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Shielding Bass?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by JMPeat, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. JMPeat


    Feb 7, 2011
    I am just wandering how much it would cost and where i could get my bass shielded??? thanks in advance :bassist:
  2. philtoler


    Dec 3, 2009
    v. easy to do yourself with standard aluminium kitchen foil. I did my P/J bass using two layers of foil around the cavity, under the scratch plate and inside the pickup covers, stuck down with Prit stick or UHU stick, and it is now absolutely silent. There are plenty of internet articles about how to do it.
  3. ^ I thought it had to be cooper foil or conductive paint...
    Aluminum foil really works??? :eek:
  4. Billy3000


    Dec 18, 2008
    I've never shielded the cavities on any of my guitars or basses, but I just shielded the new pickguard that I put on my p bass, and it really is quite easy. Just use regular heavy duty aluminum foil from the grocery store. Get some adhesive spray. Spray the surface you want the foil to stick to, let it get tacky, then apply the foil, trying to push any bubbles or inconsistencies in the surface out. let it dry for about an hour, then with an exacto knife, trace around the edge of the foil, to cut the excess off, and if there's any adhesive still there, clean it off. It's easy.
  5. Masher88

    Masher88 Believe in absurdities and you commit atrocities

    May 7, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    Don't you have to ground the shielding and the pickups together or something?
  6. philtoler


    Dec 3, 2009
    I'm no expert but I believe the wires in the pick-ups and cavity act like an aerial which picks up radio waves, the closest being those generated by your mains and lights wiring, which causes a 50 or 60hz buzz. As I understand it the metal foil simply blocks them out.
  7. WardEarth

    WardEarth Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2010
    Anchormanville, CA
    I'm fairly certain that you are supposed to attach the shielding to your ground wire. There is some information in the forums.
  8. Yes, the shielding has to be attached to ground at some point.
  9. It doesn't have to be any particular metal, it just has to be electrically conductive at as close as possible to 0 Ohms.
    The idea is to create a Faraday cage. And yes, the shielding MUST BE grounded. The main problem with using aluminum foil is that aluminum is not easily soldered to, which makes it difficult to ground and keep each piece continuous to the next.
  10. If you use adhesive backed copper foil you can solder the joins together to make 100% sure of the conductivity. Just shielding the pickguard will not stop the pickup of RF interference. The whole cavity must be shielded, as must the pickup cavities, which must be joined to the control cavity, the bridge wire, the earth wire from pickups etc. In other words there must be an earth circuit surrounding all receptors (pots, jack socket, pickups,).
  11. JMPeat


    Feb 7, 2011
    Sounds like hassle to me. might just take it into a shop. how much you reckon it'd cost?
  12. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    Copper foil from Stew-Mac is the best as the adhesive is conductive. Otherwise you have to solder the pieces together to be sure they are all connected.

    Each cavity has to be shielded and grounded to the output jack. Don't forget to shield and ground the underside of the pick guard as well.

    The problem with aluminum foil is that it is not as conductive as copper, and you can't solder the pieces together. You rely on the pieces touching for contact. Better than nothing, but can be done better with copper.

    If it seems too much, get a shop to do it for you.
  13. westy1970


    Jan 31, 2011
    You can also get Aluminum Tape from Home Depot in the HVAC section. I have used it on many Strats.
  14. SamanthaCay


    Nov 16, 2008
    Denver, CO.
    I'd say anywhere from 30 to 50 would be reasonable depending on the bass.
    If your in Colorado throw me a pm.
  15. I wouldn't bother with Aluminum. As has been said, copper is a much better conductor, and it can be soldered to improve connecivity. All in all, much more effective than aluminum. Aluminum works, but not quite as good.
  16. EricJ


    Feb 28, 2008
    It's easy to do it yourself. I've used the aluminum duct tape and the copper tape, and copper is easier to handle and much easier to solder. The soldering is the good part, of course. I don't know if there's a heaven, but if there is, they have soldering there! Seriously, it's not like you're soldering real connections, so you don't have to do a great job--just make a continuous box around the electronics.
  17. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009

    Aluminum works OK as a shield material, but the problem is connecting it to ground and the various pieces together. The advantage of aluminum foil is that it's cheap and readily available in most kitchens.

    Normally to do an aluminum shield job you want to start with as large a piece of it as possible and fold it into all the cavities in one piece. That way there are no separate pieces to connect together. They make aluminum solder but it's never worked very well for me. So usually you have to make connections to the foil using a wood screw, a solder lug and one of those small lock washers with the "teeth" so they bite into the foil and make contact. Just put the screw through the foil into the wood at an easy place and run a wire from the solder lug to the ground of the output jack.

    Personally, I find copper so much easier to deal with and you have no fear of a mechanical connection corroding or coming loose.
  18. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    Stew-Mac sells a three-size kit of copper tape w/ adhesive backing; I think it's about $21. Its plenty to do at least 3-4 basses (including PG back), so it's more than you need. Maybe just get the large roll for less, as you can cut it to size easily. I did my Fender Jaguar bass a week or so ago, and that axe has a large amount of cavity space. Took me about 1.5 hours in front of the TV and my luthier (Jim Mouradian) told me today that it looks great. A luthier would likely charge you well over $100 to remove all the electronics and hardware, do the shielding and then button it back up.

    If you do take it on yourself, make sure that the cavity pieces come up to the face of the bass a bit so they can make contact with the shielding on the back of the PG.
  19. JMPeat


    Feb 7, 2011
    Thanks for the help everyone, i'm going to get the foil and i'll shield it tonight.