Noise Gate Pedals

Noise is an issue that often afflicts high-gain amps & overdrive/distortion pedals. ‘Noise gate’ pedals are regarded as the best remedy — designed to reduce & eliminate annoying buzz/hum from your rig!

Noise Gate Pedals

Many modern guitar players use noise gate pedals. Although most amplifiers these days are “quieter” than they used to be, they can still produce static noise — which can drive you crazy! Heavily-distorted guitar amps are particularly susceptible to this, but even clean combos can suffer. And typically, it’s not the amplifier’s fault — with the type of pickups in your guitar (like single-coils) and AC supply/interference identified as common culprits. A noise gate pedal can save you from a lot of frustration, as while it won’t fix the cause of the buzz or hum, it will help to mask it!

So, how does a noise gate work? Magic? No, they’re actually quite simple! A noise gate works by opening and letting sound through when your guitar/amp signal goes above a threshold that is set, and then closes to eradicate the hiss when its level falls below the threshold. There’s a little bit more to it than that, and you can find out exactly how they work and more if you read our Ultimate Guide to Noise Gate Pedals.

A lot of brands make noise gate pedals — with affordable options, high-end offerings and everything in between. Boss, Electro-Harmonix and TC Electronic noise gates are popular as they’re fairly affordable and very effective, with the likes of MXR and Fortin offering more premium noise gates that’ll satisfy professionals looking for the most efficient noise reduction.

Noise Gate Pedal FAQs

Where does a Noise Gate go in a guitar signal chain?

A noise gate pedal should either go after the stompbox that's causing the most noise or at the end of an overdrive/distortion chain. However, a noise gate pedal should be placed before reverb and delay effects as it can shorten their ambient trails.

What's the difference between a Noise Gate and a Suppressor?

A noise gate pedal cuts off the guitar signal when the input is under a certain threshold - for complete silence. A suppressor will reduce unwanted noise under a certain threshold, but will not cut off the signal entirely.

Do Noise Gates affect guitar tone?

While noise gate pedals have had a reputation for interfering with the tone of a rig, most modern noise gates effectively eliminate noise without compromising your tone.