Five possible reasons why your amplifier is buzzing can be the lighting, potential power surges from dirty power, the power cable, your pedals, or other issues with the amplifier itself.
As someone who has played guitar and bass for over seven years, I can tell you that I have been dealing with buzzing issues and they can be incredibly frustrating! However, the good news is that there are often simple ways to troubleshoot these issues.
This article will cover five reasons why your amplifier can immediately buzz when you turn it on, the potential for long-term damage from the amplifier buzzing, and the correct way to power it on.
Note: If your amp is buzzing only after it’s plugged into a guitar, then you should check out the articles below.
- Complete Guide To Stop EVERY Type Of Buzzing Noises For Amp!
- Amp Buzzing When Plugged Into Guitar: 7 Reasons & Fixes
5 Reasons Why Amp Immediately Buzzes When It’s Turned On (& Prevention)
1. Bad Amp
There may be an issue with the amplifier itself that is causing the buzzing sound. This can be as simple as an excessive amount of dust has accumulated inside the amplifier.
If you check the jack where you are plugging in your guitar cable with a Q-Tip and notice a large amount of dust on the end, then this can interfere with the electrical signal from your guitar to your amplifier.
To fix this, you can take some rubbing alcohol and clean out each jack in your setup with the Q-Tip. Please make sure to wait at least an hour before resuming playing if using any form of rubbing alcohol in the jacks of your amplifier.
If you hear buzzing from the amplifier once the guitar has been plugged in, then there is a potential possibility that there is an issue with the guitar itself.
2. Dirty power surges
Dirty Power is defined as power being pulled from the electrical outlet that you plug your guitar amplifier into. Electricity runs in a waveform. The wave the electricity runs in can encompass various abnormalities in how the power is delivered from the electrical outlet to the amplifier.
Changing the outlet you plug the amplifier into may help eliminate this issue. You can also invest in a surge protector to prevent the dirty power issues caused by an electrical surge.
3. Bad power cable
Your cable has internal wiring carrying the electrical signal from your power outlet to the amplifier. Over time, your cable’s internal wiring can deteriorate, leading to a buzzing sound when plugging it in.
Upgrading to the best cable possible will help prevent this from being an issue for as long as possible. However, every cable will eventually go bad.
Therefore, having a spare cable on hand is a good idea to prevent buzzing sounds when plugging your guitar in and turning it on.
4. Bad pedal
If the pedals themselves (or the cables you are using to connect them) have gone bad, this can cause a buzzing sound to come through your amplifier when you power it on. If one or more of your pedals is causing this, it can be easy to fix.
First, I suggest removing each pedal one by one to see if the buzzing stops once that pedal has been removed from your setup.
Consider replacing the cables for each of your pedals. You can also test this by using different cables with your different pedals to see if that fixes the issue or not.
5. Electromagnetic interference
Electrical equipment of any kind will create an electromagnetic field. Different types of electromagnetic fields can interfere with each other, which will cause a buzzing sound.
Suppose you hear buzzing sounds and play in an environment with fluorescent lighting. In that case, consider turning off the fluorescent lights or simply setting up your amplifier in an environment that does not have fluorescent lighting.
Can Amp Buzz Cause Long-Term Damage?
A low amount of buzz or humming sounds are not a high enough danger to permanently damage your guitar amplifier.
However, if it is permanent, no matter what you attempt to try to stop it, or if it is just as loud or louder than your playing, then there is a risk that the buzzing can permanently damage your amplifier.
If your guitar amplifier is buzzing this loudly, consider taking the amplifier to a guitar technician to see exactly what is causing the buzzing.
5 Steps To Correctly Turn on Amp
1. Plug your guitar cable into the guitar first
Take your guitar cable and plug it into the guitar itself. This will prevent a loud buzzing or crackling sound that can be made by the cable touching your hands or any other object caused by the amplifier making contact with your bare hands.
2. Plug the guitar into the amplifier
The next step is to plug the guitar cord into the amplifier. Doing this before the amplifier is turned on will stop any loud crackling noises you would hear if the amplifier were first powered on.
3. Turn the standby switch on
Turning the standby switch on will help prepare your amplifier’s internal components, such as tubes or any internal solid-state components, to warm up adequately.
This will help protect these internal components from the sudden jolt of electricity they would otherwise be exposed to if you just turned on your amplifier and started playing through it.
After turning the standby switch on, wait approximately one minute before powering your guitar amplifier on. This is the last step in the process.
4. Turn the volume knob on the guitar all the way down
With the volume knob turned down all the way, you can turn it up as appropriate. This will allow you to gradually allow an increased volume to the amplifier without overloading it all at once.
From here, go ahead and adjust the volume on the guitar itself down, and adjust the volume, gain, reverb, etc knobs on your amplifier itself accordingly.
5. Turn the power on
Go ahead and power your amplifier on from here. Gradually turn the volume knob on the guitar itself up to the desired volume and begin playing.
Following these directions in this order will not only help prevent unwanted buzzing sounds but will also protect your amplifier and ensure you get the most extended shelf life out of it that you possibly can.
In conclusion, we covered five reasons why your amplifier can immediately buzz when you turn it on, the potential of long-term damage from the amplifier buzzing, and the correct way to power on your amplifier.
Following these guidelines can help eliminate unwanted buzzing from your amplifier and ensure you get the most playing time possible out of your guitar amplifier.