Avoiding getting shocked?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by heterochrome, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. heterochrome


    Jan 5, 2013
    Hey all,

    I've been building an aluminum bass on and off for about a year, and I'm hoping to finish it before January is out. It's made from aluminum L-beams, epoxy, bolts, nuts, an old bass bridge, a guitar bridge, metal tuners, and a very small amount of MDF (composite wood).

    I'm looking to hook up electronics, and I'm curious if the materials used would pose a hazard any more than normal bass materials would. I'm all for being "electrifying" on stage, just not "electrified" :D.
  2. I can't see any issues. The bass might not live up to your hopes, it's experimental, but it shouldn't shock you. The voltages that the bass itself sees aren't close to high enough. Ever licked a 9v battery.
  3. The would be the same as with any other bass that has grounded strings.
  4. The concern is generally one of two things:

    1. Using equipment on different phases, such that the bass' ground is not at the same potential as other grounds you make come into contact with, such as microphone grilles. This is a legitimate concern with improperly wired/set up gear.

    2. The possibility of a tube amp's high voltage B+ supply shorting to the control grid of a directly-coupled input, and the player somehow coming into contact with it, perhaps through grounded pole pieces on an improperly wired pickup. This is the only sort of "gear malfunction" scenario I can think of right now. It's not a legitimate concern, IMO.
  5. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    There are quite a few aluminum instruments out there, and no one has been electrocuted yet just because they are made from metal.
  6. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Use a wireless system.
  7. Hactar


    Sep 25, 2011
    Boulder, CO
    It's not going to be any dangerous than any other bass guitar out there.
    If your amp is very miswired or your mains supply has a massive fault, then yes, you have a problem. But that problem is not inherent to the aluminium bass; you would still be vulnerable no matter what the bass.