Hello! Small zaps?

Hello! I am new to bass and I have a question. I have a G and L Tribute L2000 in Clear orange (i absolutely love it!) and I have noticed that I am getting small zaps from the strings and the the bridge. I opened the back panel and made sure no wires were touching and metal before the 9v battery and the pre-amp is wrapped very well so its not touching any metal either. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what could be causing it? I have an Orange crush combo amp and I’m not using any pedals. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you jjswenson


Do you get those all the time, whenever you play, or only in certain cases?

I am asking because I get tiny zaps whenever I am in contact with the strings and - at the same time - touch the metal surface of my MacBook while it is being charged! Only in that combination do I notice a tingling from the strings into my skin (potentially pointing to a grounding issue; in my case, I am pretty sure the power supply charging my MacBook is not properly grounded through the outlet).

Is it anything like that?


As in static electricity zaps from your bass to your figures? I never knew that was something that could happen. Crazy. I’m sure someone here will know what is causing it.


My husband can feel the small zaps (less than a 9 volt battery) whenever he touches the string with his ring. I usually feel them with the inside of my arm on the bridge. I thought my arm was just sensitive since there was a screw there, but it’s smooth and my husband can feel them other times. We are trying switching outlets in case that was the cause, but I am curious if I was close to dying form a “hot” bass. I will keep you updated to if I keep feeling them.


Yeah, it could be that the amp is not grounded properly. Try other outlets… often larger kitchen appliances (fridges, perhaps dishwashers, …) are hooked up to “better” outlets, i.e., properly grounded ones.

I don’t think it’s the bass… I mean just unplug it from the amp and see if you (or your husband) still get zapped.


Something like this can tell you if the outlet you are plugged into is wired properly and has a good ground. That’s a good place to start.

If you don’t want to use yourself to test and see if you are getting shocked, it’s possible to use a voltage meter to hunt around and find what’s hot. Put the black lead on a good known ground connection. Touch the red lead to strings, amp metal case, etc. trying to find a voltage that shouldn’t exist. Anything you can touch should all be at 0 Volts to ground if everything is OK.

I wouldn’t let this go without figuring it out. Weirdnesses are usually warning signs that something else, possibly a problem, is up.

I recently had a circuit breaker trip a couple times when I didn’t think it should. Checking the voltage on the outlet it was a little low and would dip slightly when I’d turn on the amp, but it was only a few volts low and didn’t trip very often. It turned out to be a loose wire at the circuit breaker that was all black and charred and arcing. Lesson: If something is odd, something is happening.


Thank you so much for your replies everyone. As soon as I can find the money I will be buying Power Outlet tester. Since I have switched outlets I haven’t felt any zaps. That really scares me considering how bad it could have gotten. I will be avoiding that outlet until I can test it properly. Thank you again for the advice everyone