Tech Talk

PHOTO: Mike Duffy

Amp Trouble? Try These 9 Simple Solutions First

Sometimes the easiest fix is easy to overlook.

You’re at a gig. The gig is about to start. You need sound to come out of your amp, but all you hear is silence. You start to sweat. There must be a complicated and expensive problem with your amp or with your instrument.

Hit pause. Remain calm.

Don't overthink it from the jump. Nine times out of ten there probably isn’t a complicated and expensive problem with your amp or with your instrument. It’s far more likely that there’s a much simpler explanation for the problem—something a little basic troubleshooting can deal with quickly and easily. Which is good news for you, your act, your gear and your bank account.

Honestly, you’d really be surprised how often the culprits are simple and pretty obvious. Therefore, before you start freaking out and getting way too creative, make sure that:

  • The amp is plugged in.
  • The amp is turned on.
  • The amp is not in standby mode.
  • The speaker mute switch is not engaged.
  • The amp is properly connected to the speakers/enclosure.
  • The amp volume is sufficiently up.
  • The instrument is properly plugged in at both ends.
  • The instrument volume is sufficiently up.
  • The building does have sufficiently working electricity.

If none of the above steps help, you may well need to go ahead and get creative. But first things first—doing a little basic troubleshooting before anything else can be most helpful.