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It’s no secret that guitars can make a lot of noise. Especially when they’re not properly maintained. Over time, as an electric guitar gets used, bumped around, and even dropped, it might begin to cut out or even crackle. A guitar making a crackling noise is easy to fix if you know what to look for.
Check your output jack first if your electric guitar is creating a crackling noise. Or even if it’s cutting in and out. The wiring inside might have been damaged if it’s loose.
It can twist and lead to this common failure. Another thing to check is the cable itself. If it has been damaged, then it could be the cause of the noise.
In this Killer Rig article, we’ll explore these awful sounds and why your guitar is making them! And also provide insight on how to fix them.
Guitar Making A Crackling Noise?
If you play the guitar, you are likely aware of the wide range of sounds your instrument is capable of producing. Some of those are on purpose and are an element of the music you are playing.
But other times, strange noises can come out of your guitar that you didn’t expect. And do not particularly appreciate!
One of these strange noises can be crackling. If you’ve ever heard your guitar make this sound, then you know it can be really annoying.
Not only is it distracting, but it can also make it difficult to play. So, what causes a guitar to make a crackling sound? And more importantly, how do you fix it and fast?
Your guitar’s odd, crackling noise can spring from various sources. Let’s take a closer look. Think of the spot where you connect the amplifier cord. That’s your output jack. Now, imagine it’s loose. With this, the wiring inside might have taken a spin, or worse, snapped off entirely.
If this is the case, the soldered joints and even the wires have been damaged and will now require some repair work. Removing the output jack is easy should you want to inspect the condition.
You might also find that the contact point is also just not tight enough against the tip of the guitar cable end. If it’s not, then bend the contact arm in slightly to make a better, tighter connection.
Bad Guitar Cable
Another possibility is that the cable itself is damaged. If you’ve ever accidentally stepped on your guitar cable or had it get caught on something.
Then you know that it can be easy to damage the wires inside. This damage can cause the signal to become interrupted. This will result in a crackling sound.
If you have another cable, swap it with the one that is potentially bad. This will tell you if it’s a cable issue or something else. If you do not have another cable, wiggle the one you currently use in different places along its length. It might be bad if it crackles at a certain spot.
If the output jack or the cable don’t seem to be the problem. Then it’s possible that the issue is with a dirty connection.
Over time, dust and other debris can accumulate in the tone and volume controls. This can cause the signal to become intermittently interrupted. This will lead to a crackling sound.
You must take off the guitar’s backplate in order to clean them. Once you have access to the back of the controls, wipe the area around each one with a cotton swab or Q-tip.
You can also use some contact cleaner to help. Just use caution when you spray it. It could damage the finish on your guitar!
Worn Out Pots
Worn-out pots can also make a lot of nasty noises. The pots are what control the volume and tone of the guitar. If they’re worn, then they can cause signal loss. This can lead to a crackling sound.
You’ll have to swap out the pots to correct the problem. If you have some basic soldering skills, you can perform this rather simple repair by yourself.
Just make sure to purchase the appropriate resistance and size for your instrument. The wrong potentiometer will change the sound. It might also not be functional.
Another common problem is with the pickup selector switch. If you have an electric guitar with more than one pickup. Then you know that there’s a switch that allows you to choose which pickup you want to use.
Over time, this switch can become worn or even damaged. When this happens, it can cause the nasty crackling sound.
Do you think the problem might be with the pickup switch? Then try operating it a few times to see if the crackling or cutting out changes with different settings. A bad switch will need to be replaced and can be done if you can solder.
Learn more about the pickup selector switch here!
Bad Ground Wire
A bad ground connection in the guitar’s electronics can also cause noise problems. Even pops when you touch the strings. An example of bad ground is a Floyd Rose system or similar bridge that has a wire connected to it where the springs are.
In some cases, this wire has worn out. Or it has caught on something and is disconnected. This will cause a crackling sound when the tremolo is used.
Check all the ground wires in your guitar to see if any of them have come loose. You can often just re-solder the connection and be done with it.
It’s also possible that the amplifier itself is the problem. If it’s a tube amp, sometimes when they go bad they can crackle and pop. But even if it’s solid-state, verify that the amplifier is ok. Perhaps it’s not the guitar at all.
We have a great article that will help you troubleshoot amp noises here.
The most common issues are a bad guitar output jack, switch, or cable in most cases. These can be easily fixed if you can do the soldering and are good with a screwdriver.
If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, take it to a guitar technician or luthier. They should be able to fix it for you. They can also help if you have tried to get rid of the noise but are stumped.