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Help with some fried electronics.

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by hjolberg, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. hjolberg


    Sep 8, 2013
    Hey guys, first time poster here looking for some advice. I have an Ibanez GSR200 running through a Fender Rumble 75 practice amp. The amp isn't plugged into a power strip, but I have a couple other things plugged into a power strip on the same outlet. Tonight the amp was turned off with the bass plugged in when the power apparently went out (or surged) in just that outlet. I'm not sure exactly what happened, I just know that the electronics that were plugged into the outlet through the power strip turned off. And at the same time smoke started coming out around the pickups on the guitar. I took it outside and unscrewed the back panel and found that the insulation on half of the wires was melted. I'm not sure exactly where to go from here. I know that the amp is fine and still works perfectly. I would think that the pickups would need replacing? But I really don't know and have no idea how to test that. I also only paid $60 for the bass, so if the repairs are going to be pricey then it might not be worth it for me. Any help or advice you guys can offer will be really helpful. Thanks!
  2. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Here's the advice. If your pickups are smoking, throw the amp away. There is no way on earth that enough electrical current should be passed from amp to the guitar to make it melt down; the amp is unsafe and your life is in danger.

    I'm being 100% serious here. An amp is not supposed to energize a guitar. Pickups generate their own energy in fractions of volts that the AMP AMPlifies. You're amp has gone rogue and wants to kill you.

    As for the bass, if the pickups aren't cooked, it's fairly cheap to change wire and pots if you know how to solder. But my bet is that the pups are shot. You can find used ones cheap or just get some cheap Chinese junk from eBay so it at least makes noise and you can continue learning to play. Or just find another used bass for $60
  3. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Oh, I forgot, there is no way on earth that a power surge happens to only one outlet in a home. The wire in any building is all connected together via the buss bars in the distribution panel, so if one gets a surge, they all do.

    Your amp is rogue and trying to kill you.
  4. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    I agree. The amp need to be tossed in a trash can. Get a new bass too, this one ain't worth fixing unless you are just looking for practice with your soldering skills.
  5. uOpt


    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    The amp obviously had a loose wire touching something it shouldn't, ending up with a power wire on the signal input. Could have killed you.


    The bass isn't much of an issue and better pickups are always good to have.
  6. Ordinarily, smoking pickups would indicate a major amp problem.
    However, there is another variable here which I have seen
    cause similar damage: the power strip.

    Power strips are usually cheaply manufactured and can have
    marginal connections. I've seen a bad power strip smoke a lot
    of expensive equipment when it had a bad return connection.

    Regarding the equipment plugged into the power strip: were any
    of those items connected to your amp or bass in any way?
  7. One follow-up comment: you said the amp was turned off when
    the bass smoked. To me, that further supports my hypothesis
    that the amp is not the problem; something else is.

    The amp should have no power whatsoever past the power
    switch when it is turned off. For the amp to be the culprit here,
    it would need a bad power switch plus a major internal failure.
    Such a simultaneous double failure is statistically about as
    likely as getting struck by lightning.

    What likely happened is that your power strip lost the return
    connection and the voltage somehow ended up passing through
    your bass as it found its way back to ground.
  8. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    The pickups smoked? This very is very highly irregular. There is literally no way for an amp to put high power on the input jacks without some severe internal problem. I wire could have come off an be lying on the PC board, or some insulation could have been omitted, or the power transformer could be defective.

    If the power was of when this happened - you are very lucky that you weren't holding the thing at the time.

    Time to take them both to a very qualified tech and keep your hands off them until then.
  9. I've got one more theory on what you saw. I'll bet that the
    pickups were not damaged. What you probably saw was
    smoke emanating from the vicinity of the pickups. But the
    smoke was probably burnt wiring (likely ground wires).

    Take the pick guard off and send us a picture of the burnt inside.

    And tell us what was plugged into that outlet strip.
  10. uOpt


    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    No, it all makes sense.

    A lead in the power section came loose (or was bridged by an object), touching what ends up being the hot wire in the input signal cable, bridging the power switch. The result is that, without the switch having any effect, power flows through the hot lead in the input to the bass and then through the pickups to ground.

    You DEFINITELY do not want to use this amp.

    There is nothing confusing here, the above scenario makes perfect sense and explains all the observations.