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Old 09-28-2012, 06:41 AM   #1
Fouks
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Electricity in the strings.

Didnt really know where to put this thread but it sounded like the right place.

So i bought a new amp and a guitar yesterday, i came home and started to play. After around 30 minutes i felt that my strings were leading electricity so i stopped play.

I've had this problem before with my other amp and guitar but then i thought it was because the amp was a cheap bad one, but now when i have bought a new amp and a guitar for around 1000$ i don't believe that's the problem.

So i called an electrician too look if the outlet was grounded. It was and he told me it must be the amp that's causing the trouble.

So dear UG, do you have any clue what it might be?
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Old 09-28-2012, 07:00 AM   #2
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Does your guitar have active electronics?
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Old 09-28-2012, 07:02 AM   #3
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Most guitars have passive electronics and therefore if you're having a problem with an electric current building on the strings then it's definitely coming from whatever you've plugged your guitar into.

I would recommend using a different plug in a different part of your house with immediate effect. If this has happened with two different amps and two different guitars then it would seem unlikely that both amps are to blame and the common denominator is the plug.

Until you've had an electrician take a look at the plug I wouldn't use it. It could potentially be fatal.
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Old 09-28-2012, 07:19 AM   #4
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I have active electronics.
I've tried to different plugs in the apartment now and it makes no difference. As i said i already have had an electrician here and he said it wasnt anything wrong with the plug.
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Old 09-28-2012, 08:02 AM   #5
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Its either the outlet or the amp
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Old 09-28-2012, 08:40 AM   #6
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Check the ground on your guitar
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Old 09-28-2012, 10:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seljer
Its either the outlet or the amp



+1

even if the guitar isnt grounded, you won't get shocked unless the outlet, amp plug, or amp is faulty.
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Old 09-28-2012, 11:07 AM   #8
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How can you tell there was current going to the strings? Did they shock you? Did you hook up a voltmeter?

I could very well be wrong, but I can't think of anywhere on a guitar that the electronics and the strings/hardware touch, or even come close to touching with actives. It seems like a wire would have to be touching the bridge or something, because this doesn't really make sense. Also, the amp should not be sending power out of the input jack, and since you've tried this with a different amp and guitar, I doubt it's bad wiring in the amp.

Edit: Just saw that you have active electronics, but still, there should NOT be anywhere that power touches the hardware in a play that will send current down the strings.

The only thing I've experienced similar to this was one venue I played where the mic would shock my lips if they touched the mic as I sang.

Last edited by ExDementia : 09-28-2012 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 09-28-2012, 11:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExDementia
I could very well be wrong, but I can't think of anywhere on a guitar that the electronics and the strings/hardware touch, or even come close to touching. It seems like a wire would have to be touching the bridge or something,


You mean like the bridge ground wire?
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Old 09-28-2012, 11:49 AM   #10
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Check any cords you have and make sure they have a ground prong.Otherwise, get an electrician to check your outlets and make sure that they are grounded.
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Old 09-28-2012, 01:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddiehimself
You mean like the bridge ground wire?

Actives don't use a bridge ground. There shouldn't be contact between the ground and the hardware.

But even if there is, I don't think the TS would get shocked
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Old 09-28-2012, 03:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddiehimself
You mean like the bridge ground wire?

Open up guitar with active electronics and point out the bridge grounding wire for me. I'll wait here.

Even if it was passive, it shouldn't come in contact with anything with current. Also, he said this happened with multiple guitars and amps. That's not the problem.

Last edited by ExDementia : 09-28-2012 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 09-28-2012, 04:07 PM   #13
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I've just thought of what this could be. But first a story to backup my thought!
Years ago I kept getting mild shocks from the strings on my guitar, what I found had happened was an old guitar string on the floor had one end that found its way under a plug in an extension lead and was touching live, the other end had managed to come into contact with the metal casing of my guitar lead jack at the distortion pedal. With no RCD at the mains nothing tripped and i kept getting small shocks.

Given that, what could be causing the problem is likely not your amp and definitely not your guitar but more likely another appliance in your house that is leaking current to earth and being that your strings are connected to earth via your amp you're picking up a small amount of this discharge. Unplug/switch off absolutely everything else in your house and try again. If you no longer get shocks then you know it's something else causing the problem and can gradually work through turning things back on until you find the problem appliance.
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Old 09-28-2012, 04:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NotTheMessiah30
Given that, what could be causing the problem is likely not your amp and definitely not your guitar but more likely another appliance in your house that is leaking current to earth and being that your strings are connected to earth via your amp you're picking up a small amount of this discharge. Unplug/switch off absolutely everything else in your house and try again. If you no longer get shocks then you know it's something else causing the problem and can gradually work through turning things back on until you find the problem appliance.
An easier way to test this would be to use a good surge protector or APC.

I still don't see how this current would make it to the strings though.

Last edited by ExDementia : 09-28-2012 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 09-28-2012, 04:47 PM   #15
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hmm the OP has active pups so yeah there'd be no ground wire to the bridge. Unless by some odd chance there is :/
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:32 PM   #16
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how does electricity even get into the strings? the only connection is by magnetic field from the pickups. to my knowledge, the strings in no way come into contact with any electronics (bur ive had a few right now, so im not thinking straight).

but still even then, i cant imagine enough juice is traveling back through any amp input up through the cable into the guitar that would be enough to cause any bodily harm.
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Old 09-28-2012, 10:14 PM   #17
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On guitars with passive pickups it is common for there to be a grounding wire connected to the bridge so the strings are earthed. On guitars with trems this wire is usually connected to the spring claw.

Severely faulty equipment could send a charge to earth resulting in the strings carrying some current.

Last edited by NotTheMessiah30 : 09-28-2012 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 09-28-2012, 10:30 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fouks
So i called an electrician too look if the outlet was grounded. It was and he told me it must be the amp that's causing the trouble.

So dear UG, do you have any clue what it might be?
Dude the electrician already told you where the problem is. Take the freakin' thing to the place you bought it to be checked out before you electrocute yourself.
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Old 09-28-2012, 11:34 PM   #19
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Stick the plug up your butt and Ride the Lightning.
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Old 09-29-2012, 06:19 PM   #20
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If it happens with 2 different amps in 2 different outlets, I would suspect it's the guitar with the 9-volt battery in it.

It should not shock you (obviously) but if it is wired incorrectly it could put up to 9v across the strings. Who installed the active pickups? I realize if they came stock, then this probably isn't the cause but personally I have seen a case where a battery in a guitar was hooked up wrong and caused electric shocks/exploded.

I would suggest trying a guitar without active electronics, or just taking the battery out and plugging it in. If you stop getting shocked, rewire your guitar.


Edit: an even easier way to find the problem would be to plug a lead into the amp while it's on and test for voltage across it.

Then I would plug a lead into just the guitar and test for voltage across it.
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Last edited by jthm_guitarist : 09-29-2012 at 06:21 PM.
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