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Why Is My Guitar Amp Buzzing?

by Scott Cornell
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Music is all about sound, and there are few things more frustrating than an annoying buzzing sound coming from your amplifier when you're preparing for a jam session or attempting to record your music. A buzzing amp could be the result of a variety of different factors or variables, ranging from the guitar itself to electrical interference between the amp and other electronics in the room.

String Buzz

One common cause of amp buzzing isn't due to a faulty amp, but a faulty guitar. For example, according to Fret Not Guitar Repair, frets and string buzzes occur when a string comes into contact with the fret. This can be the culprit of a loose fret or a worn nut slot, forcing the string arrangement to interfere with the frets. This type of buzz can be corrected by tightening any loose frets or replacing the nut slot to add distance between the strings and frets.

Electronic Sources

Electronics can contribute to amp buzzing. For instance, according to Pro Sound Web, the alternating current in a building's electrical wiring generates electrical and magnetic fields that can facilitate a humming or buzzing noise. There are other electronics variables as well that can contribute to buzzing, such as light fixtures, computers and TV monitors. These variables can interact with an electric guitar's wiring to produce a buzzing sound on the amplifier in certain circumstances.

Ground Loop

A ground loop is defined as the circuit loop formed when two pieces of audio equipment are connected, which is the case with an electric guitar and the amplifier. According to Pro Sound Web, if there is a different ground potential, a current can flow on the cable connecting them, resulting in a humming or buzzing noise. To resolve this type of hum, you need to have a balanced alternating current power supply.

Solutions

There are various other means that you can take to minimize or eliminate the buzz from your amp. For instance, try moving around the room and see if you detect a spot where you can play buzz-free. You can also try turning up the guitar's treble and volume levels to override the noise of the buzz. Another tip is to play with guitars that use humbucking pickups or to replace any old or worn strings so that your instrument is performing in peak condition.

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