As a general rule, an amp could buzz because of the following reasons:
- Guitar cable is too long
- Loose wiring in pedal
- Bad guitar cable
- Power surges
- Bad amplifier
- Loose or dirty input jack
- Standing too close to the amplifier
As someone who has played guitar and bass for over seven years, I can confirm that there are many different factors that can cause unwanted amplifier buzzing. However, the good news is that these buzzing noises can be fixed.
In this article, we will go over these seven different reasons in detail. I will also include recommended fixes. We will also go over potential long-term damage from buzzing sounds from the amplifier.
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7 Reasons Why Amp Start Buzzing When Plugged Into Guitar (With Fix)
These seven reasons are just some of the factors that can result in you hearing a buzzing sound when you plug your guitar into your amplifier.
1. Guitar cable is too long
If you are playing with an extended guitar cable, and most of the unused portion of the cable is coiled up next to your amplifier, consider uncoiling it and pulling it out. The electromagnetic field from your amplifier may interfere with the electromagnetic signal traveling through your guitar cable.
Consider replacing it with a guitar cable that is only as long as you need it to be. The less unused portion of the cable you have coiled up next to a large, powerful piece of electrical equipment, the less likely you will have a problem with buzzing noises.
2. Loose wiring in guitar pedal
If the guitar pedals you are playing with have a bad cable or loose internal wiring, this can create a buzzing sound. Gently check the cables and the jacks on your pedal. If you find they are loose, then this may be the culprit.
Additionally, you can also plug into your amplifier by removing each of the pedal one by one. If the buzzing stops once one of the particular pedals is removed, then the pedal is the culprit. Either fix them through a shop or consider buying a new one.
3. Bad guitar cable
A bad guitar cable can cause a buzzing sound once it has been plugged into the guitar because it is not correctly carrying the electrical signal from your amplifier to your guitar. If the cable is starting to go bad, consider replacing it.
For more information regarding bad cables and buzzing, please check out this article: Can Bad Guitar Cable Cause Amp Buzz? Reason & Recommendation.
It is a good idea to have a spare guitar cable around for several reasons. First, they will eventually go bad, so having one around as a backup is always a good idea.
Second, you can plug the spare in when testing your current guitar cable. If the buzzing stops, you have determined that the cable was the cause of the buzzing (you also have fixed it by using your spare backup cable).
4. Power surges
Dirty power is any unused electricity from things like power surges or how much electricity flows into your household or neighborhood at a particular time. This can cause a buzzing if there is too much dirty power.
One option to work around this is to try another power jack. Another option is to purchase a power conditioner.
A power conditioner works similarly to a surge protector. While a surge protector will stop electrical spikes from damaging your amplifier, a power conditioner will remove the buzzing sound from any electrical spikes.
5. Bad Amplifier
Several factors with the amplifier itself can cause a buzzing sound. This can be its cables or a grounding issue if there are loose connections inside the amplifier itself.
Sometimes, even the external parts of an amplifier can cause buzzing and rattling noises. For instance, loose amp covers could rattle and create buzzing noises as you play.
It’s a good idea to check for any loose parts of screws on your amp before concluding that an amp is bad and needs to be replaced.
6. Loose or dirty input jack
A loose jack can interfere with how the electrical signal travels from the guitar to the amplifier. Gently try to wiggle the jack and see if it is moving. If it is loose, then it will need to be tightened.
A large amount of dust can also interfere with the electrical signal inside one of the jacks. If you take a Q-Tip and gently insert it into the jack and notice dust on it, you may need to clean them internally.
Take some rubbing alcohol and gently place it on the Q-Tip’s end. From there, you can take the Q-Tip and gently clean the jacks. Please wait 1 hour before playing again to ensure everything has dried properly.
7. Standing too close to amplifier
If you are standing too close to your amplifier and playing with single-coil pickups, this can cause a buzzing sound. If you move further away from the amplifier, chances are the buzzing sound will start fading and or stop altogether.
Pickups act like an antenna and are constantly surrounded by an electromagnetic field. This is due to the internal wiring inside the pickups that create the electromagnetic field that picks up the vibrations from your strings.
Humbucker pickups do not have this issue, as they have wiring wrapped in the opposite direction to cancel out much of the electromagnetic field. Consider upgrading to humbuckers if you find this to be an issue.
Can Amp Buzz Cause Damage?
Continuous and excessive amp buzzing, crackling and popping noises can cause damage to the amp internals. If you still hear loud crackling and buzzing sounds like this while you are playing, consider taking the amplifier to your local music store to have a technician examine it.
An amplifier can be healthy and still have a small amount of amplifier buzz. This does not necessarily mean that the buzz will cause damage, especially if it is from something simple like standing too close to the amplifier playing a guitar with regular pickups.
In conclusion, we went over seven reasons why your amplifier may start buzzing when you plug your guitar into your amplifier. This included recommended fixes as well. We addressed the issue of the amplifier buzz causing damage as well.