1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Does ANYONE use Sheilded Wire?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by cessna928, May 11, 2010.

  1. cessna928


    Mar 1, 2009
    Kentucky USA
    I've started buying up supplies for a couple projects I've been planning, and one of the items I bought locally was three 25' rolls of stranded 22awg hookup wire to rewire my basses with. While looking for a good deal online, which eventually ended with me just buying some radio shack wire for next to nothing, I noticed that they make wire that actually has its own shielding that you have to independently ground. My question is this: What is the point of having independently shielded, internal wiring if the you shield the pickgaurd and cavities of your instruments? Is it overkill, which it looks like, or is it specially made for back routed instruments? Please enlighten me, because the prices they list that stuff at have me puzzled as to whom would buy it.

    Maybe it's for active setups? I seriously have no idea.

  2. nekodensha


    Jul 29, 2009
    Thread bump for an excellent question. I'd like to know the answer to this one as well.
  3. brentonkim


    Mar 10, 2009
    Austin, TX
    bump, and subscribed!
  4. Rune Bivrin

    Rune Bivrin Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2006
    Huddinge, Sweden
    Not all instruments are fully shielded. Particularly hollow instruments...

    Also, there are other uses for wire beyond wiring basses, believe it or not!
  5. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I've tried shielded wire in a Jazz and didn't find that it made any more improvement over standard copper tape shielding in the cavities (which I think can work very well on some instruments)
  6. cessna928


    Mar 1, 2009
    Kentucky USA
    I asked a buddy of mine if he ever used it for his guitar projects, and apparently les pauls commonly use sheilded wire for their setups. I could see how it could be pretty much necessary for semihollows and such, but sheilding them would be pretty much a crap shoot to begin with.

    I would love to do an experiment comparing the effects of different shielding methods. There could be a control, completely unsheilded, instrument, one shielded with copper tape alone, one with sheilded wire alone, one with both, one with conductive paint, and one with the old silver tape method. You could just plug them each in individually and raise them up next to a fluorescent ceiling light, those are pretty good EMI courses from what I can tell.

    Oh, the things I would do with surplus time, money, and instruments.
  7. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    You can also use the shielded braid as a seperate line run, using the one shielded cable as two seperate cables, if they're both coming and going from the same area of the circut.

    Makes things neater.
  8. I really don't understand the question at all, because this should have been common sense.

    First off, not all instruments are shielded.
    You usually see shielded wire on cheap, unshielded basses, but I've rarely seen it on mid to high end basses.

    Second, the idea behind shielding is to do it as thoroughly as possible. It never hurts to shield the cavity and then shield the wires to catch anything the cavity shielding might have missed.

    Also note that the wire connecting the pickups to the control cavity travels through an unshielded area of the bass, so shielded wire can be useful for that.

    FWIW, shielded wire is no substitute for a proper cavity shielding. You need to also be sure the pots and such get shielded.

    I've never looked into it, but I would imagine shielded wire to be somewhat capacitive, due to the nature of it's construction.
    I would rather just use regular wire, personally.
  9. markseb1


    Jul 11, 2007
    I use both shielded wire and copper shielding of the control and pick-up cavities. My bass doesn't have a huge pickguard, or any for that matter, and has long passages for the wiring to get from the pick-up to the control cavity and from the control cavity to the output jack. The only option is to do both copper shielding of the cavities and shielded wire. Yes, I do solder the wires shield wrap to the copper in the cavities to complete the circuit. I can't really tell a big difference since I have a huge single coil pick-up installed, but I didn't want to miss any obvious improvements while I was installing US made pots and the "new" pick-up.
  10. Never had a problem with the channel leading to the pickups myself. If it's a bit on the narrow side I enlarge it a bit then use a roll of coper tape to sheild it (which, granted can be a bit fiddly at times).
  11. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    My friend's ESP (that I recently rewired) used shielded wire. It kind of threw me off initially.
  12. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    Gibson and Rickenbacker use shielded wires. Are you saying they are "cheap" ? A good quality bass or guitar should have shielded cavity's AND shielded wires.
  13. I guess I never noticed it before.
    Those instruments are both passive though, btw. (Right?)
  14. Cheap and good are two very different things.

    IMO, those brands are neither of the above.
  15. :D
  16. MglMatador


    May 5, 2010
    Shielded wire is great for running from the pickup cavities to the area(s) where the pots live (that may or may not have shielded cavities). It's MUCH easier than making up copper shielding tubes and trying to string them through those holes between the various cavities.

    Also, buy tinned/stranded wire with a Teflon jacket: you can solder, re-solder, and triple solder it without fear of burning, shrinking, or melting the insulation (it's good up to obscene temperatures). It's totally worth the extra $$.
  17. Rune Bivrin

    Rune Bivrin Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2006
    Huddinge, Sweden
    It's probably only in wiring instruments that the idea of using unshielded wires for small signals in a high impedance circuit would be considered a good idea. The consensus in audio circles is that shielded wire is needed outside of fully shielded enclosures.

    Think about it: Why do you think the instrument cable is shielded?
  18. Instrument cables tend to be quite a lot longer than the wiring found in a guitar or bass.

    MglMatador - I always just use a slip of heatshrink tubing, covers up any small burns in the insulation near a solder point :)
  19. miner49er11


    Jun 24, 2006
    I don't use it anymore. Proper grounding techniques and good cavity shielding, even a couple coats of that nasty conductve paint, seems to do the trick on my passive basses. If you need the insurance, go ahead and use it.
  20. Topic for another thread, but copper foil works better than the paint. Conductive paint is more resistive than copper foil.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.