It’s really irritating when you’re playing your guitar but your amp makes noises. This buzz breaks your concentration and causes harm to the gears. Hence, this has to be a must-solve problem.
So, what to do when the guitar amp hum nothing plugged in?
Well, firstly you need to check for cable malfunctions or circuit problems. Then move on to checking ground loops, adapter problems, and blown fuses issues for amps. We’ve explained the reasons for the noise and how to fix it. Steps to take care of your amp are also provided within this article.
Now, these are a few reasons why your guitar amp is making noises. But there are more. Got a minute? If yes, then we can dive right into the details.
How To Identify If The Guitar Is Humming?
The first thing you have to do is unplug the instrument and plug it back on. If you hear a sound then your amp is definitely making noise.
Now to be absolutely certain, you can check the gain levels. Check if the buzz increases according to the increased levels. If it does then look at wiring problems in the circuit board.
But hold on. There’s nothing to freak out about. Because we have the solutions to all this right below. So, hop on!
Marking Off The Easy Fixes
Before we look into the more serious hardware issues, let’s clear out the easy ones. So here goes:
Try Using a different Guitar
You need to check if your instrument is creating the noise or not. Or if there are any problems with your guitar. So here’s how to know for sure.
To be certain, play your guitar in a different amp to check if it’s faulty. Make sure you insert the jack correctly. Now, if you see there’s a hum, you have a faulty instrument. To avoid the hum, you have to change the pickups of your guitar.
Try Checking the Cables
First of all, you have to check the cables. Faulty cables are the most common reason for the hissing sound. Connect the amp to another socket to test it. If the hum still remains, you may have a faulty wire or adapter.
Now to solve this problem, you need to purchase a high-quality power supply cable. Make sure it comes with an adapter and a 3 pin power supply. Then you can replace the older one with this one.
Try Different Coil Switches
Single coils automatically create hum for their designs. Hence you need to switch up a few things to be certain.
Now, see if you have 3 different coils in your guitar. Switch it to 2 or 4, it will help to reduce the hum. If not, you have to replace the pickups of your guitar.
Check the AC Supply
There might be problems with your guitar or with your AC supply. Now, to find the source you need to isolate the issue. Here’s how to do it
Plug your amp in a different AC supply line and check for hums. Now If you notice the noise lowers down, you have to change the AC supply.
If it doesn’t, then try to use your amp in another building. You may have to change the whole AC supply power in your house.
Use Different External FX
External pedals or processors can malfunction sometimes. And the solution is pretty simple. Here goes:
Remove all the external FXs and use your amp. If it reduces the hum, you have to fix the external FXs. You can use your FX in different amps to make sure your pedals aren’t faulty.
Issues with the power conditioner
Power conditioners work as a filter of bad power flows. This makes sure the signal flows in the correct way.
So, if you fix it, will the power conditioner get rid of the hum?
Yes, a power conditioner will get rid of the hum. It has noise cancelation filters that reduce the noise. It’s a wise idea to use this where power supply is an issue. You can easily purchase it and install it by yourself.
Change The Lights
Lights like neon, fluorescent or dim lights in your room cause buzz in your amplifier. This happens because it creates a lag in the power supply.
You can solve this problem by removing these lights from your space. Then use your amplifier to check if there is any buzz. If there aren’t any then you might’ve just fixed your amp.
Your Guitar Might Not Be Grounded
Grounding problems can be fairly common, but hard to identify. So, how do you tell if your guitar is grounded?
In one word, you’ll get a shock! That is when you touch the strings of the guitar or any metal parts. That’s how you can realize your guitar is grounded. So, you have to fix this problem immediately.
Not playing through amps makes the guitar output not grounded. The direct speakers might be lifted from the ground but the guitar remains ungrounded. That’s why you hear a loud buzz or hum at that time.
Check the wiring connectors if it is properly shielded or not. If not, you have to solder the wiring using copper foils. Now, if you have broken shields, you can replace them or repair them. Make sure the cables are shielded at both ends.
Your Body Might Not Be Grounded
The other reason might be that your body might not be grounded. This too might cause your instrument to hum. Our bodies act as a capacitor when we play instruments.
The distance between the body and the power wiring increases the hum. It is an easy thing to fix so don’t worry.
Install a wire between the guitar and the player’s foot at the ground point. This wire must touch the player’s skin. It works as a shielding so the hum gets away.
Troubleshooting The Guitar Amp Hum
Now there are a few different solutions that might fix your problem. Try following each step and check if the humming goes away. If it does, then the problem is solved. But if it doesn’t then move on to the next. Here go the problems and the fixes:
Magnetic And Electric Hum Field Issues
Firstly you need to make sure if the amplifier is plugged in. Then turn the volume all the way up and listen for the hum. Now, turn the volume down and do the same.
Well, if there’s no hum after turning down the volume, you have a faulty amp. So the problem is in the electric hum fields or the magnetic hum fields. And here’s how to fix it.
Solution for Fixing the Magnetic Hum Fields
To fix the magnetic hum fields you have to open the body of the amplifier. Rotate it at different angles. Now, the hum depends on the distance and angle between the magnetic hum field and the pickup.
As you rotate you’ll notice a lot of hum lowers. Find the suitable spot with a minimum hum by rotating the magnetic field.
Solutions for Fixing the Electric Hum Fields
Before we get to the solution let’s understand, what causes an electrical hum?
The electric field is the power of the wiring circuits. These wires pass signals throughout the pickup of the guitar. Hence indicating that the electricity isn’t bypassing through the ground. Thus it creates the 60 Hz or 50 Hz hum or hiss sound in the amp.
To fix this, you have to shield the electric hum fields to reduce the hum. Now, find the cutout wires of your pickup and amp. After that, you have to solder those with copper foil. This will make sure the hum bypasses through the wire to the ground.
The fixing process is not an easy job to do. You may need to call a professional to help you out.
Other Inputs Might Be Interfering With The Amps
Select different inputs in your amp and plug your guitar. Now check if you hear any hum in the other input. This is to make sure your amp isn’t catching any other frequencies.
Bad solder joints or wiring catches strong TV frequencies that can lead to hum. To fix this you need to install RFIs and here’s how to do it.
Install .001 microfarad and ferrite beads capacitors on the mic inputs of the amp. After that, you have to place RFI chokes on the mic cables. Now, check if the solder joints are okay or not. If not, then solder it with copper foil.
This will ensure your amp does not catch any other strong frequency through mic inputs. So, the hum will reduce and you will be able to play your guitar peacefully!
One way to make sure your amp is in good condition is to prevent RFIs. Thus, when you buy a new amp, check whether the soldering of the amp is okay or not.
Also, it’s better to purchase a pre-installed .001 microfarad and ferrite beads capacitor amps. If you don’t have the capacitors, take help from a professional to install them.
The Earthing Might Be Disconnected
Now, if you have no problems with the RFI, you may have ground loops problems.
A ground loop occurs when two points of an electrical system have a different ground reference. And if your circuits are in this manner your amp will make heavy noise. That too, even when it’s unplugged.
Ground loops problem is a must-fix job to do. So, you must be wondering how do I get rid of the ground loop hum?
To fix this, you have to open the socket with a screwdriver and locate the earthing line. Check if it is connected or not. If not, then connect it with the mainline. In this case, you need to connect it with a hum-x. That is only if your amps cable is a two-pin plug. This will help to reduce the noise easily.
If you’re looking for the best hum-x, we have some suggestions for you.
Now you have your hum-x, reduce the buzz!
In your house, make sure to check all the electrical connections. It’s better to talk with your building’s engineer about earth-in lines.
If the earthing line is not connected you can connect it yourself. Always make sure you use 3 pin adapters. The third pin ensures the earthing is there in your house.
Let’s talk about shock hazards. Ground loops can be a major issue in this case. So the question here is, is the ground loop dangerous?
Yes, ground loops are dangerous for guitar players or vocalists. Ground loops are responsible for shock hazards if not handled with care. Moreover, it can even damage your equipment.
Hence, it’s always safer to crosscheck with the organizers about this!
Your Tube Amps Might Be Too Old!
Well, the older amp tubes can be seen with some serious problems. But it entirely depends on how old the amp actually is.
Now there’s a significant difference between tube and solid preamp. However, the fixes are quite similar. So let’s see how we can fix the amps.
Well, the fixes usually vary depending on the time they’re used. So here’s how each repair works.
So, when do preamp tubes cause hum?
Preamp tubes used over 5 years can cause hum in your amplifier. This is because the tube starts to malfunction causing the buzz sound in your amp. Therefore, replace the tubes after using them for a certain amount of time.
However, you might have a circuit issue if they are older than 15 years. Tube amp circuits are more complicated than a solid-state amp. Therefore, it might be best to take the tube amp to a professional to fix it.
If you’re using an EL84 tube or 6V6, the age problem will differ. It’s a good idea to compare the tubes so that you can know when to replace them.
Moreover, the hum can also be due to the amps not being unused for a long time. The wiring might be old, rusty, and can’t take the pressure anymore. It’s best to service the amp to fix the problem.
If you maintain your amp properly, the lifespan of the amp increases. Maintaining the amps is also very important since it’s the source of the sound.
For solid-state amps, you have to keep them on a dust-free surface. You also have to keep the amp at a warm temperature. Service the amp every 10 years.
As for tube amps, they require more maintenance comparatively. You’ll basically do the same thing you do with solid-state. But you need to change the tubes of amps after using them for 2-3 years. Since the older tube amps malfunction a lot.
Moreover, the tube damper protects the amp’s tubes if you use it regularly. Otherwise, the circuit will become damp. That’s why the lifespan of a tube amp is less than a solid-state pump. Tube amps last up to 25-30 years.
That’s it! If you follow these steps, your amps will last for more than 30 years.
Here are some quick tips for your safety. You must be aware of the risks.
- Make sure your amp has no dust in the circuit boards.
- Remember to plug all the power cords into the ground outlets while setting up.
- Old consoles or equipment age damages the shielding of the wirings. Make sure to repair or replace them.
- Don’t leave the amp on.
Well, this is it for the problems and solutions. Make sure you follow these strictly to fix your amp!
Question: Is it bad to leave an amp on?
Yes, it is bad to leave an amp on. Turning on amps affects the magnetic fields of the amp. Tube amps suffer the most in this case. Tube amps valves get affected if you do this. So, it’s best not to leave an amp on.
Question: How is ground loop best avoided?
Firstly make sure the amps, audio equipment, and stages power supply is connected in a single AC supply. Then, install a heavy extension cord from the stage outlet back to the console. Plug all the power-cord ground pins into grounded outlets. That way, you can prevent shocks and buzz at the same time.
Question: How long should a tube amp cool down?
The tube amp should cool down for at least 1 hour after using it. Tube amps get heated after playing heavy tunes on it, if you do not give rest in your tube amp, it will affect the valves and the copper shields. This will create noise again.
That’s a wrap-up! Now you know the reasons why guitar amp hum nothing plugged in. Hopefully, you’ll be able to fix it in the future and take care of your amp as well.
We hope we helped you. Let us know which of the problems have caused your amp to hum.
Until then, keep playing!