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Does it make sense to shild a P bass?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by NickInMesa, Apr 5, 2009.

  1. I was wondering if it made any sense to shield a P bass, since the double coil pretty much cancel any noise.

    Is this a B.S. question?
  2. Giraffe

    Giraffe Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    San Diego, California
    As I understand things, and I am not a Guitar Scientist, the dual coil pickup minimizes 60 cycle hum. Radio frequency interference is still a problem, and the shielding would help reduce that. To get an idea of what the RFI sounds like, stand in front of your amp with the controls set as they normally would be set. Touch your strings firmly and listen. Now take your fingers off the strings, paying attention to the hissing sound that you can now hear. Go back and forth between touching and not touching. That hiss is RF interference. A good shielding job can reduce that RFI.

    If you have access to a Jazz Bass, try this test. Grab the strings and hold on with both pickups turned up full. Now roll one of the volume controls down until you hear a deeper, even hum. Turn the pickup back up, then down, and get that hum in your head. That is the sound of 60 cycle hum, mostly disappearing when the pickups are both on, or at the same level, and reappearing when one pickup is turned down, which defeats the humbucking effect. The Precision pickup is humbucking, so this noise is largely taken care of already.

    Two different types of noise, two different solutions. The shielding may alter your tone a bit, according to many guys with better ears than mine, but I wouldn't worry about it too much. I wouldn't expect miracles, either. Shielding usually reduces the RFI, but there will still be some noise.
  3. is there any ground noise? do you ever get ANY noise from fluorescent lights and whatnot? any noise when not touching any piece of metal?

    no noises ever, then i cant see a reason to shield it.
  4. Giraffe

    Giraffe Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    San Diego, California
    I don't believe 100% shielding is possible. I've played some basses that were dead quiet under some circumstances, but there are other factors, including the specific pickups and cables and amps at work. Unless you are in a studio situation, a little noise isn't going to matter too much.

    Listen to your bass in the circumstances you play it, and judge if the noise needs to be reduced.
  5. lowbass68


    Feb 3, 2008
    All of my basses are passive with humbuckers. Even so, I shield them and make shure that even the wire passages are properly shielded. I use distortion/overdrive/fuzz and find that anything that reduces the chance of hum is worth it. Copper shielding tape is not that expensive, but it takes time to do it right. Since I generally build my own basses, the process is easy since I don't have to disassemble anything.

    But I would not shield a vintage instrument (or new and under warrenty one either).
  6. Shielding probably won't do you much anything, but my philosophy on shielding is: Is there any reason not to shield a bass??

    It will cost you $6 and about 2 hours of your time, but then your bass is shielded and you never have to worry about it again.

    What reason do you possibly have not to shield, regardless of how much it will actually help?
  7. My practice room has three fluorescent light strips and the P basses I've shielded are dead quiet while the others are not. For the little bit of time and money it takes, I'll be shielding all of mine.
  8. 76JazzRay


    Mar 30, 2009
    I'd shield if you get noise in the environments you play in. My 76 Jazz hummed to the point of being unusable, even after putting in Lindy Fralin dual coil. So I shielded with conductive paint and it's quiet as a church mouse.

    As pointed out, easy to do. I didn't even unsolder everything. Just moved it out of the way.
  9. Better to shield than not to shield. Ya never know when it will be needed.
  10. Hawk_GP


    Oct 5, 2005
    Shielding is lots of fun, and it looks cool...until you put it all back together:hyper:
  11. You mean since you can't see the shielding? I don't think looking cool is the reason most people shield their basses. I know it's not the reason I shield mine.

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