I hear all these debates on the effects of shielding and how it affects tone and there are two main debates for the argument of shielding sucking tone:
1- They create capacitance that removes the highs. Personally I don't belive this because the shielding has no connection anywhere between the hot wire from the pickups to the output and should therefore have no effect.
2- Shielding too close to the pickups interferes with the magnetic field and Eddy currents of the pickup. I'm having trouble with this one as well because copper is not magnetic and shouldn't interfere with the magnetic fields. But I do not have a good grasp on Eddy currents, so I was wondering if one of you more electrically inclined wold step in and give some scientific proof for or against it.
I'm not looking for personal experience without scientific facts to back it, because I know how easy it is to trick your ears if you think there has been a change (when I first started modding I switched magnets in a pickup from A5 to A2, and having been misinformed that A2 was brighter I managed to convince myself it was. Now when I play that guitar I realize how warm it actually is.) I know this is a highly disputed topic and it ends up a flame war when people debate soley off of what they hear. I don't find this reliable in a debate about a difference as minute as shielding, because I for one know my tone changel from day to day based on how hard I play or where I pick.

TL;DR - What is the scientific reason for shielding affecting or not affecting tone? Specifically regadding shielding near the pickups. No personal experience without scientíficos backing, please.
Last edited by 70001407 at Jan 7, 2017,
As for 1, I am not able to say much other than capacitance is caused by many other things than just a direct connection. For instance if you place foil around the outside of insulated wires you will be altering the capacitance of the system. Therefore changing the tone of the instrument. Now, while the shielding does not make any connection, it will still change capacitance. Why ? because a capacitor is basically just two conductors spaced apart from each other with a dielectric medium in between. This can be anything that is non conductive, from air - to glass. There should be something on wikipedia explaining how capacitors work. I also have experience in changing the capacitive field of a tesla coil by simply standing closer to it, the air being the dielectric medium.

As for 2, Copper and aluminium are indeed magnetic, but only slightly. The main thing is that copper and aluminium interact with magnets by means of Eddy Currents and Lenz law. Basically any metal, magnetic or not, can be affected by these laws. There is a wonderful explanation here :


That is the reason these aspects alter the tone or sound of the instrument. I hope this has helped. let me know if i can clarify anything.
Thank you. I am assuming that if you used conductive paint for the control cavity and a single sheet of copper for the pickguard with a sufficient gap around the pickups (how far exactly, is what i'm wondering) that would minimalize the effect of capacitance by minimalizing the gaps inbetween the shielding. Or would going through all that extra effort have a negligible effect compared to using copper tape for everything? Also since it is such a small amount of copper, which has a weak magnetic field, should I bother with cutting bigger holes around the pickups? Or would the differences be negligible with that as well?
You're way overthinking (and over-reading random internet forums). Just use copper tape for everything and keep it tight.

First, any changes to "toan" due to shielding capacitance are insignificant (you'll see a LOT more going on with your cables and pedalboard) and second, a change can be either positive or negative. The real tradeoff is that you're getting rid of RF noise, and that IS a positive.
Thanks, I overheard two guys at guitar center debating how much high end they were losing due to shielding, and they got pretty into it. So I just started over-reading random Internet forums. I guess I was also just trying to convince myself that buying a can of shielding paint would be worth it. I was having a stupid internal debate between "it looks cool" and the reality that no one would ever see it.