There’s lots of thoughts out there about shielding your guitar. There’s lots of ways to do it: paint, tape, etc. As we’ve worked on our own shop guitars and other guitars, we’ll offer our take on two different and more recent cases, and maybe it will help you in your decision to try it for yourself.
Before we begin, a quick disclaimer: This will be more of a “here’s our experience“ than a solid stance on the topic. We’ll present the results we’ve found and like anything else, encourage you to try and see what your results are. At the bottom, we’ll provide links to the materials we used if you’d like to give it a try. We’ll also list some info about each guitar and what the shielding did as the results were different.
This particular guitar belongs to one of our employees. It’s a nice USA G&L. We were preparing to put two identical sets of pickups in two different guitars in the shop and compare and contrast how the same winds reacted to the different body and neck woods. (That full experiment will be released sometime! ). The G&L was significantly more noisy than the USA strat we had in the shop. The strat is a basic 98 model with pool route and generally is pretty quiet even with single coil noise. There was a 10-20% difference in noise between the two. Our employee Zach ended up buying some shielding tape off Amazon to see if the noise could be reduced. Because most of our time is spent on building pickups and not as much on modding guitars, it was a fairly new experiment on a guitar like this. After the entire cavity and pickguard were shielded, the noise was significantly reduced. Both guitars were near identical in the amount of noise, but for that particular guitar it made a drastic difference.
Guitar 2 was a fender thinline style with wide range neck and regular tele bridge. It had some strange noise interference that we couldn’t chase down for a customer. Some outside interference was causing issues with the way the pickups functioned. One pickup would make noise when tapping it even when it wasn’t active with the selector. After reworking everything, we tried shielding the whole cavity to see if that would block some of the mystery noise issues. The shielding helped with the outside noise interference and the popping issue we can across.
For our more recent experiences, shielding has been a very positive thing for those particular situations. It’s probably not going to fix any and all issues, but for those situations we encountered it was the right thing for the issue. To top it off, the tape we used was fairly affordable. We’d suggest giving it a try, especially in single coil guitars. Even if it slightly reduces some noise, it would be worth the investment.
What has been your experience with guitar shielding? Share your thoughts by commenting on this post.