Guitar pedal turns on but no effect

Guitar Pedal Turns On But No Effect:Troubleshooting Guitar Pedals

Nothing can put a dampener on a jam session like equipment failures. When adding extras to our set ups, such as effect pedals, what can you do when your guitar pedal turns on but no effect come out?

Are you dealing with a wiring issue, set up issue, compatibility problem, or did you forget to plug it in?

There’s a lot of reasons you might need to troubleshoot your guitar pedal, below we’ll help you try to find a quick fix to the problem you’re having.

Guitar pedal turns on, but no sound effect

If your guitar pedal is lighting up but not outputting any sound effect, there’s a few things that may be happening.

First and most likely, just ensure that all the cables are going where they need to be, and that they’re in the correct jacks.

This doesn’t just mean for the pedal, check all the cables, starting at the guitar and ending at your amp.

Then see if the switch on the pedal is turned on, or set to bypass.

If your pedal is on bypass, it will allow your guitar to play through the pedal without effect.

This is so you can turn the effect one and off during your session, but might just be in the bypass setting at the moment.

if you’re still not getting any effect from the pedal, check the batteries. 

you might not be totally out of juice, but the batteries may be very low.

A low battery may only be able to turn on the lights on the pedal, but not actually produce an effect.

If you’re still having no luck and your guitar pedal turns on, but no effect still, you may need to check the wiring.

The internal wiring may come loose over time. If you stomp your pedals to change effect you can easily do this.

Remove the wires from the pedals, and gently shake the pedal, close to your ear.

If you hear anything shaking or rattling around, you may have a loose wire.

If you’re handy with a soldering iron, you may be able to pop the back off the pedal and make a quick repair, however, loose wiring may also be an end of life indicator for your guitar pedal.

The very last thing you should check is that all your cables are in god working order.

Do all the cables you’re using for the set up work fine on their own?

You may have a bad cable, or a kink in the cable.

One bad cable in the chain can ruin the whole set up.

There’s no real way of fixing a bad cable, you can try massaging it, but that’s a long shot.

More likely, you’ll be replacing the problem cable altogether.

How do you troubleshoot a guitar pedal?

  1. Check all the cables are in the correct input/outputs
  2. Check to ensure the cables themselves are in good working order
  3. Ensure the switch turned to the position that engages the effect (not in bypass)
  4. Test the power supply/battery, low batteries may turn on the lights, but not produce effects
  5. Check the internal wires, ensuring nothing has come loose

If you’ve run through all these steps and still have no answer or clues as to the problem, you may need a professional.

Your first step should be to contact the manufacturer, to see if you can have it repaired under warranty.

If your guitar pedal is used or out of warranty, many local shops will be able to make basic repairs for a small fee.

Electronic repair shops may also be able to perform more extensive repairs, however, don’t pay too much.

If you spend a lot on a repair, you still have the same pedal as before, but with a fix.

The likelihood of it having another problem in the future increases, and you may be better off putting the repair cost, towards a new pedal.

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