Unwanted noises from an electric guitar
While playing the electric guitar, guitarists may face various unwanted noises. These noises are mainly defined as squeaks, crackling sounds, audio feedback or disturbing noises.
Turn the guitar’s volume knob all the way down. If the unwanted noise completely disappears, the following are the possibilities:
- The guitar’s electronics
Your guitar’s output jack (a.k.a. jack slot, female jack, output slot etc) and the pots on your guitar may cause bad noises when they get older or when they were poorly wired. Check if the noise increases or decreases when you play with your electric guitar’s knobs or when you play with your jack. If it changes, then you know what your problem is. Now the best thing to do is to get your guitar repaired by a specialist or a luthier.
Some guitar pickups may cause audio feedbacks and squeaks on high gain channels. Single-coil guitar pickups are way worse on handling high gain tones due to their nature. Even high-output humbuckers may cause you trouble if there’s static electricity or phone signals around you.
- Jack cables
A quality pair of jacks are way more important than many guitarists think they are. Jacks get old and stained, just like people. Also, some jacks can easily get damaged and they can cause squeaks and snatches while carrying a crystal clear guitar signal.
If you still have the unwanted noise after turning your volume down, then the following might be the cause:
- The interfaces, converters and other jacks in the chain
Interfaces to connect your guitar into your smartphone or computer, also have their own input and output slots which may cause the same problems as any other I/O slots. Using converters like 3.5mm to 6.35mm jack converters or USB to USB-C OTG’s are also popular troublemakers in the audio world. Make sure you own a decent one.
- Your output device
Sometimes the speakers, amps or the headphones give disturbing noises and destroy the guitar playing experience. We know that many speakers and amps are easily affected by voltage, radio signals, and static electricity. This is easy to test by connecting anything else than a guitar to your output device.
The best thing to do is to have each element crystal clear so you won’t have to destroy your dynamic range. The following solutions are good for a decent guitar tone:
- Use a noise gate
- Buy good jacks and cables
- Use humbuckers (or the switch positions 2-4 on SSS guitars)
- Refresh your environment (get rid of radio signals or static electricity)
- Obtain noiseless single coils
- Have a constant voltage source