Photo: No sound? Before tearing apart the rig, check to make sure the guitar cable is firmly in place.
Termini: Power and levels are often overlooked when rushing in to set up a rig for that night’s show. Ask yourself, “Does it have power? Is the little red light on? And is the volume turned up?” These are three questions that will save a lot of troubleshooting and avoid stress.
Francis: Once you know the rig inside and out (which takes time) you can usually tell where the offending audio "gremlin" is festering. You just have to use your ears and listen. I can be obsessive and make new cables for a total rewire quite often just to know they are all in top condition. I always make my own cables and make cut to length, everything stays neat and clean.
The biggest bummer we have is the fact that we hit the EQ in our FX loop really hard and it gets noisy sometimes. To get it quiet I always start with the wireless—putting it through an ISO transformer usually does it, or maybe in the loop after the EQ. After I get it fixed I go complain to the lighting guy about his lights making the guitar noisy. He laughs at my peril then I go tell Billy that it's a bit noisy and where the big trouble spots are on stage.
Trejo: If I have no signal, I usually start with the guitar and cable. I know this sounds stupid—sorry guitarists—but sometimes a player will put his guitar on expecting it to play as soon as he puts it on. Check your volume! [Laughs] Next I’ll work my way through the signal chain—a lot of times, the issue is a jack on a pedal that has gone bad due to travel or just the gear gods punishing you.
Dickson: They say that generally the most problematic thing in the chain is the guy playing guitar [laughs]… although I was pretty lucky with Eric. These days wireless can sometimes be problematic in certain countries and venues, so I would always have a cord ready to switch to just in case the wireless system went down for any reason. It’s always a good idea to take care of your cables, cords, and leads as they are often easily damaged and can be the weak links in any signal chain.