When NOT to shield your scratchplate!
We get it- you want your guard to be as awesome as possible; all the bells and whistles. But sometimes it’s possible to have too much of a good thing!
It might seem obvious to some, but all the same we often get asked to add shielding to metal guards. All guards need shielding right?
Well, yes… unless they’re made out of shielding!
The reason why shielding might not be needed…
Let’s back up a bit and remind ourselves what shielding does exactly. As we mentioned in our article on shielding, we use aluminium foil to create a protective ‘faraday cage’ around the control cavity. Any kind of metal will work for this(arguably the thicker the better, but for the most part any metal will do the job. It’s a common myth that shielding HAS to be copper, usually perpetuated by folks that spend more time posting on guitar forums than playing guitar)
This prevents RF interference from cellphones, radio, solar flares etc, getting into the exposed components- pots, switches, etc.
This generally isn’t required in wiring areas or around pickups, as generally these should be self-cancelling and any impact of adding shielding is negligible.
So now we know the following:
-metal in front of the electronics will hugely mitigate RF hum
-any thickness and any kind of metal will do
Then it immediately becomes clear that with metal guards- copper, brass, aluminium, whether oxidised or anodised, all of it will shield your guitar admirably without the assistance of additional shielding.
So if you decide to splash out on a fancy metal guard, you can save a quid and pass on asking for shielding- because with metal guards, it comes as standard.