P Bass cavity shielding in copper foil (image hvy)

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Indio, Jul 31, 2016.

  1. Indio


    Jul 31, 2016
    Western Australia
    Hi all,

    This is my first real post here so i thought I'd show some of the shielding jobs I have done in the past that people might find useful. Some of the images are of Fender Jaguar I shielded with the same process and any of this can be applied to any guitar/bass. I'm not really fond of the adhesive backed foil so this is my go to.

    Once the instrument is stripped down I used paper to make templates. Scissors and tape were used to add or remove until everything looked right as a good fit. Note the extra square edge tabs that are later folded and soldered to lock everything in place


    Above is my Japanese 57 P Bass

    Below is the Jaguar with the paper templates in the cavities checking for fit


    Once I am happy with the fit I tape down my templates onto my copper sheet. I picked up a 12”x30” roll of .005 thick soft copper sheet (ksmetals.com) from my local hobby shop, I’d say its enough to do at least three guitars or basses.


    Above the P Bass template taped to the foil, below the Jag


    Now cut it all out out with some sharp scissors, it was very easy to work with. I folded it up using a hacksaw blade or a ruler to get nice sharp bends, the rest I pushed into shape with my fingers when the shielding was in the cavities.




    When I was happy with the fit in the cavities its time to solder it. I used a cheap 30W soldering iron with a large'ish tip that I bent the end to get a good contact in the bottom of the cavities, a larger watt iron might be a good idea to make things easier but i manage with what I have.

    To get a good tight fit I like push apart the side wall sections so they hug the cavity walls, tack it, solder the bottom tags then redo the side wall join last. I'm just using the regular flux core solder I use for wiring.

    Here is the Jag with everything soldered in place



    P Bass control cavity soldered up, insert pic is the tube leading to the pickup cavity.

    To connect between the cavities i rolled some of the copper around a drill bit to make tubes to give it complete shielding, Note the tabs sticking up to ground the plates and pickguard, where possible I made the tabs so the screws will go thru them. Next is to solder a single wire from the shielded cavity to the earth point on the volume pot. Finish up giving all the soldered areas a wipe down with a solvent or contact cleaner etc to remove the solder flux.

    Optional final step... Open a beer and admire your handiwork :)

    I hope some find this helpful...

    The finished pair

    ximun, Gideon K, Winton and 13 others like this.
  2. That's the neatest shielding job that I have ever seen. Very nice work.
    ximun, LoveThatBass, Bass. and 2 others like this.
  3. Yahboy


    May 21, 2008
    Xcellent job !!!!
  4. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I agree, thats the best copper foil shielding that I have seen. Its as neat looking as a cavity done with MG Chemicals super shield. Color me impressed
    NoNoise likes this.
  5. mattpnolan

    mattpnolan Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2005
    New Jersey
    That is amazing work! QQ though...why not use shielding paint? I don't know a lot about why to use copper vs paint, but paint seems so much easier to do a nice job.
  6. Paint is not very effective, because of its resistance. Copper is always preferable for that reason.

    Although, in practice, it doesn't matter all that much.

    Another concern is the amount of time required to do the job. Paint requires many hours of waiting in between coats.
  7. mattpnolan

    mattpnolan Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2005
    New Jersey
    @line6man gotcha. Thank you for the reply!
  8. Indio


    Jul 31, 2016
    Western Australia
    The CIJ Jag shown had painted control cavities (factory?) that were not connected to anything and it had the worst earth/noise problem i had ever seen, with lots of gain i could pick up a radio station in parts of my old house. Maybe paint done right works but i like this option more
    Duder likes this.
  9. That is very impressive, awesome job!
  10. Light years beyond anything I would have done to a P bass, but great work!
    tattooSAM likes this.
  11. BAG


    May 5, 2014
    New Zealand
    I use the adhesive copper tape and thought that I do a good job but your efforts make mine look like a rank amateur.
  12. Holy cow! A job well done.

    I do find it odd that you had such a noise issue with these instruments. You embodied the saying "a job worth doing is worth doing well".:thumbsup:
  13. Indio


    Jul 31, 2016
    Western Australia
    Only the Jag had a noise problem, the bass was done because i can :)
    Grumry and NoNoise like this.
  14. Duder


    Dec 6, 2014
    The CIJ Jaguar basses have the exact same issue. I used copper foil tape with conductive adhesive and it fixed that issue. Your approach seems far more permanent (that's a good thing!).
    NoNoise likes this.
  15. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    The Stewmac carbon paint isn't great, but the MG Chemicals Nickel Super Shield is very effective. Of course the resistance is greater than that of copper tape, but as far as shielding goes it works very well.
    NoNoise, walterw and DiabolusInMusic like this.
  16. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Amazing work.
  17. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's

    That is very impressive!! A beautiful job for sure. Makes my copper tape jobs look childish!

    However - As an engineer, I don't like the multiple tabs - multiple paths to ground. I use only one tab, with everything connected together in a star ground.
    There is probably not normally enough resistance to make a tuned circuit, but over time, the resistance between the tab and the pickguard could increase from dirt, sweat, etc. I have worked with 2 RF engineers that worked for AM radio stations to trouble shoot leakage in people's homes, and sometimes the simplest thing can pick up AM radio.
  18. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    That looks great. I have to ask though, how long does it take using this process?
  19. Duder


    Dec 6, 2014
    I'm sure it doesn't take that long if he has templates already, but someone who was just starting would probably take quite some time. Hell, copper tape took me a few hours my first time.
  20. Growlmonkee


    Jan 30, 2013
    Florida, U.S.
    Thanks for sharing your work, and method, it's the best I've seen.