How To Fix Guitar Amplifier No Sound: A Basic Troubleshooting Guide

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The main amplifier’s function is to boost the signal and increase the volume of an electric guitar.

If it fails in this function, all you really have is a costly paperweight.

Needless to say, you need to make it work.

However, learning how to fix guitar amplifier no sound can be a challenge, even for experienced musicians.

Several things could cause the problem, and most times, only a skilled technician can solve them.

Still, there are common issues that you can fix on your own.

We have outlined some of them for you. Just be careful when troubleshooting and always unplug the amplifier before touching internal parts.

How Does a Guitar Amplifier Produce Sounds

An amplifier or amp is an electronic device that boosts the signal generated when you pluck the strings of your instrument.

Aside from making the source signal louder, the amp is capable of so much more.

It provides a unique imprint on the guitar’s sound and improves how the strings feel to the fingers.

In general, amplifiers consist of three major components: preamp, power amp, and speaker.

Each section has a specific function that improves the characteristics of a guitar’s signals, increases its intensity, and converts it to sound.

The Preamp

The first stage of the process is the preamp.

In it, you will find the circuitry that shapes the sound of the guitar.

When you pluck the strings of your guitar, the vibrations produce a small amount of current in the magnetic pickup.

However, this weak signal is prone to degradation and interference.

The main function of the preamp is to optimize and make this input signal stronger before delivering it to the power amp.

To do this, the preamp uses at least two gain stages.

Each gain stage has an active electronic component consisting of a transistor or a vacuum tube.

It is responsible for strengthening the weak input signal and lowering its impedance.

Most preamps also have circuits that filter unwanted noises and control the tone.

You will see all of these as the equalizer, volume, and other knobs at the front panel.

The Power Amp

While the preamp enhances the initial signal, it is not enough to drive the speakers.

This is where the power amp comes in. It receives the enhanced signal from the preamp and boosts it several times more.

It uses larger vacuum tubes or transistors and voltage from the mains.

Once the power amp has strengthened the signal, it sends the boosted signal to the speaker.

The Speaker

The speaker is an electronic transducer that converts the electrical signal from the power amp into sound.

It has a thin diaphragm that vibrates and disrupts the air around it, producing the intended sound.

tips on how to fix guitar amplifier no sound

What Are the Possible Causes of Guitar Amp No Sound?

To know how to fix guitar amplifier no sound, it is important to define what “no sound” means.

Do you hear a popping sound when you plug the amplifier in or hear humming afterward?

If this is the case, the signal may be interrupted before it reaches the speaker.

What you are hearing are incidental noises that make it through parts of the circuit that are still intact.

There are many possible reasons the input signal can’t reach the speaker.

It can be something as simple as an improperly wired speaker jack.

It could also mean that the speaker itself is blown.

In other cases, the circuit for the output transformer is open or faulted.

Another possibility is that the speaker wiring or jack has deteriorated or rusted. If the speaker does not produce any sound when you plug it in, the early power supply might be a problem.

In this case, you should be troubleshooting why the amp is not turning on.

A quick way to confirm this is by looking at the pilot indicator.

If it does not light up, then it means that the device is not getting any juice.

In this case, you can check that all cords are plugged all the way in or try another power outlet.

How To Fix Guitar Amplifier No Sound

If you hear popping, humming, or hissing, it usually means that a small amount of signal is passing, which is good.

That said, the signal is often barely audible.

You need to take your speaker to a quiet room and listen carefully to detect it.

You would also have to turn the volume up and ensure it is facing in your general direction.

Just make sure that you are safe from sudden loud noises by keeping a small but safe distance.

The Basics

First, make sure that the amp is turned on and has power.

If you are using a mixer, check that you inserted all the cords properly.

You must also make sure that they’re unmuted.

If your amp is not working with your guitar, you can also try plugging another guitar in before proceeding. 

Remember to start with a low volume to avoid sudden loud noises.

Problems With the Speaker

It is possible that the amp is functional, but the speaker is not.

To confirm this, you can try the speaker with an amplifier that you are sure is working.

If it is not, there are some things that you can look at.

First, check that the cones are properly connected and that there are no loose wirings.

This is a common problem, especially if you are always traveling and moving your amp.

In some speakers, you need to remove the chassis using a screwdriver.

Also, you would need a continuity tester to do this.

You can buy it from electronic or music stores, and it does not cost much.

It is a good tool to have if you are a musician.

Problems With the Amplifier

If you are using a tube amp, you can try replacing the vacuum tubes one at a time with a working spare.

It is common for a tube to overheat, and this would be an excellent place to start your troubleshooting process.

If this does not fix the issue, check that there are no loose solder joints.

Make sure that the amp is unplugged when you do this.

Conclusion

It is best to consult a professional when you encounter problems with your amp.

Still, knowing a few basic tricks will come in handy for minor issues.

Just make sure that you and your instrument are safe during your troubleshooting process.