Guitar amp no sound but power is on

You are going to perform in a few hours, and you have spent some time working on setting up your guitar, amp and mixer set. However, no sounds come out when you test it. It may be frustrating, but this is the time that you troubleshoot and sort it out. How do you fix a guitar amp with no sound but power is on?

To fix a guitar amp not making sound but the power is on, check if all the switches are turned on and the settings are correct. After that, check if the cables and batteries are working as well. If all is ok, but there is still no sound, you may have a malfunctioning guitar, mixer or amp.

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This post explores how you can troubleshoot and solve the problem of your guitar amp not making any sound although the power is on. 

We also discuss further troubleshooting in case you need to find out which of your components is broken.

How Does Sound Travel From Guitar To Amp?

When you strum your guitar, the pickup converts the vibration into an electric signal, which is then sent to a mixer. A mixer picks up the signal and manipulates it based on its settings. The final signal is then sent to an amplifier, which converts the electric signal into sound waves, and the speaker produces the sound. 

The key to being able to perform an effective and successful troubleshooting requires you to first understand how the whole guitar sound system works. In essence, you need to understand how when you strum your guitar, the sound ends up being blasted out by the amplifier.

In a common setup, you will see the guitar is connected to a mixer, usually through a cable. Then the mixer is connected to an amplifier, also through a cable. 

When you strum your guitar, what happens is the string begins to vibrate, and the air inside also vibrates. Your guitar has a pickup device that picks up the vibration and converts it to electric signals. You may find your pickup underneath your guitar strings, usually near the guitar sound hole.

The electric signals travel through the cable and arrive at the mixer. A mixer’s main job is to alter and manipulate the electric signals to change the final sound output. With a mixer, you can adjust things like adding in more bass, reverb, etc. Once altered, the electric signal leaves the mixer and travels to the amp.

The amplifier receives the signal and converts it into vibration, channelled as sound through the speaker.

How To Fix Guitar No Sound But Power Is On?

To troubleshoot the problem, you start by performing the lower-level checks. This is because in our rush to set things up, we may forget something as simple as plugging in cables, turning on switches, or replacing batteries. 

The following guides are arranged in subsequent steps, which means you start by testing on the small level errors before going on and isolating if there are malfunctioning devices. 

Are All Switches Turned On?

First, go through all the devices, and check and verify that all switches are turned on. This could be the power switches on the wall, extension power strips if you use any, and the individual switches on all your devices. 

It may help to start from your guitar and verify the switches first. Once done, move on to your mixer, and then finally, your amp. In many cases, usually, turned-on devices would emit some sort of lighting to indicate that. 

If you identified a switch or two that has not been turned on, turn it on, and try to strum your guitar. You should hear something coming out from your speaker now. If yes, consider yourself lucky, because your troubleshooting is an easy one.

Are The Settings Correct?

If not, then it’s time to check your settings. Sometimes we may have turned all the switches on, but we may forget to ensure that the settings are set properly to allow sounds to be produced.

First, go to your guitar and verify that:

  • The switch is turned on.
  • The pickup controller is not muted.
  • The pickup volume is adjusted to be loud enough. 
  • If the pickup uses a battery, the battery is in working order.
  • The cable jack is connected properly.

It may help to keep strumming your guitar as you do this and continue checking and confirming your adjustments. You are now good to go if you hear guitar sounds from your amp. If not, move to your mixer. 

At your mixer, verify that:

  • The switch is turned on.
  • The mute button is not pressed or turned on.
  • The cable from the guitar is plugged into the right channel on your mixer. 
  • On the corresponding channel, ensure the volume is adjusted to be loud enough and not muted. 
  • The output cable jack is connected properly. 

Again, as you perform the adjustment, have someone keep strumming the guitar to confirm your adjustment. If you hear sounds from the amp as just adjusting, then you have just fixed the issue. 

Are The Cables Working?

If the amp is still not producing sounds, you may need to verify the connection between the guitar, amp and mixer. Depending on your setup, you may do this with or without a spare cable.

  1. If your mixer has a sound indicator, strum your guitar, and see if there’s movement on the sound indicator. 
  2. If yes, the cable between guitar and mixer is likely working since the mixer is picking up electric signals. 
  3. In this case, remove the cable from the guitar to the mixer. Replace it with the cable from the mixer to the amp. 
  4. Some mixers use a different outlet cable, which means you may be unable to swap cables to test like step 3. In that case, swap the cable with a spare cable.
  5. Strum the guitar again, and observe the sound indicator on the mixer. 
  6. If there’s no sound indicator, that means the cable may be faulty since the mixer is not picking up any electric signals. 
  7. Remove the potentially faulty cable, and replace it with a spare. See if the amp now makes sounds. 

If yes, you may have just figured out the issue, a faulty cable. If not, you have at least confirmed that the amp, mixer, guitar and cable are turned on and in the right settings. You may now need to figure out if the devices themselves are working. 

What If There Is Still No Sound?

If all switches are turned on, settings are correct, and cables are in working order. You may need to troubleshoot if the components are in working order. Your issue may be from things such as a faulty mixer or a faulty amp.

Swap The Guitar

Start by testing the guitar itself. You may do this by simply swapping the guitar with another. Disconnect the jack and connect it to your new guitar. 

Ensure all the settings are correct on your new guitar and then strum. If you hear sounds coming out from your amp, you have just found your culprit, a faulty pickup. 

In this case, consider performing with the spare guitar, as replacing a faulty pickup may take some time unless you can perform it yourself. You also need a spare, working pickup with you to replace it, which may be hard. 

Bypass the Mixer And Connect Directly To Amp

If replacing the guitar doesn’t help, we may need to go up one level: test out the mixer. To test your mixer, you do not need a spare mixer. You will instead bypass the mixer.

To do this, simply disconnect the cable between the mixer and the amp and also between the mixer and the guitar. Instead, connect your guitar straight to your amp. Ensure the settings are correct, and then start strumming.

If you hear sounds, then there is a likelihood your mixer is faulty. If you have a spare mixer lying around, consider resetting the connection and strum your guitar again. If you hear sounds from your amp, you just double-confirmed that the mixer itself is faulty. 

Swap The Amp

If bypassing also doesn’t work, you may now need to swap out your current amp with a spare amp and see if it makes sounds. If yes, you confirmed that your problem is caused by a faulty amp.

If you can still not produce sounds, you may need to consider retrying the troubleshooting process again or consider getting professional help. This is because the error may be more technical and require a sound engineer or technician to diagnose.

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