Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

Single Coil Guitars & Empty Cans of Beer 2


Recommended Posts

This topic is in fact a continuation of the recent topic on The Gibson Longe about shielding guitars:



The pickups,particularly with single coil, give the most of the noise in guitar sound, but shielding pickups by means of the foil (aluminum or copper etc.) can greatly affect this guitar sound.

Therefore it is interesting to consider the question about a correct shielding pickups slightly more.


The most important points of the said topic (about... empty can of beer :) )

are next:


The complete wrapping pickups by means of the aluminum foil or another foil gives an effect known in electrical engineering as a short-closed loop (seems like it will be in English), that greatly affects the tone of any pickup and guitar.It is believed that such closed shielding degrades pickup sound. Although sometimes the effect of the closed loop is used for the good in the industry.


Different ways of the complete and correct shielding pickups, i.e. without the short-closed loop, from different masters are usually uncomfortable and non-technological and they are not used in the guitar manufacturing.

Although the effect of the full shielding is a good, the noise is reduced by 12 - 15 dB for Strat pickups and by 6 dB for humbuckers (http://www.novmuz.net/pages_print_370.html).


Was found and suggested in the said topic that for the Strat pickups the most convenient and optimal shielding is achieved, in my opinion, by means of empty cans of beer.

For making of the shield are necessary: scissors, awl and a small file.


The technology of making and photos are next [thumbup] :


1. cut the sidewall from the empty can of beer and cut in half it,

the empty can of beer, its cylindrical sidewall, is sufficient for exactly 2 pickups

to make the appropriate wrap cover for the single.

2. make and fit the holes for the magnetic cores (by means of awl and the small file)

3. do incisions as shown in the 1-st photo

4. insert the resulting plate on the cores of your pickup in accordance with the holes

(without the plastic cover)

5. before closing the plastic cover of the pickup crease the foil in the form of the


6. close and press the plastic cover


After that, so, the necessary form of the shield turns out as on the 1-st photo:




Now you only have to adjust the gap of the shield in the butt of the pickup (to avoid closing the gap, i.e. its connection when the plastic cover will be installed) ).

More precisely this shield has the two gaps at both butts, but one of them can be closed without any adjustment .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And next thing from that topic.

Here's a photo of the reverse side of my pickups. I attached a small brass plate to the aluminum foil by means of bolt and nut, and the ground wire is soldered to this plate. On the reverse side of my pickups the foil is done in an overlap, but this overlap is isolated electrically (here is pasted a piece of tape). And the overlap is bound by means of any non-conducting thread.

So, the short-closed loops are not along and across the pickup.

One nuance that the brass plate should be attached to that half of the overlap where will be the pickup wires.



As for the shielding by means of liquid sprays (with copper or aluminium),they are, of course, convenient methods in shielding.

But their conductivity deteriorates with time and this can happen even in 2-3 years after using them in guitar.

And accordingly shielding properties of aluminum or copper sprays significantly worsen with time too.

Besides, liquid methods do not provide the complete shielding.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And the most interesting thing was that it is possible significantly to affect guitar sound by means of this short-closed loop and the sound of pickup (and guitar) can be made better (more interesting) thanks to this effect.


According to this technology shielding, based on the holistic (not compound) shield from empty cans of beer, it has become quite convenient to introduce the short-closed loop in the shield of the pickup or not to introduce. For what it is enough to put an additional metal plate (brass, copper etc.) to the shield gap on the butt of the pickup under the plastic cover.

This is also necessary slightly to scrape the edges of the gap for the reliable electrical contact (it is also necessary to do on the 2nd gap on the other end and maybe even the 2nd plate here) because the foil of the cans of beer is covered with a thin non-conductive film. And it will be reliably and tightly under the plastic cover.


So in my case, I quickly found that the best sound turns out for my inexpensive Strat guitar when the short-closed loop is present in my Nek pickup(the 2 additional metal plates are on the both butt gaps to connect these gaps) and it is not present in other pickups (Midle and Bridge).

Especially the sound is won when it mixed from different pickups together with this Neck.

For example, this is a sound fragment of my guitar playing, something like an exercise (from Fleetwood Mac <_< ). Here the sound is from the mixing Neck–Bridge (from stereo output of a rever device) :


I specifically did my guitar switch to mix these pickups: Neck–Bridge and Neck-Middle-Bridge.

And when the Neck was without the short-closed loop (as the Middle and the Bridge) all these mixes sounded very much worse.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I recently got back home finally. There, in the Crimea this was good, of course, the sea etc. , but I had access to the Internet only by means of my friends. And now, at home, my computer broke, my god… :( , though it was already old, worked 10 years. Yesterday I bought a new one, dual-core processor etc. So, sorry for delay. And I now have, how I was told in the shop, licensed programs (Windows 7 etc.) :) . But I still have to buy a sound card, to record my guitars, slot connectors are now others in computers, PCIe and my old card doesn't fit. But cards with PCIe connector are waited in our stores in Russia soon.


But this subject is, I think, interesting yet. Sometimes at studio the sound producers are specifically looking for a place in the room to record the single coil guitar where it has the least noise. Besides, upon transition from humbucker guitar to singles it is always noticeable that the noise becomes larger and grounding does not help here. I.e. the complete shield here may be useful for singles.


But I made this topic also because of an interesting property of the short-closed loop of the shield to affect the sound of the pickup to improve the sound of guitar making its more interesting. The proposed method of shielding helps to easily identify when this loop is useful for the sound (for what pickup), and when not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...