Nothing is as irradiating as your amp picking up radio signals that interferes with your guitar playing.
Here are 9 ways that have proven to help stop amps from picking up radio signals.
- Check the grounding of your amp
- Change your guitar cable
- Use a shield mic cab
- Add a ferrite choke
- Check the component in your chain
- Change the pedal
- Use copper shielding tape
- Changing the position of your amp
- Get tube shields for tube amps
1. Check the grounding of your amp
If nothing is plugged in and you are getting the radio signals, this is usually a case of inadequate grounding of your amp.
Grounding an amp is absolute necessary to ensure a noise free reception.
However, checking the grounding is not an easy nor safe job if you are not an experience electrician. You will be dealing with dangerous things like high voltage or electric plating.
Get an amp technician to check the grounding for you. While he is at it, check that everything is screwed correctly as well.
2. Change your guitar cables
Another reason is that the guitar cable can act as a potential weak antenna that can receive radio signals. This signal can then be amplified by the pre-amp thus causing the interference.
You can check whether this is the case by unplugging the cable and see if the signals still come through.
Guitar cable are usually poorly shielded so getting a better chord should solve the issue. One recommendation is the Mogami cables.
These Mogami cables are well shield and flawless sound production. Not only can they help with the radio problem, but they are likely to improve the quality of your overall audio output. Although they are more pricey, they have very high durability as well as consistency.
3. Use a shield mic cable
If changing the guitar chord is not helping, then you might need to use a shield mic cable to transport the signal. However, you will need to first convert your guitar to amp signal to a balanced signal.
This can be done via the use of something like a Radial Guitar SGI. This little device can send perfect balance signal through the mic cable.
4. Add a ferrite bead/choke
If you don’t want to change your guitar cable or already have a good one, another way to block the signal is to add ferrite choke. This choke is added at the connection point where the cable goes into the amp.
What ferrite choke does is to act as inductor to block out high frequency signals like radio. It is commonly used in computers to block wave coming out but you can use it to block incoming waves as well.
The good thing about ferrite choke is they only block high frequency waves like radio. Normal frequency like guitar signals will travel without blockage. Hence it wouldn’t affect your guitar audio output.
5. Check the components in your chain
Although the guitar chord is usually the cultript in picking up the signals, it can also be one of the other unshield component in your amp set up.
There is no easy way to tell so you have to test systematically. Start with the amp and see if it picks up the radio signal. If not, keep on adding to the chain until you hear the radio again. That is the component that needs to be shield better.
6. Change the pedals
One of the components that tend to cause such problems is pedals. Be it distortion pedals, or fuzz pedals, some of them can act as antennas for radio signals.
One of the name I keep hearing problems is the the Dunlop Crybaby pedal. If you have been using this pedal, there have been cases where it is picking up radio signals. The reason is due to its scratchy pot. In this case, simply change the pot and the signal should stop.
I have not seen this in other pedals but it is also worthwhile to check the pots in your pedals as well. If they have been badly scratched, it can also be a potential reason for your radio signal pickup.
Another pedal that I have heard which can pick up radio signals is the Danelectro overdrive petal.
7. Use copper shielding tape
If you can’t find a particular component such as cable or pedal that is causing the radio signal, you might need to shield your entire amp.
An easy way to do this is through copper shield tape. The Samyong copper tape is pretty good and has received high reviews
This tape can shield out a lot of electrical interfence which includes radio signals. You simply tape this inside your amp and also your guitar cavity area.
8. Change the position of your amp
Like all antennas, position plays an important role in how well the radio signals are received. Since one of your amp components is acting like an antenna, you need to figure out a position where it is the least effective.
Positions that tend to work better to block out the signals:
- Away from windows
- More cluttered areas
- Lower areas like floor rather than on tabletop
- Any rooms with better soundproofing works
9. Get tube shields
Tubes can be another cause of receiving radio signals. The solution to this is pretty straight forward: get some tube shields for your tubes.
Below is a good and cheap set of tube shields you can consider.
These tube shields can work for the following tube models: 12AX7，12AU7，12AT7，ECC82，ECC83 tubes.
Getting strange and interesting radio signals on your amp can be quite an experience. The reasons are always about bad cables, poorly shielded components or poor wiring.
The 9 fixes I recommended should be able to solve most of the reasons that cause this problem. If not, feel free to position your issue in the comments and I will try to help!