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Are "Good" Basses and Pups Already Shielded?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by matante, Jan 2, 2017.

  1. matante


    Nov 3, 2003
    Los Angeles
    I've been reading some articles on shielding and I'm scratching my head at a couple of things.

    First, if shielding is necessary, why are so many "good" basses not shielded at the factory? It looks like a pain in the *** to do yourself, so why would the guitar companies sell instruments that are unshielded?

    Second, on the Delano pickups website, they mention that their pickups are shielded, as though it's a feature. Is it to be expected that any quality pickup comes shielded? If not, why not?
  2. el_Bajo_Verde


    May 18, 2016
    I think it's to save money, and some people don't care about the noise.

    Those of us that do care about the noise (it's my biggest pet peeve!) will have to go through the shielding process ourselves.

    I'm actually just going to have my local luthier do it when my new pickups come in. He's a wicked genius and I know he'll do a good job. It's a PITA to do it yourself, but gets easier with practice. I just hated doing it.

    I have to battle a lot of environmental factors that make my electronics hum like CRAZY so it's even more essential that my bass is well-shielded.
  3. mrb327

    mrb327 Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2013
    Nobody Knows
    They arent that hard to shield, but they have shield paint from the factory.
    I shielded my last 2 J basses.

    Newest one is going to hum.
  4. Growlmonkee


    Jan 30, 2013
    Florida, U.S.
    If you have an unwanted noise problem, shielding will help with some of that noise, usually quite a bit of it. Shielding prevents some radio frequency interference, live stages, and sometimes even a house have enough to be annoying. Shielding provides a "cage" around pickups and control cavities that blocks outside interference, though it isn't a complete cage, as you cant cover the tops of pickups, or the part that sticks out above the body, but still, it can quiet things down a lot. Single coil pickups make noise, not related to outside interference, shielding won't affect that noise, but, a bass with single coil pickups, and no shielding has more than 1 source of noise, shielding will cut down on some of it. Some bass manufactures paint control cavities, and pickup cavities with conductive paint, though if it isn't very good quality conductive paint, (the good stuff is expensive), it may not block much interference, and shielding the same bass with something like copper tape, or good quality paint, would be more effective. It takes time to do a good neat job with copper tape, and possibly more than 1 coat of good paint to do a good job, so it would add to the cost of a bass. Some pickups are made with their own "cage" built in, and since the pickups are somewhat like antennas for noise, that cuts out most interference, (and adds to the cost of making the pickup). If you are not bothered by extra noise there's nothing to be gained from the time and effort it takes to do this, as it won't improve tone, and is not a huge selling point for resale. If noise is annoying, shielding is often enough of an improvement to be worth doing.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
    el_Bajo_Verde likes this.

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