Need help diagnosing and/or addressing noise issues


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Nov 4, 2022
Orlando, FL
I am having some persistent noise problems that are driving me nuts. I don't know much about electronics, but I have tried to run this issue down myself with no success. I am hopeful the TDPRI community can help me play noise detective. I'll try to give some info about my rig and the issue to anticipate questions. I don't necessarily know the difference between noise from RF interference vs. ground loop or 60-cycle hum. But the largest portion of the noise is the kind that goes away when touching the bridge or volume/tone knobs, if that helps.

The first time I noticed a problem was when I switched from my previous amp (a Bugera v22 tube amp) to a Tone Master Deluxe Reverb. It did not make sense to me that a nicer, more expensive amp would have more noise problems, and nothing I've read has suggested this could be the issue. But this problem did start around the time I made the switch.

I started to remove pedals one by one, until I was eventually plugged straight into the amp, and still getting more noise than I would expect. However, I did the same thing with my prior amp, trying to get all the settings pretty equal, and it seemed to me the noise WAS the same or similar between the two amps. Switching guitars did not seem to make a difference. I normally plug into a power strip on the same outlet as several other things, including my wi-fi router. So, I decided to plug into a separate outlet, and the noise was greatly reduced, to a level that was totally fine, unless I went super high gain. So, for home playing, that was fine.

However, the other main place I play is a practice space with our band. And the noise there is absolutely unbearable. This place has all kinds of stage lights and various electronic stuff going on, which I know can add more interference. But the guy who runs the place says he only has this problem with me, and I never had a problem with the old amp, only after the switch to the Tone Master Deluxe Reverb.

I have used multiple guitars, including those with humbuckers. My newest guitar is an American Performer tele with a humbucker in the neck. The previous owner said he shielded the cavity, but I haven't yet checked. At home, switching to the humbucker does reduce the noise, but at the practice space it makes no appreciable difference. I recently switched to an isolated power supply for my pedalboard, but that didn't help either. I use a Decimator noise gate, which helps, but not enough. And I never used to need a noise gate at all. I am considering a Morley Hum Exterminator or a EHX Hum Debugger, but I'm tired of buying things that don't work. I have spent a lot of time and money trying different fixes, and I'm running out of ideas (and patience!) Any idea what the problem is or how I can fix it?


Nov 22, 2022
Winchester, UK
Sound like you are troubleshooting correctly but I have a couple of question. When you removed everything in the signal path between the Guitar and the Amp, did you also swap the cable to rule that out?

Do you have or use the effects loop on the amp? Have you ruled this out?

When the guitar is connected directly to the amp, if you turn the volume all the way down on the guitar, do you still getting a hum? If the noise is there with guitar turned down its more than likely the amp.

The fact that the noise drops when you touch the strings means the issue is not because of lack of grounding and as you mentioned, when changing power outlet, the noise stopped suggests the amp may be sensitive to interference.

Once, I bought a new amp, plugged it in and started playing and was absolutely convinced there was something wrong with it because of weird interference hum. I spent ages checking the amp, peddles, even had the pickguard off the guitar to check for loose wires etc.

Eventually, after far too long I worked out what the problem was..

I had left my mobile phone in my pocket :rolleyes:

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