Guitar Effects Debugging Page

Copyright 2000 R.G. Keen. All rights reserved. Permission to link but no permission for local copies or serving from any web site other than

Please note: This page was updated 8/5/00 and is getting pretty complete. There is some material that is not yet sorted into place. A few links are still just stubs, but it does cover a lot of situations. As always, additions and corrections are welcome.

  1. Assess your personal capabilities
  2. Have the right tools
  3. Getting brand new effects that you've built running for the first time
  4. Geriatric Effects - resuscitating the elderly stompbox
  5. Select the most obvious symptom:
  6. Testing Transistors in the circuit
    If you think you have a dead transistor, try this.
  7. Testing Capacitors
    Temporarily unsolder one lead, and measure the resistance with your ohmmeter. It should read open circuit on the highest scale.
  8. Testing Resistors
    Easy - measure them; however, the other stuff in the circuit may cause a fake lower reading. To get an accurate measurement, you have to unsolder one lead.
  9. Testing operational amplifiers (op-amps)
  10. Symptoms peculiar to particular types of effect