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Fret Polishing and Cavity Shielding Q's


Swoop

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You'll have to forgive my juvenile questions, but I was just wondering what a fret polish involves? Is it simply a quick once over with some kind of fine abrasive to remove corrosion and to shine the frets, or is it a much more elaborate process? I ask because I'll soon be getting my Les Paul rewired and upgraded, so I figured while I'm at it I could get my tech guy to do a few other little things. My frets are a little bit tarnished, so I wondered if a fret polish would remedy this? Or is a fret polish a sort of reprofiling of the frets? That's not something I want, because I am happy with the feel of the guitar, I just want to remove the tarnishing some thus perhaps making the frets a little smoother, and obviously string contact with a nice clean surface is going to be beneficial. Maybe it's something I can do with some fine stainless steel polishing wool, yes?

 

Also, in regards to shielding, what's the best material to use for sheilding the pickup, selector switch, and pot cavities? Obviously I've seen copper shielding tape and sheets from my parts supplier, but I've also seen aluminium shielding too. I suspect copper is the best and most common. I'm planning on having my techy shield the LP too.

 

I'm really looking forward to getting the LP 'back on the road' so to speak. I miss playing that heavy old girl! Just gotta sell my Strat to help fund these upgrades. I've stripped her of all the hardware, electrical and otherwise, and she's ready to be kitted out again. Definitely going to go for those GFS tuners, even if they're only a 14:1 ratio compared to the standard 16:1 it has. I figure a tight, new set of 14:1 tuners is better than a sloppy old set of 16:1s.

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You'll have to forgive my juvenile questions' date=' but I was just wondering what a fret polish involves? Is it simply a quick once over with some kind of fine abrasive to remove corrosion and to shine the frets, or is it a much more elaborate process? I ask because I'll soon be getting my Les Paul rewired and upgraded, so I figured while I'm at it I could get my tech guy to do a few other little things. My frets are a little bit tarnished, so I wondered if a fret polish would remedy this? Or is a fret polish a sort of reprofiling of the frets? That's not something I want, because I am happy with the feel of the guitar, I just want to remove the tarnishing some thus perhaps making the frets a little smoother, and obviously string contact with a nice clean surface is going to be beneficial. Maybe it's something I can do with some fine stainless steel polishing wool, yes?[/quote']

 

Here's what I use for minor fret work, a Revlon Shape 'N' Buff:

ALR253028.jpg

 

It's got 6 different grits on it, by the time you get to step 4 you have nice smooth shiny frets. I hear it also works well on your nails!!!

 

I actually got the idea from Stewart-MacDonald. I was ordering their fret polishers from them, and one day I was at the Supermarket checkout and noticed the exact same item. It was just a nail buffer, and it was 1/4 the price of what Stew-Mac was charging. I found the Revlon one at Target (you blokes have Target in NZ???), I like them because of the multiple surfaces. You can file them and then smooth & buff them incrementally. I think they cost about $3.00 in the US.

 

BTW, you can buy that black shielding paint, I have a can I got from Stew-Mac. Come to think of it, it's probably just black nail polish!!!

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As to your shielding question, there are the aluminum tape, copper tape, and shielding paint.

The tape is good to work with in larger cavities, but for smaller ones I like the shielding paint.

It takes 2 coats, but it does a nice job, and it is very conductive.

Messy though, so be careful. If you spill it, or dribble from the brush, it makes a sticky mess.

The aluminum tape I bought does not have conductive glue, so the overlap has to be a bit bigger to make good contact.

I've never tried the copper, but I heard that the same applies. The advantage is that it is easier to make a solder connection on the copper.

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You might want to check your LP first. I opened the pot and switch cavities yesterday for the first time and discovered to my surprise that shielding paint was already applied to the cavities. The "flavor" of my LP is a Les Paul Classic Limited Edition and the date code is 2005 with no trips to a tech or any user mods.

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I am an electronic technician, and I prefer the shielding paint over any kind of foil tape. It is so much easier, and just as effective.

 

Even if your guitar has a painted cavity from the factor, it most likely is not grounded correctly, and this will cause most of your noise. From an electrical standpoint, most guitar wiring, even on high dollar instruments, is a sick joke. Most of the time they rely on the pots to make contact with the cavity through the washers, which is dumb. If you will shield and ground it correctly, then even a Stratocaster can be quiet enough for any stage.

 

check this site out http://www.guitarnuts.com/index.php

 

Jeff

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  • 2 months later...

I replaced the stock P-90's in my '56 Gold Top with DiMarzio Virtual P-90's. My tech thought that would end my hum problem. However, there was still a lot of hum, due to a ground/shielding problem. The master volume pot mounted on the pickguard was exposed, so he shielded it by covering it with copper tape. He also created a little ground wire from the copper foil to connect the bridge with the stop tailpiece inserts. The studs and stop bar were removed when the Bigsby was installed, and the ground wire was compromised somehow. Finally, he found that one of the volume pots was loose and the solder connections were rubbing against the black shielding paint, causing the neck pickup to short out.

 

It's good to remember to make sure that no components are touching the electrically conductive shielding paint, as it could cause your pickups, etc. to short out. =D>

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