Guitar Amp Not Working: Quick Fix [Guide]

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As a guitarist, there are few things more frustrating than finding your guitar amp not working after you plug your guitar in. 

I’ve compiled a list of common and quick fixes to make your amp work again, with troubleshooting tips to speed up the process. Whether it’s a loose cable, a malfunctioning tube, or a blown fuse, I’ll help you get back to playing guitar in no time. 

Why Is My Guitar Amp Not Working?

Your guitar amp may not be working due to various reasons, such as a blown fuse, faulty cables, broken tubes, burnt speakers, or a malfunctioning power supply. It’s best to troubleshoot and identify the specific issue before repairing or replacing any part.

While there’s no sure way to tell exactly why your amp is silent, you can troubleshoot it step by step to find out. Since many things could go wrong, keep reading the next section to find the common reasons for an amplifier not working.

Keep in mind that some of these fixes require some electrical know-how and DIY confidence. If you’re unsure about it, don’t push yourself, as you could damage the amplifier and even yourself via electrocution. The best thing to do in this case is to get a professional tech to help. 

Guitar Amp Not Working: Quick Fixes

1. Check that it’s plugged in, turned on, and the volume is up

It’s easy to panic when we sit down with the guitar and find that the amp isn’t producing any sound. But first, it’s important to check that the amp is properly plugged in and turned on. There should be some indicator light to show you that the amp is ON. 

Next, try moving the volume knob up. Try bringing it all the way down, and slowly increase and play your guitar to see if there’s any sound. You can even try pushing it to max volume if no sound is coming out. 

Make sure that the other amp settings are normal: gain, EQ, etc. Return all knobs to 12 o’clock (about 50%) and all switches to default positions. Make sure your guitar’s volume and tone knobs are also at full. 

Check that it’s plugged in, turned on, and the volume is up

If the master volume knob feels loose in your hands, try pushing it in and see if that makes a difference. Sometimes for an old amp, the knob comes loose, so you have to push the knob and then turn it to actually adjust the internal potentiometer. 

Also, don’t forget the standby switch. Some amps have this as an extra switch that you have to toggle on before you can use it, and well, we forgetful musicians tend to make this mistake more often than we’d admit! 

2. Check your guitar with another amp or audio interface

Before blaming the amp for not working, it’s best to make sure that your guitar is fine by checking it against another amp or an audio interface if you have one. 

You should check that the guitar produces a strong signal without interference, breakup, or noise. 

If you only have one guitar and one amp, then leave this step for later. You could try to test your guitar at a local shop or a friend’s place if possible. 

3. Replace the guitar cable and amp jack

A frayed cable is one of the most common issues that plague guitarists. It’s always a good idea to keep some extra cables on hand just in case this problem comes around.

You have to check each cable you’re using to make sure there’s no issue. The best way to do this is to keep any pedals/pedalboards aside and connect your guitar straight to your amplifier with multiple cables, one by one, to see if any of them work.

Replace the guitar cable and amp jack

A frayed cable should be visible to the eye, and if you see one, switch off all power to the amplifier before you do anything else. Once the amp is not connected, you can replace the frayed cable with a new one.

If you’ve tried multiple cables and even new ones, and still can’t hear anything from your amp, the issue might still be with the jack in the amplifier (assuming your guitar is working fine). Make sure the jack is not loose and the cable has a snug fit inside it.

Fixing the amp’s jack requires more technical knowledge, so I recommend getting help from a professional to avoid any issues.

4. Make sure all pedals are connected properly and not faulty

If your amp is working without any pedals, but you find that it’s not working when you connect your pedalboard, then the issue could be with one of the pedals. If you’re running your guitar through multiple pedals, it could be hard to miss when one pedal gets disconnected.

So, make sure to check that all your pedals are connected to your amp. Also, ensure that there are no problems with the pedals themselves. You may have to test each pedal individually to make sure they’re all working smoothly.

Make sure all pedals are connected properly and not faulty

Sometimes you may have to replace a faulty pedal or simply remove it from your pedalboard to make it work. Remember, you could try connecting your guitar to a computer with a DAW to get similar effects as pedals.

5. Replace the amp’s power adapter

Many amps come with a power adapter, which is important in delivering the right voltage to the amp. This is particularly common with digital and solid-state amps. And unfortunately, this is one of the weakest components of the whole setup. 

Power adapters fail very easily, and it’s not immediately obvious. Some adapters have an indicator light, so check to see if that’s working or not. 

Also, don’t try to repair one. That can cause much bigger problems down the line. So just replace it with a new, authorized unit from the amp’s manufacturer. 

6. Replace the amp’s fuse

Guitar amps also have fuses inside them to check sudden overvoltage in power and to protect high-current from going into the amp and causing damage. If you’ve had a recent fluctuation in electricity, a blown fuse is even more likely to occur. 

Depending upon the make of the amp, you could replace the fuse without having to take the amp apart. Make sure you’re using the exact type of fuse as what was previously installed. 

Again, this can be a bit difficult to solve for some, so I recommend getting a professional electrician to help. They can also check the other wiring components to make sure everything is working fine. 

And next time, try to plug your amp into a power stabilizer, conditioner, surge protector, or overcurrent-protection unit to prevent this from happening frequently.

7. Check the amp’s speaker unit and cables

Sometimes the amp’s built-in speaker unit (in combo amps) can have troubles. Combo amps have an extra cable that connects the speaker to the preamp, usually at the back. 

So you should check that, which may require unscrewing the back panel and taking a few components out. You can also examine the speaker unit itself and check for any cracks, fissures, or any other visible damage. 

The speaker cable is quite prone to becoming loose and frayed. So you should replace it to avoid issues from happening again. 

In case you have a separate amp head and speaker cabinet, you should still check to make sure that the connection between them is proper, and that there’s no damage inside the cabinet. 

If the cable isn’t the problem, a blown speaker is still a possibility, which you can test by connecting your amp’s output to another speaker, but be wary of impedance issues.

And just in case, do make sure you didn’t accidentally enable the ‘speaker mute switch’ on some speaker cabinets. 

8. Check and replace the amp’s transistor or tube 

Solid-state amps produce some of the richest sounds on the market, but they’re also notoriously finicky. The transistor inside a solid-state guitar amp is the reason behind this sound, and if your amp is silent despite every other component working just fine, your transistor might be at fault.

Transistors are reliable, but they still run into problems. Older and damaged transistors (from moving an amp around too much) are more prone to electrical fluctuations. Replacing a transistor requires expertise, so I recommend taking it to a qualified professional. 

And if your amplifier has tubes, they’re even more fragile than transistors. Tubes can easily overheat and get cracked or blown apart. Especially with power surges. To check this, you’ll have to open up the amp and examine the tubes. 

Check and replace the amp’s transistor or tube

An overheated tube can cause damage to the speakers too, so you’ll have to check everything. While some amps have easily replaceable tubes that you can just pop a new one in, others will require a bit more work, so check your model and proceed accordingly. 

Make sure to use stabilizers along with your amp, so that power surges do not get in the way of your playing.

9. Make sure the impedance of your amp and speaker are matching

To explain impedance, we would have to talk a lot of science; suffice it to say that the impedance of a speaker and amplifier should match for them to work properly. This is represented by Ohms (Ω), and should be visible on the back of the amp as well as the speaker cabinet. 

A lower impedance allows for electric signals (sound, in this case) to pass more efficiently, while a higher impedance represents more opposition to the flow of sound through your amplifier or speaker.

This problem often occurs when you’re trying to add additional speaker cabs to your setup, or changing amp heads to a new model. So the output impedance of your amp should match (a small difference is reasonable) the input impedance of your speaker. 

If the speaker has received an input of higher impedance than what it can handle (for instance, 4 Ohms), then you might have blown the speaker. I recommend taking it to a professional to get it replaced and fixed then. 

Check our article on How To Mic A Guitar Amp.


How do I know if my guitar amp is blown?

The easiest way to know if your guitar amp is blown is if there are crackling or hissing sounds coming through the speaker. There might also be no sound at all, or you may smell burning. This could indicate either a blown amp (tube or transistor) or a blown speaker. In either case, make sure to take your amp to a technician so that they can fix or replace the parts that have been damaged. Fixing this at home can be very risky as there are high voltages and capacitors involved. 

What can damage a guitar amp?

Guitar amps can get damaged through fluctuations in voltage, overheating, excessive volume/distortion, or a short circuit. If you suspect any of these, cut the power on your amp, and plug it into another power source. If your amp makes intermittent noise or no noise at all, you might have a damaged amplifier. A damaged amplifier can possibly be repaired, but take it to a professional. 

Why is my amp not putting out sound?

There can be several reasons for your amp not putting out sound, including no power to your amp, frayed or loose cables, a turned-down volume knob, a faulty or disconnected pedal, a malfunctioning power supply, or internal problems in the amp itself. Make sure the settings on the amp are fine, and that it is plugged in and switched on. If the problem persists, you will likely need to take your amplifier to a professional to get it looked at and fixed. 


A guitar amp is one of the most important tools in a guitarist’s arsenal, and it can be frustrating and confusing when it refuses to work. But be patient, and work through these quick fixes one by one to find out why your amp is not working. And don’t hesitate to get help from a professional for some of the tricky fixes that require electrical know-how.

Plus, take precautions next time by using a voltage stabilizer and a power surge protector, along with cleaning the amp regularly and protecting it from environmental damage too. Regular maintenance and care can help prevent many of these problems and extend your amp’s longevity.

If this guide helped you, share it with fellow guitarists and send in any suggestions or questions!

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