i've had this Jackson 7 string equipped with EMG's for several years and just got this problem even after changing the 9 volt battery. When i roll back the tone all the way, it sounds clean and fine but anything more than that and the signal seems overloaded. Any ideas what the problem might be?

Edit: At first i plugged straight into my Eleven Rack which goes through studio monitors that have no issues. Then i plugged into my Fender combo and am using a brand new cable. I know for sure it's the guitar.

The tone knob on my guitar has nothing to do with the volume (as far as i know? There's no difference in level of volume and i believe it works as a high pass filter). I think it must either be an issue with my active pickups (perhaps the signal is overloading the amplifier), or a wiring issue with the tone potentiometer since i'm only having issues when the tone is above zero.

  • Can you edit your question to add in the rest of your signal chain and as many settings as possible? If you have a huge number of pedals or effects in your chain, I suggest your first step is to eliminate them all and plug right into the amp. If you just have the amp, then please edit to add what make and model amp it is and what settings you have for each of the knobs. Jun 25, 2018 at 13:14
  • 2
    If your tone pot is acting like a volume adjustment, then you probably have a short, a bad capacitor, or other broken wiring problem. Didn't make an answer because it is not completely clear if your tone is adjusting volume.
    – Yorik
    Jun 26, 2018 at 17:03
  • I would change the pots first since it is a (relatively) cheap and (relatively) easy upgrade.
    – Shidouuu
    May 11, 2021 at 21:32

2 Answers 2


This is normal for active pickups. Just turn down your gain, if that doesn't help something is wrong with your boost in the guitar. I use 3 9V batteries in my Schecter JL 7 String and it works just fine after lowering the gain a bit.

  • This may be true. A lot of the distortion is in the highs. By dialing up the tone, the OP is putting the highs back in to the sound and, by proxy, the distortion also. Turning down the gain on the amp should take care of it.
    – rfportilla
    Nov 3, 2023 at 6:53

Is this still an issue? The tone knob is a low-pass filter. At 10, the tone should be bright. At 10, it is almost as if the tone circuit wasn't there. The fact that it is crackling leads me to believe their may be an issue with the pickup.

Assuming that you have a known good battery, I would try the following:

  1. Verify that it is happening on all pickups. It isn't clear to me if it is just one or all. This might isolate it to just one pickup. If it's both pickups, then it's likely the tone control. If it's just one pickup, then it's likely the pickup.
  2. Verify no loose or almost loose wiring (maybe a loose ground wire or something) or bad solder jobs. This is actually not uncommon.
  3. Try removing the tone knob from the circuit entirely. It's not needed to get a sound. See if the problem goes away. If so, then bad pot or cap or wiring.

Even if it is no longer a problem, I would love to hear what the resolution was.

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