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Here is the sound I'm talking about.

I get this sound, unless I strum ridiculously lightly, on different amp volume settings, with no gain, but is seems to become quieter if I turn pick volume knobs below 50%. The worst part is that with gain it sounds completely horrible.

I don't remember when this started exactly, but I think I remember something similar happening on and off last year. Now it appears to be permanent.

I've already tried asking about this on reddit and got suggestions to try with another guitar and another cable.

Another guitar was not available, but I tried hooking it up to an electric keyboard. Here you can hear me playing it, while adjusting the keyboard's volume knob.

I hear some distortion starting on medium volume, but am not sure, if that's just because of incompatibility to guitar amp.

I've also tried hooking up the amp to a computer, using the 6.3mm guitar cable and a 3.5mm cable, and playing some sounds on the computer while tweaking volume on both devices. I've noticed no distortion during those tests.

The amp is a B.B. Blaster.

Update

Based on the suggestions, I've tried playing in another room and with headphones. I could hear the distortion in both cases, headphones actually made it more audible. Additionally, I've checked the speakers and noticed a lot of dust behind the grills. I removed the dust, but the distortion didn't disappear. Didn't notice any other foreign objects.

Sometime next weekend I'm going to try and test the guitar and cable on another amp. Will post about the results.

Update2

So, I wasn't able to free some time last weekend, but I brought the guitar to a music shop yesterday. When the shop assistant plugged it in and started playing, there was none of the familiar distortion noticeable. I gave him the cable I was using to try with it. There was a noticeable signal loss, but still, no distortion.

I bought a new cable and tried playing with it after coming home. The distortion is still there. So, I guess the amp appears to be the most likely suspect now. I'll be bringing it to the store next week.

Update3

I brought both the guitar and the amp to the store. After plugging them together with a store cable I was able to reproduce the sound. What I understood from the assistants' explanation, the problem was with the amp's construction, it has got a peak volume, beyond which it can't go without the sound.

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Could be that your speaker has a small rip or tear causing the buzzing, it sounds a bit like it. –  player3 Jun 6 at 16:00
    
Sorry to say, but I'm afraid there's no problem as such here – it's just not a very good amp. Actually, most guitar amps have a substantial amount of distortion even in "clean" mode and at low levels if you measure it, only, in a good tube amp this comes over more as a pleasant kind of soft-compression. In a bad transistor amp, it comes over as a nasty rasp, that's just the way it is. –  leftaroundabout Jun 8 at 12:05
    
Well, I've had it for about half a year before starting noticing the distortion and it sounds OK when I feed to it the sound from computer. How do you explain that? –  Worse_Username Jun 8 at 12:29
    
You're probably just not giving it enough peak level from the computer, that's why you don't hear distortion (modern mastered tracks, due to RMS optimisation, sound much louder at the same levels than a raw guitar signal). At any rate the keyboard is distorted in much the same way as the guitar, so this definitely is about the amp. –  leftaroundabout Jun 8 at 13:11

3 Answers 3

Basic troubleshooting demands isolation and substitution. You need to do some homework before anyone can render a meaningful answer. Here is your assignment:

1) substitute the guitar with another electric, do you get the same result?

2) if not, substitute the guitar cable, do you get the same result?

Now if you don't get the same result in the first test, this means the problem is likely the guitar. Now try this guitar on another amp, does the problem follow the guitar?

Likewise with #2, does the problem follow the cable?

The following is speculation:

If the problem is coming from this amp, I would take it to an amp tech and have him test all the electrolytic capacitors as these dry up over time (5 - 10 years) and then become less efficient. Electrolytic capacitors are generally used in a guitar amp power supply to filter the AC component of the DC voltage hence when not working correctly will add more hum and possible distortion to other components down the line.

Other amp related items: check your speaker, substitute a like size with same ohms and see if this is the issue, this could be a bad voice coil. Check to see that nothing fell into the speaker area, something that might rattle at higher volumes, or something that fell inside the amp (sympathetic vibrations from an alien object).

If you can isolate this to the guitar, perhaps the pick ups are adjusted too close to the strings.

Again, all speculation until you can isolate it.

UPDATE: One more test. Have you tried playing the same amp, same guitar, and same cable in a different room? Rare, but sometimes something in the room vibrates, or going to a different outlet may make a difference? Yes, it's rare but I want to cover all the bases.

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Also test with headphones to rule out issues with the speaker/cabinet. –  slim Jun 6 at 7:09
    
Yes, headphones are a reasonable substitute too, as long as the amp has a provision for headphones otherwise you might have some mismatch issues. –  filzilla Jun 6 at 15:51
    
I don't understand your suggestions 1 and 2. I've already written that I tried feeding audio to amp from computer and an electric keyboard, as well as using a 3.5mm cable. –  Worse_Username Jun 8 at 8:52
    
Computer and electric keyboards are substitutes, but not as good a substitute as another electric guitar, close but no cigar. Imaging this is a car and you swap out the engine, you want to copy the original as close as you can, so you wouldn't replace a 427 V8 with a lawn mower right? –  filzilla Jun 9 at 16:05

My best guess says you have earthing problems. Try using a different power socket!

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Tried, no help. –  Worse_Username Jul 3 at 2:30
    
Try your neighbour's place! Your entire line may have faults! –  Frankenstein Jul 3 at 12:39
    
Please check Update3 on origianl question. –  Worse_Username Jul 3 at 15:04

First, I'm assuming that your gain isn't cranked while your volume is up.

Second, connections can be bad. I'd first try turning knobs (normally volume or gain) and seeing how that affects the crustiness. If it goes away, you probably have a dirty contact in the know and you can try cleaning or replacing it, or (if you're lazy as I am) turning it a bunch to try to clean it.

Third, maybe a loose wire contact. I'd try to determine whether the distortion is affected by motion/vibration/gravity and that may help. If this is the case you'll then need to pinpoint it by opening the amp and poking around (carefully).

Lastly, and this is a bit desperate by now, there could be a bad component. The surest way to determine that is to have a schematic and a multimeter and probe inside checking.

Good luck, whatever it is.

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