Pickguard Shielding Explained! 4 considerations to destroy all hum, forever!


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We offer a Foil Shielding service on our pickguards…but what the hell is that??

tl;dr – Foil pickguard shielding is a simple stick-on foil that can be added to the rear of suitable pickguards, it helps reduce electrical humming that can appear in guitar circuits.


                                                       Where on board my guitar is hum being picked up?

Electrical humming from mains electricity- 50-cycle in the UK and 60-cycle in the USA, can creep into any part of your guitars circuit. This includes true singlecoil pickups and any unprotected “hot” wires –  the longer the pass of wire the more susceptible. The ways of protecting/ shielding / screening your circuit are twofold, using screened cable or foil shielding. Unfortunately true single coil pickups cannot beat hum on their own, they need an opposing coil to team up with to become a humbucker!

Did you know? Even guitars with only humbuckers can get hum interference? Hum creeps into the rest of the circuit – just not at the pickups coils…

Screened cable?screened guitar cable4 core screened cable

That’s a cable that has two or more wires in, one surrounding the other (like a guitar-to-amp lead), the outer screen protects the central hot wire. Many pickups have screened cable and many have multiple hot wires inside that screen



electrical hum shielding on reverse of scratchplateFoil Shielding


On the back of our pickguards we add a self adhesive foil shield, when electronics are assembled they then connect  the foil backing to the ground circuit via the pots themselves. This is a gamechanger if you’ve not had it before- it’s just so much quieter!


Our foil therefore is suitable only for pickguards which house electronics. Foil can also be applied to the walls of your guitar’s electronics cavity to create a faraday cage effect


Order your own



We automatically add foil shielding onto ‘guards that need it with a self adhesive foil – ‘cos we’re like that


Bakerlite Strat Pickguard totally custom

Fender Strat  = Pickguard Shielding Needed

Electronics are nearby and mounted to the pickguard. It’s essential to keep those moving parts safe!


Gretsch Silver Custom made Pickguard

Gretsch = Pickguard Shielding Not Needed

Electronics are not involved with the pickguard on this gorgeous Gretsch


Tortoiseshell Type 3

Gibson Les Paul = Pickguard Shielding Not Needed

Electronics are not involved with the pickguard and the scratchplate makes full contact with wood, so there’s absolutely nothing to shield!

Left Handed Fender Jaguar Aged White Pickguard

Fender Jaguar = Pickguard Shielding Needed

Electronics span the whole guitar so a bit of help from foil on the back of the pickguard will help as long as it’s connected to the ground


Metal Pickguards

We make anodised aluminium, brass and copper pickguards and guess what? They act as their own shield! There’s no need for shielding on guitars with guards made form metal… then you’d just be adding metal to metal! And that would be just silly.

Fender Duo Sonic Anodised Gold Aluminum Pickguard All In one Fender Jazz Bass Pickguard Left Handed Mustang Pickguard In Anodised Gold Casio MG-510 Anodised Gold Pickguard



How far to go?

There’s the temptation to shield the inside of the guitar all the way but in reality you do not need total coverage. The principle is called a Faraday Cage – e.g. cage with holes in! There’s no need to exhaustively shield the back of your tremolo plate or jack socket plate. Most importantly: be sure that the shielding you apply is connected to ground in some way



Cavity Shielding: Don’t forget the risks

Adding conductive shielding to the walls of the electronics cavity may mean that a hot wire accidentally touches or works loose. If you send a Hot wire to grounded foil you’ve got a short circuit, usually silence! However the back of pickguards are safe and much less likely to cause a short. So, in a nutshell, that’s why we use aluminium foil, and only use it to shield control cavities and not the entire insides of every guitar and underneath of every single pickguard.


So now that you’re all clued up on how cavity shielding works, why not upgrade both your guitar, and it’s shielding with a new pickguard from us here at Tiny Tone today?

Just head on over to this link here and pick a colour!