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Alternative Paint for shielding?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by jucas, May 10, 2006.

  1. jucas


    Dec 14, 2003
    Hey all,

    I have a question here that I haven't really seen covered anywhere. I'm thinking that I want to shield the cavities of my bass with conductive paint (its already been pretty hacked up so original value is pretty much not even a consideration, plusa couple other reasons) but unfortunately in placing an order for pots/etc at stew mac i managed to forget this.

    So being impatient I was looking around locally (and the stuff is impossible to find) I stumbled across some "magnetic paint". Its pretty much just iron bits in paint as far as I can see, and is an acrylic latex water-based primer. I know nothing about paints and only marginally more about electronics, but is this something that could potentially work? If so and I grab a can how would I go about testing it before and after its on my bass(ie a line of the paint on a board and a multimeter suficient?)?

    I ask as I was hoping to buy a generic version anyway, and things that are "for the guitar" tend to have an inflated price. If so its about $20 canadian for (i think... cant remember for sure) a pint can (473mL?) It definately looked bigger than a half pint container. Whereas stewmac is $60 for a pint of shielding paint. Hopefully I can save a few of us some money... 12.5 square feet with 2 coats would do a lot of basses.

    My questions are is iron a suitable matierial if it is conductive? Would oxidation be a big problem, or would the paint theoretically help there? If the experts here figure that it would work if it conducts I'll go grab a can and tell everyone if it works. I kinda expect a no, but it cant hurt to ask.

    Heres a link, but a google for "wall magic magnetic paint" without the quotes got lots of sites with different pieces of the description.


    edit: added link
  2. I suspect it won't work. It's not just a matter of adding metal bits to normal paint (that's what metallic car paint has btw), it's making sure that the conductive bits are in contact with each other when the paint dries. Also, bear in mind that, regardless of whether it's conductive or not, being a ferromagnetic material it may affect the magnetic field of the pickups and hence their tone. I know the Stewmac stuff is more expensive but it also goes a long way, I got a 1/2 pint can ages ago, have done maybe a dozen guitars and basses (I always apply 2 coats) and it's not even half empty.
  3. jucas


    Dec 14, 2003
    Yeah... I kinda thought so. I guess I'm pretty much stuck with stewmac. Wasn't so much that it was expensive, just that I didn't want to wait for shipping and such (I have new pickups ready to go in)

    Oh well.
  4. Why mess around with paint when you can use CU-tape?
  5. jucas


    Dec 14, 2003
    Mostly thought about using paint as the bass already has part of it done that way, and its been pretty hacked up when it was being routed for a J pickup and to make room for some active bits. Theres enough missing from some of the srufaces that I doubted copper foil would have been much easier. I thought that if paint could be found locally that it would have been the easiest option.

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