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Are there benefits to shielding?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by sloppy_phil, Dec 28, 2011.

  1. sloppy_phil


    Aug 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Not actually named Phil
    I have an older Ric 4003 and it's definitely got some single coil hum goin' on. Not that it's a big deal (all my guitars are single coils, so i'm used to it) but, seeing as I'm going to be doing a little more modding on this thing in the future, I thought about shielding it too. Will there be a noticeable reduction in hum if I go through with it? I assume it's just kind of how single coils go and some hum will always be there, but if there's a definite reduction, then I'm all for it. It looks like as of right now there isn't a lick of shielding on the bass anywhere

    And, if it's worth going through with, should I be using copper foil, shielding paint, or some combination? My initial assumption would be to put copper foil on the PG underside, and then paint the cavity...
  2. Shielding made my Ric quieter for sure. I used copper foil and shielding paint.
  3. Farfetched


    Jan 7, 2009
    Yes its worth doing. I used some copper tape and even then hum was reduced about 90%
  4. MontzterMash

    MontzterMash Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2010
    Oh yeah, it can really help!

    There's lots of threads with instructions and descriptions, so search away. Generally, the more you shield, and the better the grounding, the less hum you get. How much you want to do depends on the specifics of how much hum you have, how much time you have, and how tolerant you are of each.

    I used copper foil that I got at a local stained glass supply shop (turns out people making stained glass use a lot of copper foil).
  5. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Shielding has a benefit in reducing certain types of hum and interference. It will NOT cure single coil hum. If you're going to shield, you have to do it right. Cover all surfaces, then ground those surfaces to the common ground. I personally like the paint, and it works just as well as the tape.
  6. kraigo


    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    If there's a stained glass shop in your area, I've used the copper sheets from there. The stuff I got has conductive adhesive and is relatively cheap ($5/sheet?). A single sheet is more than enough to shield a bass. I've done four or five basses with the stuff and it's been good to me.


    Added: guy n. cognito is absolutely right that it can reduce forms of noise, but single coil hum is not directly affected by it. It's still worth doing because it effectively reduces other types of noise quite well.
  7. sloppy_phil


    Aug 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Not actually named Phil
    hmmm, the responses are both heartening and fear-confirming. I really don't think I have any noise issues besides normal single coil hum; the grounding is secure and there isn't anything strange going on. So my guess is that it won't make things all that much better regarding the buzz, but shielding in general is just good to have. Hopefully I can eat my own words once I've gotten through with the modding.
  8. capnjim


    Mar 13, 2008
    Here's the best way...take off the strings and control knobs...wrap the entire instrument in Aluminum foil...smooth it all down with a small furry rodent (Hamsters work best as they bite less than rats or gerbils) replace strings and knobs, and she will be dead quiet.
    Looks cool too!!
  9. :eyebrow: Theres always one!!! :D
  10. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010

    You can cure the single coil hum on a Ric by doing the RWRP mod. Easy to do! Do a search here, look for the Rickenbacker Club.
  11. sloppy_phil


    Aug 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Not actually named Phil
    i've heard about that RWRP thing on Rics; isn't that what J-basses have? It's too bad that only works in the mid-position with both p'ups on full (uh... that is how it works, right?). I love that sound/position for my prog jamming, but alas it doesn't get nearly as much use with the reggae band.
  12. sloppy_phil


    Aug 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Not actually named Phil
    well, i just did that, and i gotta say.... WOW! the bass looks awesome indeed, and you can't hear any humming. Come to think of it, I don't think I can hear any notes either! And, just to make sure that the foil doesn't ever come off at any point, I put some super glue down before I had the hamster run over it!! Thanks for the insightful suggestion :smug:
  13. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Just turn the tone controls down. That way you wont have hum, and you'll get rid of that pesky non-reggae treble. ;)

    Shielding will help for the high pitched buzzing, but not the single coil hum.
  14. As a rat breeder in a former life and a hamster owner as well, I can say that rats definitely don't bite more than hamsters. Hamsters are horribly vicious creatures.

    I shielded my 4003S/5 and it seemed to help. I used a combination of copper sheets (from amazon) and shielding paint (from mojo music supply).
  15. funkybass4ever


    Dec 12, 2007
    i used the shielding paint which is really toxic then used copper tape . I probably over did it but it worked great . The paint is way easier and less time consuming
  16. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Yep, that's it essentially.
  17. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Shielding IS good to have. And for two reasons. The first is while shielding does not get rid of single coil hum, If done right (lots of copper foil making nice "watertight" enclosure over "everything" (Obviously can't do everything like tops of pickups) it will eliminate the last vestige of ordinary electric hum. And I've been surprised to discover that getting rid of that last tiny bit of hum does make a difference. Somehow even a tiny bit of extra hum makes the single coil hum seem louder than it really is. So for that reason taking time to get totally rid of ordinary hum is often worthwhile.

    And the other reason, is that shielding gets rid of more than just hum. For example it helps block radio waves from getting in the bass. You may not have noticed a problem, but all it takes is a gig close to a broadcast radio transmitter and an amp that is susceptible to radio pickup and you can have the radio playing through your bass rig! Shielding also goes a long way toward blocking that.

    I don't know that you need paint and copper. Isn't that sort of like a belt and suspenders? Paint is easier, but for me copper always works While I've had a case or two where somehow the paint still allowed a little hum to leak through. Maybe paint was old. I don't know. Just saying.

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