Grr, argh, shielding!

So, after getting my Schecter and looking into various and sundry p-bass instruments, I came across a Charvel Pro-Mod San Dimas PJ bass at a really great price. I did some looking into it and with Xmas bonus in hand, I got hit by GAS pretty hard. I know that @Wombat-metal had extolled the San Dimas basses pretty hard a while back, but I wasn’t ready to hear it yet… had to get through my process, you know? :smiley:

Anyway, I picked it up, hoping against hope that it would not be one of the poorly shielded San Dimas basses (based on what I read pre-purchase, and from what I’ve seen in my own experience, shielding out of the Fender Mexico factory is pretty sub-standard). Turns out, it was.

I expected this, Low End Lobster had done a couple of videos on it, and there were numerous threads on various forums about it. And of course, my luck is that if a bass is going to have a shielding or grounding problem, it’ll be mine.

Anyway, at first, I followed Lobster’s advice and shielded it with tape like he shows in his video. For some reason, that didn’t work. So, I pulled all the tape and used conductive paint like I do with all my poorly shielded basses. That worked.

Here’s the crux of this post: every time I try to shield a bass with tape, it fails. Every time I try to shield a bass with paint, it succeeds. Does anyone else have this problem? The process is the same… cover the cavities with tape, run wires from the cavities to ground; paint the cavities, run wires from the cavities to ground. But it never seems to work for me with tape. Am I alone in this?


Not all conductive tape has electrically conductive adhesive. No way to really know without testing continuity everywhere in the body


Are you shielding all the way up to the body? It should work the same way. I like the paint methods more because it’s looks better and take much less time to apply but you need time to dry, lol. I use StewMac paint and I apply thick enough coat and only do it once, then i use the floor fan to blow it, much faster.


Yup, all the way up. And in the case of the electronics cavity or pickguards, a bit over as well, to ensure that the paint connects with the shielding tape on the back of the cavity cover/pickguard.

I completely agree. The new bass is black, so that gold tape looked like shite. The black shielding paint is unnoticeable, and therefore, much better looking.

That’s what I have too. Good stuff. I generally go 2-3 coats, but I do coat thickly as well.

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This. I’ve never done it myself, but I’ve seen a video once where they’d use a knife or scissors to make a few holes in each overlapping piece of tape, in such a way that the conductive side of the outer layer makes contact with the conductive side of the inner layer. You should be able to check if this is necessary by testing for continuity between the layers using a multimeter.


I bet that’s the problem. I bet my tape doesn’t have conductive adhesive. =/

That’s an awesome idea. I wish I’d have known about it before trying to shield a buttload of basses without it, only to rip the tape out and paint it instead. :smiley:

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Found the video I was talking about:

Edit: this is a good one as well:


Wow, he taped the shit out of that Jag.


♫♪ It’s Christmas time, everything is shitty! ♪♫



It’s the classic children’s game: Paint, Tape, Peace Sign. Maybe you didn’t play that growing up @timsgeekery


You can also use solder if your tape doesn’t have conductive adhesive to create continuity.


Is there any actual reason to use tape instead of paint? Paint seems cheaper, easier, and better in general.

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Paint works really well, but I’ve had a lot of luck with conductive copper tape - that being said, i also bond the bridge ground wire to the copper shielding tape. I dont know that makes a difference, but if we are bonding to block and shield from outside interference, it seems antithetical not to.

As an aside to this, since the copper shielding tape is conductive, i also put a single layer of painters tape over the copper in the cavity. It would probably never happen, but if a pot came loose and spun in the cavity, it doesn’t contact the shielding and ground itself out.

There are a lot of truly sharp people here with a lot of experience and good advice-so my method is by no means the only one. It’s just 2 cents from an electrician. An electronics tech may have a completely different take on it.

So, for me? Paint is messy. Tape is more time consuming. Paint smells bad. Tape is annoying to form around inside corners.
Which is better? Depends.

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Absolutely not. Tape is such a hassle, doesn’t stick as well to dust, and both will outlive you

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