How To Troubleshoot Your Guitar Gear

No Sound? No Problem.

You’ve got everything set up and practice is just starting. You go to strum your first chord and all you hear is silence. Now what?

Don't panic! The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy had it right. There are only so many things that can be wrong so it’s simply a matter of troubleshooting. Stay calm and follow these steps.

Check Your Guitar

Is it plugged in with the volume up? Chances are this is your issue and you’ve solved  your problem already without even leaving your spot. It’s the number one problem and the easiest fix. Everything look good?

There are only so many things that can be wrong.

Check The Power

Are your pedals lit up? Did you switch your amp off standby? There have been plenty of times I turn the amp on and walk away to set up everything else without flipping the standby switch to the on position. If all your lights are on, it’s time to

Check The Signal Chain

If your guitar is plugged in and the power is on you’ve probably got a bad or disconnected cable. The best way to check is to plug your guitar directly into your amp. Still silent? Try a different cable. Have sound? Now it’s time to start working your way backward through your chain starting with the pedal closest to your amp until your find the culprit. This can be a little time consuming but if you are methodical about it you’ll find the trouble spot and either fix it or remove the offending piece of equipment.

Be methodical and you'll find the problem.


The key is to always stay calm when you’ve got an issue. If you get frazzled you could end up skipping over a simple fix that would otherwise be obvious.

Jason Houtsma serves as Worship Pastor for Mosaic Church in Bellingham, WA, Husband to Alli, Father to Bjorn and Asher, and guitar instructor for

How To Troubleshoot Your Guitar Gear

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pedalboard to computer

I just set up a killer pedalboard for my electric. I am trying to figure out how to practice silently now. I want to go from a 1/4" mono out from my last pedal (an amp emulator) to my windows 10 laptop, then I would like to be able to play my downloaded worship songs thru a software program and change song Pitch (key) if necessary and have that song along with my guitar wet signal come out to earphones.

Any ideas?

thanks for your great site.

Great idea!

All you would need for that is a USB interface like a focusrite.