Archive for copper tape

DIY Strat – The Return of the Legend Part 9: Shielding the Scratchplate

Posted in Guitar with tags , , , , , , , on February 15, 2011 by misterjrtaylor

In the Part 8 I described hacking the scratchplate to bits in order to fit the humbucker – after sanding the rough edges smooth and cleaning everything up, I got to a milestone moment: actually starting to put it back together.

First though, I wanted to add some shielding to the back of the scratch plate (and also the pickup cavity when the guitar is painted) in order to (hopefully) eliminate some of the RF hum you get with single coils. After reading online, I decided to do this with self adhesive copper tape (rather than use the shielding paint) – although it seems to be fairly expensive stuff (at least from online guitar stores). So I sought an alternative: most garden centres sell copper tape as a slug repellant, and I got a 4m roll for a couple of quid.

Self adhesive copper tape to shield the scratchplate

After a little deliberation on where to start, I just got stuck in and put the first strip down one edge.

Shielding the scratchplate with self adhesive copper tape

I found the best way to apply the tape was to cut t length with scissors, the carefully stick down avoiding creases and air bubbles, overlapping by a few millimetres and then trimming the edges with a sharp knife.

Shielding the scratchplate with self adhesive copper tape

In order for the shielding to work properly, each piece of tape must be electrically connected to the next, which usually means soldering along each joint. This is a job I didn’t want to do. Here’s where my luck came in: some copper tapes have conductive adhesive – the next job was to check the continuity of my shielding and hope for the best…

Performing a continuity check on the scratchplate shielding

…it seems this brand of slug repellant tape does have conductive adhesive! The only job left was to start installing the pickups and pots…

Installing the new humbucker on the shielded scratchplate

Strat scratchplate loaded with Tonerider PAF style humbucker and coil tap + tone switches

Testing the scratchplate on the white primed strat body

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