Why Your Guitar Amp May Be Buzzing?
We’ve all been there. You’re rocking out on your guitar, and suddenly the sound coming from your amp starts to change – it’s not as crisp anymore, there is some sort of constant buzz or hiss that you can’t quite pinpoint. What could be causing this? Is my guitar amp broken? Am I doing something wrong? No! There are many potential reasons for this issue, so we wanted to break them down for you in our article today.
- Common Reasons Why A Guitar Amp Buzzes
- 11 Possible Reasons Your Guitar Amp Is Buzzing
- Conclusion – Why Your Guitar Amp May Be Buzzing
Common Reasons Why A Guitar Amp Buzzes
- Inferior cables
- Low-quality guitar electronics
- Improper grounding
- Single coil pickups
- Low battery on active pickups
- 60 cycle hum through an AC plugin
- External effects pedals
- Type of lights used in a room
- Worn out preamp valves
- Bad tubes
- Faulty speaker wire
Unwanted noise in your guitar amp is a very common problem that many guitarists face. There are several reasons why this may be happening and we’ll break them down for you.
11 Possible Reasons Your Guitar Amp Is Buzzing
Cheap or inferior cables
These can often be the culprit of a noisy amp. If you’re using cables that aren’t designed for audio, they can cause all sorts of issues – including buzzing. Unshielded cables can also be responsible for this problem. Make sure you are using high-quality cables to ensure that your amp is getting the right signal without any unnecessary noise in it. The difference between a $10.00 cable and a $20.00 cable can make a world of difference in the noise level in your amp and in the annoyance level you experience.
An improper ground can cause a buzzing sound in an amplifier, which usually manifests itself as a 60 cycle hum or buzz when no guitar cable has been attached to the amp. This can be a hard problem to pinpoint, which is why many people end up taking the amp into a repair shop only for them to tell you that it’s perfectly fine and functioning properly.
You usually won’t know if there isn’t proper grounding unless you have experience with these types of problems in your guitar amps. The easiest way to fix this problem is to purchase a ground loop eliminator. This makes sure that everything is grounded properly with your guitar amp.
Low-quality guitar electronics
Many cheap Chinese knockoff guitars or even some of the popular brands use cheap electronics from China. These components are often of low quality and can cause all sorts of problems, including buzzing. If your guitar is new, it may be wise to take it into a shop and have them check the electronics. Often times they will be able to switch out the cheap parts for better quality ones that won’t cause any issues down the road.
Single coil pickups
Single coil pickups are great for getting a bright, crisp sound out of your guitar. However, they can also cause some issues with buzzing in certain amps due to the fact that there is no humbucker pickup. If you have single-coil pickups on your guitar and find yourself experiencing this issue, it may be time to switch them out for some humbuckers.
Underpowered active pickups
If you’re using active pickups on your guitar and they are running low on battery power, this can often cause a buzzing or distortion sound in the amp. This is because when the batteries get too low, they can’t supply enough power to the pickups and this causes them to buzz or distort. Make sure that you always have fresh batteries for your active pickups to prevent this from happening.
60 cycle hum through an AC plugin
One of the most common causes of a buzzing guitar amp is when there’s an excessive 60 cycle hum coming from your air conditioner or other type appliances in the room where you are playing. Oftentimes, this will cause all sorts of issues with your amplifier. There are several ways that you can fix this.
You could try moving your amp to another room with the appliances, which should help eliminate some of the noise coming from them. If that isn’t an option for you, then you will need to purchase a power conditioner. This is a glorified power strip that strips out all the interference.
If you’ve ruled out all of the other potential problems and are still experiencing a buzzing sound in your amplifier, it may be time to change the tubes. Tubes can go bad over time and this can often cause a buzzing sound. When you change the tubes, make sure that you use high-quality tubes so that you don’t have the same problem arise again in the near future.
Effects pedals can cause a buzzing sound in your amplifier. This is because they are often plugged directly into the amp which means that there’s no buffer between them and it. Try disconnecting your FX pedals one by one until you find the culprit causing the buzzing. Then start troubleshooting that pedal until you can figure out why it is sending out a degraded signal.
If you’re playing in a room that has fluorescent lighting, this can often cause a buzzing sound in your amplifier. This is because the light bulbs are emitting a high-frequency noise that is causing interference with your amp. Try shutting off all of the lights in the room or changing to incandescent light bulbs to see if that eliminates the buzz. If it does, then the power conditioner I mentioned above should do the trick in eliminating this buzz.
Faulty speaker wire
If you have checked all of the other potential problems and ruled them out, it may be time to look at your speaker wire. Cheap or old speaker wires can start causing buzzing in some amps because they are not properly insulated. This is something that will need to be replaced if it gets bad enough.
Worn out preamp valves
If your amplifier has a preamp valve, it may be time to replace it if you’re experiencing a buzzing sound. This is because the valves can wear out over time and start causing all sorts of issues. When you change them, make sure that you use high-quality valves so that you don’t have the same problem arise again in the near future.
Conclusion – Why Your Guitar Amp May Be Buzzing
There are many potential reasons why your guitar amp may be buzzing. By troubleshooting each of these problems, you should be able to find out what the cause is and fix it so that you can start enjoying your music again.
Thank you for reading our article on Why Your Guitar Amp May Be Buzzing!