Is shielding in an electric guitar necessary if you only have humbucking pickups in it?

Also, would this be still useful if the guitar is chambered and the electric cavity is open to the inside of the guitar? ie Should the components be enclosed in a faraday cage? The reason I ask is that I have a guitar where the electrics are exposed, similar to a semi-acoustic guitar.

3 Answers 3


Electrically speaking, ground loops in the building wiring, such as the room you're playing guitar in can be a main cause of static noise and hum also.

Use a portable a.m. radio around the room and see if you get a lot of static with the a.m. stations, this can be early indication of ground loops with in the premise wiring system. Of course you may use a gauss meter also.


Shielding in an electric guitar helps against electric fields, humbuckers are resilient against magnetic fields. So those are quite independent (humbuckers tend to have higher gain that helps putting the signal above the hum, so they will still be of some utility when the problem is electric fields, but it's not related to the work principle of the pickup).

  • 2
    Where can you find strong electric fields without magnetic fields?
    – ojs
    Apr 28, 2022 at 19:37
  • @ojs The electric field generated by pickups is small - a pickup is ≈10 ohms ,,, 100–300 millivolts. May 2, 2022 at 3:02
  • 1
    @RandyZeitman technically, pickups generate electromotive force (EMF), not electric field. There are no electric fields inside conductors. The electric output of the pickups is induced from varying magnetic field, either from playing the guitar or external sources. The question was about shielding against external sources.
    – ojs
    May 2, 2022 at 6:32

It depends.

Single coil pickups are by the far the part in electric guitar that is most sensitive to external magnetic fields. Humbuckers are much less sensitive. However, other parts of the circuit can pick up smaller amounts of electromagnetic interference, and if you play with high gain, the even the tiniest interference can be loud. So, shielding the electric cavity can be useful but it is not always necessary.

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