Burns Brian May Red Special Upgrade Part 7: Control Cavity Copper Shielding

Another job worth doing while the guitar is dismantled is applying copper foil inside the control cavity to ensure good grounding to prevent the guitar being noisy in use. Self-adhesive copper foil is readily available in rolls of various width and sheet form for this purpose. The adhesive is very strong and is itself conductive so that even if the foil is applied over itself or over some other shielding material, electrical continuity is maintained. If conductive foil is applied over the sections of the pickguard which completely cover the cavity, it is possible to form a Faraday cage to eliminate radiofrequency (RF) interference.

I smoothed the sides and floor of the control cavity using 120 grit abrasive paper then used my CAD drawing to make a paper template to check for fit. This was satisfactory so I proceeded to cut the section for the floor and walls from extra thin copper foil (not self-adhesive).

I glued these sections into the guitar using Evo-Stik Time Bond contact adhesive on the floor and Evo-Stik Serious Glue for the sides. This is not contact adhesive and allows repositioning for two to three minutes. I removed the 1/4″ jack socket to facilitate insertion of the cut sheet. These images illustrate the construction of commercial Brian May Red Special guitars which consist of a routed body and a thick lid. This is the most cost-effective manufacturing method for a chambered electric guitar like the Brian May Red Special and is one I would like to explore in a future build project.

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Part 8: Pickguard Wiring
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Part 6: Mechanical Set-up