Did musicians just get fried all the time before three prong cords?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by plawren53202, Apr 14, 2016.

  1. plawren53202

    plawren53202 Member

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    So the deal with old amps with two prong cords is nearly universally known. I've made that mistake before as well...old two prong cord amp I had just gotten, bare feet and concrete basement equaled nice little zap.

    Here's my question, though...I'm not old enough to remember the days when amps with two prong cords were standard. So were rockers just getting zapped all the time back then? Just had to be careful and make sure you did not become the ground (i.e., no bare feet and concrete)? What if the musician was playing electric guitar and accidentally touched lips to the mike? :eek: Or were things different back then such that two prong cords didn't pose such a threat?

    I have very little knowledge of vintage amps and vintage playing rock n roll, and even less knowledge of electronics...
     
  2. RussB

    RussB low rent hobbyist Silver Supporting Member

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    It was a thrill when your lips touched the metal screen on the microphone and you got zapped! That opened your eyes!!
     
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  3. T Dizz

    T Dizz Member

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    polarity switch!!
     
  4. tele_player

    tele_player Member

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    Yes, shocks were quite common.
     
  5. teleman1

    teleman1 Supporting Member

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    Get together with two or more people and you would get shocked. We would always quick touch each other or the mic to see if it were charged. Paid off knowing the quick touch when I started driving and would get arching light from my finger tips to the car.
     
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  6. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    Outdoor shows when it started raining were always an adventure.
     
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  7. GAT

    GAT Gold Supporting Member

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    Years ago we were opening up for Ambrosia in the 70's. I ran out to greet the crowd on our opening song and grabbed the mic. Threw me back and my guitar cord unplugged and landed on the mic stand and put a small hole in the mic stand. Crazy days. We would always touch the mics super fast to see if we would get shocked.
     
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  8. Papanate

    Papanate Gold Supporting Member

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    It's one of the reasons why you don't see early musicians jumping
    on the mic. distance saved lives.
     
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  9. johnkoz

    johnkoz Supporting Member

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    yep!

    BTDT
     
  10. tech21nyc

    tech21nyc Member

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    Yeah it kind of sucked. I used to put a big pop filter on my mic after getting zapped one too many times. Of course it killed the sound of the mic but I was safe. I had an English guitar teacher who told me in England they would use a little device to test if there was voltage because a 220 volt shock could be lethal. I received a 440 volt shock when I grounded myself between a step up transformer and oscilloscope in electronics class when I was in school and lived to tell about it. Through me to the floor and I was shaky for a couple of hours. Not fun.
     
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  11. Stormin

    Stormin Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    You haven't lived as a musician until you bump your lip against that mic and take one on the mouth. It's like a badge of honor...
     
  12. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

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    Nope, but occasionally it happened. Lip to mic..... especially.
     
  13. Multicellular

    Multicellular Supporting Member

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    I have an old recording where the studio engineer took me saying a four letter word four times and made that the countin for the song...hahh. That was in reaction to me being shocked on the face.
     
  14. drewl

    drewl Member

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    Pretty much.
    Bass player handed me a beer in the garage when we were teens, ZAP! broken beer bottle on the floor.

    Been zapped on the lips too.
    Ouch, that hurts.
     
  15. ChrisVereb

    ChrisVereb Member

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    Most of the musicians I know are still getting fried all the time. Even during unplugged sets.
     
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  16. CGrisamore

    CGrisamore Member

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    Happened to George in the Let it Be movie

     
  17. btjguitarman

    btjguitarman Member

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    I was still getting that with my bassman 100 with a three prong cord. Pretty sure there was more than a few things wrong with that amp...
     
  18. Bandersnatch

    Bandersnatch Member

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    :rimshot Beat me to it :JAM
     
  19. Weeziewow

    Weeziewow Member

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    I still check the mic with a tap using the back of my hand - when you use the palm side if there's a shock your hand muscles will contract and grab the mic, which is the opposite of what you want to be doing.

    Even with three pronged cords some of the local clubs I play have dodgy power. It's not a thing of the past.
     
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  20. zenas

    zenas Member

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    I stared about 1980 but our amps were old. The ones with the "effing ground" got it snipped off. (most places still had two prong outlets then)
    Had we been smart enough to figure out there was a right and wrong way to plug in. Or what the polarity switch did it would've helped. But we were kids drinking adult beverages, playing loud and getting shocked sometimes.
    I really like grounded cords and probably wired outlets now.

    There were a few people killed back then. I suspect a few got killed with those widow maker practice amps too. Probably just didn't get reported on any sort of data base. Or they just figured it was the drugs ?

    If you have a vintage amp get it updated if you're going to use it. It'll need electrolytics anyway.
     

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