Tuesday’s Tip of the Day: Troubleshooting On the Gig 101

Tuesday\'s Tip of the Day When you find yourself in a situation where your guitar rig is suddenly not working (this usually happens 5 minutes before the gig or session starts) there are a few guidelines to help quickly troubleshoot the problem. First thing is to stay calm. Getting anxious only makes things worse and makes it difficult to think. You have to stay calm to troubleshoot the problem and then…. play the gig! Second, check all the simple things first. Is a cable unplugged? Do you have power to your amp (or amps) and accessories? If you are using a wireless unit try going direct to your amp with a guitar cable, bypassing all pedals. If you are now getting a signal then it is either something with your pedals (batteries or cables) or the wireless unit. If you are using a piggyback amp (head and cabinet) make sure that the speaker cable is plugged in. Are all the tubes glowing in your amp? More often than not a sudden problem like this is a simple issue that has been overlooked. In a recent personal experience, I was troubleshooting a rig that “worked fine last night and now it doesn’t” 10 minutes before the hit. The only thing that was different was a new cable was purchased and opened on the gig. It was never given a test run at home or in a rehearsal situtaion. Why would you, it’s brand new nothing could be wrong with it right? WRONG! This pesky cable was defective right out of the packaging. The rig was dead because of a brand new cable that was defective! After a few minutes of troubleshooting I found it, but took me completely by surprise. So the general rules are first to stay calm and second to check all the simple things first, including brand new accessories right out of the package. Always carry extra cables, tubes, etc. as well. Check out the article: “Gig Bag Essentials” for a list of important items that could save the day on a gig or session.

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