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Why is ground lifting dangerous?

doghouseman

Senior Member
Messages
3,045
I am lifting the ground of a VOX AC 15 to cut back on the noise. But isn't this dangerous? Or is it only if I touch a mic that I might get shocked? What should I avoid if I do this to cut the noise?
 

Blue Strat

Member
Messages
30,217
+1. Rather than wonder what to avoid, just don't ground lift your amp. If it "fixes" a noise problem, you need to REALLY fix it at the source, instead.
 

Diablo1

Member
Messages
620
The reason a ground lift is dangerous is that if something shorts in your amp to the chassis, you could have enough voltage and current travel down your guitar cord to your steel guitar strings and then through your hands and heart and back down through your feet to ground to kill you. The three prong plug with the ground connection insures that any voltage on the chassis goes directly to ground via the three prong plug, and not through you. So, yes you can get killed with a ground lift plug and a malfunction in your amp alone. You don't need to touch any other powered instrument or microphone.
 

Britishampfan

Member
Messages
3,034
You can buy ground lift cables and devices for the low voltage end.

You need a ground on your amp on the high voltage end.

Could you die? well yeah but it`s more likely that nasty painful shocks will happen.

I have stepped up to the mic while playing and it felt like I was punched in the face and got a blister on my lip in no ground situations, using other peoples gear or bad PA grounds.

I have had the soundman use a cheater live on stage, to kill the hum and say watch the mic!

No ground=bad/dangerous.
 

doghouseman

Senior Member
Messages
3,045
You can buy ground lift cables and devices for the low voltage end.

You need a ground on your amp on the high voltage end.

Could you die? well yeah but it`s more likely that nasty painful shocks will happen.

I have stepped up to the mic while playing and it felt like I was punched in the face and got a blister on my lip in no ground situations, using other peoples gear or bad PA grounds.

I have had the soundman use a cheater live on stage, to kill the hum and say watch the mic!

No ground=bad/dangerous.
Once I got shocked from a mic - and I could actually see the arc of electricity hit me right on the tip of the nose. F*CK!

After that the sound man came up and put a sock over the mic. It didn't really alleviate my concerns.

AAAAAh.. the good old days.
 






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