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More guitar repair

Shielding... Bzzzzz.

More repairs! Prior to my refret job (previous post) I got to work fixing some of the more obvious problems I had been experiencing with my guitar. #1: Shielding the electronics and #2: swapping out some components.

#1. The shielding problem is something that I had let myself ignore for way too long. Because Stratocasters typically have single coil pick-ups, humming noise coming through an amp is something that I expect, this is why "humbuckers" were invented in the first place. I had always assumed there was nothing that could be done to prevent it. What finally occurred to me was that maybe the amount of humming I was hearing was much more than what should be expected as "hum" from a single coil pick-up.

Body portion of farady cage - pick guard is the lid.

After digging around on google it became clear that the only solution was to shield the pick guard and internal cavity with some kind of conductive material, creating a sort of Faraday cage around the guitar's electric components. I won't pretend to know exactly how this works, but basically you ecapsulate everything in metal to create a barrier between the internal electronics and external electro-magnetic fields. For this I used some metal hvac tape that I already had (this was pretty much guarenteed not to work by many people online). I would have preferred to use copper tape, but with zero dollars available after purchasing the new jack, switch and volume pot, I was happy to use what was available.

The only trick to this process was ensuring that metal connects to metal at all points where there is a seem between pieces of tape. Because the back of the tape is covered with adhesive, I needed to ensure that sides and corners of the tape were folded as necessary to ensure contact between pieces. Likewise with the connection point between the pickguard and guitar component cavity; the tape would need to extend out of the cavity and onto the face of the guitar (while still remaining hidden under the pick guard, once in place).

And, it worked. As simple as that.

New electric components.

#2. The volume knob, input jack and selector switch were producing some terriible noises, and constantly, which rendered the guitar close to useless. Trying to record, even while sitting still in a chair was next to impossible as the slightest movement might inadvertently "touch" the patch chord, which would in turn send a horrible crackling sound through the track, likewise with moving the selector switch or volume knob. To top it off, the only available volume setting was full on. All of this was failry easy to fix by soldering in new compnents.

The end result of both fixes is a playable guitar with only a very slight but perfectly acceptable single-coil hum.

~ Cory

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Cory (Daniel) Todd is a Canadian Artist and Musician. | Listen: Spotify and iTunes. | Watch: youTube | Visit for more info.
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