Troubleshooting Guide for a Rock Guitar - dummies

By Hal Leonard Corporation, Jon Chappell, Mark Phillips, Desi Serna

Many seemingly insurmountable problems you may come across with your rock guitar often have a simple and quick solution. This troubleshooting guide should cover most of the basic problems. It doesn’t offer the obvious troubleshooting standbys like “Make sure your guitar is plugged in” and “Make sure your amp is turned on,” because surely you don’t need to hear those.

Symptom Possible Cause Solution
Buzzing Action too low Adjust bridge saddles
Adjust truss rod
Adjust action at the nut
High action on the upper frets Bridge saddles set too high Lower bridge saddles
High action in the middle or top of neck Neck is warped Adjust truss rod
Guitar won’t stay in tune Strings too old Replace strings
Replace cheap tuners
Floating bridge up too high Spring tension is too loose Tighten vibrato bar springs
Floating bridge too close to guitar body Spring tension too tight Loosen vibrato springs
No output Bad output jack Remove jack, check wiring
Scratchy output Bad volume or tone pots or switches Spray pots and switches with contact cleaner
Amp has no output Bad connection between guitar and amp
Blown fuse
Bad tube
Blown speaker
Replace guitar cable
Replace fuse
Replace tube
Replace speaker
Amp whistles, rings, or sounds distorted Bad tube
Blown speaker
Replace tube
Replace speaker
Crackling sound, signal cuts out
Low output, diminished sound, unwanted distortion
Bad cable or patch cord
Bad battery or power supply (effects)
Replace battery