Troubleshooting Cable Issues

I have a weird issue where my signal will suddenly drop to a crackle, or completely inaudible. I’ve tried several different guitars, different ‘main cables’ (from guitar to pedals), power supplies, patch cables, swapped pedals in and out, etc. Just when I think I’ve found the culprit and remove it, or swap it out, it happens again. For a while I thought it was my Pitchfork, but it happened again. Then I thought it was my honey bee, but nope, happened again. Etc. I have no idea how to figure out what the issue is. Any suggestions?

I don’t see you mention amp at all. Have you tried changing that?

Yes, between a Quilter Aviator and Fender Hot Rod 4x10.

Remove everything from the chain. Just guitar → cord → amp input.

Nothing else.

Does the problem exist? If yes, it’s one of those three things. Can’t be anything else.

If the problem isn’t present, then add the first pedal in your normal chain. Keep adding until you find the culprit. It’s probably not a bad idea to isolate whatever it is and test it alone to make sure it’s not a combination of things.

This takes time, but I know of no better way to locate an issue like this.


That’s one of the first things I did, and it never appeared. I swapped out the cable throughout the day to see if it was one of those, but didn’t happen. The fact that it’s intermittent and so rare makes it especially difficult. I wish there was some kind of electricians trick where I would put… something?.. between each pedal and see when the throughput drops. That would allow for narrowing it down pretty quickly.

Intermittent issues are the worst.

Like a creak in the car you can’t replicate when the tech is listening for it.

There is, but it’s a lot more trouble (and in most cases expensive) than it’s worth if you are just fixing this one issue. There are also many things that can cause this. It takes a bit of know how with the cheaper methods (a signal gen app, home made probe and dmm being the cheapest bare bones), or more money for the more specialized tools approach.