How Do I Repair Guitar Amps?

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If your guitar amp goes on the blink, you may need to repair it on the spot. Conduct basic repairs to get back to playing with help from a professional musician in this free video.

Part of the Video Series: Applications for the Guitar
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Kirk Wilson, and I perform in area studios in Burbank and Hollywood area as a session guitar player. I also teach in Irvine at the Orchepia School of Music here in California. I'm going to talk about how to repair a guitar amp. The significant thing about repairing guitar amps is that first, you have to make sure it's really the amp. Many times, I've seen situations where it's always, like, the cable. I've seen situations where it's the guitar. So, the first thing you want to do to test, is to first try a different cable. And, get a cable you know that works. And typically, you know, what I normally do, I get a cable that works, and I put my finger right here. If you don't hear that, then it's a good possibility that it still could be the cable. So, you get you another cable that you know that works, and you do this again, okay? So, after you've done this to make double certain that it's really not the cable and the amp, then you go proceed to the next step. The first amp that I would like to reference is the Roland Stereo Chorus. And, that is like one of my favorite amps, it's a solid state amp. Generally, with those, what the first thing that you want to look at is the fuse. You want to verify that the fuse is not blown. Oftentimes, if the fuse is blown, there is something that caused it to blow, generally a short. So, in a solid state amp that has a short, you have to look beyond the fuse. But first, you want to replace the fuse. The fuse is found in the back of the amp, and that's the diagram that you see here. We have it displayed, so that it's really easy for you to find. So, once you've located the fuse, you turn it to the left, and there's, like, a little ejection spring in there, and you pull the Buss fuse out, and you look at the size that you have. And any area Radio Shack or electronic part store can supply you the fuse that you need. I recommend that you buy at least three or four fuses, because during the process of repairing the guitar amp, you may blow a few. So, get you, they're really inexpensive, so get you about four or five fuses. Never, under any circumstances, use anything like foil paper, or any direct connection in that circuit to keep the amp on, because if the fuse is blown, that is definitely giving you an indication of a problem in the circuitry of the amp. Second thing you want to do is to test for a short. So, if the fuse is blowing, what you want to do is disconnect any guitar, or anything from the amp. Power it off, change the fuse, put the new fuse in, and don't connect anything to the amp in powering the amp. If the amp stays on, but only the fuse blows when you connect the guitar, then there is a chance that there's a problem with that particular circuit. If you have an amp that has multiple circuits or multiple inputs, then what you want to do is plug the guitar into another circuit. If the fuse does not blow at that point then you've isolated the problem. But, that is how to repair a guitar amp. And, my name is Kirk Wilson.

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