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Did you ever have an amp, guitar or effect(s) quit on you in the middle of a gig?


Ive had amps die as well. I ran a distortion pedal through whatever they had as a backline, one time another band let me use their amp as I have done as well for others, that's why I always ger nervous gigging with tube amps, thyre tempermental at times....


Silver Supporting Member
I've had cables go south much more than anything else (not counting guitar strings breaking).

Typically, my amp/tube failures have been during practice sessions more often than not.

snow and steel

Silver Supporting Member
Several times. Just switch over to my backup head, and get the main repaired ASAP. So far I've had no issues with me Mesa which has been going strong for a couple years of heavy gigging.


An amp once, but I caught it just before we started. I used our other guitarist's spare and went home and grabbed my spare on a break.

My box of rock is on its 3rd switch, and my full drive is on its second. All failed mid set/song. I just went with it, and lived with it till s break. I have spares in the gear closet. The full drive was weird, I only got signal if it was on. I couldn't figure it out quickly enough, so everything was overdriven.
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Had a Boogie Mk IV blow up on stage once. Like, smoke came out and everything. The rack FX unit I had did have a speaker sim setting, with reverb, and a couple pedals into the pa. Got through the gig. I have played direct on purpose before. Wasn't fun, wasn't horrible.
When we opened the amp up when I took it in for repairs, one of the filter caps had blown, the paper inside had turned to paper dust. Not sure why, the rack/amp was on an isobar that had taken hits before and protected the amp.

It was a pain, but no one died and we all got paid. Once in 3-4000 gigs, just not that big a deal. Stuff happens


This was long ago... In the 80s we would do summer tours on the east coast of Australia.Mostly gigs were pubs but we’d do weekend gigs where we’d be set up on a stage beside the beach. Mostly these were little things, but sometimes we'd get on bigger bills.

The nightmare I’ll never forget was where I broke 7 strings in a 45 minute set. We went on in the late afternoon while there was a seabreeze of around 20 knots aimed directly at us. Because it was getting a little dark (& there was a headliner) we had lighting – if I remember correctly a big bunch of par64’s in front of us. Result was a gust of wind would cool my guitar down, lights would heat it up. I broke a string in the first song – I had a back up guitar & our stage guy was a guitarist who was able to change it quickly. After I was on the 4th break the stage guy from the headliner lent me one of their backups – i was happy when i saw it was a strat – but it got bad when i realised it had .008’s & I played .013s. From the perspective of almost 30 years later its pretty funny.

Other than that I’ve had all of the crap happen – broken amps, broken pedals, broken cables, mild electrocutions & wardrobe malfunctions…


Average Joe

Weekend before last my Rivera R55 died in the middle of the third set. No burned smell, no bad sound in advance, it just shut down. wasn't the fuses. I wont have time to bring it to a tech until sometime this week.First time this century something like that have happend to me.

I just went direct for the last few songs. Not pretty but we got the job done and people kept dancing.


Bogner Blue pedal died out twice at 2 separate gigs. Both times I was able to use my other pedals to cover.

My current amp died on me years ago like 10 seconds before our 1st service at my old church once. Went straight into DI into the snake and board....Damn that sucked so bad.


Decided to hook up the power to all my ODs and Fuzzes last week. Even tho I tested it at home twice they all quit during Thursdays gig. Luckily my base OD is my Vibrolux set to five. I managed to live with out them for the fist few songs fine until I got one working for the rest of the set (I tinkered between songs I refused to stop the show for me to fix things because we were opening and tight on time as is).

The fact that one OD seemed to be all I needed made me rethink what I need. The Expandora may be the only OD I keep on for the short term.


Silver Supporting Member
I've had tubes go, pedal switches go, I had a lp have a pot get a cold solder joint... the more time with the rig, the more likely you'll find it's failure point!

anddd turn off the bad amp and use the backup/stereo amp, take the pedal out, change guitars... whattevaaah!


During a showcase, our biggest audience to date, on a provided backline, at the beginning of the first verse of the first song, no sound. Nothing. My tuner was getting signal, but nothing coming out of the amp.

I unplugged from the tuner and went direct to the amp, unplugging it's beat up footswitch, and presto sound. Ho-hum JCM900 sound....but sound.

I took 5 seconds to get an acceptable tone and level, at this point we were in the first chorus, I then and turned around and rocked out. No one knew.

After the gig the singer asked me "why didn't you use the wah in "song X"? I told him the why and he said "we landed everything, and the audience loved it so...no harm/no foul!"


Back in the 80's I was playing a Legend 50 combo amp. Really liked the way it sounded. Kind of unique compared to the Fender's and Marshall"s at the time. We were on break one night and someone yelled that an amp was on fire. We all ran inside and I looked on in horror as my amp was frying itself right there on stage! Smoke was rolling out of it! I ran up and yanked the power cord out of the supply. The stench of melted wires and who knows what else hung in the air the rest of the night. A friend of ours, who only lived 5 minutes down the road, went home and got his Peavey Renown 400 and we finished the gig.


I was using an Axe FX into power amp and traditional cab at a gig a few years ago. Right before gig was about to start there was a power surge and my Axe Fx quit working. I had surge protector but did not matter. Played whole gig with a tube screamer into a Carvin solid state power amp and cab. Worked out OK.


Silver Supporting Member
yes, all of the above

I bring spares

for everything

sometimes 3 or 4 deep - like cables or batteries

I always bring 2 guitars and usually two amps, the second is a little combo like a GK lunchbox. And I have a Tech21 Flyrig too in case I forget the spare amp

The real trick is to be able to evaluate the damage and possible cause quickly and correct it swiftly. I can switch guitars during a verse I don't sing and be back in time for the chorus. My bandmates don't notice most of the time.

When your sound cuts out, you gotta go through the checklist quick - guitar? amp? pedals? First you look for smoke. I have a pedal tuner at the end of my chain that cuts my signal to the amp, so I'll step on that and hit strings to see if the pedals are getting signal. If so, then I know the guitar, the wireless, and the pedals up to that point are good. If it doesn't register, then I unplug the wireless and run a cord to first pedal. If it's something in the pedals, I'll plug straight into amp to finish song and then spend a couple minutes between songs checking battery lights and jiggling cables. If it's the amp, I'll run out to the car and grab my spare - hopefully it's towards the end of the set and we can end early. Or I'll grab the Flyrig from my stage box.

Now I can do all of these steps in the space of one song, as all of the above have happened to me. All you wanna do is make it to the break and then you can fix or replace whatever died.
The last time I used the POD live for a gig (Sunday morning church service). At some point, the power must have gotten funny (either a spike or a drop) because the tone went from warm breakup to dead clean direct. I tried switching tones but nothing worked. Tried twiddling knobs, nothing. Played through to the end of the song. Luckily, it was the last one. Afterwards, I turned the thing off, determined to chuck it once I got home. Luckily, I turned it back on again, and it worked fine. It as a brand new church with clean, conditioned power, so that was unexpected, and the POD gave no indication.

Like I said, last time I used it live that way.
My old Charvel Model 4 guitar that I owned for ten years had an issue very early in my ownership of it where the middle and bridge pickup shorted out during the second song of an entire headlining show - so I had to play my very nasal sounding neck pickup for EVERYTHING the entire night. I'll never forget it. And the weird active electronics built into the guitar had a mid boost that had kind of a cocked wah sound. Not an appealing sound for clean or dirty sounds. I eventually had the guitar totally rewired with different pickups that served the thing well the rest of its life with me.


I had a capictor blow in an OD pedal once resulting in thunder-like sound effects through my amp. I unhooked everything and went straight to the amp. Not sure if it was related, but I never got hired by that singer again. Too bad she was really good.

I've had cables start to go bad, but I built them so it's my own fault. They didn't completely crap out either.

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