Apparently, there is such a thing as too much shielding…Shielding a Pickguard.
Honestly, the title could be ‘UN-Shielding a Telecaster Pickguard’, you be the judge!
After experiencing 60-cycle hum for sometime now, I figured that I’d try and tame it. Guitarnuts.com has a great walk through on how to shield your strat or tele, suggesting the star ground method. Basically, creating a cage of grounded material is their recommendation.
Use Buzz Kill Copper Tape to shield your guitar!
One of the ways to do this is to glue aluminum or copper foil to the underside of a pickguard. As the Fender Strat already had an aluminum shield installed underneath the pickguard, I opted to try something on my Squier Classic Vibe Tele. There was a small patch of aluminum foil installed around the neck pickup.
The most important thing I learned during this exercise was to attach a ground wire to the pickguard shielding from the bridge plate. The immediate difference was astounding.
I figured to improve tone (which is highly subjective per person of course), I would remove the aluminum shielding around the pickup and install a whole sheet to cover the whole area of the tele pickguard.
Materials Used: Oven Aluminum Foil, a glue stick, and a razor blade.
After cutting to size, and attaching the ground wire to the shielding, I plugged it in.
The 60 cycle hum was still there, and the tone was dulled. The trebles and bass were rolled off. I would add that the previous openness to the tone had disappeared. My DAllen Cheetah Pickups were now ‘heeta’ pickups 😉
I had caged the tone. Forgive me if I am totally off on this, but that’s what my ears told me. I had created a cage, but not for the hum, for the TONE!
So, I removed the excess foil, and cut out a rectangle around the neck pickup hole, as they had done at the Chinese factory that fashioned these marvelous guitars. Re-Shielding a Telecaster Pickguard is easy.
At the end of the day, the lesson is:
if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
[usrlist Ease of Install:5 “Lack of buzzing Sounds:5” “Vibe:5″ avg=”true”]
Regardless, if you wish to try this, get your Buzz Kill Copper Tape today!