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Shielding a Fender Classic '70s Stratocaster MIM - Page 1

Here are some pics of a recent shielding job I did on a Fender Classic '70s Stratocaster that apparently came un-shielded as you can see on the lower left corner control cavity where there is some SKU info stuck onto the wood. It has a clear coat over top which means it probably wasn't shielded and it did buzz and hum a lot. I also installed a new set of Fender Custom Shop '69 pickups to get the true '69 vibe. The body on these MIM (Made in Mexico) Strats are Ash, as were most original early CBS 70s Strats and it has more of a Jimi "Mojo" to it than several other Strats I have, because of it's spanking brightness, sustain and fat tone. I worked beginning at around 9PM and until around 5AM installing the copper foil tape that you can get at Stewart MacDonald which I now kind of wish I would have used the shielding paint because this stuff is tough to work with (at least for me it was). It has very sharp edges that sliced up my fingers as I cut and pressed it into the corners. One thing I used was a wooden chop stick to help get it into the corners. After taping all the cavities I soldered a piece of cloth covered wired between the output jack cavity and the control cavity and then from there to the control pot to activate the ground shield as told to me by some great guys on the Fenderforum.com After installing the pickups and copper foil I had to take it apart several times to find where it kept shorting out by something touching inside and shorting out. Had to check continuity across the tape and found a few spots where it read 0.01 instead of 0.00 so I slathered a thin layer of solder across the 2 pieces of tape and that fixed that (see last couple pics on Page 3). One other thing I did was get a couple of 1" neodymium boride magnets from Stew-Mac and used their pickup instructions and a polarity tester to reverse the polarity of the middle pickup to get humbucking in position 2 & 4 since vintage pickups don't come that way. I built a Mickey mouse jig out of a scrap piece of wood to hold them in place while I slid the pickup through them. Worked like a charm! (See pics on page 3 for pics).

Results: Seems much more quiet than it was but no more quiet than a 2004 Highway 1 Strat or a 2005 American Series Strat but this one was noisy because it had no shielding at all. HOWEVER! reversing the polarity of the middle pickup gave me dead silence in position 2 & 4 with nothing but pure tone for days. This project was definitely worth doing as this '70s Strat with Olympic white Ash body, maple neck with large headstock like Jimi's and CS '69 pickups now has that same kind of Mojo. To top it off, I put on a set of Fender 150L Gauge Nickel wound strings .9 - .42 the same kind Jimi used and they have this snappy, twangy feeling like no other strings I've ever played. Now if I could just play as good as Jimi I'd be set! ;-)

Sound Clips Examples: Here's a few sound clips messing around to demonstrate the tone. I'm plugged into a little vintage 1965 5 watt Supro amp along with a Fulltone OCD overdrive set on around 11 o'clock on gain for just a tad of fatness, plus an analog Electro Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man echo and a Sweet Sound Ultra Vibe (Uni-Vibe clone) on "Hey Baby" to get that sound. Also, on the CS 69 Shielding-Reverse Polarity demo, notice the slight hum/buzz in position 1-3-5 but how it goes quiet on positions 2 & 4 thanks to the magnets flipping the polarity and switching the leads! Here's another project that I did Star Grounding a Strat on a Fender 60's Reverse Strat.

Shielding & Pup Install - 2 ] Shielding & Pup Install - 3 ]

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