I have a B.C. Rich Beast. I believe it's an NJ series, with a Floyd Rose Speedloader Tremolo.

It's been in storage for around a year or so in a padded guitar case, stood vertically in a cupboard. It's bone dry, no sign of damp (slightly dusty). It hasn't been dropped, banged or knocked, etc.

I plugged it into the app, hearing the familiar buzz you get when you touch the jack against metal, and then nothing. The guitar doesn't send any signal to the amp. I tried with an without my Zoom multi effects pedal.

My other guitars work fine, so it's definitely the Beast.

I don't know where to start in troubleshooting this problem. Could it be the pickups, the tone pots, the selector switch, the wires?

How does one go about troubleshooting a problem like this so I can narrow it down before I take it to a guitar tech?

  • 1
    I really have no experience with this sort of thing but I'd start with the plug. I would wager it's the part facing the highest stress in the instrument.
    – blindjesse
    Commented May 14, 2011 at 6:41

2 Answers 2


I'd work backwards from the jack to the rest of the electronics. Use a multimeter, set to check resistance. You're looking for 0 resistance to indicate a clean connection.

Plug a cable into the jack. Touch one probe to the shaft of the plug on the other end of the cable and the other probe to one of the wires going into the jack from guitar electronics. If the needle stays at infinite resistance, then switch to the other wire. If the needle stays at infinite resistance on both wires, then you have a bad jack. Otherwise, switch to the tip of the cable and repeat the test.

Next put a probe on each of the wires going into the jack and put all of the volume knobs to 10. The result should be the DC resistance of whatever combination of pickups are active (will vary with the switch), and should be in the 6-20K ohm range. If the jack is working properly, then the chances are you'll get zero - since you're getting no sound.

Since you're getting no sound at all, the chances are that the pickups are fine, but some component that the signal from both pickups passes through has failed. A master volume, or a master tone and the pickup selector switch would be good places to look. Follow the non-ground wire from the jack back through the circuit. Leave the probe on the non-ground wire at the jack and then touch the other probe on the other side of each component in turn. When the resistance stays at infinity, then you've found the bad component or solder joint.

  • Ok, so I went over it again with the multimeter just to be sure, and I came across a connection on the volume knob that I had missed before. I noticed that it was difficult to get to and the reason was that the volume knob had been twisted so that one of the connections had been bent against the inside of the wood and was making contact with one of the other connections, I bent it back, tightened it up so it wouldn't twist again and now the guitar works! Thanks for the multimeter advice! You saved me an expensive repair bill! :D
    – Anonymous
    Commented May 25, 2011 at 23:18

Ok- first try another cable, then another guitar, just to rule out the cable and the amp.

  • If that still doesn't work then with the cable plugged into the guitar, try touching or tapping any part of the guitar. Does it give any noise though the amp?
  • Try the pickup selector in another position and retry
  • Wiggle the plug in the socket. Any noise as a result?

If you get as far as this with no joy then you probably are going to have to POP the top off the guitar and recorder a broken connection. This is simple if you know your way around a soldering iron. If not, take it to your music shop. The most likely connections at fault are to the plug and to the switches. If you see one loose, solder it back to the correct pad.

  • I popped open the electronics cover and everything seems fine. None of the wire connections are loose. All the soldering look intact. I even took the strings off and took out the pickup enclosures to check them and they appear to be fine too. The earth cable, connected to the back of the guitar where the tremolo springs are attached is also intact and solidly soldered. And finally, the jack socket is intact too, so loose wiring there. It must be a failed component somewhere in the chain - I'll have to see what the guitar tech says.
    – Anonymous
    Commented May 14, 2011 at 9:10
  • If none of DrMayhem's suggestions had any effect, one other thing you can try is to remove the controls from the circuit altogether and simply connect a pickup to the output jack (that's if you're handy with a soldering iron). However, in all it's best to have it checked out buy an experienced repairman.
    – user321
    Commented May 14, 2011 at 18:27
  • Addendum: I've recently developed a similar problem in my Ibanez. I've traced it to the jack plug - it's a fully enclosed one, so I cannot determine the exact cause, but my guess is that it's due to the deformation of the contact tabs. Jiggling the plug around sometimes helps, sometimes not. I'll have to get it replaced.
    – user321
    Commented May 16, 2011 at 7:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.