Scott Truesdell wrote:
...Next step: Shield Your Bass using the Brother Dave recommendations!
I'd hold off on copper shielding to ground that or any other split coil 2nd generation design P-Bass. Due to the hum cancelling effects of the phasing in the split coil pickup applying copper shielding probably isn't really enough of a benefit to justify the hassle or expense of the copper. Sure it is only about $15 but it really doesn't make much difference at all on a split coil P-Bass, just the 1951/56 single coil Precisions and the handful of modern basses modeled after them. On a split coil P-Bass I'd only worry about it if you have a hum problem and you probably won't. They are essentially noise free stock compared to a Jazz or 51/56 P-Bass.
Have I shielded passive split coil P-Basses? Yes, the ones I plan to keep forever and they are Fenders. Did it make any difference? Very little if any at all. I don't think I'd do it again because it really wasn't worth the time spent doing it or the copper on a modern passive split coil P-Bass. I really don't think it improved the noise floor enough to justify the hassle. I don't mind the $15 for the copper material, but it takes me several hours. In the end copper foil shielding a split coil Precision won't make it any worse, but it doesn't make it perceptibly better either. Unless you are having noise issues for some reason, I'd skip it because I will if I ever get another new modern passive P-Bass.
However on any passive single coil Jazz, a P/J or First Generation type Precision single coil bass copper shielding has immediate and cost effective noise reduction benefits. On P/J setups there only seems to be a perceptible benefit in shielding the Jazz pickup cavity and the control cavity while skipping the pickguard shield application since that is where the P pickup lives and instead run a small diameter ground wire from the control cavity through the channel to the Jazz pickup cavity to solder to the copper shielding there. I'd skip shielding the P pickup cavity entirely. Even when Jazzes, P/J's and single-coil first-generation P-Bass instruments (Like the Squier Classic Vibe 50's P-Bass) have shielding paint factory applied in the cavities in my experience copper foil cavity shielding to ground makes an obvious improvement in RFI rejection and hum reduction. Shielding paint is better than nothing, but not as good as copper foil. Foil shielding the back of the pickguard to ground only has a benefit when the pickguard actually surrounds a single coil pickup and on P/J's and most first generation single coil P-Basses the pickguard doesn't surround a single coil pickup.
There is NOTHING like the sound of a first-generation P-Bass to me and I totally love that tone, but no other bass is more sensitive to RFI either. On a Jazz you can always turn both volumes up full to get some noise cancelling due to the phasing of the pickups but on a first generation single coil P-Bass you can not do that since there is only one pickup. That leaves copper foil shielding to ground as the best option to lower the noise floor. Also I urge installing a chrome pickup cover on first-generation based instruments more for protection of the fragile pickup than for shielding. If you run a ground wire from the pickup cavity shielding and wrap it around the cover screw that gives a slight shielding benefit also, but in reality most people are not going to hassle with that because the benefit is so small. Even Leo Fender stopped grounding the pickup cover after 1951. Still the pickup on these instruments is way more fragile than a plastic covered 2nd generation P-Bass or Jazz pickup and if you don't install the chrome pickup cover you must resist using the pickup for a thumbrest. Sure there are some good tones when you pluck right over the pickup, but it is almost as good right next to the cover. Pickup covers on a split coil P-Bass on the other hand are just for cosmetics and don't really do much otherwise.