Crackling sounds driving me mad help!!!


Was just hoping someone can help me with a on and off problem I’m having with my pedals and guitar. When I’m turning the potentiometer(volume) on my pedals I’m getting a weird static crackling noise! It happens on and off on a few, but not all of my pedals! I also have a problem with my guitars too manly my les Paul when I touch the back or the metal parts of the guitar. I’m totally confused to what’s causing this? Someone told me to buy a isolated power supply which I did and it stopped it but seems to have come back it’s driving me mad! I’ve checked the power supply from my mains plug too and that’s all normal. I’m baffled

Yeah, I’m guessing there’s a lot of static electric building up in my room for some strange reason but not sure why it’s causing my pedals to crackle? Maybe I will never know electricity is a strange thing when it wants to be.
Yeah I’ve got a soldering iron. should I investigate the wiring on the les Paul. What about the pedals? The two that are crackling aren’t even that old?


Yeah I’ve got a soldering iron. should I investigate the wiring on the les Paul. What about the pedals? The two that are crackling aren’t even that old?

Potentiometers are mass-produced... Age isn't the only factor. Reliability is not a feature, sadly... Unless those pots are Bourns Audio. I doubt they are.

Yeah, solder joints can go cold over time... Look into overhauling your LP's wiring. Is it all shielded in the cavities? Take pictures.
No it’s not shielded inside. I was going to get it done when I last had a set up done on it. But he said it wasn’t essential.


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Jim Hagerman

Sounds like maybe two different issues? Les Paul noise may be due to lack of Earth grounding, which will lead to power line "buzz" type noises. Pots will be noisy and crackle if there is DC across them. I'd be surprised any modern pedal builder would make this mistake.


usually its static induced by poor grounding, get a dose of patience and start troubleshooting, assuming guitar, amp and pedals are ok try one at the time (guitar direct in amp; guitar, amp, one pedal etc etc) it will isolate the problem and help as it could be also cables or patch cables
Hi, I’ve tried troubleshooting with all of my pedals. All are fine except from my fjord fuzz, which is silicon and a does it doom jfet preamp/range master pedal, which both have single volume knobs! And both are relatively new. When I turn these, that’s where the crackling noise is. I will clean them today and see if that helps. I will take on board everyone advice. It’s much appreciated thanks.



Rocky Mountain Way By The Atlantic
Gold Supporting Member
With some pedals, the crackle when adjusting the volume knob is normal, for instance, the Zvex SHO, the volume knob even has a crackle, OK label.

As for the static build up in your LP, try sticking a dryer sheet in the control cavity. As an added bonus, your guitar will smell fresh from the dryer! :D


You need to do some trouble shooting.

1) Plug Guitar direct to Amp - Test (for a few days if necessary)

2) Change out and swap all your instrument cables in 1) - this tests each of your cables is OK.

3) Introduce one pedal at a time and test. If you use Pedal X and you get the noise, but no noise with Pedals A, B, C, Y & Z... then Pedal X is the faulty pedal.

Get some Isopropyl Alcohol and squirt it liberally into the Knobs of Pedal X (Potentiometers), whilst twisting each knob through its whole rotation, several times. Rinse and repeat. Try Pedal X again.

I suspect you have

a) A bad cable
b) A bad Potentiometer
c) Maybe both a) and b).

Particularly if you (or someone else) dropped coca-cola onto the pedal. It creates what is known as an "intermittent high resistance" .... and that's what causes crackle. Earth faults cause Hum. But sometimes, the earth fault can be caused by a High Resistance LOL.

A weak solder joint will cause a High Resistance fault. A broken pickup winding will cause a HR fault. A faulty cable "earth" wire will cause an HR and an Earth fault.

.... do the trouble shooting dude, or you will go crazy.

P.S. I had one of these recently. It turned out to be a Patch Cable between two pedals. But the noise was only there when I switched the pedal on. So at first I thought it was the pedal. I trouble shot, and found out the patch cable had a broken wire inside it.


Irrational Digitech Fanatic
Silver Supporting Member
Get some Deoxit and spray it into the potentiometers if they are crackly. If that doesn’t work then the pots are just old and need to be replaced.

As for the static from the Les Paul that’s a common issue. Mine does it as well. I thought I read that it’s due to the type of finish that they use. It’s not really noticeable unless you’re rubbing it like you expect a genie to come out.


Silver Supporting Member
I'm dealing with static from my LP and Tele. Removed the pickguard on the LP, which solved the problem, but obviously can't do that with the Tele. What I find odd is that my Strat, an old reissue, doesn't produce any static, yet it has no shielding under the pickguard, but the Tele does have shielding.


Might be the pots on the pedals just needs to be cleaned.

You can get a spray for the purpose that you simply spray inside the pots, then wiggle them a few times back and forth, and done.

Worked for my EHX Black Finger, and it was really bad at this before I cleaned the pots, after it worked perfectly.
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Nuzzled Firmly Betwixt
Platinum Supporting Member
For the pots, my first would be to use the proper can of DeOxit (I think the 'Gold' is fairly safe around most PCB components): spray directly in then work the pot arm fully left/right 8-10 times.
Do not use WD40... it is a short-term answer', at best and can lead to more dirt buildup down the road.

If you try the isopropyl alcohol method, make sure it does NOT have a hand-conditioner in it (same as 'rubbing alcohol'= not good for this purpose.)

I think you have two separate issues (the guitar and the pedal(s)).
The guitar sounds like static and the first thing to do is tighten all grounding from the bridge to the solder-connections on the pots and the jack, THEN make sure the cables and what they plug into are corrosion-free, the solder joints are tight, and that here is no dirt accumulating in mechanical (screwed/nutted) connections.

For completeness, it'd be good to temporarily connect Green Ground to the shield-ground in the cable. But you need to be very very electricity-safe before doing this (I wouldn't want you to get ahold of neutral or hot by mistake).

Finally, if you cable has a polypropylene dielectric, it may be a 'magnet' for static voltage buildup. (or is that poly-styrene? I need more coffee)

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