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Aluminum Foil?????????

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by The modifier, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. Im super cheap yes I know it, but can use aluminum foil to shield my pick up and control cavities, since its not tape id probably glue it with some elmers glue all, will aluminum work at all for shielding instead of copper???????????
  2. Scotti4


    Jan 24, 2009
    Hi Mate

    Aluminum foil works fine. I've done a few basses with it, only issue is the gluing process which I've found is best done using spray adhesive but make sure it's the permanent photo mount otherwise it lifts. Good Luck and remember to do the pickguard, rear cavity and lid and let the screws connect the surfaces.
  3. Thanks for the reply, did it alright with some adhesive spray, unfortunately it did little to no difference, its alright though, it only seems to buzz when I turn both of my tone knobs up to max other wise its completely buzz free, I did clean the control cavities (boy was it a mess in there, I had never opened it, the factory people left a lot of sawdust and chunks of cardboard in there, I cleaned it out, and the pots as well.)
  4. sgtdemeo


    Dec 31, 2007
    Lowell, Ma, USA
    I AM the man with the plan
    dude, go to your local friendly buffet restaurant, and ask them for like 2 feet of the aluminum foil that they have there, its like twice as thick, and will stand up much better to tearing.
  5. Ill try it, if not ill just got to the hardware store and buy some copper tape
  6. +1 for aluminum foil. I was a little surprised when that's what the Warmoth rep actually suggested I use, but it works. :)

    +1 for spray adhesive too. I'd suggest going to your local hobby/hardware store to get a can of 3M Super 77:


    It's pretty good heavy duty stuff. Just make sure to be careful when you're spraying, it doesn't like to come off. :)

  7. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    You are soldering the pieces together after installation, right? If it's not soldered together you're not going to get effective grounding and shielding. All you'll be adding is a layer of metal in your cavity.

    IMHO saving a few bucks and using aluminum foil with the extra work needed (to do it right) just has never been worth the extra effort vs cost difference. I just opt to spend $20 or so and have enough stewmac copper tape to shield 4 basses or so.

    And I thoroughly expect the physics/science nerds to show up soon and start arguing about the conductive specs of different metals as seems to happen any time anyone brings up this subject.

    In my opinion...
    Shielding paint = Works fine with enough coats and time to dry. But to me not as well as copper tape.
    Aluminum foil = Personally I've never bothered messing with it due to difficulty in soldering to Aluminum.
    Copper tape = Easy, fast and effective.
  8. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Aluminum foil is best used to line the hats of people who buy Real Expensive AC cables. I mean, really: you can buy affordable copper foil with conductive adhesive backing in a kit or separately from several places including Carvin and Stewart-MacDonald. You don't need to solder it, and it's much more durable to pot shafts' non-slip grommet washers and conforms better to the cavity without tearing.
  9. jwymore


    Jul 26, 2001
    Portland, OR
    Yep, the problem with aluminum foil is connecting the pieces together for continuity and getting good connection to ground. You can't solder it like copper so you need to do some type of mechanical connection to get the foil grounded. If you just line the cavity with foil but don't connect it to ground it does nothing!!

    I'm in the spend a few dollars extra and get the copper foil camp ...
  10. Now you tell me, well I went out to Lowes and got myself some adhesive copper tape(I removed al the aluminum I had stuck in there), so you tell me I have to actually connect the ground wire that goes under the bridge to all the new lining of coper tape im putting into the cavity:confused: how do you do that (I do have a soldering gun)
  11. kevinmoore73

    kevinmoore73 Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2007
    Cleveland, OH
    My approach is this: Ground everything, including the shield, to the input jack. It shut my Lakland up in a jiffy.
  12. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    The problem with copper is that it just doesn't work very well when used to make hats.
  13. jwymore


    Jul 26, 2001
    Portland, OR
    I solder any overlaps in the foil so you know they are connected together well. I then solder a wire to the copper foil somewhere and run it to the ground side of the input jack as mentioned above. After doing all this I check the shield to ground using an ohm meter to make sure it's really grounded. If you look closely in the picture below you can see where I put little solder connections in a bunch of places where the foil meets. I also run a tiny bare wire through the pickup wire holes and solder them to the shielding in each pickup cavity. When done right you should never have more than 2-4 ohms of resistance from anywhere on your shielding to ground.

  14. Fire-Starter

    Fire-Starter Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2002
    Why dont they just do this stuff at the factory before shipping the basses out? I think it should be standard, we talking just a bit more time and some cheap copper tape.

    Correct me too if I am wrong, but can you use any ground in the bass as a single point? or is the output jack the only and best ground? I thought ground is ground from my eairly days in Electronics and Oms law etc....

    I could be wrong of course on the latter, but I am curious since I plan on doing this myself. :meh:
  15. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    Many say it's best to ground everything in the same place. Be it the output jack, or a PreAmp pot, blend pot, etc. Some times ground multiple places can allow additional noise by differences between those two ground locations.

    And people 'can' greatly over-think the issue... but... often a decent grounding can make a almost unusable 'live' gigging bass or guitar due to noise miraculously 'decent'. Basic single coils are always going to give you more trouble than other pickups. Nature of the beast.
  16. Fender started using shielding paint in all their MIM and MIA stuff in 2008.
  17. NorCal Dog

    NorCal Dog

    Nov 28, 2005
    atta-boy John,, that body looks great :hyper::hyper::hyper:
  18. +1 For aluminum foil - its cheap and easy to work with for your first sheilding job or two. Its not as stiff as copper tape and won't prick your fingers.
    +1 For copper tape in tight pickup cavities. Its also takes solder easy, unlike the aluminum.
  19. Disappear


    May 9, 2008
    Instead of shielding, you should just gig in a faraday cage. Heck you might even be more noticed than most bassists without even being seen...
  20. Well, ill attempt to do as good as a job as you did there, what particular solder did you use?