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Shielding: How much copper tape?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by FunkJunk96, Jul 18, 2014.


  1. FunkJunk96

    FunkJunk96

    Dec 30, 2012
    Michigan, USA
    I switched out the stock pickups in my Squier Affinity P-Bass about a year ago for Seymour-Duncan Quarter Pounds. I love my tone, but the pickups are so hot that the noise drives me insane when I stop playing. (I do know it's a grounding issue; putting my fingers on the bridge, strings, or knobs stops the noise.)

    So today I decided I would research shielding. I decided to go with copper tape from Stewmac rather than the paint, but a question I couldn't find the answer to on Talkbass was how much copper tape I should buy to shield my (1) cavities, (2) pickup covers, and (3) bridge area. Any suggestions? Would one roll of 3/4in x 180in do the trick?

    Thanks in advance! And if anyone has some advice it'd be greatly appreciated seeing as this is my first shielding job.

    EDIT: To be clear, my P-Bass only gets too loud when I roll up my tone knob. That's not unexpected but I read a lot of posts where people say a passive bass should have little to no buzz. I believe mine has a little that just intensifies with the extreme treble boost from the tone knob.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2014
  2. LoveThatBass

    LoveThatBass

    Jun 28, 2004
    I would buy 2 rolls of the 3/4" or 1 roll of the 2 inch. Copper Tape is good stuff and easy to work
     
  3. Shabz

    Shabz

    Jun 20, 2014
    Shouldn't you fix the grounding issue first since you know you have one?
     
  4. bluesdogblues

    bluesdogblues

    Nov 13, 2007
    FunkJunk96 and DiabolusInMusic like this.
  5. Linnin

    Linnin

    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    Shield all of your body cavities, as well as the back of your pick guard. Make sure your bridge is well grounded, and all of your wiring is proper & good. Leave your pick-ups alone, don't damage them.
     
    FunkJunk96 likes this.
  6. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I am flattered, thank you. I was going to reference this same thing for the OP, this will help him diagnose his buzz and give him a good idea on shielding.

    You just need to cover everything, you don't need to have layers of tape. I also do not tack-solder all my tape when using tape. I recommend paint but if you have decided against it that is your business, not mine.

    My advice OP would be to not buy tape from stew-mac, it is super over-priced. I am awaiting on some stuff from China from ebay that was $14 for 10m shipped to my door, I will be raving about it if it turns out to be conductive on the adhesive side. If you are near a stained glass supply shop they will carry copper tape, it can also be found in hardware stores as slug and snail tape, both options are much cheaper than Stew-Mac.

    If you need any additional assistance OP feel free to PM me but pretty much everything I know is in that link.
     
    Linnin and bluesdogblues like this.
  7. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I find most jobs still hum if I do not do the pickup covers, I would highly recommend the OP does them.
     
  8. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Actually the OP has a shielding issue since the buzz goes away when he touches the strings, if he had a grounding issue it would get louder.
     
    FunkJunk96 likes this.
  9. Linnin

    Linnin

    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    Experiment and see. I have no problem with uncovered single coil pick-ups, but Leo Fender put them on for a real reason, and it wasn't Detroit 'Motor City' fashion.
     
  10. FunkJunk96

    FunkJunk96

    Dec 30, 2012
    Michigan, USA
    Yes. Based on your thread (which I read before it was posted here) I would say that shielding should fix my problems.

    I only plan on using the tape because I don't have a soldering iron readily available anytime soon. With the copper tape I should just be able to run a strip up the sidewall to the pickguard, right? Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    I also have every intention of covering the pickup covers.

    P.S. It surprises me that "So Your Bass Has A Hum" isn't stickied (to my knowledge). IMO It's written out in layman's terms much more than the Jazz Bass thread that is stickied.
     
    bluesdogblues likes this.
  11. FunkJunk96

    FunkJunk96

    Dec 30, 2012
    Michigan, USA
    If I did decide to go to Home Depot for some Snail & Slug Tape, wouldn't I have to solder those pieces together?
     
  12. You can get rolls of self adhesive copper tape cheaply from garden centres and large diy stores. I think it's used to stop snails or something. Here in Australia you can buy it at Bunnings, which is similar to home depot in the US or B&Q in the UK...
     
  13. megafiddle

    megafiddle

    May 25, 2011
    I believe so. Those tapes do not have conductive adhesive.

    -
     
  14. FunkJunk96

    FunkJunk96

    Dec 30, 2012
    Michigan, USA
    That's exactly why I think I'll be getting Stewmac; as overpriced as it is. If anyone has bought copper conductive adhesive tape from another source? Anything on Amazon would be awesome.
     
  15. bluesdogblues

    bluesdogblues

    Nov 13, 2007
    Agree
     
    FunkJunk96 likes this.
  16. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I thought the slug and snail stuff turned out to be adhesive on the bottom, I might be wrong though. I am sure if you search (or create a thread asking) somebody can tell you for sure. I know the stuff I got from a local stained glass supply store was conductive on both sides. I would try it up first and see if tack soldering is required. Although if you do plan on using copper tape in place of soldered connections the adhesive must be conductive otherwise it will not work. I do recommend using a soldering iron to add the wire grounding the shielding, you can find them quite cheap at any electronics store.

    Once again, I am flattered and really appreciate the kind words, I just made it because I find myself in a lot of these threads.
     
  17. Grissle

    Grissle

    May 17, 2009
    Yes it is, I just used it myself, perfect continuity everywhere.
     
  18. FunkJunk96

    FunkJunk96

    Dec 30, 2012
    Michigan, USA
    Would a single roll do the job? And how did you connect the cavity to the common ground?
     
  19. LoveThatBass

    LoveThatBass

    Jun 28, 2004
    Here is the copper shielding I used. It is more than enough to do your job so if you make a mistake you have some left over.
    http://www.wdmusic.com/8_in_wide_copper_shielding_foil_by_linear.html

    It has an electrically conductive adhesive on the back. You do not need to solder the joints together, just have them slightly overlap. I soldered a ground wire to it that went to the volume pot where all my grounds connected. It takes solder extremely well. BTW: I have used both the Stewmac paint and the copper shielding and I can tell you this. The paint takes 3 coats letting each one dry 24 hours before putting the next one on. I had to put a wire lug on a screw, screw it down to the wood with the ground wire on it then coat over it. I can tell you this: measuring resistance from the farthest control cavity point to the end of the pickup cavity measured 100 ohms. By comparison the copper shield less than 1 ohm resistance. Much better conductor than the paint. It is true it is just a shield with no current running through it, just a voltage potential but I also think it does a better job, easier, less messy to work with. The paint is enough to do up to 5 guitars. What was left of mine from a few years ago is hardened in the can and no longer useful. As far as the pickguard shielding goes just let a small piece of copper strip run up and slightly over the top where it will contact the pickguard but will not show.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2014
    FunkJunk96 likes this.
  20. FunkJunk96

    FunkJunk96

    Dec 30, 2012
    Michigan, USA
    @LoveThatBass
    I appreciate the lengthy reply and the suggested copper (it's an unbeatable price too). Thank you so much!
     

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