the shocking truth about ground loops

Just say no to cheaters!

Catching an unintended buzz with your two-amp set up? Here's why, and what to do about it.

Ground loops are all around us. They exist almost everywhere electrical circuits are connected. Most go completely unnoticed, but your guitar rig has dozens (maybe hundreds, depending on the sharpness of your pencil), and, when provoked, they can cause or contribute to all sorts of bad behaviors. Fixing a ground loop in your pedalboard rig incorrectly can be hazardous to your health.

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Fig. A

When power cables and signal paths tangle, the results can be noisy. Here are some easy fixes.

In my previous State of the Stomp ["The Shocking Truth About Ground Loops," October 2021], I discussed how ground loops can be formed between the amplifiers in a multiple amp setup, and how to safely address them with an isolation transformer. As a brief reminder, a ground loop is created whenever two electrical circuits that theoretically have the same ground potential actually have a non-zero potential between them in practice, and that often results in hums and buzzes that are harmonically related to the mains voltage frequency in your part of the world.

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Play more melodic—and meaningful—solos by exploiting the sound of arpeggios.

Chops: Intermediate
Theory: Intermediate
Lesson Overview:
• Learn how to incorporate simple arpeggios into your solos.
• Understand how to combine arpeggios.
• Develop phrases to play over challenging chord progressions.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation.

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