I've been having a problem where my amp puts out a lot of noise even when I'm not playing, when I turn my distortion pedal on. I've tried two separate distortion pedals (Boss Distortion and Boss metal zone MT2) as well as two different guitars. It is better, but still not good if I turn the distortion way down on the pedal itself. Is it my amp? It's an old boss practice amp.
What sort of noise is it? What sort of guitar are you playing?
A wild guess with no information is that you're hearing noise picked up by your guitar, perhaps from single coil pickups, amplified by the gain of your distortion pedal before it gets into your amp. Typically distortion pedals are also overdrive pedals and considerably amplify everything coming through them. Makes noise problems worse.
"A cheerful heart is good medicine."
Thanks for your response, I could have provided more info ;)
I'm currently playing an Eastwood Corona which has 2 Alnico Hot-10 Humbuckers and no single coils.
The type of noise is very difficult to describe. It's not really static, more like a hollow "nothing" sound. Buzzing is probably the best word for it. The more I play with it the more I realize that it definitely changes the more I move the equipment around.
Also, one of the cables I have is pretty old and looks extremely cheap, so this may have something to do with it. Do good cables make a difference when it comes to this type of thing?
Definitely try a different cable. Also flourescent lights have a tendancy to cause problems. High gain amps do have a tendancy to hiss though. Even at low volumes. If there is a definite hum(the dreaded 60 cycle hum) like you would expect from a single coil, you may have a grounding problem either with the amp or in your homes outlets. What kind of amp are we talking here?
It's a Boss (roland mg-10 14w). I've moved stuff around the room and it seems very dependent on where the equipment is, so it might just be electronic interference. It doesn't seem to matter if I plug it into another circuit. It's probably time for a new amp anyway.
On a side note, would I notice the same type of thing if it were playing through headphones plugged into the amp or through my PC?
I doubt the problem would go away going through a pc or headphones. Those little amps are notoriously noisy anwyay. I would say time for something with a tad more cahone's.
By cohones do you mean wattage alone? Or just quality? I'm in kind of a small space and although I'd like a monster marshall stack, I just don't have the room. If it's just quality I'm lacking, I don't have a problem going out and spending some decent money on one, but if you mean size/wattage I could be SOL.
It doesn't have to be a monster. Have you considered a modelling amp? There are some great ones out there. I personally like Line 6 but I hate the spider amps. Their Pod XT and XT Live sound great. Even the Toneports sound really good. That along with a good quiet amp could do you well. They have a built in "hum destroyer" aka a noise gate. I own a Toneport UX1 and if you take the time to mess with the presets it can sound pretty convincing. Some people like the Vamp stuff. I had a Vamp 2 and I admit they sound pretty good.
Amplitube sounds incredible and with Amplitube 2 you can combine amps. Anyway that's just going into a G.A.S. frenzy. I don't even own an amp anymore but I don't gig, so I don't really need one. (family life)
A poor cable can pick up environmental noise (like from those fluorescent lamps, or a CRT monitor) just like single coil pickups can. The facts that it's a hum and you hear it when you have the distortion pedals hooked up indicate that it's something coming from ahead of the amp and pedals in the signal chain, amplified by the pedals.
"A cheerful heart is good medicine."