How To Shield A Guitar Pickup for Noise Reduction

| November 15, 2010 | 1 Comment

The buzzing or noises heard when plugging in a guitar or bass can drive you crazy. If your amplifier is working correctly, and you’re using a quality guitar cable, the next step may be to shield your guitar’s electronics from radio-frequency (RF) interference (RFI) from sources such as light dimmers, florescent lights, neon lights, motors, appliances, and so on. Single-coil pickups are particularly susceptible to RFI.

Many guitar manufacturers factory install some shielding in pickups and wiring, but many guitars can benefit from a well-installed custom shielding job. Today we’re bringing you an excellent video from Greasy Groove Inc. ( on how to do just that. Greasy Groove sells the shielding tape shown in the video and many cool items to enhance the identify and image of your guitar.

Before we get to the video though, we want to make one point that the video doesn’t get to cover. The shielding of your guitar pickups, and the shielding in your typical guitar cable, is only effective when connected to a proper ground. In most cases this is easily achieved by simply having your amplifier plugged into a properly grounded 3-prong outlet. This type of outlet has two flat blades and one round blade. The round blade is the ground connection, and assuming it’s properly wired, should have a connection to a grounding rod or cold-water pipe that goes into the ground at your location. If you’re having noise problems, it’s worth checking that your amplifier has a good ground connection by using an AC outlet ground tester. These cost $2-3 at a Home Depot or and tell you the ground situation by simply plugging into an outlet and reading the indicator lights. For some tips on how to use this device, and what to do if your outlet turns out not to have a good ground, check out Grounding & Shielding to Reduce Guitar Noise found in the Kit Builder 101 section of OK, now on to our video:

Category: Electric Guitar Kits

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  1. avatar Casey4S says:

    Very informative video. I just bought some shielding and this is a good starting point.

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