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Alumium foil for shielding?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by DivXovore, Nov 28, 2006.

  1. DivXovore


    Mar 24, 2006
    Seville, Spain
    Hi there, handymen!

    Well, i want to do shielding on my bass, but can´t find autoadhesive copper foil to do it. BUT I´ve found a tape of something that seems to be autoadhesive aluminium, that is also an electrical conductor.

    The question is: will aluminium (i think) do the job?

    Thanks everyone! (I am unreasonabily happy as tomorrow is my birthday! weee!):hyper: :bassist:
  2. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA
    if it's real aluminum tape, not that aluminum looking duct tape..then yes it will work as shielding. you should overlap the pieces and make good contact with each piece.
  3. DivXovore


    Mar 24, 2006
    Seville, Spain
    For the contact between pieces i was thinking in ironsoldering, i think that should work :)
  4. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Soldering between pieces of aluminum or copper tape is a very good idea. If you rely on "tape to tape" contact the adhesive acts as an insulator and your shielding will be less than satisfactory.
  5. reddogbass


    Aug 17, 2006
    Soldering aluminum requires a special solder, and is more difficult than joining ferrous metal using lead solder.

    Just cut the piece oversize and form into the piclup cavity. For grounding the sheilding I use a small carpet tack through the stripped end of a wire, with the stands soldered.
  6. saxnbass


    Mar 9, 2006
    Nashville, TN
    I got copper tape from stewmac.com
  7. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Copper window screen wire will work just fine for shielding and is available at almost all hardware stores. A couple of bucks would buy enough to do several basses. You can cut it with scissors and it solders nicely. Double sided carpet tape keeps it in place.

    I've never found a solder that worked very well at all on aluminum.
  8. I used copper slug tape from the garden section at ACE. You can buy 20' rolls for like 8 bucks and it's got adhesive on the back.
  9. keyboardguy

    keyboardguy Supporting Member

    May 11, 2005
  10. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
  11. bassbully43


    Jul 1, 2005
    What the heck is copper slug tape? Do you mean 20" rolls and not 20'...man thats alot of tape if its 20':smug:
  12. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Banned

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    20' isn't that much.
  13. That's a good idea. I'll file it away and give you one more back...

    The aluminum tapes shield just fine but, as everyone now knows, you can't solder the aluminum tape. You really should be getting a good bonded connection but the adhesive between the layers undermines that contact.

    I use aluminum tape quite often so I figured out how to "rivet" the pieces of tape together. This increases the bond between the sheets and keeps them from possibly rolling up or peeling back. Use a small sharp punch to to firmly dimple the tape by pushing it into the wall of the cavity. The adhesive seems to squeeze out and both layers are trapped in the indention in the wood. My favorite tool for this is one of those technicians picks with a straight point and a 90 degree point. You can get into pickup cavities good with that one. I'll just go along and dimple the seams like I was building a small battleship. To attach your ground wire to the shielding, use a small screw into the meaty side of the cavity and put a ring on the end to attach it.

    Hope this helps
  14. I thought you said it was a conductive adhesive? You can get tapes with a conductive adhesive which means you dont need to solder.

    Look on ebay, if ebay spain doesnt have anything, look on the uk ebay, because it doesnt cost much and it doesnt cost much to ship a roll of tape to spain :p
  15. OK -stupid question time - what exactly does shielding do - I understand the fact that it creates a barrier to electronic fields or signals, but what is the specific effect on the bass that is shielded or un-shielded. Is it only used for active or for passive as well?
  16. sheilding stops (or helps stop) hum, it is for active and passive basses
  17. Slugs are repelled by copper so they sell two inch tape that you apply on garden borders to keep away the little nasties. I'm a gardner and had some laying around one day and decided to stick in in the control cavity. It worked great!
  18. bassbully43


    Jul 1, 2005
    HAHA thats funny ...so slugs hate copper..who would of known. Cool i will look for it this week.
  19. MammaryVest


    Oct 18, 2006
    Stoneham, MA
    I recently brought my bass to the shop to fix a sheilding/grounding problem. The guy made fun of me when he took out the half-ton of tinfoil that I had used in it. He said it was like I was trying to "cook my leftovers".
  20. Grey Cat

    Grey Cat

    Dec 1, 2006
    Denver, CO
    I've used the aluminum tape on several guitars and it's very effective. I'll overlap each piece by about 3/4", and fold the overlapped piece in half, so that I get aluminum-to-aluminum contact. Then I'll just run a small strip of tape along the seam to hold it down. Once I do this, I'll cut the ground wires running from pot to pot (the pg or control plate needs to be shielded as well.) This helps get rid of ground loops.

    A word of advice: Aluminum tape is REALLY sticky, and seems to want to stick to everything EXCEPT what you're trying to apply it to (the chair, your hands, a random cat or dog walking by.)

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