Two things:

1)    If you’re just plugging your guitar into an amp, you don’t have to pay any atten-tion. Just turn stuff down first.

2)    By a “Sound System”, I mean a chain of things that have amplification or gain.

When you first turn on your amp, or when turning it off, you may hear a ‘bump’ or ‘pop’ out of the speaker. This is caused by the electronics being woken up, or put to sleep. This happens whenever you turn something on or off. Turning on, it’s called “in-rush current”; turning off, it’s caused by the capacitors in the system releasing their stored electricity, and the magnetic fields of the transformers collapsing.

 This “bump” does not need to be magnified!

 How we avoid this is:

1)                    Make sure to turn all the gains and volumes down before powering anything on or off, or before plugging and unplugging anything.

2)                    Turn the thing with the least gain on first.

3)                    Turn the thing with the most gain on last.

4)                    Reverse the turn-on order when turning things off.


Remember, turn-off order is reversed turn-on order. Shut the “big guys” down first, then the middle sized, then small. This will pretty much prevent the “I turned it off Saturday, and today it doesn’t sound right!” thing that you’ve heard about.

 Remember that any signal, no matter how small it is in the beginning, gets quite strong after a couple of stages of amplification. A single 12AX7 tube has a gain of 100. Two of them, one after the other, have a gain of 100 x 100, or 10,000. That means that a 500mV guitar signal is pretty strong by the time it hits the power stage of your amp or system. I’m not going to say that it’s 5000 volts, it’s not, but you don’t want to be taken by surprise, either.

 You will always be better off plugging and unplugging your stuff when the gains and volumes are turned down. If A’s output is plugged into B’s input, turn A on first, and then B. Turn B off first, and then A last. The same goes for plugging and unplugging. Plug your cord into the guitar first, and then into the amp.

 You want to be in complete control. Nothing makes a sound unless you intend it to make a sound. In the long run, both you and your gear will be better off.

 Thank you,

Armand Blake, Owner: AMPWERX Repair

1935 E. 7th. St.Long Beach,CA90813

Tel: 562-591-1423 Fax: 562-591-1423

[email protected]

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About the Author


Ampwerks Repair

My name is Armand Blake, and my shop, AMPWERX Repair, is located inside Gilmore Music on the NW corner of 7th. St. and Cherry Av. in Long Beach, CA. I have been there since 2003, however, Gilmore Music, a local independent full-service music store, has been there since before most of us were born. This store is not your corporate super-box, and as far as the repair of electronic and acoustic musical instruments are concerned, we do it all in-house.

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