it'll mess things up.

I don't recommend putting shielding paint in the bore hole for the output jack if you use a traditional output jack and especially if you use a Switchcraft jack. That long tip contact often presses right against the sides of the inside of the hole. I use the traditional style Switchcraft jacks only because they are beasts that almost last forever.

Rule#1 for shielding is that ALL of the shield must have optimal conductivity to ground with no resistance. An area of shielding that does not have good conductivity to ground can actually cause more noise.

Take an ohm meter set to its lowest setting, touch the leads together and see what the indication is for zero ohms. You should be able to get the same indication when you connect any of the exposed metal parts of the guitar. The bridge should have zero ohms of resistance to the nut on the output jack. The same goes for the control plate and the cover of the neck pickup.

Factory foil under the pickguard can cause a problem if it is isolated from ground. It can become an antenna if its not grounded. Take off the control plate cover and raise the pickguard. Take a length of G-string cut it and bend it so that you can insert one end into the screw hole of the control plate cover and the other end into a screw hole for the pickguard so when the pickguard is installed, it pinches the wire against the foil. ...Yea, just jab a 1/4" length into the screw-holes and the screws will go right in and tighten against the guitar string.

I don't like using foil or stick-on shielding tape. It can come loose and short out against an exposed wire. Additionally, I don't trust that all of the sections of tape or strips of foil will achieve and maintain optimal conductivity with ground via adhesive and there is a chance that a section of the foil can become isolated and act as an antenna for alien or CIA mind control transmissions.

Allparts sells an awesome vintage cloth insulated shielded wire. Its exactly what Peegoo was describing as shielded pickup wire. If you're in pursuit of optimal signal isolation, this is the stuff to use.

A simplicity of a telecaster is one of the things that that makes it an awesome working musicians weapon of choice. The bare non-conductive surfaces on the control cavity allow even the sloppiest Vogon tech to glob solder connections on the pots and the three-way switch and achieve a functional result. If you shield the control cavity, you need to be very careful with the lugs of the switch as they will be fractions of an inch away from shorting out.

Pinetree
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May 23rd, 2019 10:08 AM   Edit   Profile  

The first few minutes explain what he's referring to here.


His Daveness

wrnchbndr
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New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
May 23rd, 2019 11:47 AM   Edit   Profile  

Exactly. Even if you get continuity while the guitar is all apart, is it still going to be okay in six months? Good electronic practices yield results that last for years. Any chosen shielding method should not have a weak link and last forever.

I like the old process of thin brass sheet cut to the shape of the cavity bottom and continuity established via wire soldered to the brass. This wire needs to end up with continuity to the ground side of the output jack. Older Fenders employ this method and its not all that difficult to take this strategy further.

Hobby stores sell this brass sheet. Its thin enough to cut with scissors and easy to solder to. Cut the shapes to fit, solder the wires, and glue in place.

Mick Reid
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
May 23rd, 2019 04:00 PM   Edit   Profile  

Lot of good info and food for thought there wrnchbndr.

"I like the old process of thin brass sheet cut to the shape of the cavity bottom..."

I've not heard of that technique but am intrigued.
I presume you cut strips wide enough to apply to the sides of the cavities as well?

Also, what type of glue do you recommend?

Thanks


Surfinboy
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USA

Practice!
May 23rd, 2019 10:28 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks for all the great feedback. I'm now considering having it re-wired. I saw a premium cloth rewiring kit for Teles on Stew-Mac for about $50 - it sounds like that might make a difference too. I found a site that sells copper pickguard shields (see link below), but I don't see any brass. I'm hearing many people prefer paint to copper foil. Are there any downsides to paint?

Copper shielding kit

Pinetree
Moderator Emeritus
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This is my 2nd Rodeo

May 23rd, 2019 11:21 PM   Edit   Profile  

Jeez, I'll mail you a few feet of cloth covered wire...

The tape is so easy and takes a few minutes, that's why I use it.


Leftee
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VA

May 24th, 2019 06:32 AM   Edit   Profile  

I’ve used the paint and it’s ok.

Peegoo
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
May 24th, 2019 07:11 AM   Edit   Profile  

The paint does work. It's not as conductive as copper or brass, but it doesn't have to be in order to create an effective Faraday shield. I've used it and it works great. Same for copper foil tape.

Even with some tapes that have [air quotes] "conductive adhesive," I always add a dot of solder at each end of a section of foil tape where it overlaps the section beneath. This guarantees continuity through all pieces of tape when they're in place.

The more accurate description for conductive adhesive would be "conductive adhesive that works about 75% of the time."

Adding the little dots of solder is not that much extra work; perhaps a minute or two at the most.

Achase4u
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U.S. - Virginia

May 24th, 2019 09:19 PM   Edit   Profile  

Make sure you stir that paint up well. I think the graphite can settle. You might be just slopping on empty paint...

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Shielding for Telecaster




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