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Electronics Shielding - Stopping Humming

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Guitar shielding upgrades

The electrical signal coming from your guitar is very small indeed, not even 1 volt; this signal needs to be protected to be pure with a good signal to "noise" ratio. "Noise" is the term for unwanted hiss, crackle or hum, particularly 50 Cycle hum, and it winds us all up!

A coil of wire is an antenna for picking up electrical interference, Seth Lover designed the humbucker for Gibson back in 1955 to conquer this very problem. Even with humbuckers the rest of the guitar's electronics can let in damn hum!

Now then, coating your guitar's electronics cavity and any area that houses cabling or pickups with foil or conductive paint will create a physical shield to keep the noise out. So that's what my shielding service provides

Tips for keeping "noise" down:

Remember: Compressors and high gain will bring out any humming in your circuit

Here's Me Shielding A Guitar

unshielded guitar

This Mex Strat is causing the owner some trouble when it comes to playing live. Wherever he stands, the guitar is letting hum get to his amp. When I took the pickguard off It was easy to see why

shielding a guitar

Here I'm applying a foil lining to the insides of the electronics cavity. Every part of it will be covered including the pickup routs

Foil shielding applied

Foil shielding applied

Every corner is covered over completely - shielding the Strat from hum. Notice the extra tab next to where the pickup selector will be? That tab over a screw hole touches and makes sure that the foil on the back of the scratchplate also makes contact.

Most importantly, I make sure that each piece of the shield makes an electrical connection to the ground of the circuit

This Strat is now ready for the stage of the studio with a great signal to noise ratio now!

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